Photo credit: Terry Wha
The whole reason I started these Weekly Recaps is because I was having many conversations with people who were so overwhelmed with how fast this whole ‘social media’ thing was moving. Keeping up is hard in our busy lives.
As I collected the items I wanted to highlight this week I noticed we aren’t the only ones who are trying to keep up – the tools and businesses we feature each week are still working all of this out too. There were some bad decisions, some failed attempts and just some things that were not working and they had to be cut loose. So when you feel overwhelmed, remember we are all (including the most savvy) still trying to figure out all these tools, what they can do and how we should use them.
So here are the items I am highlighting in this week’s Weekly Recap
Mobile phones used more for internet than games – PewInternet released some facts about mobile phone usage. With more options for smartphones, use of non-voice data applications on cell phones has increased. Taking pictures tops the charts as the activity most users said they are likely to do with their phones. A third of the respondents said they use their smartphones to access the internet, that is a lot! We as businesses need to make sure when people are looking for information about us on their mobile phones that they can find us and read our content. Mobile phone internet access is only going to increase, so we make sure our websites, shopping carts and content are prepared. If you want to know more you can read 3 Quick Things to Make Sure Your Website is Ready for Mobile Browsers or watch What Your Business Needs to Know About Mobile Marketing.
How Fast Company got it wrong – This week Fast Company launched The Influence Project, an alleged method to find the most influential people on the internet and the winner would be featured in the November print issue of the magazine. Instead, it turned into a weird pyramid scheme and link bait. To participate in the project you had to create a profile and upload your picture, then Fast Company gave you a unique URL to use however you wanted. As people clicked on your unique URL you got more points and your image got larger on the collage of other internet ‘influencers’.
Users who clicked on the links felt duped and those who registered felt they were set up in some sort of weak scam from Fast Company. The backlash from the experiment definitely overshadowed any participation. Some were irate while others explained why they were irked more eloquently. The biggest argument against the project is that this link baiting was more of an ego boost to those that were fine duping their online networks versus providing any actual value. The social media landscape is a slippery one. Many businesses are trying to figure out how to make it work for their business, but it appears Fast Company got this promo wrong.
Twitter comes up with another plan to try to make some money – Twitter has recently rolled out a few ways the popular microblog, with little to no revenue stream, can make a little extra cash. This week they announced @earlybird, a Twitter handle that you can follow to get the first alerts on specials from popular brands; businesses pay to have their specials added to the @earlybird tweets.
Foursquare is adding more features and talking about hardware for brick and mortar stores – Foursquare, the popular location based app, is refining their game as they recognize what users want and need from the service. In a blog post from them this week, Foursquare mentions allowing businesses to enter employees so they can still participate in the game but won’t qualify for mayorships or loyalty rewards, rotating ‘Specials Nearby’ alerts so you don’t see the same one all the time and expanding the reach of specials. They also mentioned making it easier on merchants to redeem offers. Sounds like Foursquare is going to pay a close attention to scanning devices in the future to see how they can incorporate them with their rewards programs. If you want to know more about Foursquare, TechCrunch had a nice piece about the company including some really interesting data.
Facebook got it wrong and is pulling the plug on the online gifts – The Facebook Gift Shop is closing August 1st. Facebook opened the gift shop hoping to be a major player in the online gifts industry but the offer missed the mark. Facebook gifts were little images that you could buy (for usually $1) to virtually give to a friend and they could keep it on their profile. I don’t think many will miss this feature but I always like when a company recognizes something isn’t working and isn’t afraid to let it go. Now they can focus on other products.