The Internet’s Gone Crazy for Pictures, and Other Hot Topics

You didn’t have to be looking all that hard to notice that the biggest trend in online content these days is visual content.

From infographics to photos, and on sites like Facebook, Instagram, and yes, Pinterest, all anyone wants to do right now is take, create, and share pictures and illustrations.

To capitalize on this, tools like Visual.ly are now making it even easier for people to create infographics, and Pinterest has redesigned its profile pages to help its users make better use of the site.

That’s just one of the week’s hot topics. We were also buzzing about changes to Google’s algorithm that will favor good content over search engine optimization, and new stats about why people are unfriending each other — not to mention what a share, “Like,” follow, and tweet are worth.

So let’s get right to it. Here are the week’s hot topics.

1. Google to target overly SEO’d websites

At South by Southwest this week, Matt Cutts, Google’s head of search spam, revealed that the search engine giant is close to releasing an update that will “level the playing field” between sites that include good quality content and others that are overly optimized for search engines.

Bottom line: I may be biased, but good content always trumps search engine optimization. If your content is created with your audience in mind, and it provides a valuable service or a good user experience, it will be seen, shared, and found. Don’t worry about Google’s algorithm. Focus on delivering the best content you can.

2. Now you can create your own infographics

Infographics, those attractive illustrations of many data points, are the content marketing trend du jour. But you don’t need to be a fancy schmancy designer, or have one on staff, to create one. Visual.ly has just launched a self-service tool that allows anyone to create their own infographic about Twitter accounts and hashtags.

Bottom line: Do you use hashtags at your events? You should! This new tool would be a great way to represent all the social media activity that takes place; to recognize your most active, engaged attendees; and to show off the great info that’s discussed.

3. What is a “Like,” share, follow, or tweet worth?

In their continuing quest to measure the ROI of social media, marketers are always trying to put a value on various activities. New research from Imbue Marketing may provide some answers: A share on Facebook is the most highly-prized action in social media, with a value of $14, a Facebook “Like” is worth $8, a Twitter tweet is worth $5, and a Twitter follow is worth $2.

Bottom line: Like we always say, getting someone to “Like” or follow you on social media is only the first step. After that, you have to engage them with, among other things, great content. The more you do that, the more your content will be shared, and your brand will be talked about on social channels. And that’s when new prospects will start to feel a connection with you, and will bring more business your way.

4. The time to get visual is now

With sites like Pinterest and Instagram, and tactics like infographics, on the rise, it’s clear people are craving pictures, videos, and other visual content. And not just looking at them. Newer, smarter devices are letting people create visual content easier than they ever could before.

Bottom line: Facebook users upload 250 million photos a day, and one Harvard Business School study estimated that 70% of all activities inside the social network revolve around photos. At the end of 2011, users were uploading photos to Instagram at a rate of 60 per second. And Pinterest … well, if you’ve been reading this blog regularly, then you know we’re fans of the site too. If you’re not using photos or videos (otherwise known as rich media) in your emails and on social media, then there’s no time like the present to start.

5. Why do people unfriend each other on Facebook?

Politics has its place, and that place may not be Facebook. According to a new study by the Pew Internet & American Life Project, the contentious election cycle is having an effect on people’s connections on the social network, and that’s resulting in a number of friends disconnecting from each other. To wit:

  • 10% of users have unfriended someone because he posted too often about political subjects
  • 9% did it because a friend posted something politically offensive
  • 8% did it because a friend argued about politics
  • 4% did it because a user disagreed with a friend’s political posts

Bottom line: If you start to see your friend count go down, this could be why. While there’s no reason not to share your views and opinions on social media (you’ve gotta be authentic, after all), be aware that some of your friends may not want to hear them. And that’s okay. For businesses and organizations, unless what you do is centered around politics, it’s usually good to stay away from those topics altogether.

What hot topics had you buzzing this week? Share them with us in the comments section below.

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