1 billion! That’s how many people are now on Facebook.

This may help explain why people would consider paying $7 to get their personal pictures or posts seen by friends. Or why Facebook has made a renewed investment in customer service.

Who knows?

But what we do know is Facebook isn’t slowing down with new updates and neither are its two biggest competitors: LinkedIn and Twitter.

Read about all these top marketing stories in this week’s news roundup.

1. Facebook reaches 1 billion users

Facebook has hit a new milestone: the site now has 1 billion users. In a brief statement, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg announced that the social network reached this milestone on September 14, making it one of the fastest growing sites in the history of the Internet.

Bottom Line: It’s not breaking news that Facebook is huge. We see the signs of Facebook’s popularity everyday—on TV, in the stores, and in the scarcity of people we meet who don’t have a presence on Facebook. But still, with seven billion people in the world and an estimated 2.5 billion people online, it’s an incredibly impressive milestone for this social giant.

It’s also a big reason why so many consumers may view brand Pages as a more helpful than brand websites.

2. Facebook revamps its help center and support dashboard

Facebook redesigned its help center and rolled out a new support dashboard this week making it easier for users to navigate privacy settings, learn about new features, and get their questions answered.

The help center is designed to help users keep up with the new features, which are constantly rolling out on the network. It should help avoid some of the same problems that took place when the site made its much publicized switch to Timeline early this year.

The support dashboard aims to help users track the progress of complaints made about the network’s photos and Timelines.

Bottom Line: Facebook hasn’t exactly been praised for the quality of service it provides users when it comes to resolving technical problems or having questions answered. This should be a step in the right direction—providing all users with two valuable resources that were really nonexistent prior to this new release. (We also welcome all of your Facebook-related questions in the comments below!)

3. Users can now pay to get more recognition from friends on Facebook


That’s the price Facebook users will have to pay if they want to promote Facebook posts to their network of friends. This new feature, which began rolling out in the US this week, is designed to help individual users get noticed in the same way that brands do with Promoted Posts or Sponsored Stories.

Users should see a “Promote” option next to the “Like” and “Comment” buttons on each of their posts, which will let users, have their content show up longer and more predominately in friends’ newsfeeds.

Bottom Line: Promoted personal posts are more interesting than anything else. Unlike Promoted Posts for brands, there is no real measurable benefit of giving content more visibility other than getting more recognition from friends. It could present an opportunity for business owners that use their personal profiles to promote events (like fundraisers), but in most cases its best to keep personal and professional activity separate on Facebook.

4. Twitter partners with Nielsen: introduces surveys

Twitter rolled out a new tool for advertisers this week: survey.

The new survey feature will work much like promoted tweets, in that they will show up right in the news stream of targeted users. Twitter Surveys will be promoted through a specialized Twitter handle (@TwitterSurveys). They are designed to help advertisers gather useful information like brand awareness, willingness to purchase, and other advertising metrics.

Twitter has partnered with Nielsen, a global information and measurement company, to analyze the survey data for advertisers.

Bottom Line: Using online surveys to collect information and valuable feedback from your customers is a great idea for small businesses. It helps you better understand customer needs, how customers are responding to the content you’re creating, and what customers really want to hear about.

That being said, this new feature from Twitter will have to prove its value to advertisers before small businesses decide whether or not it’s a worth-while investment for their brands.

Find out how Online Survey from Constant Contact can help you collect the feedback you’re looking for.

5. LinkedIn introduces influencer program — lets users follow thought leaders without request

LinkedIn introduced a new feature this week that will allow users to follow updates from select thought leaders, without sending connection requests. This new “influencer program” is a change of pace for LinkedIn, which has up to this point required users to send connections to all users before being able to view their content.

Currently the influencer program includes a list of 150 top professionals including President Barack Obama, Virgin CEO Richard Branson, and LinkedIn CEO Jeff Weiner.

Bottom Line: LinkedIn has been on a roll over the last few weeks—first introducing a redesign to company pages and then rolling out a new endorsement feature. They have also worked to boost activity on the sites newsfeed in an effort to keep its users on the site longer. This appears to be a step in that same direction, giving users yet another reason to stick around.

Check out who you can follow and what top professionals are doing on LinkedIn.

What news stories caught your eye this week? Tell us in the comments.