Brandon Dennis: Hi there, ladies and gentleman. My name is Brandon Dennis. I’m the V.P. of Marketing here at Cloudbeds and I’m joined today by Alex Gaggioli, the Marketing Coordinator for Cloudbeds. And welcome to another Cloudbeds webinars. Today’s webinar is on all of the major changes that have happened to social media in general since the beginning of this year. So for the past six months or so, from January to June, what are the major changes that have taken place in social media?
This is gonna help us understand how social media platforms are evolving so that we can optimize our marketing strategies relating to social media to reach a broader audience. Now, there are only so many things that have happened since January so we’re thinking that the book on this webinar is probably gonna last about 30 minutes but we are gonna have an extended Q&A session at the end of the webinar, so get your questions in minds now.
As I start going through the webinar, feel free to hop in and ask a question, and you can do so by hovering your mouse towards the top of the screen. You’re gonna see a little Q&A button pop up, click on that. If you have any question about what we’re going through, type it on in there, Alex is recording the questions as they come in and he will field them to me, either during the webinar or towards the end of the webinar.
All right, let’s dive on in to all of the major changes to social media as they relate to hotels and inns and B&Bs; since the beginning of the year. So we’re gonna be talking about four of the major social media platforms in this webinar: Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Snapchat. Now, that pink icon in the middle of the screen, that is actually Instagram’s icon. They did a huge brand refresh recently so it looks a little bit different but that is Instagram and we’ll be talking about that in a moment.
So let’s start with Facebook. Facebook, of course, being the king of social media right now and it’s just got all of the traffic, all of the users. People go to Facebook almost as often, if not as often as they as they use search engines, check e-mail, and do any other activity. One of the new things that Facebook has introduced is Facebook Live. Now, this is in direct response to some of the popular new live video streaming apps that have come out recently like Periscope and Meerkat. And the way this works is when you’re on Facebook and you have a Facebook page, you can pull out your phone and you log into your Facebook page on your phone, you now have an option to start a live broadcast, publishing to your Facebook page from your phone.
So the camera goes through your phone camera, not from your computer or your desktop or your laptop. It goes through your phone camera and you can live stream broadcast to your Facebook page. This is now available to all users, including business pages. So if you wanted to, you could start up a live Facebook broadcast with all of the fans of your page, all of the viewers who have subscribed to your page, and then have some social interaction from them.
Now, there are a couple of reasons why this could be potentially useful. Let’s say that there’s a live event going on at your property or going on near your property, you could live stream the event or you could live stream your response to the event. You could have a happy hour going on and you could show what’s going on at the happy hour, live stream that to your Facebook page to get all of your Facebook followers who are not at your property jealous so that they wanna go and check out your property. A lot of applications that you could use Facebook Live for but it’s a fun, new, little social tool that Facebook has given us.
Next step is they’ve published a lot of really cool new discovery tools for groups. So as you all know, there are a myriad of different Facebook products. They’ve got Facebook pages for online personalities and for businesses, Facebook profiles for individual people, and then they’ve got Facebook groups for communities of people who share a common interest.
Now, Facebook groups have been sort of neglected to date. They’ve been there but they haven’t…not a lot not has been going on with them. Facebook hasn’t released a lot of features for groups but recently, they did. There are over one billion people using Facebook groups, so it’s still a very large part of their platform and what they’ve done is they’ve redesigned how you can search for groups, making it a whole lot easier. And one of the things that they’ve really put a lot of time and effort into is local search for groups. So if you want to find a group near you, you can pop open your phone, go to your Facebook app, and then search for groups near you, based on the zip code that is associated with your phone or a location that you’re looking for. Now, you can also search for groups that are not related to locations. So let’s say that you want to do a topical search, you want you wanna find a group that’s related just to surfside B&Bs; or something like that. You could search for groups related by topic and now it’s a lot easier. You’re gonna have much better results.
So that leads to the question, how could hoteliers use this to help promote their property? Well we’re not suggesting that it’s always a good idea to make a Facebook group for your property because you do have a page and the page is where you need to be putting most of your effort. But there may be some situations when it is wise to creative a group, especially if you find a great opportunity that is available to you.
Alex, did you wanna hop in here?
Alex Gaggioli: Yeah, so there’s a there’s a lot of different ways that you can start using these groups. So the screenshot that you see on this side is…so they have these different categories and this one is a detailed page for travel places. If you have your phone in front of you or if you want to look at it in the future, if you’re on iPhone, it’s under more on the bottom right and then it’s under more where it appears on Android. I know it’s just slightly different but I don’t think they’re that different.
