Almost a year after introducing Graph Search, Facebook announced it’ll finally start rolling the feature out to all members who have selected UK English as their language over the coming weeks.
First launched in a limited preview for U.S. members in January, Graph Search allows you and your customers to use simple phrases to search for people, places, and much more. This encourages individuals to be more specific with their searches, for example, “dentists my friends like” or “music liked by runners.”
Business owners have been encouraged to prepare for Graph Search by making sure that your name, category, vanity URL, and About section details are all accurate and up to date. Graph Search results also recently began including status updates, comments, and posts, meaning post quality and frequency should be considered as well.
According to Facebook, the UK rollout will be gradual, allowing the company to collect feedback and make necessary changes. Members with the required language settings might not see Graph Search immediately, whereas the U.S. English rollout was completed this past August.
Currently, one of the best uses brands can make of Graph Search is getting a better understanding of your audience by conducting queries about the details of a Page’s fans. This helps you keep tabs on the demographics of the people who Like your brand, which is necessary when deciding what type of content to deliver.
Today, Google launches a new product called ‘Helpouts‘, a new website that allows users to get in touch with experts and pay them for services over video chat. Google sees it being used for things like cooking tips, home repair, guitar lessons, and even healthcare.
Announced last August, the service is now live with a small set of partners, including Weight Watchers, Sephora, and One Medical. That list is limited by design — for now, Google is vetting anybody that wants to offer Helpout services with a full background check and keeping the categories of services offered relatively short.
The video chat services will be offered in a wide range of prices — from free with volunteers up to $20 per hour or more. Users will be able to rate the experts they work with and said experts will have a few tools to block users (should it come to that). Google gets a 20% cut and is offering a money-back guarantee if things don’t work out.
This 20% cut might help explain why this service, which is largely based on the cross-platform Hangouts tool, is only available on the web and on Android — Google has not yet decided whether or how to deal with Apple’s own App Store policies and margins. The website for Hangouts looks very much like a one-off custom version of Google+, and even shares some of the same Hangouts on Air features that have been baked into that product. Each expert has a landing page where users can schedule a future Helpout or start one immediately. Users are identified with their public Google+ profiles — so each party knows who is calling, but nothing is posted publicly to Google+. If both parties agree, a Helpout chat can be saved for later review.
As huge fans of Google+ and Google products we’ve been keen to see Helpouts and believe it’ll be a great service for those looking for a personal service when it comes to specific, possibly quick-fix, issues. We applied to be a provider on this service when it was first announced and have been invited to sign up, so watch this space!
[Source: CNN; Tech Crunch; The Verge; Google Helpouts]
Looking to sell the case for social media to your boss? The Digital Insights infographic below covers all the latest social Media facts, figures, numbers and statistics of 2013 which can help you sell the case for social media.
Some of the most fascinating facts are mentioned here-
74% of marketers believe Facebook is important for their lead generation strategy.
28% of Retweets on Twitter are due to inclusion of “please RT!”.
40% of marketers use Google+, 70% desire to learn more and 67% plan to increase Google+ activities.
42% update their profile information regularly on LinkedIn.
Every second 8000 users like some or other photo on Instagram.
Twitter’s fastest growing demographic is 55-64 year olds.
80% of total Pinterest’s pins are re-pins.
4.2 billion people use mobile device to access social media sites.
Social media generates almost double the marketing leads of trade show, telemarketing, daily mail, or PPC.
This week Google announced a number of updates and new features for its Google+ platform. We bring you a summary of what you need to know…
Custom URLs are now rolling out to almost everyone. If you don’t see the option yet on your Google+ profile or Google+ Page, don’t worry: Google says it is expanding availability throughout the week.
For those who don’t know what custom URLs (also called vanity URLs) are, here’s quick example. Currently, your Google+ will be a long, arduous series of numbers, e.g. plus.google.com/u/0/106743928610778916/. When offered a custom URL, you can change it to something that’s easier to share (and remember). Mine, for example, is now google.com/+DanielHoney and the Honey Digital page is google.com/+Honey-Digital.
Google first started testing custom URLs back in the middle of August 2012. About a week later, the company started notifying individuals and brands with verified accounts, but then it largely stopped expanding the feature. Now that’s finally changing.
If your profile meets the following criteria, Google+ will let you claim a custom URL:
Has a profile photo, and
Has at least 10 followers, and
Has an account that’s at least 30 days old.
At the same time, brands and businesses that have a linked website or a verified local business can claim a custom URL for their Google+ page as well. If you fall into either of these categories, you’ll want to read more about link and verification over at the Google+ Help Center.
Once you meet the eligibility criteria and Google prepares your custom URL, you can just visit your Google+ profile or Google+ page to begin the claiming process. Until then, you’ll just have to wait patiently, probably playing with all the other Google+ features that rolled out today.
