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Instagram 3.0 & New Blog, Klout Updates, Police Departments Using Social Media

 

 

Top Story: Instagram 3.0

On Thursday, Instagram launched version 3.0 of its app for Android and iPhone. This update includes a bevvy of new consumption options for the famed filtered photo-sharing tool including Photo Maps, infinite scrolling, and overall speed improvements.

The standout of the 3.0 updates is Photo Map which, if enabled by the user (you’re automatically prompted when you elect to update) shares photos based on geotagging you’ve done in the past. While some might have concerns over privacy with this new features, it is important to note that the feature makes it easy to remove photos geotagged to that location (say, if you want to untag photos taken in your home). This feature of the app is very interactive – you can really drill down to specific locations and see your activity in geographic format. It also allows users to more readily tap into older photos, which were previously buried at the bottom of their feeds.

Photo Map can be accessed through your user profile, which has also been redesigned, along with updates to the location and hashtags pages. Scrolling is now infinite – there is no longer an option to “load more” because this happens automatically. As for security – you can now report comments as abuse or spam to the Instagram police.

So, what does this say about social media as a whole? We are definitely getting more comfortable sharing things with the world, and application developers are helping us by proactively enabling feeding us security options to keep privacy top of mind. A good step forward, with no steps back.

Instagram 3.0 – Photo Maps Walkthrough from Instagram on Vimeo.

 

Under the Radar: Instagram Launches a Blog for Business Practices

While there have been some very successful on Instagram, from big gaining big followings, to using top users as reporters, most brands are still struggling to grasp how to use strictly photos to effectively engage their fans. This has been partly due to the fact that Instagram has not been catering to brands at all yet, with no brand-specific features or analytics, it is difficult for a brand to distinguish themselves and figure out what is and isn’t working.

It appears Instagram has recognized these challenges, and taken a small step to help businesses get their toes wet on their platform with their Instagram for Business blog.

The posts that have been put up so far include a spotlight on some of the most followed brands on Instagram, such as MTV, Victoria’s Secret and Burberry, and a best practices post. Both of these are good introductions to brands that are looking to leverage Instagram, but certainly not a game-changer into getting brands to join.

The big question is how much, if at all, Instagram will bend its user experience to accommodate brands. Being owned by Facebook, it stands to reason that we may see brand pages (like fan pages on Facebook), but this may push away many users who currently see Instagram as the anti-Facebook (no ads or interruptions of any kind).

Hopefully Instagram will navigate the line of user experience and brand experience wisely, but the blog was a step in the right direction.

 

Tool of the Week: Klout Updates Scoring System

 

 

Klout is certainly not a new tool in the social media world, but it is one that’s had much debate surrounding it. I’ve found that there are two camps when it comes to Klout- those who completely ignore it and think it’s ridiculous. And those who embrace it because they know they should… because marketers are. Klout insists it will help you “Discover and be recognized for how you influence the world.” The problem? Perhaps Klout can determine your influence to an extent, in terms of how much interaction you get on your updates and how many users are re-tweeting you. But it definitely favors users who update often (if you only update your social media accounts once in a while, does it mean you’re not influential on social media) and it doesn’t determine the type of people you’re influencing.

Last week, the team behind Klout rolled out a brand new scoring algorithm, which analyzes a lot more data than it once did. Allegedly, it factored in 1 million data points previously; it now factors in 12 billion. It also now takes real-world data into account, utilizing Wikipedia. Because, even if you’re not tweeting and Facebook posting a lot, you could still be quite influential. For instance, President Obama now tops Justin Bieber’s Klout score, as it’s been determined that he’s more influential in the real world.

Do these changes make a big difference? I do know that my Klout score went up 12 points when the changes were introduced, which is a huge amount. The changes haven’t been implemented long enough for me to see how my score is affected over time. In the past, my score would go down a great deal following days when I wasn’t posting much, which I always felt was a little odd. We’ll see if that continues in the future.

