Facebook starts to break itself apart, Google+ searches for clarity around follower counts and Twitter buys Gnip, in this week’s Social You Should Know.What Will Facebook Look Like in Five Years?
Facebook is taking the unusual step of breaking its core product into pieces. Soon, mobile users won’t be able to message people without installing the separate Messenger app. Want news? Facebook wants you to open its Paper app. Share and look at photos? Instagram. It’s a very interesting, very risky strategy. For us as marketers, it further cements what I said in my recent book. We need to be ready for a post-Facebook world. There’s still tremendous opportunity but in a changing environment.Twitter Buys Gnip
Gnip is a social data provider that has access to every Tweet ever written, plus the full fire hose of current tweets. So in the case where you wanted to analyze every tweet on a subject, you paid Gnip.Twitter bought Gnip this week, giving Twitter another product to sell directly. But Gnip also connectsthrough APIs into Reddit, Instagram and more, so it will be interesting to see how that plays out. Will those other platforms let Twitter sell access to their data over the long term?Google+ Follower Counts Appear to Fall
If you suddenly appeared to lose Google+ followers late last month, never fear. What really happened is that Google has separated followers from those who +1, to those who were in circles. Confused? You should be. Google+ still displays different numbers on the G+ page for a brand than they do on the badge you can put on your site. Mashable’s page indicates three million followers. Their badge indicates 4.2 million followers. Bottom line: You didn’t lose followers. The scoring system just changed.
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Here at Ignite Social Media, we love giving. We love giving: high fives, kudos to our colleagues who've helped us out, and perhaps most importantly, giving back to our communities. Whether it's pulling a plane, rescuing a dog, or picking up a few items to donate to a worthy cause, we do what we can and we're so glad we found a great partner in Champions for Kids to help us focus our efforts and maximize our impact.
Today, 22-million children in the US live in poverty and it's the mission of Champions for Kids to make it simple to give kids in your community the resources they need to thrive. Champions for Kids has a goal of mobilizing 20 million people by 2020 to become Champions for Kids.
Check out their impact thus far:Doing Our Part
Each quarter, we unite as an agency to complete a Simple Service Project to help children in need. We just wrapped up our first Kits of Caring drive in which we collected personal hygiene items that will not only keep kids healthy but will also help them to be confident among their peers.
We collected more than 250 items from 100 people in our North Carolina and Michigan offices. Items collected in Raleigh went to Haven House Services and items collected in Detroit were donated to Orchards Children's Services, both organizations strive to strengthen their communities by providing services to families and children. We're glad we can be a small part of their contribution to making the world a better place.
We can't wait for our next Champions for Kids project. Check out the organization for yourself and learn how you can help your community.
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In the midst of a land rush to automation and big data, Jelly, a relatively new service from Twitter co-founder Biz Stone, is refreshingly driven by people. Bringing the social back to social media, Jelly effectively turns us all into an organic search engine.Reversing the Search Engine - Pass the Jelly
Let’s face it: Google is awesome, but sometimes it just misses the mark in being helpful or intuitive. This is because humans, especially large groups of humans, are really much better at answering questions like, “what’s the best Vietnamese food in Raleigh?” than search engines are. Why is this? As anyone who has read “Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance” can tell you, quality is subjective. What I think is the best food, wine, car, etc., far exceeds the ability of a search engine or rating to answer.
This is where Jelly comes in. I can ask and answer questions that add real social capital into the system, and the answers feel much more real than those from "traditional" search. Described as the “Human Algorithm” by CNN, Jelly seems to capture the original promise of social vs. the arms race of big data and automated responses.
So what should brands and marketers do with Jelly? Try it out for 30 days, participate and see if it adds value to your world. If so, you’ll probably have a good idea of how others might value the app as well and can begin to build a strategy for its use. Jelly’s tagline says it all: “Let’s help each other.”Twitter’s Profile Redesign Looks a Lot Like Facebook
Twitter is rolling out a Facebook-esque redesign, starting with celebrities and extending to other users in the coming weeks. The new design brings opportunities to marketers by allowing tweets to be pinned to the top of a profile. Tweets with the most engagement will be highlighted, which can contribute to that piece of content having a longer half-life.