So what you’ll see is, at the top, you’ll see a lot of different categories that you can swing through. And as Brandon mentioned, there are…it shows a bunch of groups for the local area but it also shows groups based on your friends and based on related groups to what you’re involved with. So if you’re looking for groups that are related to your area or if you live in a very like hot destination type of thing…so for example, I’m located in San Diego so when I’m…my local ones show like San Diego travelers or they show San Diego events. So you can hop into those groups and be a part of them and be active and show, you know, your property is great for this event or that event or kind of interject your brand that way.
So there’s a lot of different ways beyond creating your own groups that you can interact with people in your location, travelers in your location, and even other business owners and other hoteliers, other property owners in your location as well.
Brandon Dennis: That’s right. You can log into Facebook and use it as your page. And then as your page, you could go to groups that are associated with what you wanna do and then post comments or engage with the community and attract people to your page and to your property that way.
And then another thing that they’re working on right now is Dynamic Ads for Travel. This is in direct response to Google Hotel Ads. So as you all know, in 2013 I think it was, Google released Google Hotel Ads or Google price…hotel price finder. I forgot the exact name of it and that was their attempt to help hoteliers advertise their property on Google search engines directly. Well, Facebook wanted a piece of that pie and they’re releasing Dynamic Ads for Travel. Right now, they’re only working with hotels, so Dynamic Ads for Travel only works with hotels and I believe they’re only working with very specific hotels for right now. I don’t think it’s open to the public just yet. So this is more like a snapshot of what’s coming in the future. What you’ll be able to do is once this is opened up to the Power Editor, which is the editing platform within Facebook, you’ll be able to log in and target your ads directly towards people who have been traveling, people who are interested in travel, people who on Facebook have been expressing ideas about travel or talking about recent travel and it’s one of the largest spenders of retargeting ads to the travel industry [inaudible 00:08:50].
So retargeting is a type of advertising where you get a little piece of code from Google…I’m sorry, from Facebook and you place that code on your website. And that bit of code allows Facebook to track the activities of somebody on your website who is also on Facebook, to try and match the two in terms of interest. So if somebody’s on Facebook going to travel groups and then to travel pages and they go and they update their things that I like list with, “Oh, I love travel” or “I love going to San Diego” or whatever and then they go to your website and your website is about a hotel in San Diego, you know, Facebook can figure out all of the stuff, match the two and go, “Okay, this is a great candidate to receive one of your ads.” And so they use that retargeting pixel to target people directly, to give you a higher…to give you a more focused group of people who will see your ad, which will increase your click-through rate and increase the likelihood that they will convert. And that’s what this is going to do. It’s going to be a type of retargeting ad that you can install on your website, that is going to show your hyper-targeted ads just to people who are interested in travel. And that’s going to be coming soon.
Now, the next update is their Audience Network and this is another great thing for ads. So for those who have been advertising on Google for a very long time, you know that their ads don’t just show up on Google, they show up on many websites as well. So there are search engine ads which just show up in the search engine and then there are other display ads or even little text ads that can appear on different websites, websites that are in Google’s display ad network. Facebook is now working on their own network. They have an audience network of Facebook ads where platform publishers can choose to use a Facebook ad system on their websites and Facebook can now serve ads.
Pardon me So now, Facebook ads will serve ads to more than just Facebook. This greatly expands the number of people who could potentially see your ads. Publishers, like yourself as a publisher, can sign up…or I’m sorry…publishers like blog owners or website owners who want to monetize the content that they produce can sign up with Facebook and get this new ad system and put it on their websites, just like they have with Google and with other third-party advertising platforms. Alex, do you wanna talk about this a little bit?
Alex Gaggioli: Yeah. So, for example, if you’re looking at that screenshot that’s on this slide, that’s the Huffington Post. So right now, the type of publishers who are standing up are very high level. You’re talking like brands like Huffington post, [inaudible 00:11:48], you know, sites that get a lot of traffic. So very consumer-facing type of websites so that people who are standing up right now…in the future, just as Google had to get through that market, we’ll see more people signing up through audience network. Both this update and the Dynamic Travel Ads are…they’re showing it over [inaudible 00:12:08] within Facebook where they’re getting very serious about their advertising platform and it’s going to be very lucrative in the future. So both…so if you’re not ready to send ads to their audience network or be a part of their Dynamic Travel Ads network in the beginning, it’s good to know about them happening right now because in the future, it’s gonna be a very big part of how people advertise on the web.