As a social media specialist, I pay attention to Klout for my clients, but don’t put too much stock into it. At all. But there’s another new feature (here for some; coming soon for others) that might actually have me reviewing it a bit more closely each month. The feature is call “Moments,” and it will be a way for you to see the updates you’ve made that have encouraged the most interaction from your followers. This information will be a lot more useful for improving social media accounts than a simple “score” will be.

Do you think Klout’s updates will help it become a more relevant, trusted social media tool?

 

Around the Hub: Local Police Departments & Firefighters Using Social Media

Social media isn’t just for fun anymore. Boston police departments and firefighters have ramped up their involvement in the social world to keep the communities informed with up-to-the minute information as well as responding to resident complains, comments, and concerns within the communities.

Twitter and Facebook have proved valuable to safety officials as an effective tool to communicate important information directly to the community. Boston Fire Department spokesman, Steve MacDonald (@BostonFire), walks the scenes of severe fire and emergency situations with an iPad in hand, snapping pictures and tweeting relevant info related to immediate dangers on scene.

Additionally, The Cambridge Police Department (@CambridgePolice) believes in social media to share updates in a more timely and efficient manner. The department uses Instagram, Flickr, Facebook, YouTube, and they even have their own app available for download.

More emergency response departments in the Greater Boston area:

Boston Police: Twitter (@Boston_Police), Facebook, & Flickr

Cambridge Police: Flickr, Twitter (@CambridgePolice), Facebook, & YouTube

MBTA Transit Police: App, Twitter (@MBTATransitPD), & Blog

Boston Fire Department: Twitter (@BostonFire) & Facebook

Boston Emergency Medical Services:  Twitter (@Boston_Police) & Facebook

Somerville Police:  Twitter (@SomervillePD) & Facebook

451 Marketing

Make the Most out of your summer with Social Media

Finally, summer is here and we all have something to be excited about. Whether we attend picnics, enjoy grilling, love relaxing at the beach or like taking a refreshing dip in our local lake, summer is here and its time to enjoy everything June-August has in store for us!  Honestly, what could be better than spending the summer on the beautiful Atlantic coast? The answer, nothing!  But, the real question is, how can we make the most out of this summer and make it one we will always remember? Why not make use of all the awesome, exciting, innovative and most importantly, FREE social media platforms? But, where should we start? And, which platforms are best to use to finally have and remember our best summer ever?

Instagram: Now that Instagram has integrated with Facebook, it is easier than ever before for smartphone users to quickly take photos and upload them in minutes.  Not only can you share your summer moments instantly with friends on Facebook, but the best part is that your photos look professional! Use Instagram throughout the summer and customize your favorite moments: beach days, picnics, nights out, and categorize all of your memories from the summer of 2012.

Pinterest: If you don’t already have a Pinterest account, you are missing out. It is easy to start and once you get going, becomes addicting! Make different boards of summer content; from summer drinks, places for the perfect picnic, grilling techniques, salad recipes and the best east-coast beaches. With Pinterest you can make your summer last forever and share it with others with similar tastes. Even better, you can look to others on Pinterest for inspiration on how to enjoy the hot summer months or to learn that new Sangria recipe.

Spotify: What would a summer be without music? If you have an iPhone, you can even download this for free! Spotify helps you make the most out of your summer by listening to your favorite tunes, anytime, anywhere! This app is awesome because not only can you use it for parties at your friend’s place, but you can take this with you to the beach, on road trips, or wherever the summer months may take you.

 

Tumblr: Creating a blog is a great way to share your summer memories and to have an online scrapbook titled “Summer 2012”. Tumblr is a great outlet for those who are new to blogging or for those of you that want to share more than just summer stories. This social platform allows you to customize your summer through sharing pictures, videos, music, stories, pretty much anything that you want to remember and share with friends and family. Plus, you can even update it through your iPhone!

Meetup: Want to step out of your comfort zone this summer and do something to better yourself and help out others in the process? Then check out this site where you can organize, search and join local groups in order to make a difference in someone’s life this summer!


 Written by 451 intern, Sarah Meandro, a graduate student at Roosevelt University ’12 majoring in integrated marketing communications.

