Social Media Rundown: Facebook Relaunches Search Ads; Government User Data Requests; Instagram ‘Creator Accounts’; Google+ to Officially Die

A relatively quite week in the world of social media. But two news items stick out. The first is the potential launch of Instagram ‘creator accounts’ for supporting social media influencers on the platform. The news isn’t Earth-shattering, but it goes to show just how important influencer marketing has become — it’s now fully part of Instagram’s business model.

The second big story is the end of Google+ after the search giant disclosed its second major bug in just three months. Again, not huge news as most anyone who’s used Google+ can attest that the social networking site was not only a social media ghost town, but also was riddled with spam, NSFW content, and was just generally difficult to use and understand. The bigger story is the data leak; if you still have a Google+ account, it’d be wise to shut it down immediately.

Be sure to check out the lean section for some simple live video tips and an interesting experiment with Twitter threads.

Social Media News:

  • Facebook Relaunches Search Ads to Offset Slowing Revenue (TechCrunch). Facebook is testing ads in its search results and Marketplace, directly competing with Google’s AdWords. The ads will be “repurposed News Feed ads featuring a headline, image, copy text and a link in the static image or carousel format that can point users to external websites.”
  • Twitter Says Governments Are Ramping up Their Demands for User Data (TechCrunch). According to Twitter, the company received 6,904 government requests for information on 16,882 accounts. Twitter turned over at least some data in 56 percent of cases. Most demands came from Russia and Turkey.
  • Instagram Will Offer Special Features to Influencers with New ‘Creator Accounts’ (Mashable). The app is testing “creator accounts,” which would add new analytics and messaging features geared toward influencers and other power users of the photo-sharing app.
  • Google to Close Google+ Social Network After Disclosing Second Bug in 3 Months (The Washington Times). After years of failure, Google is finally pulling the plug on its social networking site. A recent bug leaked the private information of 52.5 million Google+ users to developers, including their names, birth dates and email addresses, among other data. Time to make sure your Google+ account is closed; if you ever had one in the first place.

Learn:

  • 13 Live Video Marketing Strategies, Hacks and Tips (The Social Shake-Up). If you’ve ever considered doing a Facebook Live or other live stream event, this post is for you. From strategy and how to keep your broadcasts engaging to logistics and what gear you need, this post has it all.
  • Can Twitter Threads Increase Reach, Engagement, and Referral Traffic? An Experiment (Buffer). This is an interesting experiment that showed Twitter threads (a series of connected Tweets sent from one account) do in fact increase reach and engagement, but do not improve referral traffic. My takeaway is that it is worth trying if you just want to create awareness or drum up enthusiasm for a particular cause, event, or hashtag. For example, a Twitter thread could be used to remind your followers about the start of an online event by sharing the name and time of the event followed by what participants can expect and maybe a quote or two from the first couple speakers.

Chart of the Week:

Instagram’s Rise to 1 Billion Monthly Active Users (QuickSprout). I think this chart speaks for itself. Click the image for “10 Marketing Trends That Will Dominate 2019.”

Instagram reached 1 billion monthly active users in June of 2018.
Instagram has grown steadily since 2010 and shows no sign of slowing down.

Did I miss some major social media news this week? Be sure to let me know in the comments. 

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Social Media Rundown: Midterm Social Media Trap; Ability to Delete Sent Facebook Messages; Top Video Trends

The 2018 midterm elections have come and gone without any evidence of significant foreign interference. Attempts to undermine the U.S. election process was limited to attempts at spreading disinformation and fear by an infamous Russian troll farm. It seems the efforts from Facebook, Twitter, and the like were mostly successful in their attempts to tighten up security on their platforms. However, Facebook’s ad screeners seem to have gone a bit too far in what ads were rejected, and a path to government regulation of social media platforms seems somewhat imminent.

Midterms aside, be sure to read on for a new Facebook Messenger feature that allows users to delete sent messages up to 10 minutes after they’ve been sent. This week’s learn section includes a Hootsuite blog post with everything you need to know about LinkedIn videos. Plus, four shifts at Facebook and how to work the changes into your social media marketing strategy.

