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30 April 2010Craig Beattie
The world of social networks and social media move swiftly and this last two weeks have been no exception with Twitter's conference announcing promoted tweets and Facebook's F8 conference announcing all manner of changes to their web site. Here are a few things to watch out for that may already be affecting you. First one from a different social network - http://www.linkedin.com/ LinkedIn quietly announced through their blog that you can now 'follow' companies. This allows LinkedIn to send details about changes at the company to all of the companies followers. Since so many people regularly update their professional profile on LinkedIn details about who's moved where is readily available, but also updates to the company profile can be automatically shared. The main use case will likely be prospective employees tracking target companies but there is a marketing channel here - one that targets the slightly older, better paid demographic who use LinkedIn. Do you suddenly have a following you're not aware of and aren't leveraging? The next two come from http://facebook.com/ - there were a lot of announcements that we'll dig into in future posts but for now there are two that may be directly impacting your brand. Facebook pages have been around for some time as a way for a company to have a presence on Facebook. What is less well known is that recent changes to Facebook mean that your company may have a page dedicated to it already! If any of your employees have told Facebook that they work for your company then Facebook will now have a page for your organisation. The page may or may not have some content on it already - likely sourced from Wikipedia. When visiting the page facebookers are shown what people in their network are saying about that company, and then what global or public updates have been made to Facebook regarding the company - a sort of tailored search if you will. Do you have a Facebook presence you weren't aware of? Finally, at the F8 conference Facebook announced that it was spreading it's wings and putting more Facebook functionality on other web sites. Facebook makes use of a concept called 'like'. If you see some content on Facebook you can press the 'like' button, indicating your preference and informing your network of friends that you 'like' said item. Now, this 'like' button will be available on other websites outside of Facebook and is already growing in popularity - you'll notice sports stars web pages and news articles are now sporting 'like' buttons. This means that you don't need a page on Facebook to make use of Facebook's sharing and viral functions - you just need a 'like' button. There is much discussion at present on what would happen if Facebook suffered an outage, how much power this will give Facebook and how much data they are collecting but not sharing back. Each company will need to take it's own view on the 'like' button - do you have some content or products online that you would like customers to 'like'? If you're new to social newtworks or want to know more, have a look at our report - Leveraging Social Networks: An In-Depth View for Insurers.