Brandon Dennis: That’s right. Now Facebook can serve your advertisements to people who have never even heard of Facebook and who do not use Facebook. That’s the power of this social network. So keep your eye on advertising as…in terms of Facebook to see what they’re gonna be doing in case you can find an avenue for advertising your property through Facebook.
Alex Gaggioli: Before we move on, somebody just had a quick question. Is there a way to pay-per-click that Book Now button on my page? You’re talking about the…I assume you’re talking about the call to action at the top of your Facebook page. The answer is yes. It is quite easy to promote just that button. We do have guides on Facebook ads but I’ll tell you super quick like how you can do it. If you’re signed into your Facebook page as your page, there’s gonna be a little arrow drop-down page right next to that call to action. If you click that, there’s gonna be a promote button. That’s the easiest way to do it. But if you sign in to the ads manager as well, it’ll be…you’ll see the option to promote that specific button.
Brandon Dennis: Now Alex, is there like a time span on this? If you promote that button, does it only work for a few days and you’d need to go back and keep promoting it, or is it one of those things where you can set it and forget it? You say, “I want to spend $10 a day, I want it to be promoted until my budget is expended. Just do it forever, Facebook.”
Alex Gaggioli: Great question. You can do all of those options. It’s a part of their overall platform so you can set budgets, you can do per day spending. You can do per click spending. You’ll have to go in there and play with that. It’s all part of their campaign system.
Brandon Dennis: Cool, lots of options. All right, Twitter. Let’s talk a little bit about Twitter. So Twitter, you know, they’ve been there and people use it but they haven’t been doing a lot to change the fundamental way that their platform works for a very long time until now. They recently published a bunch of new changes that changed the way their platform fundamentally works. Now, one of the major unique things about Twitter, the thing that made it unique from the very beginning is that you had only 140 characters with which to express a thought and anything you put into that field counted towards those 140 characters. That included things like hashtags. It included things like mentions and your own names and attachments and links and animations and gifs and images. Any sort of multimedia counted towards that character count and it was a little bit unfair because let’s say you’ve got the same image but you’ve got two versions of them. One is hosted on a really short domain, bit.ly/my picture, right, and the other’s hosted on a really long domain, myawesomewebsite.com/myawesomepicture.com or whatever. You’ve got really long domain and really short domain. Well, even though the exact…the content is exactly the same, due to the character count that is within Twitter, the one on the bit.ly link would take up less space, allowing you to say more and the one with the really long self-hosted website link would take up much more space, allowing you to say far less in your tweet.
That is no longer the case. Character counts have been changed on Twitter to accommodate for links, for hashtags, and for mentions. So for those unfamiliar with the platform, a mention is any time you type out another Twitter user’s name with an @ symbol at the very beginning of it, and then send a message. That basically is telling Twitter to talk specifically towards that person, that’s a mention. You’re mentioning them in a post.
Well, sometimes people have really long Twitter names and that can take up of a lot of your budget, reducing the amount of space you have to communicate. Well now, mentions no longer count towards Twitter budgets and they’re hoping that this is gonna make things a lot more engaging and a lot more interesting.
You can now have more hashtags, you can now share more multimedia, and more importantly, you can actually express more in each tweet. You can also retweet and quote yourself. So let me explain these really quickly. So when you retweet another person on Twitter, you’re basically approving of their tweet and then sending that tweet out to all of your Twitter followers as well. Now when that happens, the letters RT, which stand for retweet, appear right before the name of the person whom you’re retweeting and that is a big block of text that can take up your 140 character count.
So let’s say you re-tweeting somebody who had exactly 140 characters. If you tried to retweet it, you wouldn’t be able to because their username is now taking up space. That has changed. Now when you retweet somebody, their name is no longer taken into account when character limits are being calculated. And you can also quote yourself now as well so that you can go back through old posts that you’ve done on Twitter, give your content another shot, another chance in the limelight by retweeting yourself more often.
