Headlines & Stuff September 25, 2012

Written by: Digitally Approved
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Here are some cool things we read about this past week:

In the News

Facebook Charges Business To Run Offers
The test period for Facebook’s Offers product is drawing to a close: Facebook announced this week that all Pages with more than 400 fans can now seed discounts and promotions through the network – except those that operate in Japan, which will be eligible next week. Merchants are now required to pay at least $5 to run Offers. They will remain free for users to claim.

Twitter Profile Changes
Twitter rolled out a series of design updates aimed to add more personality to member pages. Photos have been brought to the forefront and room has been made for Facebook Timeline cover images.  Break down of the new changes: Member profile photos have been moved from the top left to a spot in the center of the page. Users can upload a long horizontal header image that resembles a Facebook cover photo. Existing profile pictures are embedded into the center of the header. Your avatar is no longer tucked into the corner but will be displayed front and center. The photo stream has been moved up and will be accessible on the apps.

Google+ Has 400 Million Members
Google+ has more than 400 million members according to Vic Gundotra, Google’s Senior Vice President of Engineering. Gundotra added that Google+ has almost 100 million monthly active users – if you count the mobile app. Though Facebook is approximately 10 times the size of Google+ in terms of active users, keep in mind that it took Facebook several years to reach 100 million active users. It has taken Google+ 12 months.

YouTube Testing Feature to Quiz You While You Are Watching A Video
YouTube videos may soon be getting a bit more interactive. There’s now a page on the YouTube website describing a feature called “Video Questions Editor Beta,” which is described as a way for “multiple questions to be displayed on top of your video during playback that a viewer can answer.”  The beta page does caution that this is just something YouTube is testing: “There is no long term support for the feature and may be removed at any time without notification.”

Global Social Media

LinkedIn Hits 10 Million Registered Members in the UK
LinkedIn has passed a significant milestone in the UK after the professional social network announced that it has now surpassed 10 million registered users in the country. The UK had 3 million LinkedIn members in 2009 and, having hit the landmark figure, it is now the third largest market, behind the U.S and India. London is the most popular location from LinkedIn users, followed by Birmingham, Reading and Edinburgh. The National Health Service is the top represented company – ahead of RBS, BT, HSBC and IBM, while ‘IT and Service’ is the most represented industry. LinkedIn has 175 million members across more than 200 countries. 62% of LinkedIn members are located outside of the U.S. Earlier this year its user base in India hit 15 million.

Chinese Social Network Copies Facebook Timeline
Renren has been a constant shadow of Facebook, which is blocked in China. Now the site has launched something similar to timeline. Renren is even copying the fancy scrolling introduction that accompanied the site’s move to timeline in other parts of the world. Renren has sampled Facebook’s news feed, mobile and profile looks. The website introducing the changes shows things such as the cover photo, profile photo and life events – all Facebook creations.

Noteworthy Campaigns

Local Social Networking in Play for Sears Hometown Stores
Every one of the 1,238 Sears Hometown and Outlet Stores franchisees has a Facebook page that was set up by corporate, but must be administered by the local storeowner. That strategy has let these operators customize their pages with local discounts and events as well as provide a portal for corporate to run national promotions across all of the franchisee pages. Once the page is up and running, owners are encouraged to start building their fan base with “low hanging fruit”; friends and family who will happily share the weekly Friday coupon and other specials to begin viral spread. In store flyers, circulars and emails also alert people to new Facebook pages. The first national promotion that the franchisees are offering on Facebook is the “Sears for Life Video Contest” where customers can upload a 25-second video telling a story about their relationship with Sears. The winners receive a $2,500 Sears gift card and a chance to be featured in a TV commercial.  The contest is promoted in multiple ways – storeowners are educated about how to update their timelines and set up a tab for the contest, in-store flyers and handouts are provided, as are press release templates to distribute to local press. The Facebook pages are also selling tools – an e-commerce app likes to Sears.com, which allows the storeowner to greatly expand product offerings beyond his or her store. As an incentive to move business through the app, any order placed through the app triggers a commission code to give owners credit.

Instagram Your Virgin America Experience For 30% Off Flights
Virgin is launching a new promotion highlighting the airline’s passenger “Experience” and will begin to use actual photos snapped onboard any flight. Passengers are being encouraged to take photos onboard Virgin America flights and upload to Instagram – tagging them with #MyVXExperience and sharing to Twitter. Instagram photos will be live-streamed to the NASDAQ board in Times Square. The first 1,000 who participated received a 30% discount code for a Virgin flight.

Obama Camp Launches Social-Media Effort to Motivate Youth Vote
This week, the Obama campaign unveiled “For All,” a campaign initiative designed to engage younger Americans between the ages of 18 and 29. The initiative aims to illustrate the shared values of the President and young Americans across the country. The effort launches on Instagram. Young voters are asked to write a message on their hands, put their hand over their hearts and take a photo, which they will then tweet with the hashtag #forall. There is also a dedicated website for this demographic.