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Boston Celtics Social Media, Google+ Local, Instagram for Videos, & Facebook EdgeRank

 

Top Story: Negate Facebook EdgeRank with Promoted Posts

 

Ever wonder why you have 5,000 fans but Facebook Insights tells you your posts only reach 750 people? That is because of Facebook’s EdgeRank algorithm, which determines who sees your brands posts. The average reach for a post is around 15% – but brands that post infrequently or off-topic can often be even lower. As a marketer this can be frustrating because fans who liked your page because they wanted to see updates and information are not being shown your messages.

 

There are plenty of best practices that can be used to help improve EdgeRank – but none will ever let you reach as large of a percentage as most would like. Facebook has recently rolled out a new Facebook Page feature called Promoted Posts to help marketers reach that group of people that EdgeRank has stopped showing posts to.

 

When purchased, the promoted post will significantly increase the reach of whatever type of post was made (text, photo, video, etc). Facebook estimates out the number of people that will be reached so you know what you are paying for beforehand.

 

The price to promote a post can range from $5 to $500 depending on the size of your target audience. The posts will show up as a sponsored story right in user’s feeds – not on the side bar like Sponsored Story ads.

 

Promoted Posts will be useful to pages that are looking more to leverage their existing fans instead of build a new audience. Use this model when announcing a new product, launching a promotion, or have news that you want existing fans to know.

Here is how to set up a Promoted Post: Step-By-Step Guide.

 

 

Under the Radar: Google+ Local Replaces Google Places and Teams Up with Zagat

Google would be pretty disappointed in us for putting this story in “Under the Radar.” But let’s be honest, lots of people still aren’t paying attention to Google+. And unless your listing in Google Places requires daily management, this may be a switch you haven’t heard about yet. But this move could potentially be a pretty big deal for Google+, especially since it involves teaming up with popular restaurant rating company Zagat and calling itself Google+ Local.

We all know that Google is good at what they do, but after having some trouble competing with Facebook with their Google+, are they now trying to intrude on Yelp’s territory? The new Google+ Local will help people find restaurants using Zagat listings (Google acquired Zagat back in September). They’re also hoping that users will add their own restaurant reviews to the site, which will allow people to see what friends in their circles are recommending in the area. It all sounds like a good idea, but we’re a little skeptical that it will take off. If anything, it’s going to be a long, slow climb.

Of course, there’s a lot of dispute over Yelp’s business practices and whether or not reviews on their site are entirely representative of the restaurants. So, perhaps Google is counting on the notion that foodies will head to Google+ Local to write reviews instead. Zagat is a very well-respected publication, but will having the “common folk” leave reviews make it less trusted? Furthermore, as a food blogger, I’ve previously been contacted by Google+ reps, offering a meal in exchange for encouraging my readers to leave Google Places reviews. I get that they need a push to get this initiative started, t also makes me wonder if they’re worried reviews on Google+ Local will be lacking.

Overall, we think it was a smart move for Google+ to team up with Zagat for their previously named Google Places. But is it really going to be the push Google+ needs to make it in the big-time? We want to see them do something totally unique and out-of-the-box with Google+ Places. Like Google is known for doing.

 

Around the Hub: Boston Celtics & Social Media

We’ve admired the social media strategy and engagement of the Boston Celtics for a long time. And it’s not just because we can see their home, the TD Garden, from our backyard (we’re 1.5 blocks from Rondo and The Truth’s main stage). Or that they’re 17-Time World Champions (although that definitely doesn’t hurt).

The Celtics know what they’re doing when it comes to new media. They have an avid Facebook following (>6.5 million “likes”) and excited fans in the Twittersphere (>545k followers).

They joined Pinterest (>2,300 followers) early and use it for contests and as a shopping and sharing tool for fans.

Their Instagr.am (>184k followers) presence is a force to be dealt with in Boston and often photos trend nationwide.

And what’s the most impressive about all of these social efforts is how they seamlessly cross-promote across all channels, giving users a unified experience that is unmatched in the sporting world.

