Why do social media influencers prefer their own blogs to social network pages?

A surprising but not completely unexpected finding cropped up in a recent survey of social media influencers conducted by TapInfluence. These influencers — who are typically active on a range of private social networks — actually prefer their own blogs to the pages provided by the social networks.

TapInfluence’s survey findings actually aren’t so surprising when you consider that social network pages, while attractive and convenient, aren’t really under the control of the influencer. Having a presence there is a lot like renting an apartment from a landlord who can raise the rent at any time, limit what one does or doesn’t do in the space, and inspect the premises at any time.

A blog or a site, however, is “owned” by the influencer insofar as he or she can do what they please. Yes, it takes more of an investment to get one going, and it’s not completely “rent free,” (the hosting provider must be paid and the “house” itself must be constructed and maintained). There, the influencer enjoys a level of freedom far superior to that experienced on any private social network site, where all conduct is subject to the network’s TOS (which itself can be unilaterally revised at any time).

Blogs and sites — it turns out — have a surprising number of material advantages over the pages provided by social network sites, and influencers — among the most pragmatic and knowledgeable class of social media user — are quite aware of them. My colleagues at Didit have explored some additional advantages of private blogs/sites over social network pages this week over on the Didit.com marketing blog:

Social media influencers: blogs and sites beat social network pages

Facebook and Google take aim at “fake news”

“Fake” news is becoming a continuing headache for both Google and Facebook, and each company has announced plans to attack it. Google’s approach has been to update its Adsense Policy document to include “misrepresentative content” as a form of prohibited content, thus banning offenders from its ad network. Facebook’s CEO Mark Zuckerberg announced via his Facebook blog a 7-point anti-“misinformation” campaign that includes improved algorithmic defenses and enhanced user reporting.

Only time will tell if either of these steps can staunch the flow of fact-free content on these huge networks. Being banned from Adsense isn’t fun, but fake news providers can simply switch to another ad network to stay in business. Facebook’s approach is encouraging, but Facebook has almost 18 million “bad accounts” that would need to be shut down to make a serious dent in the volume of fake news. And neither company wants to be in the business of behaving like a “publisher” because doing so could undermine their broad immunity under the Communications Decency Act of 1996.

It’s a dicey issue. This week, my colleagues at Didit take a closer look at it here:

Facebook announces 7-point plan to battle “misinformation”

 

Facbook touts “new” posting options

If you’re an authorized Facebook Page Admin, you probably noticed a promotional message at the top of your newsfeed last week touting the avalability of a “new” set of posting options. And while these posting options aren’t really “new” (most have been part of Facebook’s standard pack of options for some time), there’s enough new functionality associated with each option type to warrant further investgation.

My colleagues at Didit took each posting option for a test drive this week and report on their findings. If you’re a Page Admin (and who isn’t!), it’s worth a read:

“New” Facebook post options touted to Page Admins

Do you have an Instagram strategy?

Instagram use by the Fortune 500 in growing by leaps and bounds, according to data released by the Center for Marketing Research at  the University of Massachusetts at Dartmouth.

Instagram’s use by the F500 shot up 15% this year, increasing from 150 (30%) to 225 (45%) active users. Eight of the top 10 F500 companies are using Instagram, (Walmart, Exxon Mobile, Berkshire Hathaway, McKesson, CVS Health, General Motors, Ford Motor, and AT&T) while two (United Health Group and Apple) are not.

Instagram is part of Facebook, has a huge (500 million) user audience, but its audience skews younger, as you can see from the chart below. The biggest chunk of Instagram’s user base is between 18 and 36 – after that, the usage drops off markedly:

facebook-instagram-age-demographics-compared

If you’re trying to reach a broad spectrum demo, Facebook is the place to be. But if you’re interested in focusing on a younger demo, Instagram may offer better value. That’s a generalization, of course: every marketer is different, so you’ll need to test your assumptions via some rigorous A/B testing before committing major budget.

My colleagues at Didit cover more of the findings from the Center of Marketing Research; you can their coverage below:

Study: Instagram use rising sharply among Fortune 500 companies

Google adds Affililiate Extensions to Adwords extension roster

affilliate-extension2-picmonkeyAd Extensions are one of the most powerful features within Adwords. When used correctly, they provide searchers with an additional, personalized “nudge” that translates into higher click-through rates, which can translate into a higher Quality Score, which has a beneficial influence on CPCs.

Google already has Call Extensions, Location Extensions, Review Extensions, Price Extensions, and Seller Rating Extensions. Last week, it added Affiliate Extensions to this roster, and that’s welcome news for OEMs distributing product through local retailers.

My colleagues at Didit have more on this big announcement you can read right here:

Google adds Affiliate Extensions to Adwords

Google Podium promises preferred organic SERP positions for “select entities”

The Mirriam-Webster dictionary defines podium as “a raised platform for a speaker, performer, or the leader of an orchestra,” and that’s an apt description of Google’s new product (which Google defines as “an experimental new podium on Google.”

Google describes Podium as a “new way for users to hear directly from select entities they’re searching for on Google,” and promises that “verified individuals and organizations can now communicate with text, images and videos directly on Google. Creating content is fast and simple, and once published, posts will appear instantly in search results related to the publisher. Each post can also be shared on popular social networks.”

Like a real-life podium, Google’s new feature elevates the status of those who demonstrate to Google that they are “select entities,” in other words brands, celebrities, or other high-status individuals. This elevation is achieved both by giving them preferred real estate (in the form of a horizontally-swiped carousel) in the above-the-fold area of the SERP, and by furnishing them with an area (which the user accesses after clicking on the carousel) serving as a repository for the posted content. This latter area looks a bit like a simplified Google Plus page. Sharing options on this page are limited to Facebook, Twitter, Google Plus, and via email.

Google’s new functionality hasn’t been rolled out publicly yet; it’s an invitation-only program that’s been limited to an elite set of influencers, including the major U.S. presidential candidates and some influential fashion people. The rest of us will need to join the waiting list, which you can do by going to:

https://posts.withgoogle.com/#/waitlist

Podium isn’t yet a finished product, but it promises a lot to marketers in terms of SERP position, reputation management, and general digital visibility. My colleagues share more thoughts on Podium over at Didit.com:

Google Podium (AKA Google Posts): what marketers need to understand