On Thursday, Twitter made an announcement that many had been anticipating for quite some time.

The IPO filing is the first step to becoming a public company. The timeline for when that takes place is not clear at this point.

Bottom Line: What does the Twitter IPO mean for the future of Twitter? I asked Danielle Cormier, Social Media Community Manager, to share her thoughts.

“I think we all knew this was coming eventually, but I just hope it doesn’t mean more ads across the platform. Right now, I think Twitter has just the right amount of ads mixed in. Often times on Facebook, ads feel like interruptions to your social conversation. I think Twitter has better options for making ads feel like part of the social conversation with targeting based on what you’re tweeting about. That would be the only up side of having more ads.”

Here are some of the other top stories that caught our eye this week…

Why people follow small businesses on Twitter

A new survey from Marketing Probe International reveals some good news for small businesses on Twitter.

According to the survey, more than 7 out of 10 participants say that they are more likely to do business with a small brand after becoming a follower.

This may explain why, for 73 percent of participants, the top reason for following a small business on Twitter is to receive updates on future products, followed by “to show support”(63 percent), and “to interact with SMB” (61 percent).

Bottom Line: Last year, we surveyed more than 1,000 small business owners and found that just 31 percent of small businesses are posting on Twitter at least once a week.

While not every small business needs to be on Twitter, there’s no denying the positive impact it is having on businesses that do engage with customers and prospects on this network.

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Google introduces a cool new photo editor for Google+

Google is rolling out new web-based photo-editing tools for its members on Google+.

Some of the additions will be brand new to Google+ users and others will improve on tools already available to members.

Google provided an overview of the update in a Google+ post:

  • Auto Enhance already makes the photos you add to Google+ look great. Now you can customize and fine tune these adjustments if you have a different look in mind.
  • Selective adjust lets you make edits to specific parts of your image, so you can make that summer sky look even more blue without affecting the beach in the foreground.
  • Filters like Vintage, Drama, Retrolux or Black and White give your photos a new look. Add the finishing touch with a frame.

Bottom Line: Small businesses now have more tools than ever before to create and share photos online. On social media, photos can help boost engagement and reach new audiences. In the inbox, photos can help reinforce your message and make a more personal connection with your readers.

If you haven’t started using photos in your online marketing, now is a great time to start.

Q&A with Google on the new Gmail tabs

This week, MarketingLand sat down with Alex Gawley, Gmail Product Manager, to discuss Gmail Tabs.

The interview offered a number of valuable insights into the response Google has seen since introducing tabs, and what the future could look like for the Gmail inbox.

One of the more interesting takeaways offered insight into how Google is filtering emails into the “Promotions” tab:

“Gmail users basically decide what goes into each tab. It isn’t like there’s a single magic set of variables. The way the system works, it looks at a whole bunch of features for each of the messages and where people put them. If a lot of people are moving them out of Promotions, it’s likely in the future it will move them out [automatically],” Gawley said. “It’s really guided by the hand of Gmail users.”

Read the full post.

Bottom Line: Gawley also offered some important advice for email marketers who may have concerns about the recent changes.

“Our advice hasn’t changed very much. Send people mail they expect to get from you. Send high-quality mail. Do all the right hygiene things you should be doing. If you send high-quality and expected content to users, they’ll want to read it. That’s the best advice,” Gawley said.

Here are a few resources to help you make the most of the new Gmail Tabs:

What Small Businesses Need to Know about Gmail’s New Inbox

A Discussion About Gmail’s New Inbox and Facebook Embedded Posts [Speakeasy Podcast #47]

Gmail’s New Inbox: What to Say to Your Gmail Subscribers

What news stories caught your eye this week? Let us know in the comments below.