Now that the playoffs are in full-swing, the team is using social promotions to excite fans and entice the to share online.  Their “#IAMNOTSOUTHBEACH” (a nod to their Floridian playoff rivals who shall not be named) went viral among fans who posted photos to show their allegiance to the Celts.

Not only are we proud of our team, we’re proud of the social media strategy. They are a case study for any brand on engagement and best practices. #IAMNOTSOUTHBEACH #IAMACELTIC

 

Tool of the Week: Get Giddy for Viddy 

 

We’ve all been through the Instagram obsession – browsing tons of submitted photos and showcasing our meals and pets on the fun app. Well now there is Instagram for video! Reigning at the number 1 spot in the iTunes Store, Viddy is a simple way for anyone to capture, beautify, and share amazing videos with the world.

Pros:

  • User-friendly app
  • 17 video effects
  • 18 music tracks
  • Easy to share through email, text, and social media

Cons:

  • iPhone only app – sorry Android atmosphere (should be coming soon, though!)
  • 15 second snippets
  • Viddy feed is smothered with celebrities and brands opposed to friends that you follow

Uploading video to YouTube and Facebook from your phone can be a hectic process. Viddy makes this a simple, easy, and fun thing to do. This video app allows you to capture video clips, add special effects (just like instagram!) and easily share them with your social networks.

 

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Facebook Buys Instagram & ‘Joggler’ will Run Boston Marathon While Juggling


Top Story: 
FaceGram, InstaBook – Whatever You Call It – What Does It Mean?

When it was announced that Facebook bought Instagram for 1 Billion (yes, with a B) dollars, three shock waves went through the tech and mobile community. The initial shock was “Wait, Facebook bought Instagram for 1 BILLION?” Followed by a longer lasting and resounding shock – “What the hell is Facebook going to do with Instagram?”

In well under 24 hours a lot of different theories have been thrown out as to why Facebook bought its mobile photo sharing competitor:

 

      1. Facebook wants Instagram user’s data. Really? Facebook spent 1 billion dollars on 30 million people’s data when they have over 850 million users already sharing TONS of data every day?
      2. As investor Chris Dixon tweeted, “Giving up 1% of your market cap to take out your biggest threat is a savvy move.” Possible, but is Instagram’s 30 million users really a 1 billion dollar threat? Seems like there is more to it than that?
      3. It was a pure user buy. Does Facebook really need 30 million more users? Not for 1 billion, when they are still expanding internationally.
      4. Highly engaged mobile users = mobile ad revenue. Instagram is farther from mobile ad revenue than Facebook is now.
      5. Use Instagram to improve the mobile experience? This is a vague answer – but seems the most reasonable. Facebook’s mobile photo-uploading experience is miserable. It takes too many clicks, is slow and often crashes. Instagram on the other hand has an uber-fast upload process – combined with filters, blurring, framing, etc. All these features and easy upload process are very appealing to Facebook who sees around 100 million photo uploads a DAY.

It will be interesting to see exactly how deep of an integration Facebook and Instagram pursue, or will Facebook simply steal some of Instagram’s mobile experience and convert it to the less than satisfactory mobile apps.

Side Note: It was announced today that three Maryland public school workers share a $105 Mega Millions jackpot payout, which to anyone is a large one day payout. But, when you compare it to what the Instagram employees are splitting (albeit, probably not equally) it looks like pocket change. There are only 13 Instagram employees for that huge 1 billion dollar payout.

 

Under the Radar: Sephora’s Website Gets a Social Makeover

In a time where so much is rapidly changing in the social media field, it can be a challenge for businesses, especially retailers, to keep up. But one major retailer recently made huge leaps in keeping up with social media: Sephora. If you’ve been to the beauty product store’s website lately, you’ve likely noticed a little sprucing up going on.

In addition to having very visible icons to their social media properties, Sephora’s been working hard on building up their Pinterest boards. They’re even encouraging their salespeople to start their own boards, so customers can see what the knowledgeable staff is choosing in terms of beauty products. And, of course, Sephora has placed “Pin It” buttons next to all products on their website, in hopes that customers will start adding the store’s products to their own pinboards. This is especially important considering many of Sephora’s products can be purchased at various other locations and websites. If Sephora’s getting that direct link from a product being pinned, it’s more likely the product will be purchased from their website. The brand just launched their very first Pinterest sweepstakes, as well.

