Archive for January, 2013

Social Media Marketing: 2012 In Review Pt. 2

Let’s take a look a handful of other trends that mattered in 2012 and how they will impact Dallas Internet marketing in the coming year.

Quality Content

That content is still (and always will be) king was not new to 2012, but we did see that truth embodied in a couple new ways. For example, in June, we saw Google purchase Zagat, a respected restaurant reviewer. Two months later, Google purchased Frommers, the venerable travel review publishers. Both deals were made to add trusted, well-written content to the user-generated reviews available across Google’s various platforms. Why? Because as helpful and abundant as user-generated reviews can be, people still prefer high-quality content written by pros. For companies, content should still be the primary focus — whether on their website or corporate blog, in their Dallas social media marketing strategy, or any other element of their Internet marketing presence.

The Pinterest Effect

If you haven’t checked out the nifty social media site Pinterest yet, well, for the sake of your wallet and your productivity, at least, you might not want to. Basically, the site is a series of what it calls “online pinboards,” where people post various things the ysee and like on the web — say, a recipe, a photo or a picture of a hip pair of pants — to their boards. Other Pinterest users who see the pin can either “like it” or re-pin it to their own boards, and the cycle continues. It’s simple. It’s addicting. It accelerates the spread of good ideas and attractive products.

Beyond Pinterest itself, its core concept should tell us a lot about the potential of Dallas social media marketing. Indeed, Facebook appears to be looking to incorporate a similar concept, albeit one that is more directly commerce-oriented — a “want button.”  For companies, this would make it easier to connect with wishlist-makers and window-shoppers and more effectively tap into the e-commerce possibilities of social media.

The Smartphone Revolution Continues

One trend that has almost become so obvious that it’s outsize impact can almost get overlooked at times is the continued meteoric, game-changing growth of smartphones. Just think about how bold, and even risky, the iPhone seemed when it was released less than six years ago. Now smartphones are quickly becoming synonymous with “mobile phone.” There are a zillion models available, and the price points keep getting lower and lower. Indeed, even Apple, typically happy to only sell products on the more expensive end of the spectrum, is apparently considering releasing a cheaper version of the iPhone. According to the research firm IDC, the smartphone market grew by an astounding 45.1 percent in 2012. The effect on Internet marketing is pretty clear: companies simply must have a mobile version of their website. Mobile websites also have all the benefits of an app for a fraction of the cost.


The Internet Marketing Benefits of an Instagram Website

instagram websiteLast week on the Masterlink blog, I talked about how Instagram is full of Internet marketing potential, even if it’s limited somewhat by its smartphone-only infrastructure.

Just like that, Instagram launched a website, giving each user their own nifty profile page (that looks a lot like their Facebook page). It’s pretty sharp looking, and it immediately makes the app significantly more useful for companies from an interactive marketing perspective.

For all its streamlined slickness, the app-only nature of Instagram made it frustrating to use in any way beyond its most basic functionality. It was unparalleled for quickly snapping, enhancing and sharing photos with your smartphone. And it was handy for mindlessly wasting time or checking in for a visual glimpse into the lives of my friends, family and handful of public figures I follow. But unless Instagramers elected to share their photos on, say, Twitter or Facebook, It was difficult to see them outside of the app. It was also difficult to save photos (on a phone, at least) or search for peruse older photos quickly.

Naturally, this also undermined its Internet marketing usefulness. Companies could only really connect with users if users went out of their way to follow them…  You couldn’t, say, recommend a brand easily to a friend or family member or message them privately.

Not all such features are or will be incorporated into the Instagram website — after all, it’s not trying to become a full-fledged social network with all the bells and whistles as Facebook. Facebook would not have purchased Instagram in the first place to then build it into a competitor. But new searching and sharing (new social, in other words) elements will be easier to add on the website compared to the app. And, more important, it’ll be easier to piggyback on Facebook’s existing social infrastructure.

Already, the site has several new features. According to the Instagram blog:

Your web profile features a selection of your recently shared photographs just above your profile photo and bio, giving others a snapshot of the photos you share on Instagram. In addition, you can follow users, comment & like photos and edit your profile easily and directly from the web. It’s a beautiful new way to share your Instagram photos!

Instagram web profile page for Free People

Instagram web profile page for Free People

Moreover, the larger photos alone would be highly valuable from an Internet marketing perspective. As we mentioned last week:

Pictures are indeed worth a thousand words. This is especially when trying to describe chaotic situations such as a hurricane, but it’s equally true when it comes to marketing. You could, say, write a few fancy lines about how delicious your restaurant’s new enchiladas are — or you could post a tantalizing photo that does the job a hundred times more effectively. Instagram makes it easy to take good photos and, perhaps more important, it makes it easy for your customers to do the same — and then share them with everyone they know.

There is, of course, some concern that the app will lose a little bit of its “cool” factor, but that’s inevitable anytime a hot new start-up goes mainstream. In truth, this kind of move has seemed inevitable ever since Instagram was purchased by Facebook for a hefty $1 billion last spring.  And for most companies, niche products have very little Internet marketing value. Plus, as we mentioned last week, Instagram is growing with extraordinary speed, and the website will make it accessible to non-smartphone users as well.

So consider getting on board. Our Dallas social media marketing experts can show you how.

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