Social Media News:

  • You’ll Soon Be Able to Delete a Facebook Message up to 10 Minutes After It’s Already Been Sent (Business Insider). The ability to unsend a private message is in addition to the app’s “secret conversations” feature, where users can have their messages expire after a set amount of time.
  • We Tested Facebook’s Ad Screeners and Some Were Too Strict (The Atlantic). Facebook has some kinks to iron out in its pledge to make advertising more transparent and to protect American elections from unlawful influence. “Facebook prohibited 5 percent of our ads for Veterans Day gatherings. Facebook also prohibited 18 percent of national park ads linking to government websites.”
  • Trump Says He’s Open to Working with Democrats in Regulating Social Media Companies like Facebook and Twitter (CNBC). Some options to regulate social media companies include enacting privacy regulations, similar to those being imposed in Europe. Trump warned it would be a balancing act between protecting free speech and finding adequate legal boundaries.
  • A Russian Troll Farm Set an Elaborate Social Media Trap for the Midterms — and No One Bit (NBC News). A website claiming to be run by an infamous troll farm tried to tip journalists and spread fear of election meddling, but failed to generate any serious attention. While social media companies have gotten more serious about preventing the spread of disinformation, hate speech, propaganda, and foreign election interference, some say the issue will never be fixed.

Learn:

  • Everything You Need to Know About LinkedIn Video in 2019 (Hootsuite Blog). LinkedIn has been putting more emphasis on video. This in-depth article tells you everything you need to know, from the video specifications to how to set up video ads. Plus, a nice list of video content ideas.
  • How 4 Shifts at Facebook Will Affect Communicators (PR News). The skinny: ‘Facebook Zero’ is here, Stories gain popularity, video ads could be a better buy than News Feed, and Messenger has become the private news feed for users. Read on to see how to take advantage of these trends.

Chart of the Week:

Top 10 Video Trends [Infographic] (MarketingProfs). Also from the infographic: Video is becoming more search-friendly; thanks to AI and closed captions.

Live streaming is the top video trend for 2018.
The top video trend for 2018 is live streaming.

Social Media Rundown: Pivot to Video? Not So Fast; Facebook Hack; Russian Trolls Influence Brexit

Facebook thumbs up.
Even as Facebook executives were insisting that video consumption was skyrocketing, it was becoming clear that some of the metrics the company had used to calculate time spent on videos were wrong.

Not a lot happening in the world of social media this week; just the usual: shady Facebook news, data breaches, and more revelations on Russia’s influence on the Brexit referendum. For the learning section, I’ve stumbled upon two articles about using video to engage with your online audiences — check it out!

Social Media News:

  • Did Facebook’s Faulty Data Push News Publishers to Make Terrible Decisions on Video? (NiemanLab). Publishers’ “pivot to video” was driven largely by a belief that if Facebook was seeing users, in massive numbers, shift to video from text, the trend must be real. Perhaps we’re not actually in the midst of a video revolution.
  • Facebook’s Latest Hack Was by Spammers Who Just Wanted Money (Mashable). Facebook’s latest hack had the information of 29 million users scraped, but apparently by scammers wanting financial gain, rather than for political or ideological purposes.
  • Russian Trolls Sent Thousands of Pro-Leave Messages on Day of Brexit Referendum, Twitter Data Reveals (The Telegraph). The day of the Brexit vote, Russia mobilized an army of trolls, which at one stage included 3,800 accounts. The fake accounts Tweeted out 1,102 posts with the hashtag #ReasonsToLeaveEU. Now, how will Twitter prevent this from happening again?

Learn:

  • Twitter Has Renewed Its Live Video Push & Here’s What You Need to Know (TopRank Marketing). Once the dominate player in live video, Twitter fell to the likes of Facebook, YouTube, and even LinkedIn. This blog post has a few things to consider before jumping into live Twitter video.
  • 4 Ways to Use LinkedIn Video for Your Business (Social Media Examiner). Speaking of video, this article has some solid ideas on how you can use native LinkedIn video to engage with your audience.