Friday, 30 December 2011

Groupon Acquires Campfire Labs to Light Up Social Products

By Liz Gannes at AllThingsD:
Groupon has acquired the pre-launch social communication start-up Campfire Labs, the companies confirmed today. Word of the deal had first been reported on TechCrunch.
Campfire CEO and co-founder Naveen Koorakula said his company’s full team — which I believe is seven people — would be joining Groupon to head up its social efforts. He did not disclose a price.
Groupon had been actively trying to buy other social start-ups such as Gowalla, sources had said in recent weeks. That particular deal went to Facebook. Another would-be Groupon acquisition target, Clever Sense, went to Google instead.
I’d met with Koorakula and his co-founder Sakina Arsiwala earlier this year, and they explained their still-in-progress ideas for a social messaging and collaboration platform that adapted to understand which people were relevant to a group of three to 15 people. They called it a “few-to-few” social network.
Campfire, which had named its early product Slice, was kind of like a dynamic version of Beluga — the group messaging start-up Facebook acquired in March — but Campfire was Web-based, with chat, calendar and media-sharing tools.
The company was still a ways away from launching, and working on testing the product on university campuses like Kenyon College first.
Both the Campfire and Slice sites are currently offline.
Koorakula and Arsiwala, who are a husband-and-wife team, have impressive backgrounds. Koorakula worked on search at Inktomi, Yahoo and Powerset, while Arsiwala helped internationalize YouTube and also did stints at Google proper, Yahoo and Altavista. Campfire Labs investors included SV Angel and Felicis Ventures.
Groupon spokesperson Julie Mossler said, “Campfire Labs was recently acquired to lead the social arm of Groupon. They’re great product technologists who have developed really cool stuff and technology. The Campfire team have already [proven] to be great assets at Groupon and we’ve got a few exciting projects in the works for early 2012.”

What’s in Store for Social Video in 2012?

By at Mashable: 
In 2011, many companies knew they needed to move beyond simply creating and distributing ads for their products. They needed to create content that attracts, motivates and engages an audience, and thus inspire viral sharing for their campaigns.
This trend fueled tremendous growth for social video in 2011. While many brands were just testing the waters early in the year, we’re now seeing hundreds of companies get into the game and make increasingly large investments in media buys for their content.
We saw tremendous innovation around new types of campaigns this year to address the evolving non-linear media consumption habits of consumers. We’re even seeing new job roles crop up at agencies, such as “Earned Media Directors,” to meet the growing need for strategic, sharable content.
We believe 2012 will bring yet another set of quantum leaps in the space. Here are five social video trends that are already emerging.

1. Integration of Original Branded Content into Broader Marketing Campaigns

As brands gain more experience creating and distributing original video content online (not just repurposing television commercials), they will begin to integrate these assets more tightly with their larger marketing campaigns. Old Spice still reigns as one of the best examples of a highly memorable campaign that seamlessly merged both 30-second television spots with longer form, original online video content. Expect to see more brands weaving together TV buys and longer-form online videos in 2012.

2. More Organic Video Experiences on Sites

As publishers discover the potential in social video, many are looking for creative ways to integrate this content into their site experience. We’re already seeing an explosion of “native monetization” methods such as YouTube Promoted Videos, Twitter Promoted Tweets and Facebook Sponsored stories. The combination of well-integrated sponsored experiences with high-quality brand video content will only accelerate this trend. Expect to see “native” social video advertising experiences extend much more broadly across the web in the coming year.

3. Improved Earned Media Science

Agencies are increasingly hiring earned media directors to help improve their understanding of the value of earned media and their ability to drive results. Additionally, more services are emerging that will help companies gauge social influence online. This will allow brands to take big steps in 2012 to have more specific earned media goals and strategies.

4. Widespread Adoption of CPV Pricing

In the last 12 months, we have seen a much broader segment of the advertising industry embrace the cost-per-view (CPV) pricing model. This phenomenon has been market-driven, vetted and employed by most of the major media buying agencies in the U.S. A CPV is an intended engagement/action akin to a cost-per-click (CPC). Advertisers are increasingly finding it a more direct way to engage target audiences, compared to traditional CPM buying (which at its core, especially with regards to pre-roll, is a way to measure disruptive advertising, as opposed to choice-based advertising).

5. Dedicated Social Video Budgets

As advertisers become more well-versed in creating original video content and distributing it through social web channels, they will develop dedicated budgets and KPIs. Because they were largely experimental programs in the past, social video advertising campaigns were often lumped in with overarching digital advertising budgets that also included pre-roll or displayed advertising buys. Social video campaigns are now moving out of experimental budgets and into distinct programs with specific viewership and earned media goals.
Images courtesy of Flickr, jonsson, iStockphoto, Courtney Keating, DarmirK

HP Wants to Print Your Twitter Wishes On Balloons and Set Them Free

By at Mashable: 
Would you be more likely to stick with your New Years resolutions if they were printed on balloons and set free in the Middle Eastern sky? Thanks to a festive marketing campaign from HP, you now have the opportunity to find out.
HP is printing tweets about New Year wishes on helium balloons and letting them go near its Middle East headquarters in Dubai. It’s calling the project the TwitterWisher, and only tweets submitted through the TwitterWisher website will be considered for flight.
People who find a freed balloon can enter its ID number at the same website in order to plot it on the map. Anyone can watch the balloons take off through a live video stream. The company seems to be aiming for a modern-day message in a bottle, complete with a sense of global connectedness.
“The HP TwitterWisher lets people spread good cheer and wishes and connect with people all over the world as we cross over into a new year together,” Suad Merchant, a HP Middle East marketing manager told Middle East business website
Here’s hoping no birds choke in the process.

