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Four hot (and unexpected) social media marketing plays for 2016

Social media marketing is a vital part of running a successful business. For 2016, here are 4 social media platforms you’ll want to consider tapping into for your marketing efforts.

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Social media marketing in 2016: What you need to know

If you’re running a business, chances are you’ve learned a thing or two about social media marketing somewhere along your journey. For 2016, there are several social media platforms you’ll want to check out. While these platforms aren’t exactly “new,” they are becoming increasingly popular.

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Instagram, Snapchat, and Facebook, are certainly popular with millennials, but there are four more untapped social media marketing gems you should consider for 2016: Kik, Imgur, YikYak, and Venmo. Let’s take a look at Venmo first, since it’s the odd one in group as it deals with finance, rather than connecting directly.

1. Why you need to know about a finance app

Venmo is a personal finance site that lets users send money over the Internet. It’s a bit like PayPal, but it’s way more popular with the student crowd as it allows you to split bills, chip in on a trip, or divide the payments for concert tickets. You may have seen ads for Venmo on television. Ads for the Mayweather-Pacquiao pay-per-view match let people know they could easily split the cost of the fight with a friend using Venmo. This is a great way to market to an untapped user base, especially if you have a product or service that could be split up and made more cost-effective with Venmo.

2. Our personal favorite site ever

Imgur is the next platform to keep an eye on for social media marketing. Imgur is a meme generator and image hosting site that is particularly popular with the younger crowd. It has more than 150 million users, most of these being millennial men. Imgur has become more popular for hosting than TinyPic, Photobucket, and ImageShack. Brands like eBay and Old Spice have already begun experimenting with advertising here; so it’s only a matter of time before other brands jump on board. If you haven’t established a presence on Imgur, you may want to consider it. Imgur states that most of their users spend three or more hours on the platform/app per week; with 150 million+ users, there’s definitely a large audience established for branding your product or business.

3. & 4. Mobile messaging apps are booming

YikYak and Kik serve the same function: they connect people anonymously. Kik boasts over 240 million users and is a mobile messaging platform. Think of it as a modern day AIM, or instant text message without giving out your phone number kind of deal. The Kik user base is very young, with most users being under 25. Kik is a great way to reach the younger demographic, without the need to target your advertising on platforms like Facebook and Twitter. Kik enthusiasts sent content like video and GIFs along with their messages, so there is potential for marketers to make a large impact with minimal effort: Kik is about simplicity.

YikYak is an anonymous posting board, where you can discuss anything without fear of censorship or repercussions. It’s a bit like Reddit, but without the limitations. This is also the caveat of YikYak: it’s a bit unsafe, as people can say anything they like about your brand. Again, however, the user base is younger, especially popular with college students looking to vent their frustrations, so YikYak is a good way to tap into that market, just exercise a bit of caution.

Social media niche sites are a great target

While there are likely other apps on the market that offer similar opportunities, these four have the greatest potential to reach new demographics and widen your fan base than any others in 2016. What do you think? Will you be advertising outside of Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest?

#SocialMedia2016

Jennifer Walpole is a Senior Staff Writer at The American Genius and holds a Master's degree in English from the University of Oklahoma. She is a science fiction fanatic and enjoys writing way more than she should. She dreams of being a screenwriter and seeing her work on the big screen in Hollywood one day.

Social Media

Facebook wants to hear from you. Literally. For innocent reasons

(SOCIAL MEDIA) As if Facebook didn’t already own everything that is you, they are asking to hear you say a specific phrase for their new voice services.

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facebook portal

Good news, Facebook is now offering to pay you to let strangers listen to you! Well, kind of.

Users connect to Viewpoints – a different app under the Facebook umbrella – which allows them to participate in market research. In this case, participants repeat the phrase “Hey Portal, call,” followed by the name of a Facebook friend, and submit the recording. The whole ordeal is about five minutes, tops.

By finishing this and other tasks, participants can expect to make a grand total of…$5. It’s not much, but at least that’s a fancy cup of coffee for work you can do while waiting for the ads to finish on your TV show.

So, why is Facebook shelling out $5 for people to make voice recordings? Surprisingly, it’s because AI is not nearly as smart as we sometimes assume – especially when it comes to voice commands. There’s a whole host of things that go into how we communicate, like posture, tone and even slang, which can make understanding vocal commands a much bigger ordeal.

In order to make improvements to the system, it often requires teams of humans putting in the leg-work. This means studying the disconnect between humans and machines, as well as creating solutions. Unfortunately, this human touch is also the excuse companies like Amazon use to justify listening in on your conversations. (Sure, users can ‘opt out’ but come on. That’s not exactly something Amazon advertises.)

As more people grow aware of the potential breach of privacy that tech like Alexa or Portal can bring, however, it’s put pressure on companies to scale back. Which is where Facebook’s new paid survey comes in. Unlike an anonymous employee listening in on a random Portal conversation, this way participants opt in, rather than out, of having their information shared.