The beauty product store has also just joined Instagram, posting behind-the-scenes at Sephora photos, as well as shots of new beauty products and fabulously painted nails. Oh, and of course, this is all in addition to the now “traditional” Facebook and Twitter accounts. We love that Sephora isn’t taking things slowly and their diving in to as many platforms as they can.

Sephora is even taking steps to bring digital into their brick-and-mortar stores. There will soon likely be iPads in stores, allowing customers to check out user reviews of various products and learn more than perhaps the salesperson is willing to tell them.

Do you think other online retailers will start following Sephora’s lead and jump into all things social media feet first? Many retailers seem to be resistant to fully immersing themselves and, of course, we understand the risks. But it’s our belief that the benefits strongly outweigh these risks. Social media gives your brand the opportunity to stay front-of-mind for everyone who follows your platforms. Consumers will begin to see your brand everywhere they go and then they can easily access information and reviews about your products, that makes it much more convenient for them to hit that “purchase” button.

 

Around the Hub: #Hashtag Joggler

Taking social media a step further, a UNH student and marketing intern for The Meat House, will run the Boston Marathon with a hashtag tattooed on his chest: #MeathouseJoggler.  Joggler?  That’s right. According to his twitter profile, Thomas Gounley (@tgounley) will be “Running the Boston Marathon while juggling.”  So, not only is he making his body into a human Nascar, he intends to run the world famous sporting event while juggling.

According to a recent interview with BostInno, Gounley came across the idea when flipping through the Guiness Book of World Records.  While the Marathon won’t come close to the record (which currently stands at 50 miles), we like the idea of body art for digital PR.  We’ll definitely be tracking the hashtag while enjoying the race on Monday!

 

Tool of the Week: LeFeed

It can be difficult to monitor activity on Facebook, especially if your brand gets an escalated amount of interaction and you want to follow clients’ newsfeeds.  Enter Lefeed.com, a tool with a goal of improving users’ news feed experience.” LeFeed’s +/- system allows a user to teach the tool about the types of updates you’d like to receive in your feed to show which types of information (updates, images, links) a user prefers and from which users.

This could be especially advantageous to a brand.  Say, for instance, you have a goal of featuring more images on your feed.  You can use this tool to find posts with images from users you like and trust to share with your users. Just another example of a free tool that can help to streamline information consumption and sharing for individuals and brands.

 

Let us know what you think about this week’s #451Labs post – tweet to us @451Heat.

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Who “Owns” Your Followers & Instagram’s Facebook Integration

 

Top Story: Instagram Gets Deeper Facebook Integration

From the start, we haven’t had very many complaints about photo-sharing and social network app Instagram. Not only have we had the ability to share our photos with our Instagram network, but we’ve also been able to send our self-filtered photos to various social networks, like Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, and more. But this week, Instagram’s Facebook integration got a little deeper, making photo viewing and interacting much easier through the Facebook platform. Previously, when you sent an Instagram photo to Facebook, it would show up as a small thumbnail hosted on Instagram’s servers. If one of your friends clicked on the thumbnail, they would be taken to the external Instagram website to view the photo. Now, when you send an Instagram photo to Facebook, it shows up full-size and high resolution. If a friend clicks on the photo, it enlarges within the Facebook page, just like any other photo on Facebook does.

Going a step further, Instagram photos can now easily be shared, tagged, and commented on, just like any other Facebook photo. This means Facebook users will likely be seeing Instagram photos in their newsfeeds much more than in the past. Which also leads us to believe that more and more users will be signing up for Instagram in the near future.

We’re thrilled by this development as it means we can now use Instagram as our main photo-sharing application, without worrying about sending photos to Facebook that our friends wouldn’t be able to interact with or be tagged in. In case you didn’t hear, Instagram was just named the largest mobile social network– and this is only going to help it grow even larger!