Facebook Officially Releases “Messenger For Windows” Desktop Client Following Leak

By Josh Constine at TechCrunch:
Facebook has now made the Messenger for Windows download link publicly available in its Help Center. Users can also learn details about the client there. Still no sign of a Mac version, though.]
The test group for “Facebook Messenger for Windows” just got a whole lot bigger. Israeli blog TechIT has leaked a Facebook CDN download link for the desktop chat client Facebook began testing with a small number of users last month. The client includes notifications and the Ticker which link back to, and therefore could drive engagement with the website. Messenger could also pull market share away from other desktop chat clients like AOL Instant Messenger and Windows Live Messenger.
The client will help Facebook in two core ways:
  • Persistent access to Chat will increase engagement of the primary user, and also draw their friends to spend more time on Facebook
  • Persistent access to notifications, messages, and friend requests that launch may lead to more return visits than users haphazardly stopping by the website to check for these alerts
I just tested the Facebook Messenger for Windows client version 2.0.4373. It’s snappy and functions intuitively. It can float or easily be snapped to the desktop’s sidebar. Similar to the standalone mobile Messenger apps Facebook released this summer, frequently contacted friends automatically move into a favorites section above the complete list of friends who are online. My only gripe is that the log out button is relatively hard to find.
AIM and Windows Live Messenger should be worried. Sorting through a buddy list of cryptic screen names can’t match the user experience of an authenticated identity chat client. Facebook’s client also delivers messages to whatever device a recipient is currently using. That means even if a recipient isn’t currently logged in, they’ll easily be able to access their messages.
AIM and Live Messenger will still be useful for staying in contact with internet pals who aren’t your real friends, but Messenger for Windows seriously reduces the unique value of these services.Clients that handle chat across different platforms exist, but to work with Facebook they take configuring that can confuse and deter mainstream users.
Facebook could potentially kill the download link to prevent the app from reaching more users before its official launch. So, if you want it, download it now. Even then, Facebook could release an update to the app and cease support for this leaked version. However, this would interrupt its test and force those it actually wanted to give access to to re-download.
There might be some unseen security or stability bugs that need to be fixed. Still, Facebook shouldn’t worry too much about this leak as product looks good. Instead, it should consider capitalizing on press of the leak by soft launching now. [Update 12/29/2011 5:20pm: Facebook has done just that. An official download link is now publicly available in its Help Center.]
News Source: The Verge

Who Are Your 10 BFFs on Facebook? This App Will Tell You

By at Mashable: 
A Facebook app created by Visa in conjunction with the NFL will help you assemble a team of your 10 closest Facebook friends for a Super Bowl-themed video designed to promote a contest run by the credit card brand.
The “You+10 Draft,” which went live on Thursday, scrapes your Facebook Page to analyze your most recent interactions and then creates a list of your 10 BFFs. After that, it churns out a video featuring the 10, who are assigned roles like “commentator,” “No. 1 fan” and “photographer” and are highlighted with a mock-heroic football-style voiceover.
The 10 people chosen are friends who you would presumably bring to the Super Bowl if you won a sweepstakes from Visa. That contest offers a cardholder the chance to attend Super Bowl XLVI in Indianapolis on Feb. 5 with 10 friends and family members. The sweeps, promoted since November, randomly award a Visa cardholder who made a transaction between early November and Dec. 27 with the card. (You could have also entered via snail mail without buying anything.)
Alex Craddock, head of North America marketing for Visa, says the app and the sweeps are based on one insight: that 88% of people who watch football do it with others. “It’s very social to the core,” Craddock says of football.
There’s a potentially viral component built in to the app, which Visa developed with its ad agency, AKQA. As with other Facebook app-vertising campaigns that play on users’ narcissism, this one beckons consumers with the promise of learning more about themselves. But in this case, there’s a strong incentive to send the video to some of the 10 who made the cut. (You can also sub in others if you didn’t like who the app picked.)
However, going strictly by Facebook data has its disadvantages. The list the app created for me, for example, included a few people I barely know. Still, this is an interesting Super Bowl tie-in for a brand — especially given that Visa is not planning to run an ad during the big game.
Did you try the app? Is it an effective promotion? Sound off in the comments.

INFOGRAPHIC : If Twitter, Facebook And Google Were The News, What Stuff REALLY Mattered In 2011?

By Shea Bennett AllTwitter:
In the past couple of days, and leading up until the end of the year, we’ve looked at a couple of different infographics that have taken a look at how Twitter and social media have reshaped the way we receive and share news.

However, while Twitter in particular has become a key part of the information curve, that doesn’t mean that every bit of news that trends on the network is of the highest possible value. We might like to think that the biggest events of the year, such as the raid on Osama Bin Laden, the Japanese earthquake/tsunami and the US debt crisis, would have a standing on Twitter that ranked them ahead of triviality and pop culture.

Yeah, we might like to think that. But if the things that trended highest on Twitter, received the most Likes on Facebook and triggered the largest volume searches on Google were the news, the world might look a little different.

This infographic from Frugal Dad reminds us that, when it comes to Twitter, you are what you tweet. And hashtags aside, it makes for rather depressing reading.

Thursday, 29 December 2011

A Quick and Dirty Guide to Your First Guest Post

Via ProBlogger:
You can’t really turn anywhere these days and not hear somebody telling you that in order to grow your blog, you need to guest post.
I know you’ve heard that before, but have you actually done it?
Or are you looking for somebody to tell you how to actually go about creating a guest post content strategy, finding the right blogs to guest post for, approaching that blogger and actually writing that post? If so, then you’ve come to the right place.

Develop your guest writing strategy

Your first step is to create a content strategy. There are a couple of decisions you need to make. Listen: guest posting is not easy work. If you have a full schedule and your own blog to keep up with, you now need to find the time to write posts in addition to your regular guest posts.
There are two common approaches:
  1. Slow and methodical: This is very strategic and targets one, maybe two blogs and dishes out guest posts for them at least once a month. This is a really great way to ease into the habit of guest posting. You’ll stay sane with this method, but results will build up more slowly over time.
  2. Fast and furious: The other method is simply to write as many guest blog posts as you possibly can in a short period of time. The way to make this happen is to blast an announcement to your social media sphere announcing that you’d like to write a guest post for anyone who signs up. You’ll be surprised how many takers you’ll get. People are desperate for content. Next, set aside large chunks of time … like every night of the week from 6pm to 10pm, or devote your entire weekend to it. Then write non-stop. This was The World’s Strongest Librarian’s approach when he wrote 42 blog posts in a seven-week period. It’s one that may make you go nuts, so don’t over commit.
Which approach you choose will determine the quantity and quality of your guest posts, so choose wisely.

Brainstorm for fresh, relevant guest posts

It doesn’t matter which approach you chose above, the following brainstorming ideas will help you come up with ideas for your guest posts.
  • Mind mapping: Mind mapping is the concept of starting with a central idea and then branching out from there into subsets. FreeMind is an open source program that will help you do that. It even allows you to add images and hyperlinks so you can track all your ideas.
  • Time machine: Another creative way to brainstorm unique ideas is to pretend you step into a time machine. From there imagine how someone from the 70’s might solve a particular problem. Or look to the future and make a prediction about how particular problems could be solved.
  • Push the envelope: One of the reasons I like to guest post is because it forces me to push my boundaries of thinking. It’s a great way to see how far you can go with an idea. When you think you found an idea’s limits, take it farther.
  • Role play: You can do this either alone or with a partner. Alone, all you need to do is just put yourself into someone else’s shoes, like a child or client, and try to imagine how they would approach a particular problem. If you have a creative partner, ask him or her to play the devil’s advocate and have a conversation about your topic idea. Take note of all the ideas that pop up.
  • Hot potato: This is a great one to use when you are hanging out with a bunch of friends. This brainstorming technique basically involves someone starting an idea … and then passing it on to the next person. Use a timer and some kind of object to pass around so you can keep track of whose turn it is. This technique is great for getting everyone to pitch an idea.

Build a social media presence

If you choose to go the slow and methodical way, then when it comes to guest posting, it’s helpful if you build your reputation with the blogger you hope to write for before you ask to guest post. The best way to do this is to start following him on Twitter, Facebook or Google+ and interact with him. Here are some other things you must do:
  • Comments: Start to leave thoughtful comments where you are asking questions and engaging with the blogger on his site. But don’t ignore everyone else. Answer questions that other readers leave. Busy bloggers love it when someone comes along and starts answering questions that allows him to not to worry about following up on every comment.
  • Join forums: If there is a forum to join, join that. Subscribe to his email newsletter if he provides one, too. Occasionally it’s a great idea to reply to his or her email newsletter. Do it from your inbox so he or she will see your email signature, which should have your blog address on it. Hopefully they’ll take the time to look at it. I’ve had a few bloggers invite me to write guest posts for them after exchanging emails.
  • Email: At some point you should directly email the blogger. It doesn’t have to be about guest blogging. It could be just to ask a legitimate question. For example, you could compliment them on their writing and then ask where they learned how to write. You want to build that relationship.
Of course, some blogs like have guest posting guidelines that you can follow and skip the above process, but most don’t. And don’t think of this as a waste of time just to get the guest posting opportunity. This is really about building long-term relationships, so it helps to do it whether they have a policy or not.

Master the components of a guest post

Is a guest post different than a post you’d publish on your own blog? The answer is yes. See, when you are posting on somebody else’s blog, you need to put your best foot forward. Your hope is that the guest post will generate some subscribers to your own blog, so you better be on top of your game.
Here’s what you need to think about:
  • Links: Bloggers like it when you write a post that has links in it, both internal links and external links. When you create a blog post that links to the blogger’s own content, it shows that you’ve done your homework. And he or she appreciates the external links because that builds his credibility with those bloggers.
  • Advanced blog posts: The jury is still out about whether you share your best stuff or not on guest blogs, but my view is that you write a damn good post no matter what. This means give the host blogger something unique to his sight. This won’t work if you’ve decided to write fast and furiously, because advanced blog posts take time.
  • Create a conversation the audience: Your post must answer some question relevant to the host blogger’s audience … not yours.
  • Demonstrate you are an authority: Don’t be afraid to casually mention the reasons why the audience should listen to you. You won’t be bragging if it’s true and part of the conversation.
  • Hook headlines: Although there is a good chance the host blogger may change your headline, give him or her the best one. Yet, give them three to choose from. And remember, a great headline is unique, useful, ultra-specific and urgent. They’re the four Us. Use them!

What Mattered In 2011 For Social Media? [INFOGRAPHIC]

Via Media Bistro:
Whichever way you look at it, 2011 was a very big year for news.

From the death of Osama Bin Laden, the Japanese earthquake and tsunami and the London riots, through to the Royal Wedding, Occupy Wall Street and the return of Charlie Sheen, this year had a lot to talk about.

It was a big 12 months for technology, too, with LinkedIn, Groupon and Pandora going public, the launch of Google+, Twitter reaching 100 million active users and an $8 billion valuation and a big Timeline redesign on Facebook.

Not to mention some new entries to social media’s growing collection of faux pas from celebrities, politicians and big business.

This infographic from Flowtown takes a look at what mattered in 2011 for social media.

Facebook Puts Games Stories in Mobile News Feed, Adds New Game Categories

By at InsideFacebook: 
Facebook has updated its games platform today to introduce games stories to the mobile news feed, as well as providing developers with updated categories for identifying their games, and marrying the games and apps dashboards.

The mobile news feed is a bold step as it will likely increase engagement for cross-platform games that can be accessed via Facebook’s HTML5-based mobile platform. The stories will appear to both gamers and non-gamers, depending on how frequently the games are played by their friends. Developers can track referrals to games from stories that appear in mobile news feed by looking for ref param “feed_gameplay”. Facebook also recently announced plans to introduce Sponsored Stories to the news feed in 2012. We expect those to end up in the mobile feed soon, too.
The updated game categories addresses the rise of new genres on Facebook in the last year. The all-new categories include “Casino,” “Family,” “Sports,” “Strategy,” and “Word.” Old categories “Role-playing” and “Virtual world” now appear as “Adventure,” and “Simulation,” respectively. This brings Facebook’s total count of game categories to 12.
Lastly, Facebook has combined the the apps and games dashboards into a single dashboard called “Apps and Games.” Facebook explains on its blog that this is intended to “grow the apps and games ecosystem by creating a single place where users can discover and re-engage with [their] apps.” Friend invites appear at the top of the dashboard with a “top apps” section below that showcases what apps a user’s friends are accessing the most.
Facebook has also updated the number of app bookmarks from four to six. The social network reports that an early result of this small change is a 20% increase in referrals from canvas bookmarks to games. Additionally, bookmark counters on the home page now clear automatically when clicked by the user, similar to how notifications behave. Lastly, the platform now features a Games Tutorial for developers just starting out on Facebook.

Google+ On Track To Hit 400M Members in 2012

By Jennifer LeClaire at NewsFactor Network:
"Google+'s membership reaching past 60 million is good news for Google as it tries to build a Facebook-killer, but at issue is engagement," said Jake Wengroff, global director of social media strategy and research at Frost & Sullivan. "What percent of these users are actually utilizing the social network on a daily or monthly basis?"

Google+ is gaining members at a rapid clip, just passing the 62 million-member mark and set to expand exponentially in 2012. At this pace, Google+ could get to 400 million members by this time next year. All this is according to Paul Allen, founder of and a statistician.
"Google+ is adding new users at a very rapid pace. It may be the holidays, the TV commercials, the Android Relevant Products/Services 4 sign-ups, celebrity and brand appeal, or positive word of mouth, or a combination of all these factors, but there is no question that the number of new users signing up for Google+ each day has accelerated markedly in the past several weeks," Allen wrote on his Google+ page.
Allen has tracked the steady climb of Google+, from 10 million members on July 13 to 20.5 million on Aug. 1 to 24.7 million on Sept. 1. Allen predicts Google+ will have 65.8 million members by Jan. 1 and a whopping 88.5 million by Feb. 1.
Engaging Googlers
"What is really remarkable is that nearly a fourth of all Google+ users (24.01% to be precise) will have joined in December alone," Allen wrote. "If this rate of new sign-ups (625k daily) continues then Google+ will reach 100 million users on Feb. 25 and 200 million users on Aug. 3. They will finish 2012 with 293 million users."
However, Allen expects the growth rate to continue accelerating. Google can continue to integrate Relevant Products/Services Google+ into its other products and word of mouth will continue to build, he said.
Most important, he said, 700,000 Android devices are activated daily and that will become a significant source of new users for Google+. That number will also grow next year. That's how he finally settled at about 400 million members. But what does that mean, really?
"Google+'s membership reaching past 60 million is good news for Google as it tries to build a Facebook-killer, but at issue is engagement," said Jake Wengroff, global director of social media strategy Relevant Products/Services and research at Frost & Sullivan. "What percent of these users are actually utilizing the social network Relevant Products/Services on a daily or monthly basis?"
Slow and Steady?
Wengroff pointed to Twitter, which suffers from the same aches and pains as Google+. Less than 20 percent of the micro-blogging service's 300 million users are considered everyday, active users,
according to his research.
Facebook, on the other hand, boasts more than 800 million active users -- those, according to the social network, who have used the site in the last 30 days, Wengroff said.
"We all want Google+ to succeed. Features have been slow to roll out: It took over one month from the launch of Google+ Pages for administrators to allow for additional managers," Wengroff said.
As he sees it, Google is taking a calculated approach so as not to make mistakes -- but also measure the response rate to its feature rollouts -- which is perhaps partly responsible for lower engagement levels at this point.
"Hopefully, sooner rather than later, engagement on a large scale Relevant Products/Services will take place and Google+ will be competing head to head with Facebook for an audience -- and loyalty," Wengroff said.

Five [EASY] Tips For Your 2012 Social Media Strategy

By Angela West at PCWorld US:
Whether you run a business employing one person or work for a corporation of 250,000, you’ll need a social media strategy for 2012. As more people embrace Twitter, Facebook, Google+, and other networks, it’s time to make social media an integral part of your marketing strategy.

1. Claim Your Name Everywhere
The social media world is no longer limited to Facebook and Twitter. You’ll want to stake your claim on Google+ and LinkedIn with a company page as well. Make sure you are taking advantage of any directories available on the websites of any professional associations you belong to, as these valuable links back to your website help build your credibility both with potential customers and the search engines.
Even if you can’t commit the resources to updating a Google+ or LinkedIn page, at least get them started so that you have the link and more relevant results for your company show up when a potential client is searching for you.

2. Do a Month-By-Month Plan With Clear Goals
Come up with a clear goal for what you want to do with social media. Do you want to help customers, make more sales, drive more people to your website, or a combination of all three? Then come up with a plan to meet those goals month-to-month and assign the proper resources to it. If you want to make more sales using Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn, make sure your sales force is trained in social media tools early in the year.

3. Find a Way to Measure Results
Planning is futile without a way to measure results. Get familiar with Google Analytics and Hootsuite. Google Analytics lets you track visitors to your site for free. For example, I can see how many visitors came to my site from LinkedIn, Twitter, and Facebook. Google recently revamped Analytics to include real-time tracking data. Google Analytics let you see how many visitors came to your website from Twitter, but you can’t specifically see which campaigns drove them there (at least not yet; Twitter’s analytics tool isn't likely to roll out fully until 2012). For beginners, Klout is a good way of measuring how effective your social media efforts are, with a number and practical suggestions for improvement on a week-to-week-basis.

Hootsuite is the best free tool for managing multiple social media platforms, with a professional version available at $5.99 a month if you need to monitor more than the five different profiles allowed on the free version. While there is no Google+ support yet, users are pushing hard for it. SayitSocial starts at $9.99 a month for 15 social profiles. SocialVolt is more of a mid-range agency solution, starting at $250 a month. Both SayitSocial and SocialVolt are looking at incorporating Google+ early in 2012.
If your company has the budget, Adobe’s SocialAnalytics starts at about $20,000 a year. With this, for example, you can see that 400 people hit your Facebook page, and out of that 120 went on to your website, and that out of that number, 20 made a purchase. Attaching a proper ROI number to your sales is worth the budget spend. Granted, if you spent enough time doing custom reports with Google Analytics, you could approximate these results, but only as percentages rather than as hard numbers.
You could log in to Hootsuite to monitor multiple accounts across various channels, but not with the same level of detail. Adobe's tool allows for close, top-down monitoring of social media all in one dashboard without the need to produce complex reports for simple inquiries.

4. Don't Be Afraid to Outsource
At a small or midsize business, people power usually comes at a premium. It’s easy to let personnel who should be handling sales or customer service wander off into social media land. However, these people are much better at doing what you hired them to do: sell products or services, and help customers. This is where outsourcing comes in.
Ask your Web design firm either to quote you on social media services or recommend someone who does it. When it comes to hiring for this position, you’ll want to go with someone referred to you since it is too easy for anyone to hang out a shingle and call themselves a social media consultant. Ask which companies they’ve worked for, what their results have been, and how they measure results--essentially questions they should answer easily if they've done the job correctly.

5. Add Your Social Media Links to Online and Printed Collateral
Once you’ve got your social media profiles set up and launched, make sure that you’re adding your Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Google+ pages to business cards, brochures, fliers, and any other printed materials. Make sure that links to all of your social media profiles are on your own website and any other Web properties your company may run. If you want a custom Facebook URL instead of just letters and numbers, you need to set up a user name for your company Facebook page. Google+ is a bit more problematic; you can embed the URL online, but for printed material it may be easier to say, “Look us up on Google+”. Hopefully Google+ will fix this issue in 2012.

 In the end, if you are making any kind of an effort on social media where you weren’t making one before, you will see results. Just make sure to measure results so you can evaluate and use the data to plan for 2013.

Angela West dreams of opening a Fallout-themed pub featuring wait staff with Pip-Boys. She's written for big insurance companies, small wildlife control businesses, gourmet food chains, and more. Follow her on Twitter at @angelawest

Wednesday, 28 December 2011

Does Timeline Work For Facebook Business Pages?