Now, there was a trick that people wanted to do. Like let’s say that you wanted to mention somebody in a post but you didn’t want only that person to be able to see it. People would put a period before the @ symbol when mentioning somebody and that would still tag the person, letting them know that they’d been mentioned, but all of their followers on Twitter would still be able to see that specific message. That no longer is the case. You no longer have to put the period before the @ sign in order to allow all of your Twitter followers to be able to see your posts. Now, as long as you mention somebody in the post, people who follow you can see it, not just those who follow both accounts.
Alex Gaggioli: That’s right. Just to clarify really quick, so some of these features with Twitter have been rolled out already and some of them have not. So the retweet and quote yourself went live on Monday. The @ symbol that he was just talking about, that has not gone live yet but will soon. So yeah, just wanted to clarify that really quick so if you’re trying to mention somebody and you want all your followers to see it, still put that period before that @.
Brandon Dennis: So just follow Twitter closely. They’ll be changing that soon. It’ll be coming up really quickly. All right, let’s talk a little bit about Instagram. Instagram is the great new social network about images that Facebook acquired many years ago, and let’s talk a little bit about what has changed. They’ve got a brand new algorithm change.
So for the first time ever, posts will not show up in chronological order. That was one of the major characteristics of Instagram for a long time is you would post an image and then it just cascaded down your Instagram feed forever. And the older stuff at the very bottom was the oldest stuff you’ve published and the stuff at the very top of your feed was the newest stuff that you’ve published. Now that Instagram is owned by Facebook of course, Facebook’s amazing algorithm crafters have been hard at work and there is now an algorithm with the Instagram posts. It’s no longer in chronological order, feeds are used much more like Facebook feeds.
Now Instagram will show you content that they think you’re most interested in. So the best-performing image content on Instagram from your subscribers or from featured Instagramers, that’s gonna show up at the top of your feed, not the latest image one of your followers has…somebody whom you are following has published recently.
Alex Gaggioli: If I can just add some color here. So a lot of you might have heard a lot of backlash from this change and a lot of people were very worried that their posts were no longer gonna be seen because a lot of people felt that way when Facebook made this change, but the main reason that Instagram has switched over to an algorithm, other than because it makes their ad platform more lucrative for them, is because it’s more…so if you’re if you’re watching this webinar in the United States, more than half of Instagram’s following are international. So if you…if you’re building an Instagram account and 65% of your audience is asleep while you’re posting, you know, that’s not great for your engagement because they’re never going to see it.
So the reason they’re doing this is that, you know, your most engaged followers, you know, the people who will become your most engaged followers will now see your posts because they’ll first. So in my experience, you know, they only changed this like two or three…they actually sent it live like two or three weeks ago. It hasn’t made that big of an impact because the people who were engaged with you before are still going to see your posts. And even beyond that, you know, people who weren’t even seeing it before, are now able to. So it’s both a give and take, so time will tell whether or not engagement rates actually do drop. But as for the moment, you know, I don’t see that happening. So, you know, time will tell. But I think it’s a good thing in the long run.
Brandon Dennis: And the ramifications of this are gonna change for every single Instagram user. I mean, some Instagram users only follow one or two people. Some Instagram users follow 50 to 60 people. So the amount of content you and your hotel Instagram feed are gonna have to fight with is just gonna be different for every single person. So this is one way for Instagram to help separate the cream from the crop, to help separate the really excellent content that is doing well and has a long lifespan ahead of it, from the interesting but less interesting content. So as long as we make sure that our content is really engaging and really good, it should still do well on this new algorithm.
Instagram is also adding Dynamic Ads, right. Facebook’s got a lot of great advertising options and now Instagram is gonna have Dynamic Ads. Instagram is one small piece in Facebook’s overall ad platform. Dynamic Ads are going to allow you to target people who have been to a website and say abandon the cart. So this is great for e-commerce if you’re trying to sell something like a ring or a piece of jewelry, if you’re trying to sell a doodad or whatever. The retargeting or the pixel that you install on your website is going to be able to detect, oh this person went to my website and tried to buy a ring but left it in his cart and so I’m going to send them this ad reminding them, oh, by the way, you still need to go buy that ring.
Well, the same can be said towards the hotel rooms. Like you can still have the same pixels installed on your own website that track user behavior and let’s say somebody’s going through the checkout process and they go to book a room and then they get distracted, you know, the kids come downstairs and interrupt them or the dog wants to go out or are they get an alert on social media telling them to go look at this funny video and they just forget to finish booking the travel. Well now, if you’re using Instagram Dynamic Ads, you can place ads out there to detect when things like this happen and then give them reminders. So now they’re on Instagram. “Oh, I forgot all about them [inaudible 00:23:51]. Oh look, there’s an ad for the property that I was just at.” And they’re like, “Oh, great. Now I can go finish booking my travel.”