Photo & Video
Photo highlighting has been improved. If you’re not familiar, this offering will review all your photos and use its algorithm to remove those images that are blurry, duplicates, have bad exposures, look for objects people like, and more.
With the app, by default, Google+ searches your libraries for images. However, now it’s going to parse through photos from within your Circles (as long as you have permission). So if you query “sunset”, it will give you the right set of photos.
Photo enhancements are also in the works too, starting with auto-enhance. It has been adjusted to give you a low/high ability and can turn albums on or off. By turning auto-enhance on low or high, it will give you varying intensities, including saturation, vignette, contrast, etc.
With Auto-Awesome, Google says that it helps you better create appealing stories. The company is introducing two new modes, namely Auto-Awesome Action which shows you the motion of an object in a photo, like a skateboarder going around a curve or a basketball going into a hoop.
Auto-Awesome Eraser is another new feature that lets photographers removeobstructions from their photo.
The idea is to help you be better storytellers and to share your memories the way you want, not dictated by others.
Google’s media-enhancing ‘Auto Awesome‘ tool on Google+ now supports video files. With no input whatsoever, the feature will take your recorded clips and create new videos with automated transitions, music and effects.
Called ‘Auto Awesome Movies’, this new piece of technological wizardry will instantly stabilize your shots, choose the best or most important parts of your footage and create an all-new highlight reel that’s been cut in-time with some free music from Google.
As you swipe across the screen on a touchscreen device, Google+ will create different cuts based on different moods, musical genres and editing styles. It’s also possible to jump into a timeline mode and see exactly which changes Google has made – from here, you can make additional edits and effectively fix any editing issues that may have slipped through by mistake.
Check out the promo video below to get a feel for how it all works:
Google has unveiled an upgrade to the way it interprets users’ search requests. The new algorithm, codenamed Hummingbird, is the first major upgrade for three years. If you haven’t noticed any recent changes when searching, that’s because Hummingbird has already been in use for about a month, and affects about 90% of Google searches.
At a presentation last Thursday, the search giant was short on specifics but said Hummingbird is especially useful for longer and more complex queries.
Google stressed that a new algorithm is important as users expect more natural and conversational interactions with a search engine – for example, using their voice to speak requests into mobile phones, smart watches and other wearable technology.
Hummingbird is focused more on ranking information based on a more intelligent understanding of search requests, unlike its predecessor, Caffeine, which was targeted at better indexing of websites.
It is more capable of understanding concepts and the relationships between them rather than simply words, which leads to more fluid interactions. In that sense, it is an extension of Google’s “Knowledge Graph” concept introduced last year aimed at making interactions more human.
In one example, shown at the presentation, a Google executive showed off a voice search through her mobile phone, asking for pictures of the Eiffel Tower. After the pictures appeared, she then asked how tall it was. After Google correctly spoke back the correct answer, she then asked “show me pictures of the construction” – at which point a list of images appeared.
This change sees a more fluid approach to search results – a more conversational tone apposed to keywords. It’s still early days to see how this will affect search but initial results show that content filled sites are improving in rankings whereas those who have relied on spammy link building are suffering. We at Honey Digital will continue to monitor the impact of Hummingbird on search and advised our clients appropriately.
Twitter is rolling out a new feature that will automatically send mobile suggestions to members on who to follow. The suggestions, which will be sent through push notifications, are based on the activity of the people they follow.
The feature is based on an experimental account, @MagicRecs, which sends instant, personalised recommendations for members and content through Direct Messages. Since the account launched six months ago, Twitter has tweaked the algorithm — based on engagement and feedback — to send only the most relevant updates.
Now Twitter for iPhone and Twitter for Android will receive recommendations through push notifications if a number of accounts in someone’s network begin to follow someone new, or retweet or favorite the same tweet. This could be a big opportunity for brands to get in front of a lot of people.
Take Oreo’s viral tweet during the last Super Bowl as an example. The company scored big with a well-timed tweet about the blackout, resulting in 7,700 new followers and more than 14,000 retweets. With that type of immediate engagement, Oreo’s tweet would be a likely candidate for a push notification from Twitter.
By leveraging this data, Twitter is able to keep members engaged and interacting with the service, which is a big win for advertisers. If push notification suggestions can keep consumers on the network longer or more frequently, the higher the chance that they’ll see one of your tweets.
The notification will roll out to mobile apps soon. If past updates are any indication, it’s likely that this feature will be on by default; however, it can be switched on and off in Notification Settings.
Pinterest has announced new look article pins for businesses that help promote article content to its platform users. Pinterest claims that more than five million articles are pinned each day so this change will be of benefit to both content producers and consumers.
Going forward, pins from media sites will have the headline, author and story description right on the pin making it easier for Pinners to find and save stories that matter to them. There’s also a bigger link to the source, so Pinners can easily make their way back to your site to keep reading.