While we’re on the topic of Twitter, Quartz recently released a study on why people quit Twitter. There’s lots of interesting data that’s worth a look but the gist is that users either don’t have enough followers or they don’t know who to follow.Q&A Social Media Gains Traction
Question and answer site Quora has raised $80 million in a Series C funding round. The website was valued at $400 million after its last round of funding in 2012. This news, along with the buzz surrounding Jelly, is a solid sign that Q&A social media is growing in importance. Here are some great ways to use this form of social to engage with consumers. DIY site Fixya also has some great examples of brands and consumers helping each other.
Have a great weekend!
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In the past half-decade or so, crowdfunding has become a popular way of socially raising funds for just about everything – from small arts and crafts projects to big-budget movies.
While I was at SXSW, I learned about a crowdfunding company called Fundrise. As opposed to sites like Kickstarter and Indiegogo, Fundrise is based on crowdfunding real estate ventures and allows investors to own a piece of the businesses they support. The following is an interview with co-founder Ben Miller.Where did the idea for Fundrise come from?
My brother and I were talking to institutional investors about developing a property on H Street NE in DC and found that our traditional capital partners didn't understand what we wanted to do in the area or why. They didn't understand the dynamics of the neighborhood and its growth, as compared to traditional core downtown markets. At the same time, when we mentioned the property to family and friends who lived in the area, they immediately understood. People in the communities where we were building would get very excited about what we were doing. They understood why we were investing there. They cared intimately about the places we were changing. They wanted to participate in building their city too.
We realized that the private equity funds we typically looked to raise money from had no natural connection to the neighborhood buildings we were developing and decided to build Fundrise to democratize the process of investing in commercial real estate.How have the backgrounds and experiences of your team helped Fundrise become what it is?
Our team is made up of a mix of people from the real estate, finance, tech and securities worlds. We're constantly bouncing ideas off of each other, which I think results in a more sophisticated product.
At the end of the day, what we're trying to do lies right at the intersection of tech, real estate, and finance – so we need people with backgrounds in those areas. The combined expertise of everyone at Fundrise has certainly made the company what it is today.What part does social media play in achieving your objectives?
A big one. We've seen a lot of support and people taking to social media to talk about our mission and spread the word.
Our model is aimed at bringing people and communities into the investment and development process, and making these processes transparent. To that extent, we made our platform social to give users opportunities to share activity and connect with other investors and developers through investor networks.How do you go about selecting a site in which to invest?
Fundrise also serves as a platform for other real estate developers to raise investment, which allows us to make more offerings, and a wider variety of offerings, available to investors.
We believe that quality is more important than quantity, so every month we sift through hundreds of submissions from interested developers and select the best opportunities.
We ask ourselves questions like:
Does the company or individual have a proven track record of success?
Do they have clear experience executing on similar projects?
Does the potential return accurately and fairly offset the risk? (We look for returns between 8-12%)
Is the project sufficiently capitalized? Or is it over-leveraged?
Is the project a good fit for the market? How will it impact the community?
In under two years, we've had over 1,000 investors put more than $10 million into 23 different deals.
More than half of our 16,000+ members are unaccredited investors, which is unheard of. These investors have never been able to invest in commercial real estate before, and now they can.What have been the biggest challenges you’ve faced so far?
We've had to work really hard to qualify offerings with the SEC and register them with securities regulators in individual states. It typically takes us more than six months to complete the filing process for a Regulation A offering. We spent over $50,000 on legal fees while completing our most recent public offering and had to enlist the help of eight different attorneys along the way.
It's not a particularly time- or cost-effective process, but we do it because we believe that everyone should be able to invest in real estate – regardless of whether they're an accredited investor or not.What's your plan for expanding to other cities?
We're already on the ground in places like San Francisco, Los Angeles, New York, Austin, DC and Chicago. We're actively looking to expand to more cities as soon as possible, and have received requests from cities across the U.S. and from overseas.How can people request to have Fundrise come to their city?
Sign up for our platform! Because of the regulatory environment, we're only able to open offerings to investors in states where we get state approval. Because of that, we're looking for deals in the places where our users are. And feel free to send questions and ideas to us at email@example.com."Crowdowning"
What I really like about Fundrise as opposed to sites like Indiegogo and Kickstarter is that the investors truly own a piece of their investment. Ask Oculus backers if they would like a piece of that $2 billion from Facebook. And it's especially appealing for people like me who want to crawl into a corner and cry when they think about investing in real estate.
Read More: Can Crowdsourcing Lower Health Care Costs?
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