So another great tool from Instagram and this I believe and Alex, you can clarify. I believe this is going to be from within Instagram itself and also through Facebook. So you could create these ads by logging into Instagram’s interface, which is a work in progress, and to publish these ads and then also go into Facebook’s Power Editor to choose Instagram as a source destination for these ads.
Alex Gaggioli: I think that will be the case in the future. We’ll get to it but I think the only ads that you can promote in Instagram will be the promoted posts to begin. This is all probably done through Facebook’s ad platform.
Brandon Dennis: So not through Instagram yet but definitely through Facebook’s ad platform?
Alex Gaggioli: Correct.
Brandon Dennis: [inaudible 00:24:42]. And then, as I mentioned at the beginning of this webinar, Instagram has a flashy new look. So you all remember the icon and branding at the top line, there you had this nice sort of [inaudible 00:24:54] looking camera, and they’ve decided to go with a bunch of neon pink. So people are slowly adjusting to this new icon that Instagram has produced. They’ve also got a new color scheme. Instead of the sort of dark blue color scheme, they’ve got a white and black color scheme so they’ve flattened things out. They’ve really kind of made it a little bit more clear so that content pops a little better instead of their user interface. So just a new layout and some new icons to make Instagram just look a little bit different.
They’ve also released some new business tools and this is one of the great things that has been useful about Facebook is they give you excellent insights, excellent analytics, and Instagram is wanting to give you the same things. So now business profiles can have a lot of great new business tools including insights. I don’t think they’re quite as detailed as Facebook insights but you can see monthly active users, what percent of them…percentage of them are outside the United States, how many photos have been shared, daily likes, photos per day, a lot of really interesting stuff. You can filter by week, by month, by day, and then they give you a great summary of your profile. You can produce performance reports, audience reports, and the in-app promote feature as well. This is just from within Instagram so you can login to Instagram to see these reports.
Alex Gaggioli: So just to clarify again, this is not live yet. It will be, they said by the end of this summer. So just look out for it but if you go and check for it right now, you’re not gonna find it.
Brandon Dennis: And these…also adds a new contact button to your business profile page. Now that was not published up until recently. Is that correct, Alex? The contact button on business pages?
Alex Gaggioli: Yeah, so this is all part of the same. So what they’re doing is they’re creating…they’re allowing users to become business profiles and then through that, you get a call to action button on your actual profile. So right now, all it says…all it gives you is a bio and the link to whatever website you put in there. But now you have those things plus a call to action, whether it’s learn more, buy now, book now, etc. Then as part…if you become a business profile, you get that button, and then you get insights, and then you also get the in-app promote feature.
Brandon Dennis: So this is all part of their move to try and embrace businesses who use their platform to promote their businesses. You no longer have just a regular personal profile. You can convert your profile into a business profile. That’s gonna open up a bunch of new business tools for you, including putting a contact button on your feed and giving you insights, wonderful new insights. It’s surprising that it took them this long to kind of open up Instagram for businesses but I, for one, I’m just really glad that they’re adding a bunch of new arrows to a business owner’s quiver like this.
All right, Snapchat. Now this is gonna be an interesting social network to talk about. Snapchat has been around for a little bit and it had an interesting origination. But today, it’s being used by a variety of different people and businesses to try to reach a younger demographic. So Snapchat still skews incredibly young. A lot of young people under 18 still use Snapchat, but that’s the way Facebook was for a long time. Facebook targeted college students. In fact, for a very long time, they only allowed college students to log into Facebook, to create Facebook accounts. But of course, that changed and now the average age of somebody who uses Facebook is…I think it’s in the 50s or something like that. They have a great audience, a huge audience of baby boomers on Facebook and the same could possibly be true of Snapchat in the future. So just because it skews young now is no reason to ignore Snapchat because we don’t know where it’s going to go.
Alex Gaggioli: Just to speak to numbers…sorry. Just to speak to numbers really quick. They speculate that about 150 million daily active users are on the platform right now.
