By Rieva Lesonsky
Social networking breeds innovation (or is it the other way around?). Either way, sometimes changes happen so fast, it’s hard to keep up—especially if you’ve got your nose in your business’s books figuring out how to spend and save your working capital. Here are some updates to the social media world you’ll want to know about for small business success.
1. In the “spotted around town” category, Twitter has quietly tested a new design on a few of its users recently. The redesign looks more like Facebook and Google+, with a large header photo and under that photo a count for tweets, photos/videos (a new category), who you are following, followers, favorites and lists. Also, there’s an option for the stream to show “Tweets” and “Tweets and replies” for every user. It’s not clear if Twitter will actually roll out the redesign for everyone, but the company is clearly seeking to create a more visual platform.
2. In the effort to narrow and target users’ interests, Pinterest is previewing a new tool called, well, Interests. Instead of pinboards with broad categories like travel or food, users will be able to search for more specific pins like New York City or soups. What does that mean for your small business? Pinterest advises you make sure your images are even more visually striking and include relevant keywords in their descriptions. Also, don’t forget to add Rich Pins, which show extra information right on the Pin. An example is a Place Pin, which shows a location map, address and phone number. There’s also a Product Pin, which adds real-time pricing, availability and where to buy info. Pinners also get notifications when Product Pins they’ve added drop in price.
3. Your business may have nothing to do with television, but as part of your market research you should know what your customers are watching on television and what they’re saying about it. Why? Keeping your eyes on the latest trends is paramount for any business, but especially for small businesses that have the flexibility to react to trends more rapidly than large businesses. Facebook recently partnered with SecondSync, a social TV analytics specialist, to help businesses understand how people are using Facebook to talk about topics such as TV programs. Facebook promises the analysis of television discussion will be done without violating user privacy, and the data collected could be worthwhile for marketers.
Rieva Lesonsky is CEO of GrowBiz Media, a media and custom content company focusing on small business and entrepreneurship. Email Rieva at firstname.lastname@example.org, follow her on Google+ and Twitter.com/Rieva and visit her website, SmallBizDaily.com, to get the scoop on business trends and sign up for Rieva’s free TrendCast reports.