In its announcement, Pinterest states that ‘article pins can help writers, media and other businesses reach new audiences, get more referral traffic and extend the lifespan of their content. On Pinterest, stories remain clickworthy and discoverable long after they’re published. Buzzfeed, for example, says Pinterest is a top referrer of traffic to their site, thanks to the Pin It button’.
So how does this work? Well, for example, a Pinner who is interested in getting healthier. They might save articles from a health site to a Healthy Living board and keep adding to it as they find health articles other people have pinned. It won’t matter if a story is two weeks old or two years old as it will be added to your board.
Article pins is part of Pinterest’s rich pins, their broader effort to make Pins more useful.
Last night Channel 4 aired its eagerly awaited (mostly by us industry folk) episode on the scamming that goes on within social media marketing. The tabloid like documentary highlighted how brands can unnaturally grow their online engagement figures whilst also exposing some of the darkside practices that rogue agencies and celebrities undertake to promote products.
Celeb endorsements and paid for brand recognition are nothing new and most consumers are savvy to the fact. Not sure what the shock tactic of exposing this part was. However, the element that exposed the unscrupulous, or as we call it ‘The Darkside’, tactics of so called ‘gurus’ and ‘Like Farms’ was of interest.
Such tactics are well reported in the digital marketing industry and dismissed as rubbish and worthless by any agency or consultancy worth their weight (ahem, like is, ahem). In fact, we’ve blogged about this issue before on a post called ‘Organic Social Media‘ which details these scrupulous tactics and why they’re pointless and of no value.
The deep routed point of social media is that your message is shared via your fans. So how is your message going to be shared if all of your 15,000 fans is one man in a small room in Delhi? What is the worth of that? Nothing.
Programme’s like this are good in that they will hopefully make brands realise that it’s not all about followers of Like numbers. The basic number to measure is a brands engagement and message reach, followed by website traffic and other useful metrics that will tell you a lot more than 15,000 fake followers.
So by all means make sure you have a good following, but get your messaging and engagement right and the numbers will grow.
Email us now at email@example.com to talk to us about how we can help your company or brand with social media.
GlobalWebIndex’s recent ‘Stream Social Global Report: Q1 2013′ report delivers some excellent insight into the activities of social media users aged 16-64 across 31 different countries around the world. Part of the report details the extent that users follow a group or Like a page created by a brand.
Some of the key results from the report are as follows:
Facebook saw a 27.5% increase in active users between Q2 2012 and Q1 2013 across PCs, smartphones and tablets.
Brand interactions on Facebook increased by 13% on mobile and 2% on PCs.
Twitter grew its active user base by 37%, and brand engagement on the micro-blogging platform increased 16.5% on mobile.
Brand interaction on Google+ increased 45.5% on PCs, and activity posts on PCs increased by 83%.
Twitter and Google+ both possessed Q1 active engagement rates around 60%.
The GlobalWebIndex report summaries that:
Facebook is now a primary platform for marketers, and Twitter has long used micro-blogging to connect with followers. With Google+ now gaining kudos for its “hangouts,” the platform is quickly building a user base and has opened unique opportunities for brand engagement thanks to its integration with other Google services, especially search.
After being stuck in beta for over six months, Facebook finally made ‘Graph Search’ available to users with the ‘US English’ language setting. Graph Search accesses the masses of data produced by users, utilising everything from places you’ve visited to Likes and photos.
The release comes after “tens of millions of people have helped improve the product just by using it and giving feedback.” Graph Search works by answering queries using the information people have voluntarily shared via their Facebook account. Everything from the restaurants you’ve liked, cities you’ve visited, and even your current relationship status can be used to answer searches.
Facebook is adamant that Graph Search is not a rival to Google. Zuckerberg himself has been keen to differentiate the two, showing they can live alongside each: “Web search is designed to take any open-ended query and give you links that might have answers. Graph Search is designed to take a precise query and give you an answer, rather than links that might provide an answer.”
The ideal is that users will utilise Graph Search for appropriate, and more importantly brand-responsible, ways. For example, when planning a holiday you might want to see what ‘Restaurants in San Francisco Liked by my friends’ there are.
But due to the openness of the algorithm used ion Graph Search, it’s open to abuse. Following the beta release of Graph Search in January this year, the Tumblr account ‘Actual Facebook Graph Searches’ did a brilliant job of exposing some of the service’s more strange and creepy possibilities. Want to find ‘Married people who like Prostitutes’? Not a problem. Looking for ‘Single women who live nearby and are interested in men and like Getting Drunk’? No worries – here’s a list of their names and pictures.
Facebook is aware of the implications of its new feature and is doing its best to tackle these privacy issues head on.
But the problem is Facebook itself and the fact its privacy settings are a minefield and can generally leave the user exposed.
Watch the following video from Facebook to learn more about Graph Search and your privacy (or lack of).
You can read more about Graph Search and privacy on Facebook: