By Nick Johnson - March 6th, 2013

Welcome to another weekly update from the world of social media! This week we cover Vine, Unilever, Facebook's new news feed and the long tail of virality.

How you should be using Vine

If you haven't heard of Vine yet, then you haven't been paying attention. A Twitter-owned service allowing you to share short, looping videos - it's apparently the Hot New Thing.

That appellation comes in part because of the popularity of the service at London Fashion Week recently - but now other big brands are getting in on the act. 

Generel Electric are the first in this roundup, and they've used the service to share a quick push on their experience as an innovative company. It's not a great example of really leveraging the potential of the service though (being, as it is, a line drawing of their logo...). Gap is better - engaging customers with their 1969 jeans by showing the evolution of the product since 1969.

Emporio Armani is better still, and gives viewers an exclusive look at their soon-to-be-released Fall collection. You can see all the short videos here

Remember, social media is becoming increasingly visual. Pictures and videos are more engaging than text. Vine is simply the latest network to take advantage of that fact. 

Stay Tuned to Facebook on March 7

Facebook have recently sent an invite to assorted press, saying they're going to show a 'new look' for the NEws Feed While the subject of remarkable vitriol on it's launch, the News Feed is now the essential pillar of the Facebook experience. And it's a hugely important element of the service for brands. More presence in the news feed = more views from potential customers.

Fortunately, the smart money is on Facebook enabling exactly that. They're probably going to be unifying their mobile and desktop experiences, and that means a design tweak. Of course, for the savvy marketer, it means SoLoMo has just got one step closer. Interestingly, other sources also suggest a move towards a more visual experience - that trend evidently has legs according to Zuckerberg...

Unilever changes approach after in-store promotions beat social media marketing

Worrying news for those boosting social media budgets. Brand Republic reports that Unilever has recently found that in-store POS marketing delivers a 50% higher ROI than social media. 

While the company does plan on continuing to use social where it's a 'good fit' - ie with more youth-oriented brands like Lynx/Axe - it's therefore cutting back use for other brands.

Paul Polman, the CEO, does see the value in social platforms, and expects them to become a more effective brand-building tool than TV eventually - but evidently doesn't see that value right now.

Obviously, this highlights a danger in focusing too much on financial ROI when assessing social. There is more at play here - the brand awareness building Polman alludes to being one of many additional benefits of social. By pulling out of social activity around other brands, those new 'brand community' members will disperse, loyalty and engagement levels will drop - and the impact will be felt somewhere down the line...

Investigating the long-term impact of memes and virality on brands

A fantastic article from Search Engine Land takes an in-depth look at virality and memes this week. The key findings?

  1. Meme's represent a risk: Anyone searching for your brand if it's part of any sort of negative viral activity  (hello BP)
  2. Meme's represent an opportunity: Monitor closely and respond quickly and your brand can piggyback quickly for better brand awareness (hello Oreos)

OK, that's a quick summary. There's more to read in the full article here. Key takeaway? Listen intelligently and respond quickly.

Next Reads

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