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Budgets are on the rise for Social Media

112987077Many still struggle with how exactly to measure and attribute success

Budgets for social media marketing are on the rise, with both B2B and B2C marketers proving they have generated leads and sales from their social outreach.

In its "State of Digital Marketing 2012 Report," Webmarketing123 found that 52% of US B2C marketers and 41% of US B2B marketers planned to increase their social marketing budgets in 2013, while an additional 46% of B2C and 56% of B2B marketers will keep them the same.

Facebook was the most popular site for B2C marketers, with 65% reporting that they spent money there. Only 40% of B2B marketers said the same of Facebook. However, 39% of B2B marketers spent money on LinkedIn, compared to only 23% of B2C marketers. Greater percentages of B2C marketers were using Twitter, Google+ and Pinterest than were B2B marketers. However, the difference for Google+, which has been popular for technology conversations in particular, was only 3 percentage points.

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Google Bought its own Instagram

112987077Five months after Facebook's (FB) famous $1 billion Instagram purchase, Google (GOOG) is trying to get in on the photo-tweaking action too. The search giant has acquired Nik Software, the 17-year-old company behind photo-editing and filter app Snapseed. Though terms of the deal weren't disclosed, it's clearly not Instagram money. That said, Google is pouring cash into its widening battle with Facebook, adding more features to its still-scrappy (but growing) social network Google+. Snapseed is just the latest weapon in Google's fight to lure Facebook users over to its side.

Many compare Snapseed to Instagram, but Snapseed in many ways offers much more. It ought to, since unlike Instagram, it's software for which you pay anywhere from $5 to $20. With Instagram you can slap one of 16 filters and frames onto a picture, then change the focus and saturation, but Snapseed can do all that and then some. The app is known for precision adjustments to color, lighting, and color saturation, but it can also straighten, crop, sharpen, and add vintage and texture-based filters to photos. Within a year of launching Snapseed, the app reached 9 million users and won the 2011 iPad App of the Year. It's available for Mac and Windows for $20 and iOS for $5. An Android version has been promised since January of this year, but so far there's no sign of it. That ought to change pretty fast given the new owners, unless Snapseed gets absorbed into existing Google products.

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How brands can utilize the Twitter header photo update

112987077Facebook Timeline cover photos gave us our first taste of social networking profiles for companies that could visually represent the brand but, more importantly, the personality of a business. Spicing up profiles on most other networks was left to creative descriptions and creative content. Twitter just changed that.

Launched this week, Twitter is starting to look more like Facebook, a move that's great for brands trying to better showcase themselves on the network. For individual businesses and agencies, this presents several opportunities not to overlook.

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5 essential parts of a B2B Social Media Plan

112987077Social media for B2B marketing is similar to its B2C counterpart in some ways. But in other ways, it's very different. If you want to connect with the executives in your target market, here are the must-have components to your B2B social media plan.

1. A platform for one-on-one interaction.

For executives, the most popular social media network — by far — is LinkedIn, according to a report by CEO.com. Having a presence on LinkedIn, or a similar question aggregator such as Quora, is an effective way to get in front of decision-makers when they go digging around for info.

For LinkedIn, try becoming a regular contributor in a popular forum for your industry. Alternatively, a consider creating and moderating a unique group for your company.

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LinkedIn Best Practice Tips: To Connect or Not to Connect?

112987077As Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and other social networks continue to evolve, it's hard to keep track of all the changes taking place.

I'm sure many have noticed recent LinkedIn changes in the Home page layout.

Another change that took place over the past few months, although not as noticeable, makes it much easier now to "personalize" the "I'd like to add you to my professional network on LinkedIn." connection request message.

This article is intended for both those new to LinkedIn and the experienced user that may not be aware of this much needed change that now allows one to "edit" the connect message PRIOR to sending it.

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