Posted by Brian Carter at AllFacebook:
Ever since Facebook announced the new timeline profile at f8, people have been asking when business pages will get the same treatment. Should they? What will it look like? And when is it coming?

Does Timeline Fit Companies and Brands?

The question shocked me at first, because I didn’t think it made sense for businesses to have a timeline. The essence of a timeline is to show the history of something. Do businesses want to show their history graphically, and more important, do their customers care? And what if that company has some negative publicity in its history: Would it want to hide that? What if it has rebranded and doesn’t want customers to think about the old perception of the company? In short, timeline for companies or brands could be boring or problematic.

On the other hand, says Mark Williams, director of community programming for LiveWorld:

With the timeline, I think brands will need to rethink how they message and move toward long-form storytelling. That PR flap becomes part of the relationship with its customers and drives the company to show, “This is how we have grown. Like you, our customers, we evolve, we change, and we share the happy and difficult moments in our lives, just as you do yours.” Product information will get placed into a better context — it’s not that “Nike shoes are on sale” that’s important in this evolutionary future, but rather, “Mark ran a personal best 10K in these Nike shoes on this date.” I have a connection to those shoes based on a memory. Other people can share in my experience, and the brand demonstrates how their product is used by its customers.

Many Facebook users and companies have avoided, and will continue to avoid, showing off their more difficult moments. But the stories about emotional/historical relationships to services or products could be amazing. It would also require more setup by page admins. For example, Nike would have to be able to enter into its page a database of shoes that people could create relationships with. This fits where Facebook is headed with using verbs (like “read” a book) to add more objects to the social graph. But so far, Facebook has only set this up for programmers to customize via apps. It’s not built into brand pages…yet.

The Timeline Is Visually Striking

One of the most visually striking aspects of timeline is the huge cover photo at the top of the profile. This could be what people are hoping for from a timeline for brands. The initial reaction of many companies to Facebook business pages is that you don’t get many graphic design options.

Facebook’s approach keeps the design consistent (which Myspace never did), but it limits designers and forces them into creative solutions to preserving their brand’s look. Perhaps brands are envying the large cover photo space Facebook now gives users. And given the newish subscribe option, some personality-based businesses (like solo entrepreneurs) may be able to operate more effectively as a profile than as a page.

Would Timeline for Brands Really Impact Facebook Marketing?

Let’s not forget a key lesson from Facebook marketing in 2011: very few people ever return to a Facebook brand’s page after liking it. People are 40-120x more likely to see your posts in their news feed.

If a tree falls in the forest and no one is around, will it get any likes? Certainly not!

Also lost in this discussion has been the fact that most people experience Facebook through their news feed. Timeline doesn’t make the news feed look different. Certainly, we’ve started to see things like The Washington Post and Yahoo! News, as well as the ticker, which disappeared for many in mid-December due to inactivity and bugs. But this new noise is unrelated and not caused by timeline. In other words, timeline cannot majorly impact how people experience Facebook, and a timeline for brand pages would not make much impact, either. For something to impact your customers, it has to affect the news feed.

What Is Facebook Planning?

A few recent quotes tell us that Facebook is still in the early stages of thinking about the next evolution of brand pages. The social network has indicated that it likes internal consistency, so it probably wants them to be as visually impressive as timeline profiles. But I’m not convinced that Facebook will add a timeline-like history to brand pages.

Twitter 2012: Bigger and More Ads

By Todd Wasserman at Mashable Social Media:
People predicted rioting when Twitter decided to post ads within its feeds. However, those protests never materialized. Instead, Twitter was used to mobilize protests in the streets in Egypt, Yemen and Tunesia.

The two instances are related. As Twitter became a globally recognized entity, it also began efforts to monetize itself earnestly in 2011. As previously mentioned, Twitter’s successful introduction of advertising was one of the big social media marketing trends of the year. Despite warnings from some Twitter purists, users didn’t seem to mind more ads on Twitter, perhaps concluding that Twitter was, after all, a for-profit business

Growth Via Advertising
Though many perceived Twitter’s 2011 ad rollout as an unalloyed success, eMarketer noted a few hiccups here and there. Twitter’s international expansion took longer than promised, and a self-serve ad product didn’t materialize until the end of the year — even then, for just a handful of advertisers.

Concerns aside, eMarketer is still bullish about Twitter’s prospects in the coming year. The researcher reckons that Twitter will post $259.9 million in revenues in 2012, an 86.3% jump from 2011. Debra Aho Williamson, the author of the report, wrote that although Twitter has a smaller audience than Facebook, marketers have posted “solid engagement rates” with Twitter’s ad products that outperform Facebook’s in some cases. (That’s fairly faint praise, however, since the click-through rates for Facebook are notoriously low. Facebook, however, has sought to reframe the argument by justly noting that CTRs are a poor measure of an ad’s success.)

Twitter doesn’t provide much transparency into its advertising performance, but some partners, notably EA, have touted an 11% engagement rate in the U.K. for a Promoted Trends campaign. Moreover, users don’t seem to mind ad products like Promoted Tweets, according to research from Lab42.

The onrush of advertising to Twitter isn’t just hype. It’s rare that a day goes by in which Twitter’s home page doesn’t sport a Promoted Tweet, Promoted Trend or Promoted Account by one advertiser or another. Twitter doesn’t divulge the pricing for such campaigns, but the Wall Street Journal pegged the price of a Promoted Tweet north of $100,000.

Now that the Twitter ad machine is up and running, the company is looking to expand its footprint. In September, Twitter opened a London office, its first international outpost for sales. That month, the company also began accepting political ads, broadening its variety of advertising.

With the company clearly on a growing path, the obvious question is whether an IPO is in the near future. Officially, at least, there are no such plans. “We can stay private and grow the business the way we want, as long as we want,” CEO Dick Costolo told The Mercury News in December. “We never think about or talk about when we want to go public.” (Twitter could not be reached for comment for this story.) Yet Twitter just bought a fancy new headquarters in San Francisco designed to accommodate far more than the company’s current 700 or so employees.

Possible Complications

Of course, there was once a time when MySpace was the next big thing, and Second Life appeared to be the marketing platform of the future. Twitter seems to be on a tear at the moment, but alas, things change. Though it seems unlikely, there’s a chance Twitter could jump the shark or experience a Netflix-like fall from grace.