Brandon Dennis: So even today, 150 million daily active users on Snapchat right now. They’ve got a bunch of new features that they’ve been working on including text chat so it’s no longer just images that appear and disappear. You can actually chat with other users, photo and video sharing. That’s one of the interesting things about Snapchat. For those who are unfamiliar with it, the unique thing about Snapchat is it basically puts a timer on media that you share. It’s kind of like those old movies and videos like Get Smart, this message will self-destruct in six seconds or whatever. That’s kind of the way it is with messages and images and videos, they disappear. There’s a countdown timer and they disappear after a certain period of time, that’s what makes this social network to be unique. But they’re broadening the kind of content and the kind of media that is available on Snapchat, from just images and just videos to also text chat.
You can chat, you can video chat, you can send recorded videos and then, of course, they’ve opened it up to stickers, and I believe this…so stickers are a big part of this. Facebook, there was a big hoopla when Facebook opened up stickers on their social network and now Snapchat has opened up stickers as well. Stickers are small little images that you can place inside chats to sort of add a little bit of individuality or to make somebody laugh and people really love using stickers. And so now there are a whole bunch of new stickers available with Snapchat and those kinds of features do tend to skew younger, but as we said earlier, there are 150 million people using it and the audience could broaden and mature as time goes on.
They also changed the way that media is consumed. So now, you can auto-advance stories. So when you’re watching somebody’s story, it used to be that you were stuck in that story and then if you wanted to go and check out the stories of other people whom you follow, you’d have to go back, you’d have to go through this…you know, click the back button to get back to it in the new feed and go down. But now, when you’re in the story, as you go past it and you finish it, it moves on. It automatically advances to the next story in your feed, to the next story from a user to whom you are subscribed. That just makes content consummation a little bit easier for people. People are able to consume more content and it just improves navigation.
They also redesigned stories and subscriptions. There’s now a new tile format for stories, to increase exposure and as you can see, there’s an image on the right here that shows you how this looks like. It used to be that only stuff from the people you followed was at the very single top and now there’s sort of got this metro-looking tile infrastructure where you can search all of the biggest headlines. So these are gonna be from big media companies that are participating in the Snapchat platform, and then users can subscribe to individual publishers who are publishing content to Snapchat. Alex, do you have any other insights on this?
Alex Gaggioli: Yeah, I was just going to explain. So what you’re seeing on the right with that tile feature…so within Snapchat’s universe, there is a discover feature, which there are only 10 or 15 media publishers who are on the platform, who are allowed to be on a platform. And every day, they produce a very specific type of story that includes stories from Mashable. You can see the iPhone 7 would come in…could come in this red color and that’s just one story within…that’s one feature within their entire story. So what you’re seeing there is they’re trying to improve engagement for the people who have jumped on their platform already in this big way. These brands pay a lot of money to be a part of Discover.
But there’s a reason that it’s notable to see this change is that they’re giving more preference to businesses and, you know, they’re adding all these new functionalities that, in the future, might become more available to more than just, you know, these 15 elite media companies.
Brandon Dennis: Right, so it gives us something to watch. We can see how other businesses are using this. In order to get content to work really well on Snapchat, you gotta format it correctly because Snapchat is such a unique ecosystem. But we can see other businesses creating their own content and we can start to get ideas for the kinds and types of content we can create towards our…for our properties when this is opened up to a greater audience, if that happens in the future.
And just to remind everybody that Snapchat is still very new, it’s only been out for a few years. Now, it still skews really young. We’re watching this platform evolve from this sort of teenagers in high school using it to chat during class, to big, huge multi-billion dollar media companies are publishing news content to it, right. We’re seeing it mature from its sophomore years into its college years nd then we’re gonna see it mature even further as the years go on. So it’s something to watch. Maybe not…we don’t need to necessarily take any actions right now, but it’s certainly something to watch for the future so we wanted to include that in this overview.
Let’s briefly go over some other changes. So we wanted to talk about the major changes in those four networks but there have been some other changes that have gone on. Snapchat just partnered with some different media companies to promote…to provide new tools for businesses. We just covered that a little bit on the media companies that are advertising with Snapchat right now. But this also means that they’re trying to find new tool sets that they can give to businesses who want to advertise on Snapchat, so that’s great. It’s an indication that they’re trying to go more towards businesses, to accommodate businesses more, to make it a better advertising platform.
LinkedIn and Pinterest have made minor changes. You remember that LinkedIn was just recently acquired by Microsoft so that’s big news. We don’t know what that’s going to mean for the future of LinkedIn as a social network platform, but Microsoft is big in the industry so it means it’s gonna be around for quite a while. And then, if you’re interested in keeping up with more social media changes, we highly recommend checking out the Hootsuite and Buffer Blogs. They are really focused on social media, and if you really want to kind of get granular, if you love geeking out over this kind of topic, those are both great blogs to follow because they’ve got social media updates at a constant pace.