 

Under the Radar: Who Owns Your Company’s Twitter Followers

We came across an interesting story this week about Twitter followers and “ownership.”  The story goes that Noah Kravitz, an employee at mobile app and device review site PhoneDog, began cultivating a Twitter following for the company in 2006.  Then, when he left the company in 2010, he changed the handle name and “took” the company’s 17,000 followers with him.  In July of the following year, PhoneDog sued Kravitz for $340,000  – $2.50/month/follower for 18 months.

There are a lot of arguments to consider in this ground-breaking case.  How do you calculate the value of a follower on Twitter ie how did PhoneDog decide $2.50/month was the value for them?  Who was the real value-add for the followers – PhoneDog or Kravitz? Also, the fundamental idea of having a fool-proof (is there such a thing?) social media policy in place at your company comes in to play – if it is clearly stated from the get-go that corporate Twitter handle followers “belong” to the company and not the individual user behind the handle, can a company prevent follower “theft?”

It will be interesting to see how this plays out –  a hearing in the case is scheduled for January 26 in San Francisco.

 

Around the Hub: MBTA, MassDOT Blow Opportunity for Good Press (Shocker)

A Tufts Graduate student has created a unique promotion to get the city of Boston involved with the design of the new train station at Gilman Square in Somerville that crowdsources to get ideas to improve the station design. The student has created an impressive kit to get you started as well, including creating a virtual tour of what the station is purposed to look like – to give everyone a chance to visualize and imagine more improvements.

As you would expect, the MBTA, MassDOT and any other government run organization has nothing to do with this. It would have made sense for these organizations to do so, especially with the large amount of bad press and social media chatter is always surrounding them. Simply approving of the contest and donating a 3 month pass (or something more exciting, like a years worth) would have got them a serious amount of positive press.

They are currently perceived as organizations that do not listen to customer feedback, have a record mechanical failures, and have trains in very poor shape. They hay be underfunded, but they also don’t do themselves any favors with their overall forward facing image.

By not embracing this creative use of the existing talent in Boston – the MBTA in particular – has demonstrated that even when presented with a no-effort-needed opportunity, they will not pursue it even when it would have been a large boost to reputation. If there was a good reason they decided not to affiliate themselves I would be interested to hear it.

 

Event of the Week: 2012 International CES (CES)

Today marks the beginning of the world’s largest consumer technology trade show, CES, held over four days in Las Vegas. The list of brands in attendance is a veritable who’s who when it comes to consumer brands: Microsoft, Ford, Verizon, AT&T, Unilever, Intel, Ericsson – and the list goes on.  For those who can’t be there, Spike TV is covering the trade show on television and online.

Some cool things happening at this year’s event:

  • Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer’s Keynote Address (Monday, 6:30 PM PST): Microsoft has used the CES keynote stage in previous years to unveil innovative new products, including the original Xbox and Avatar Kinect.
  • PMDA Awards (Monday, 7:30PM PST): While the The PhotoImaging Manufacturers and Distributors Association Awards may be a mouthful, there is an impressive line-up of honorees – the CEOs of Sony and Shutterfly, a Pullitzer Prize Winner, and a Nobel Prize Winner will all be recognized.
  • Last Gadget Standing (Thursday, 10:30 AM PST): Last Gadget Standing challenges contenders to give the product demo of their lives. At stake: bragging rights as the product “most likely to change the face of technology.” See all the winners strut their stuff in this inventive, fast-paced competition. Guest emcees Gary Dell’Abate and Jon Hein from the Howard Stern Show will host the event.
  • Mobile Apps Showdown (Thursday, 12:30 PM PST): Apps producers will have two minutes to demo their app, and an applause-o-meter will measure audience enthusiasm to determine the winners. Guest emcees Gary Dell’Abate and Jon Hein from the Howard Stern Show will host the event.

We’re excited to hear about the new, innovative ideas that surface from this year’s event.  How can you experience CES from your cubicle?  You can follow their handle, @intlces, or use the hashtag #CES

 

What are the top Social Media/PR stories on your radar this week?  Let us know in the comments section below or via Twitter at @451heat.