How? For starters, Google+ could really take off and, realizing its SEO benefits, users and brands could begin focusing on the network more — at Twitter’s expense. Likewise, Facebook’s addition of subscriptions could usurp Twitter’s role as a celebrity platform. More celebs could follow Ashton Kutcher’s lead by leaving the tweeting to professionals, which would result in a duller experience all around. Brands, assessing the damage that Kenneth Cole and Chrysler suffered due to errant tweets, could decide it’s time to cut losses and shutter their sparsely followed accounts. Finally, Twitter might simple expire like any other fad, as users move on to something else.

Another possibility is that Twitter could get acquired and change in a fundamental way. Imagine, for instance, that Google decided to buy Twitter and absorb it into Google+. The post-IPO Facebook could also be a buyer.

Crazy, you say? Remember that YouTube was once a separate company as well.

While the scenario is plausible, the idea of a new competitor or a group of competitors stealing Twitter’s thunder seems far-fetched. Five years after its founding, Twitter is now a global brand name and a symbol of social media-enabled freedom. There simply will never be anything like Twitter again.

INFOGRAPHIC: Klout's most influential "Players" in Marketing

Via WhatTheKlout:
The December 12, 2011 issue of Advertising Age profiles the “most influential players” in marketing as part of their annual “The Book of Tens” issue.  Since we’re all about Klout we thought, “wouldn’t that be interesting to rank them by online influence using”  “Yes” we said that to ourselves.  In looking into this further we found that only three of the ten influencers are on Twitter.  That’s no crime, but maybe not a fair comparison.  That’s why we also pulled in each influencer’s brand’s Twitter account as well. Some of the numbers are suprising low considering the resume of some of these companies, others are convincing on why they should be there.

How to use Twitter for Press Releases

By Lauren Dugan at Media Bistro:
Twitter is changing the PR world, offering a new, direct line of communication between businesses and consumers. And while the low-cost, low-risk aspect of Twitter as a PR and marketing vehicle is appealing, you’ve got to know how to use Twitter for press releases if you want to stay ahead of the curve. We’ve got some dos (and some do nots) for you to help you get exposure for your press releases on the microblogging service.

Synthesizing Twitter releases with traditional press releases

It isn’t enough to write 140-characters announcing your latest company news or product and hope that followers “get it”. In most cases, you’ve got to attack from several angles.

While some say the press release is dead, it appears to be transforming, not dying. It needs new life in the form of complimentary tweets to boost its circulation.

If you want to use Twitter for your press release, write the actual release like you usually do. Then, use Twitter as a complimentary channel for distribution.

An anatomy of a press release tweet

So, you’re ready to start using Twitter for press releases? There are a few things to keep in mind to ensure that your tweeted press release is a success.

You are working with only 140-characters on Twitter, while your traditional press release clocks in at 500 words or more. You’ve got to distill this information into bite-sized chunks in order to get your Twitter audience interested in your press release, without misleading them as to its content.

A good idea is to take 4 or 5 core ideas from the press release and condense each into a single tweet, leaving room for a link to the press release itself. Consider using interesting statistics or facts that will make your followers want to learn more.

To make it clear that this is part of a press release, you can begin each tweet with something like “RELEASE:”. This will prepare your followers, so they aren’t taken aback when your link leads to a press release.

When creating press release tweets, remember that your followers aren’t necessarily as excited about this as you are: don’t inundate them with 10 tweets in a single blast. Rather, spread out each press release tweet by several hours or a full day, so your followers aren’t overwhelmed. Staggering your press release tweets will also increase the number of total Twitter followers who see them.

Press releases on Twitter: What not to do

There are some notorious no-nos when conducting PR and marketing on Twitter, many of which apply to press releases as well.

For instance, you shouldn’t release your press release only on Twitter. Sure, celebs are getting coverage right now for going to Twitter for their baby bumps before the entertainment media, but you’ve got to really consider your audience: are they all on Twitter? With Pew Research stats indicating that about 8% of adult internet users in the US are using Twitter, probably not. Use Twitter as a complimentary, not replacement, distribution platform.

Also, try not to give in to too much Twitter “slang” when releasing your press releases on the microblogging platform. Sure, you might have to condense a word or two, but you want your press release tweet to be intelligible to Twitter elites as well as novices.

And finally, don’t start tweeting press releases until you have a solid plan and analytics in place. You’ll want to measure just how many eyeballs convert from Twitter to the actual press release, so be sure to have some way of measuring how many users click on your link, at the very least.

Monday, 26 December 2011

ComScore’s 2011 Social Report: Facebook Leading, Microblogging Growing, World Connecting

By Eric Eldon at TechCrunch:
You already know that social networking sites have been getting huge around the world, but an annual report out today from comScore shows what exactly is going at a wonderful new level of detail, with surprises for even long-time industry watchers like me.
1 in every 5 minutes of time online is now being spent on social networking sites, up from a mere 6% in early 2007. The sites, led by Facebook, now reach 82% of the world’s internet-using population — about 1.2 billion people in total. This growth is happening across countries, with 41 of the 43 countries that the web measurement firm tracks showing penetration of 85% or more.

 Within these big numbers, though, all sorts of differences emerge. People in Latin America spend an especially large portion of their time online on sites like Facebook and Twitter — 28%, or 7.6 hours per month. That’s much less the case in Asia, where it’s 11% and less than 3 hours per month. Those are broad averages, and full of anomalies. The Philippines, for example, is actually the most socially networked country in the world, with 43% of users time going to these services, and above 8.7 hours.
Facebook itself is making up the largest portion of all this usage — even as all sorts of rivals and alternatives are surging. The service reached 55% of the worlds’ online population in October, with incredibly high engagement: 3 out of every 4 minutes on these types of sites, and every seventh online minute. For the most part, it has surged into first places across countries that had previously been on rival sites, like Orkut in Brazil.
But Facebook is running out of new users in North America and Western Europe simply because it has so much of these markets already (even though it’s not running out of users’ attention). In the meantime, a whole other crop of social sites are booming everywhere, led by Twitter.
The microblogging service has grown by 59% in the past year to reach 160 million monthly unique users worldwide. Professional social network LinkedIn has grown by 55% to nearly 100 million. Easy-blogging site Tumblr is up 172% to nearly 40 million; Chinese Twitter-style site Sina Weibo shows almost identical growth (albeit mostly in China).

