Instagram Won’t Be Selling Your Holiday Photos … And Other Hot Topics

A picture may be worth a thousand words, but if you’re a social media company and you try to sell that picture without the permission of the person who created it—some of those words may not be too friendly.

That’s a lesson that Instagram had to learn this week when it tried to give itself and potential advertisers an early holiday present.

Plus, what would a week of social media news be without a new Facebook update? Don’t worry, you’re going to like this one.

Learn about these top stories and find out which new video app could make it easier to capture the memories this holiday season in this week’s marketing news roundup.

1. Instagram causes uproar over terms of service; backtracks on changes

This week, Instagram learned the hard way that when changing your Terms of Service, it’s important to choose your words carefully.

The company caused an uproar on Monday, after news spread of an update to its terms that users feared would give Instagram the right to sell user photos to advertisers without permission or compensation.

While Instagram claims it was never it’s intention to sell user images, it has since apologized and backtracked to its original terms.

Bottom Line: Instagram users also learned a tough lesson this week—when signing up for any social network makes sure to read the terms of service carefully. If you are unsure of any of the terms you’re agreeing to or are nervous that these terms are “subject to change,” don’t agree to them.

Social media may be a powerful tool for growing your business, but it also comes with certain realities that many business owners may not be comfortable with. The fact is you do not have complete and total control over the content you share on social media. And even if a site like Instagram backtracks on plans to sell photos today, there’s no guarantee that these changes won’t resurface in the future.

The same is true when it comes to the connections you make with customers via social media. Fans and followers are great but as a small business you don’t own those contacts. So, if a site like Facebook decides to make a change that limits your ability to reach those people—you’re powerless.

But you don’t have to be! Instead, take the steps necessary to collect customer contact information. Share your email newsletters, provide a sign-up tab on your Facebook Page, ask customers to join your list—do everything you can to take those relationships outside of the social world so you can build relationships on terms of your own.

2. Facebook’s mobile Nearby tab gets some serious improvements

Facebook announced a major update to the Nearby tab on its iOS and Android apps this week.

Previously, Nearby only provided users with a list of businesses and landmarks where other users had checked-in. But with this recent update, Nearby will now integrate a new system for sorting these results based on user feedback via likes, rating, and check-ins. It is Facebook’s hope that this new update will help provide users with more relevant suggestions for local places.

Facebook had this to say about the new update:

“Local businesses such as restaurants and salons have always relied on word-of-mouth recommendations, and now Nearby makes those recommendations relevant to people on the go looking for places around them.”

Bottom Line: With more than half of all Page views now coming from mobile devices, this update could provide a valuable opportunity for businesses to get discovered by new customers on Facebook.

For businesses that do have physical locations, it is now more important than ever to make sure the information on your Facebook Page is accurate and up-to-date. Facebook lets businesses share a lot about themselves in the “About” section of its Page.

For a better look at the “About” section and to get a better idea of what you may want to double-check when optimizing your Facebook Page for Nearby, check out 10 Things You Need to Do When Getting Started on Facebook.

3. Twitter hits 400 million tweets per day; 200 million active users

Twitter announced two new milestones this week: 200 million active users and 400 million tweets per day.

While this number is impressive on its own—it is even more impressive considering that just eight months ago the site celebrated its sixth anniversary by announcing 140 million active users and 340 million tweets per day. (That’s a 42% jump in usership in less than a year!)

Bottom Line: With more competition for a piece of the social pie than ever before, Twitter continues to be one of the most popular and fastest growing social networks.

If you’ve been thinking about branching out your social strategy in 2013, Twitter could be a great jumping off point for businesses that have been Facebook-only in the past. Learn the first 10 things you’ll need to do when getting starting on Twitter.

4. YouTube rolls out new app to make creating videos on-the-go easier than ever before

YouTube Capture, the newest YouTube app from Google, may change the way businesses think about creating online video. The app brings many of YouTube’s most popular features, which had previously only been available on the YouTube site, to mobile for the first time.

YouTube Capture will include such features as automatic color correction, trimming, free background music, and image stabilization. It is hoped that the new app will also cut-down on the number of businesses falling victim to “vertical video syndrome,” which occurs when users hold their smartphones vertically when snapping photos or capturing video. This results in wide black margins and a narrow, hard-to-watch, video.

(Note: YouTube Capture is currently only available for iOS users—no word on if or when it will be available on other mobile devices.)

Bottom Line: This is big news for fans of YouTube and businesses that are currently using, or have been thinking about using online video for their marketing efforts. If you’ve ever used the traditional YouTube app, you know how much of an improvement it will be to have all of the editing features that come with the YouTube site, available in the palm of your hand.

And, with automatic social sharing to sites like Facebook and Twitter, businesses will be able to integrate online video into their social media marketing with a single click.

Looking for video ideas for your small business or nonprofit? Here are 6 Kinds of Online Videos You Can Make Without Spending a Dime.

5. Study: Email still most-likely to send customers to stores

A new survey from Wanderful Media, looking at changes in consumer behavior in a more mobile world, provided some revealing details into how consumers are making shopping decisions.

According to the study, email marketing is still most effective in getting people to come in to buy—with 60% of respondents saying they had gone into a store after receiving a special or promotion via email.

The study also looked at the role that mobile has in the shopping habits of consumers. According to the survey, 92% had used smarthpones while in-store. The most popular resources that smarthpone users rely on for in-store research were search engines (92%), followed by Amazon (76%), the business website (53%), and social media (37%).

Of those who do use their devices to help with in-store shopping decisions, nearly two-thirds typically end up buying the product they are researching that day.

Bottom Line: Email marketing continues to drive huge results for businesses—big and small. And with checking email still the most popular online activity on mobile, expect the continued growth of mobile to give email an even bigger boost in 2013.

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

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