In the last week we have seen three major social network relaunches. Facebook launched Places in the UK last Friday. Twitter launched it’s ‘New Twitter‘ homepage last Wednesday. And yesterday Foursquare launched its new mobile app. It’s enough to make you queezy with confusion.
So we’ve put together a guide to the some of the important things you might need to know about new Facebook, Twitter and Foursquare for the digital PR and marketing managers out there.
Facebook Places has been in the wild for some time now in the US, but launched in the UK only last week. It works from your mobile phone and allows you to say where you are and check into a place. From the menu screen inside the Facebook app on your phone, Places is one of the options for you to click on, like inbox or photos. Your phone then detects whereabouts you are, and you choose which place is right from the list. You can add a new place if the one you’re at isn’t there. But the phone’s signal knows where on the map you are, so you don’t need to figure much out.
Checking into a place is like tagging yourself in a photo. You can tag friends, and you can add a caption. Then people can like or comment on the check-in.
What does this mean for brands? As a brand, you can claim a place as your own (if, say, you’re a coffee shop). You can then link that place to your Facebook page, helping to cross-promote your activity on Facebook with people physically visiting your place. The way to do it is in the Facebook FAQs here.
So if you’re thinking people might be checking into your places using Places, then claim what’s yours and start linking it all up.
New Foursquare launched this week. To experience it, you just need to download the new version of the mobile app from whatever app store you need for your phone. Here’s what’s new:
- To-do lists: you can now organise what you’d like to do more easily
- Locating your friends: Foursquare now shows you where your friends are on a map
- Mapping tips: you can see tips, or venue recommendations, from your friends, on a map too
What does this mean for brands using Foursquare? If you consider old Foursquare as a system that allowed you to easily tell your friends and social networks like Twitter where you were and what you were doing. Brands were able to offer promotions to you based on what you did and where you were. That still works. But new Foursquare will work more like a planner, so you can more easily see what you’d like to do next, from your lists, friends’ tips and maps. And this means brands can be smarter in the specials that they place on Foursquare so that they attract planned visits, not just spur of the moment special offers.
New Twitter has begun a phased-in launch, which started last week and is still rolling out across the social network’s 150 million users. What’s new about it is the home screen of the web page. When a user logs on, they see a ‘double-page’ view, instead of the ‘single page’ old Twitter experience. The new look and feel take a step towards the way Twitter dashboards like Tweetdeck and Seesmic look. Here’s how new Twitter works, compared to Old Twitter, explained by Twitter’s team itself:
The key elements of how New Twitter will change how users experience content on the network:
- More followers for interestingness: if you own an interesting and rich Twitter account, more people will end up following you. Why? Because more information about you will pop up in front of other Twitter users in the right hand pane of the New Twitter homepage
- Multimedia content opens up on the same page, so if you are a brand sharing lots of nice videos or pictures, people will get to see it all without being sent to a new browser window or new tab. This means people should end up staying with you for longer
- More user information: you’ll be able to see more about users you’re talking to or clicking on without having open up another page