Category: Social Media

Google Hotpot: Making Recommendations even more important

March 8th, 2011 — 2:26pm

Towards the end of last year Google launched a ‘recommendation engine’ called ‘Hotpot’.

Hotpot collects ratings and reviews about places, and ties them to your social circle. When you search for a local business such as a restaurant, Hotpot surfaces those results that have been recommended by your friends. The idea is that if they liked a place, then you’ll probably like it too.

Hotpot is integrated with Google Maps for Mobile. Users can leave ratings and reviews using their phone. And if they’re on an Android device then opinions can be expressed using a widget, with just a few taps of the screen.

Each time you give a rating, that rating is used to judge what you or your friends might like in the future.

This is an exciting development for local businesses looking to boost custom. The idea is that if you look after your customers, they’ll leave you positive feedback, which their friends will take into account when buying your type of service.

We’ve spoken previously about getting good reviews and Hotpot takes this to a whole new level.

Have you tried Hotpot? Leave us a comment below.

Social Search is the future

November 22nd, 2010 — 2:34pm

Last year we brought you news of Google’s plans in Social Search. Take a look at that post to see Google’s Matt Cutts talk all about what it actually is.

Finding out what your friends think

Briefly, Social Search is when results and content posted by people in your social circle are surfaced in the search results page.

For example, lets says you’re searching for an ‘Italian Restaurant in Reading’. It might be that recently a friend of yours has visited an Italian Restaurant in Reading and has made a comment about it on Facebook. Social Search would return a set of results that included the comments made by your friend, since they are relevant to the search results.

All of us are more likely to follow the recommendation of a friend than someone we don’t know, so social search is also about making search more relevant to each one of us.

Facebook and Bing in on the act

Now its the turn of Facebook and Microsoft’s Bing to socialise search. In the US they have just completed a tie up to make search “more social”,

What they plan is that when a user searches for something on Bing or using the web results in Facebook, if any friends have ‘liked’ an item related to that search that person’s image will appear alongside the search results.

Bing has added more depth to its people search too, by making the results based on the user’s Facebook contacts. So when a user searches for an individual, friends or mutual friends get shown higher in the search results.

In a blog post Facebook commented “Everyday most of us make decisions with the input from people we trust and this is a way to bring friends’ recommendations to online search.”

At the moment the change is just in the US – we’re yet to see plans for the UK.

Try it out!

Try switching your settings on Bing to US and trying out social search. Do you think there’s a future in it, something genuinely useful to people? Or is this just another search gimmick? Leave us a comment below.

Facebook and Twitter make you Happy!

November 16th, 2010 — 12:47pm

Well you heard it here first. Despite what the techno-naysayers would have you believe, Facebook might actually bring a smile to your face.

According to research by BCS – The Chartered Institute for IT – social networking and Instant Messaging make us feel both happier and less isolated.

Access to Technology

There is apparently a clear link between well being and access to technology, with social networking providing the largest emotional benefit. It’s all down to the additional level of contact that Facebook and the like give you with your friends and family.

It doesn’t replace traditional stuff

The fear cited by many is that these new ways of interacting are replacing the traditional face to face stuff. This research indicates that it augments rather than replaces it.

“Social networking makes us happier.” was how Paul Flatters from Trajectory Partnership, which worked with BCS on the research, summed up.

“Given the immediate uplift in life satisfaction that people experience when using these sites, teaching people about how to use services like Facebook could be a more effective way of bridging the digital divide and getting people online.”

In response to the research The Chartered Institute for IT is planning to launch a getting-started guide to social networking as just one part of its Savvy Citizens campaign, encouraging people to get online.

Does Facebook make you happy? Is Twitter leaving you satisfied? Does Messenger bring a smile to your lips? Leave us a comment below.

How to put a value on your Facebook page

October 25th, 2010 — 1:12pm

We’re often going on (and on) about using social media to help market your website.

We’ve integrated the WebEden Website Builder with Facebook and Twitter. It’s possible to put a Twitter feed on your website. Thanks to some handy tricks you can put a Facebook ‘Like’ button on your website. We’ve even developed our own Facebook application so you can build a website from within Facebook.

As opposed to Pay per click or other traditional marketing methods, its hard to put a value on your social media efforts. Social media for brands and websites is about engaging with your audience in an environment that suits them.

But now there’s a handy little tool that attempts to do put a ‘value’ on your actual Facebook page.

SocialPageEvaluator tries to come up with a notional ‘value’ of your Facebook page by looking at factors such as the number of Fans; the frequency with which you update your page; the number of visits your fan page has; and the number of times your fans interact with your fan page content.

All you need to do is enter the URL of any Facebook page and SocialPageEvaluator does the rest.

So to test it out, how does it get on with the WebEden Facebok page?

Here goes… and the result?

Social Page Evaluator is saying that the current ‘value’ of the WebEden facebook page is $418, but with improved social media techniques it could reach a value of $3,132. Interestingly enough, it has come up with the advice that we’re not posting enough to our Facebook Page.

It’s important to remember that this is just one system’s attempt to assess value, and is therefore more useful as a comparison tool to find out how you’re doing against competitors.

Try it out and let us know how your Facebook Page gets on!

Facebook asks ‘where are you?’

October 21st, 2010 — 2:51pm

Recent months have seen an explosion of location based social networking services, such as Foursquare, Gowalla and MyTown. More popular in the US than the UK, these services let you share where you are and what you’re.

As we mentioned previously, Twitter has updated their location settings to allow you to say where you are.

Facebook Places

Facebook has eyed this growth with envy, and have now jumped into location based services with ‘Facebook Places’.

Available initially just in the US, the service allows you to check into places in a similar way to Foursquare. Places can be created by anyone, but are often cafes, shops, restaurants, parks or tourist attractions.

Businesses can claim their locations, and reward users for visiting. This might take the form of badges, points, or mayor-ships; or could even be discounts on products.

Users can also tag others that are in the location too, and others in that location can be viewed using ‘People here now’.

Initially your location can only be view by your friends; and you’re able to easily disable the feature.

From the horses mouth

The Facebook product manager responsible said “You may want to share your check-in information with third-party applications that build interesting experiences around location, such as travel planning. Applications you use must receive your permission before getting this information. Your friends will be able to share your check-ins with the applications they use to help create new social experiences based on location. If you don’t want to share your check-ins with your friends’ applications, just uncheck the box in your Privacy Settings under Applications and Websites.”

What about you?

Have you tried Foursquare or other location based social media? Are you concerned about the privacy issues of revealing where you are (so a burglar knows you’re away from home)? Leave us a comment below.

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