The academic in me is slightly skeptical. There’s only so far a paid study like this can get, especially when it comes to the nuances of voice command. The conspiracy theorist in me is also skeptical, mostly because although Facebook promises they won’t sell your information or publicly share it, there’s still plenty of nefarious things to be done. That said, at the end of the day, at least Facebook isn’t just swiping information off your Portal…and you even get some pocket change in exchange.

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Facebook beta features fresh friendly facade you can try out

(SOCIAL MEDIA) Facebook is trying to change it’s image, literally. They already changed their logo, now is time for a new design you can see in the beta.

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facebook beta

After sixteen years in the game, Facebook is getting a facelift. Facebook has been working on a redesign for quite some time and they’re finally starting to roll out a beta. Facebook is taking the rollout slow, so it looks like just a few users are seeing the redesign and the rest of us will have to wait. Want to be among the first to test out the new look? Here’s how you can, maybe, make it happen.

If you are one of the lucky few who has been selected to beta test, then getting the new design should be simple. When you log into your account (as if you ever log out) a pop up will prompt you to try out the new beta. If this doesn’t happen, and you’re still feeling optimistic, then turn your eye to the upper right-hand corner of your screen and look for a button labeled “See Facebook Beta.” Still no button, but want to keep the hope alive? Click the drop-down arrow in the right-hand corner of your screen and see if the Facebook Beta option appears in the dropdown. Nothing yet? Tough luck, kid. You have not been chosen.

If the new design is available to you, then Facebook will offer to give you a tour of the new system. The fresh UI aims to simplify the user experience by making the page less cluttered and easier to navigate. Icons will be sleeker and brighter and it should be easier than ever to access your Messenger conversations. And if you decide that you kind of hate the new design, no big deal. Users will have the option to switch back to the classic design, at least while the redesign is still in beta.

Platform redesigns are always a contentious topic of conversation for users. Twitter, in particular, has seen some user drama over its redesigns through the years. Sometimes a redesign will knock out your favorite feature or make a shortcut you used to take in a workflow pointless. And, honestly, sometimes people just don’t like change. Whatever side of the coin you’re on, let us know how you feel about Facebook’s new look.

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Google takes a shot at competing with TikTok, Pinterest videos

(SOCIAL MEDIA) We all love to sit and watch short videos, be they humorous, reactionary, or weird, but here is Googles attempt to get educational with Tangi.

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Tangi screenshot

It’s happened to anyone who’s ever been looking online for how-to help… you click on a likely-sounding YouTube video, only to be greeted by an ad you can’t skip, a whole lot of introductory chit-chat, and three minutes of build-up before you finally see exactly what you need to do to handle your would-be DIY hack.

But what if you could get your answer in 60 seconds or less? It’s the concept behind Tangi, a newly released Google app created in the company’s Area 120 incubator by developer Coco Mao.

Variously described as short-form YouTube, video Pinterest, or TikTok for makers, Tangi was inspired by Mao discovering that her “smartphone challenged” parents were using their devices to watch photography and painting tutorials—and developing new hobbies as a result.

She came back to Google and worked with her team to develop Tangi as a place where such how-to inspiration could be more easily found and taken advantage of. “The name is inspired by the words TeAch aNd Give,” she explained as she introduced the app at the end of January. “’Tangible’—things you can make.”

The philosophy behind Tangi means this is hands-on how-to for the crafty club. The time-lapse heavy videos “could quickly get a point across,” Mao said, “something that used to take a long time to learn with just text and images.”

Videos fall into categories of art, cooking, DIY, fashion and beauty, and lifestyle, and are often accompanied by links to recipes or the maker’s blog or Instagram for more information. Some makers don’t quite have the format down pat yet, but most manage to provide a good balance of visual inspiration and a little more information.

And like Pinterest, Tangi can turn into a time-lapsing rabbit hole of its own. I started with a mere 10-second clip on propagating succulents (I’ve been doing it wrong), which led to a minute on “when succulents stretch” (“etiolation” — new vocabulary word!), which led to a succulent cake which led to a conversation heart cake and before I knew it, 20 minutes had gone by and I was watching an exploding heart science Valentine and had washed up at “Yoda one for me.”

While the app has only been out for about a week … and is only available on iOS and the web … it’s already well populated with content from makers and lifestyle bloggers who partnered with Mao’s team during the development process. And though it’s still in closed-beta mode for content creators, users can apply to be on a waitlist to be invited to upload their own work.

There are a few question marks still. No word on when it will be available on Google’s own Android platform, for one thing. While a couple of intrepid contributors are reviewing education apps and dispensing startup advice, its philosophy as stated by team lead Mao may not extend much more beyond the maker and creative fields to include technology and workplace input. And Google doesn’t always support its apps for long.

But it’s fun, simple, and easy on the eyes. As a place to find quick inspiration and direction, Tangi could carve out a niche.

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