Report co-author Andrew Lipsman says this is one of the trends that was most surprising to him about the report. There’s more and more people who want to share around interests, not just the close social relationships.
All in all, many of these market leaders are also showing just how global they are these days, with Twitter and Facebook each now having 80% of their users outside of the US.
The report has all sorts of other data gems, too. Here’s a few that jumped out at me:
- Google+ now has 65 million users worldwide. That thing has some legs, even if we don’t always see them here.
- Women continue to lead men in engagement across the world — by 2 hours or 30% per month in North America and Europe. This is a long-term trend that comScore has seen across older services like instant messaging. But, men have shown a 10% bump since July of 2010, and they gradually appear to be catching up. A lot of this has to do with age. Usage is about at equilibrium among younger age groups, Lipsman notes.
- Mobile is crucial to usage in many markets and growing, but continues to account for a minority of overall usage. Between a quarter and a third of users in Western markets reported accessing social networking sites at least once a month from mobile devices.
- Ads are still playing catch-up to spending levels per traffic that you’d expect to see in other areas.
- Email usage has been declining in usage among younger age groups, a trend that’s not likely to change.
This is by no means all of the interesting data in the report. You can download the full thing on comScore’s site, here. I should note that it deserves credit for doing an especially good job providing easy-to-read data visualizations — something that you don’t see often enough amidst all the awful infographics out there.
ComScore’s methodology, considered by many to be the best in the measurement business, includes large-scale opt-in user sampling around the world and across desktop and mobile devices.

5 LinkedIn Mistakes that a Hiring Manager Will Immediately Notice

I remember when I first heard the buzz about this “LinkedIn” social network.  I imagined some upstart entertainment social network that would help me keep ‘up to date with all the in stuff going on in my community’.  As the buzz continued to grow and the term started getting thrown around more and more, I checked it out, and was surprised to find a neatly organized and clearly focused social network dedicated to connecting professionals.  It almost immediately made sense to me — here’s a place where I can develop my professional online persona.

Now, having been on the site for years, I see there are a few mistakes that a lot of people make, and as someone who is currently hiring, there are some mistakes I see that I immediately notice and make a snap judgement about.  I’m not the kind of person who will immediately discount that person, and I usually give people a few strikes before they’re out, but I’m sure there are some people who just look through LinkedIn profiles waiting for a reason to cut a person out of the running.  It’s the fastest way to get through thousands of resumes or LinkedIn profiles.

1. Multiple Current Jobs

I know it may seem tempting to highlight the fact that several start-up businesses are still going from 2005 to present, but it’s important to consider how that can look to an employer.  I’ve seen LinkedIn profiles that have 4 current professions, and my first instinct is that this person obviously doesn’t have a particular focus.  They are trying a lot of things, and may be a hard worker, but I’m looking for someone who understands the importance of dedication to a single, important task.
My advice is to choose the position in which you are excelling, and list that as your primary profession.  If you want to be a manager, list the job where you are performing skills relevant to being a manager, and let that be your current profession.  The employer will scroll down to see your other work, so don’t worry about it too much.

2. Long Rambling Summaries

People that are hiring rarely have a lot of time, in my experience.  They are fast-thinking snipers who look for a good shot and take it.  So when they see 5 dense paragraphs in a person’s summary, I imagine their mind goes a bit dead.  Not quite the reaction I bet you’re looking for.
Brevity is the soul of wit, they say, and I find it to be true.  Writing is rewriting is another good writing tip.  Use both of those ideas, and write, edit and cut, over and over, until you’ve polished your summary into a few short lines that sum up your most powerful qualities.  You can include more detail in customized boxes below the education box, if you’re interested.

3. Lack of Recommendations

Where are the recommendations?  Almost every solid candidate on LinkedIn has a few.  At a recent event I attended featuring Paul Nazareth, a LinkedIn expert, he said you should have at least 3, but closer to 5 as a minimum number of recommendations.  He recommended getting in touch with clients and bosses and giving them a little reminder of what they had liked about your work, so they can write about something you succeeded at.
It’s a very important factor that I always look at.  And don’t try to fool anybody — hiring managers are going to look at who’s recommending you.  If it’s brother, sister, dog and stuffed animal, you’re not getting anywhere.

4. Too many Groups and Associations

This may be a little controversial, but I’ve seen profiles where over half the length of the page is a series of random groups related to mobile magazines and random newsletters.  For me, that seems like the person isn’t aware that these are reflecting on what is the equivalent to his online resume.  I look at everything I can to determine whether the person is professional and aware of his professional image, and this makes me feel like they missed something vital.
I don’t think this would ever be a make or break one, but the first glance of a resume has the potential to give a hiring manager a kind of “wow, this is the perfect candidate” factor when done right — you don’t want that to be ruined by 30 icons about QR code group memberships.

5. Shared links

When LinkedIn introduced the ability to add status updates and include links in those, it seemed like a pretty smart idea.  A LinkedIn user can share what they’re up to at the moment, and it develops the network as a place to get more than just a resume.
That said, I’ve seen plenty of profiles where the shared link is “Win $1000 When You Spot the Monkey” or “How the Kardashian Marriage Corrupted America.”
The thing is, that link shows up as the first thing on your profile.  It’s above your current job position, even, and to be honest it looks a bit garish on the page.  I feel it looks like an ad, especially when a small thumbnail is affixed because of the user including a link in their status update.  So make sure to be careful and post something related to your field, if you post at all.

Facebook Launches Suggested Events Feature Based On Checkins

By Josh Constine at TechCrunch:
We’re creatures of habit. We go where we’ve already gone. That’s why Facebook’s new Suggested Events feature I just discovered is so powerful — it knows where we’ve been thanks to our checkins. Replacing the old Friends’ Events sub-tab of the home page’s Events bookmark, Suggested Events helps you discover things to do that take place at venues you’ve checked in to, that friends are RSVP’d to, that are hosted by Pages you Like, or a combination. The feature could reduce the need third-party event discovery apps, and get more people out of their houses to attend concerts, club nights, and conferences.
[Update: Facebook tells me it is testing the feature, though it has now been rolled out to the entire user base. A spokesperson also says suggestions can be based on the music you listen to through Open Graph apps, which can help improve recommendations for those who checkin via Foursquare or don't share their location at all.]
By promoting offline interaction, Suggested Events should quiet critics who say Facebook weakens real human relationships and leads people to sit at home. It has huge potential to generate good will for Facebook and make the service seem even more indispensable. If you go to a great show, have a fun night out with friends, or meet someone new at a suggested venue, your perception of Facebook’s value to your life will undoubtedly improve.
Sure, you should branch out and find new places to go, but new events at your favorite places are still unique experiences. The feature exposes you to events that are relevant and that you might drag friends to, even if you weren’t invited to them and don’t have friends already RSVP’d.