Now, if we were to try and pick the ones that had the greatest challenges over the next six months to year, it’s gonna be Twitter and Snapchat because both of those platforms are still having a hard time reaching a mainstream audience and both of those platforms are still not quite understood. Everybody gets Facebook, everybody gets Instagram. Those two just make sense, but Twitter still targets a niche audience, you know, the kind of people who are on Twitter are in journalism or they’re in gaming or they’re trying to reach other professional people or…it’s not…it hasn’t really caught on with it with as large of an audience as Facebook. So they’ve got some growing pains to get through and we’re seeing that manifested by the changes that they’re making now to the way that their Twitter box works, the character count and so on.
And then Snapchat, being as young as it is, still has…it still he has to meet a mainstream audience and still skews very young, as we talked about. So those two are gonna be struggling a little bit so if you need to find which ones you want to put your time and effort into, we would recommend Facebook and Instagram. Those are mature social networks. They have great tools sets for businesses today, with even more that are coming out in the future. Twitter and Snapchat are great to just look at and to monitor and to think about…for working with your business in the future.
Ladies and gentlemen, thank you so much for joining. We are now going to open this up to a Q&A. You’ve got questions, we’ve got answers. Let us know what you would like to learn.
Alex Gaggioli: Great. So just as I wait for a couple questions to roll in, so a lot of the things that we mentioned today had to do with tools that are gonna be available in the near future or, you know, in the case of Snapchat, you know, those platforms aren’t 100% ready for every single business to be on and, you know, hire a direct person for Snapchat would just seem ridiculous at this point. But we’re reporting on all these things, all these changes because they show a larger shift for all these platforms and how important and influential they’re gonna be to every size business in the future. Especially, you know, we’ve become a big believer in Facebook over here at Cloudbeds just because of the way that you can target people, based on your website traffic or based on dynamic ads or retargeting and all of these different things. So I think…and it’s an exciting time because it’s become a lot easier for people to target through social media than it ever has been through Google and much less nuance as well, so much easier to understand.
Brandon Dennis: You can get really granular with Facebook in particular because they just have so much information about people. Every single time somebody logs into Facebook and they create their profiles, they’re listing their favorite foods, their favorite T.V. shows, the radio stations they like listening to, the movies they like listening to, the brands they like shopping at, the other kinds of friends that they like associating with, the schools that they’ve been to, all of these unique personal pieces of information that marketers have never had access to until today, and that’s all available on Facebook. And all of that can go into the way that you target your guests on Facebook, the kinds of people whom you would like to see view your ads.
All right, last call for questions, ladies and gentlemen. This has been a fun webinar. We covered a lot of content and I’m sure some of you have questions but if not, we will save those for another day. Let us know by just hovering over the Q&A button at the top of the screen, click on that, and then write a question if you have one and we will do our very best to answer them. So we do these webinars every other Thursday, so twice a month and we also have a companion e-book that we’re publishing alongside, with this webinar. So if there is anything…if we went by a little too quickly or if you just wanted to read some more data on that, we have an e-book that we’re going to be publishing tomorrow, along with the recording of this webinar which we are publishing on our website so that you can download the e-book and read more detailed information and then rewatch the recording of this webinar at a future time.
Alex Gaggioli: Great, so let’s say we answer all the questions that came in. You’ll see a chat functionality either on the top or bottom of this webinar, I’m gonna pop a survey in there. If you guys could answer for us it’s only eight questions that’ll take you two minutes to fill out and give us some feedback on how you felt today went, if the topic was interesting to you, if we answered your questions appropriately, that would be great. I just slid it in there right there. We’ll also include it in the e-mail that we’ll set out either later today or tomorrow. The surveys really help us in determining what went wrong, what went great, and how to make them better in the future.
Brandon Dennis: Thanks, everybody. We’d love to hear your feedback. It’s gonna help direct us to produce more webinars for you in the future. And with that, I think we will end things. So thank you so much for coming to this week’s webinar on social media changes in the first half of 2016. We have a lot of great topics up our sleeves for future webinars so be sure to stay tuned for the next topic in this series of Cloudbeds webinars. Thank you all so much for coming.