“What should I do tonight?” is a very prevalent question lots of startups are trying to answer. Just this month we covered the launch of UpOut for real-time discovery, and SeatGeek’s Columbus that’s a “Pandora for live events”. Established players include Plancast and EventBrite, the latter of which closed a huge $50 million funding round and also suggests events your Facebook friends are going to.
But the problem with these services is that they can’t produce as relevant suggestions because they don’t automatically know where you spend your time, which is a proxy for what type of events you go to. Facebook’s Suggested Events adapts to your preferences.
I go to lots of concerts, and Facebook effectively knows this because I check in to the venues or the events themselves thanks to a mobile feature added last year (possibly to collect data for this). Now, Suggested Events recommends me concerts taking place at my favorite venues. The music industry stands to gain a lot from the feature, since concerts are thrown frequently, and occur at Places people commonly check in to.
If you’re in college, Suggested Events might recommend parties at campus dorms, whereas professionals might get clued in to meetups or conferences at local convention halls they visit. The feature also alerts you to Events hosted by Pages you Like, which could encourage more venues, performers, or production companies to officially host the events they throw. One day the feature might be able to show events where a band I Like was mentioned in the description.
With third-party apps you enter your preferences or upload them via Facebook Connect, but then also have to remember to visit. Facebook’s new native event discovery feature makes finding fun things to do a seamless part of every day browsing. That means more outings, more moments, more memories. And you know where you can display the photos, checkins, and status updates about those memories? Timeline.

10 Upgrades That Revolutionized Facebook This Year

Posted by Jackie Cohen at AllFacebook:

1. Timeline

Most people on Facebook have yet to upgrade their profiles to timeline, but those who have are raving about the depth of content in this advanced profile.

2. Inline Privacy Controls

Facebook moved most of the privacy controls to locations next to where people share content on the site. This strategy has spurred more people to avail themselves of these features than ever before.

3. Subscribe

Many have called Facebook’s subscribe button an effort to emulate Twitter, but this profile feature is quickly becoming a must-have for people who want to present themselves as thought leaders.

4. Immune System

This nickname for Facebook’s nickname for its security technologies cropped up inthe media this year, but the term immune system really sums up the collective effect of the bold steps the social network has made to dramatically reduce the frequency of  spamware, clickjacking and other digital maladies that used to crop up regularly. Some of the more significant moves have been:
  • Partnering with Web of Trust has enabled the site to identify and block posts that include insecure web addresses;
  • social verification system provides a means of recovering lost passwords through trusted friends;
  • Log-in approvals send code to mobile devices so users can authenticate attempts to access accounts from unrecognized machines; and
  • Smart friend lists create groupings of contacts with things in common, all but forcing people’s hands to use this features for microsharing instead publicly posting everything for all to see.

5. GraphRank

Facebook has altered the method it uses for prioritizing content in the news feed on home pages. Although some people insist that the move from the old algorithm EdgeRank to the new one, GraphRank really has dramatically changed the content appearing on homepages — more targeted and engaging posts show up.

6. Ticker

The ticker has added movement to people’s homepages with the scrolling updates about all friends’ activity on the site, differing from the engagement-oriented news feed taking up the wider middle column.

7. Talking About This

Facebook’s revamped page insights include a really nifty metric visible to all: Talking about this. Showing visitors how many people are posting on Facebook about the page’s title may inspire more people to reshare content from that page.

8. Negative Feedback Metrics

Facebook has only just begun to test measurements of negative feedback on pages’ posts, which are based on what people put in their news feeds. This statistic has the potential to help page administrators greatly improve their content.

9. Sponsored Stories

Facebook’s best-performing type of advertisement, sponsored stories launched in January of 2011 and the social network subsequently created seven different variations on the promotion. All refrain an individual’s interaction with a brand to that person’s friends, the most popular variety telling people who likes the advertiser. The site plans to move these ads into news feeds starting next month.

10. Credits Incentives

This year Credits became mandatory for all applications that request payment in exchange for premium content, and developers that use the digital currency exclusively get a host of incentives that can help generate more income. These include:
  • Get balance, which shows individual users’ balances to developers;
  • Buy with friends, which encourages people to recommend purchases; and
  • Frictionless payments, which enables gamers or shoppers to pay for goods without leaving the application.
What do you think were the most important upgrades on Facebook this year, readers?

Evernote for Windows Phone Update: More Social & Gains Ability to Pin Notes to Start Screen

Evernote is one of the most useful services around. I use it everyday on a variety of devices using both its web interface as well as native clients which are available for a number of desktop and mobile devices. Evernote just updated its Windows Phone app to take advantage of that platforms unique features.

Evernote for Windows Phone Update: Note Pinning, Templates, New Language Support, and More
One of the unique-to-Windows Phone features is the ability to pin an Evernote note to the start screen. This can be, for example, a to-do list. However, pinned notes are not limited to text. These pinned notes can also be audio notes or snapshot (image) notes. Entire notebooks within an Evernote account can be pinned to the start screen too.
Another new feature for the updated Evernote for Windows Phone app is the ability to create “Template notes” with pre-filled information or even with a workflow that initiates, for example, taking a photo for each new note.
Finally, Evernote notes can now be shared via Facebook, Twitter and Windows Live.
If you do not see the update available for your Windows Phone, just be patient. It can take up to several days for updates to propogate.

Sunday, 25 December 2011

Add Falling Snowflakes / Flowers / Leaves to Your Blog

Whether it's winter, spring or your birthday, adding some falling snowflakes/flowers/leaves or balloons to your blog makes it attractive. And to do that, you simply have to paste a code snippet in any of your blogs HTML/JavaScript widgets.
To show this widget only in the Homepage or any other specific page, read this post:
How to show widgets only in specific pages.

Steps To Follow:
Log in to Blogger, go to Layout, click on Add a Gadget and select it as HTML/JavaScript. And add any of the two code snippets:

Falling Snow flakes:

<script language="JavaScript" src="">

And to display falling leaves, use this code:

Falling Leaves:

<script language="JavaScript" src="">

Twitter, Facebook, YouTube – Social Media Marketing Guide For Startups [INFOGRAPHIC]

By Shea Bennett at AllTwitter:
Social media can play an incredibly important role in helping startups in all fields raise brand awareness. By effectively using tools such as Twitter, Facebook, YouTube and blogs, brands can separate themselves from the pack, making their products and services increasingly attractive to customers and (vitally) investors.
But how do you get people to start talking about your brand? And how do you convert that buzz to revenue?
This infographic from Udemy takes a closer look at social media marketing for startups.