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Source: Scott Beale/Flickr

Source: Scott Beale/Flickr

Facebook and Twitter aren’t the only social media platforms you can advertise. Smaller, more niche social networks like Reddit, Pinterest, Snapchat, and Tumblr have all gotten in on social advertising with innovative ad formats and placements. Now, two of those sites have both announced new ads on their networks that directly give back to their users.

Tumblr and Reddit have announced two separate plans for ads that will run on their networks and compensate users for allowing their blogs or content to be included.

In the case of Tumblr, the service is rolling out ads that will be shown across their blog network. Users can opt out of having the ads shown on their specific pages, but those who decide to be included can receive compensation just for allowing the ads.

Details on how much users will be paid and how have yet to be released, as Tumblr says they are “still working out the details of the partner program, but as soon as we have details to share, we’ll make announcements.”

While Tumblr says they will be outright paying users for participating, Reddit’s new ad service isn’t quite so direct.

With the launch of Promoted User Posts, brands can now take advantage of content being posted on the site by promoting it for more to see. This means you can spot a post organically shared on Reddit by a user and boost it to the front page or user feeds with the original poster’s permission.

However, instead of paying users for allowing their content to be used by brands for promotion, Reddit is opting to reward them with a lifetime of “Reddit Gold.” Reddit Gold is the site’s premium membership program which costs $29.99 a year and can be gifted to users by others.

“There are car enthusiasts on Reddit,” CEO and founder Steve Huffman told Ad Age. “Makeup addicts, people who discuss movies, books and video games where these commercial relationships are already developing with our users. It is not a stretch for the advertiser to come in here and engage with our audience.”

These innovative ads are a smart way to involve the communities that already exist on the social networks and make them feel invested in the ads they are seeing. It also presents an opportunity for brands to take advantage of things already being shared to better promote their brand and products.

“This isn’t traditional display advertising,” Huffman told Ad Age. “This is different and more personable. You have to bring your A game here and if you do, it works amazingly.”

With the constant stream of information coming out of the online marketing industry, it can be hard to keep up with all the latest updates without missing some important news. That’s why we compile all the biggest stories you may have missed this week all in one convenient place every Friday. This week, Pinterest dominates headlines. Let’s get started:

Pinterest Finally Starts Paid Test of Promoted Pins

PromotedPinsImage

Last fall, Pinterest announced they would be making their first foray into paid ads on the social media platform under the title of “Promoted Pins”. They ran some tests shortly after the announcement to gauge how their users responded to the ads. Now, Pinterest declared they have officially begun a small paid test of the Promoted Pins while working with a small group of brands from the U.S. The test will only be shown in Pinterest’s search and category fields.

Pinterest lists the entire list of brands taking part in the test, including ABC Family, Banana Republic, GAP, and Walt Disney Parks and Resorts. If you do happen to catch one of the Promoted Pins being tested, Pinterest would like users to give feedback via a form found here.

Pinterest Reveals the Most Popular Categories On Each Day of the Week

Twitter Daily Trends

Just about every social media platform has their own mini-trends that influence what type of content gets shared the most at a certain time. Facebook users follow predictable patterns of usage times and the success of content on Reddit is partially decided by the “prime sharing times” when users are more likely to see new content. Similarly, Pinterest recently shared a post on their blog detailing the most popular categories for each day of the week.

4 Statistics About Pinterest You Need to Know

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On the topic of Pinterest trends and data, RJMetrics recently ran a study of 50,000 random pinners and their pins to analyze how people are using Pinterest. At first glance, the data may seem like old news, however the details found in the study give strong insight into what pinners are interested in, what they are likely to share, and when they are most likely to Pin. For example, it is no secret that the majority of Pinterest’s users are female, but it may come as a surprise that around 80 percent of pinners are female, and an whopping 92 percent of all pins on the site come from women.

You can get all the details from the study in RJMetrics’ report on their site.

Google Maps Adds Location Based Quick Facts

Yesterday, Google announced via Google+ that they have added a new section on map results for location searches named “Quick Facts.” As many have pointed out, the section looks quite similar to the Knowledge Graph that appears on some Google searches, and has the same type of very quick information about the area you are searching for. The Quick Facts are pulled from Wikipedia and other data sources typically used in the Google Knowledge Graph.

You can get an idea how the Quick Facts operate thanks to the example Google released of the results for Angkor Wat in Cambodia below.

Quick Facts

Twitter Introduces a Mute Button To Quiet Individual Users

Earlier this week, Twitter revealed they will be adding a new feature for its iPhone and Android apps, as well as Twitter.com, which allows users to mute specific people and forbid their tweets from appearing in your timeline. You can mute users two different ways. You can either mute a user from a Tweet by clicking on ‘more’ followed by ‘mute @username’ or you can mute users from their profile page.

When a user is muted, their Tweets and Retweets will be no longer visible in your home timeline and you won’t receive push notifications if you previously set up that feature for the user. However, the muted user will still be able to see, face, reply to, and retweet anything you share. From the muted users perspective nothing will have changed.

You will be able to unmute users at any time and the new feature is expected to be rolled out in the next few weeks.

Facebook and Twitter See Slightly Less Global Usage While Instagram and Tumblr See Big Increases

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Facebook and Twitter still hold a strong hand on the social media landscape/ However their grasp may not be safe forever as new survey data from GlobalWebIndex shows a slight reduction in usage for both networks over the past six months. They Facebook may not be too nervous yet. The survey of more than 40,000 internet users in 32 global markets, excluding China, found that as much as 82% of users worldwide have Facebook accounts.

However, several reports suggest the small dip in usage may be an indicator of a growing trend within Facebook, opening the door of opportunity for smaller and more focused social platforms such as Instagram and Tumblr.

The survey also found a significant growth in the use of mobile apps. Out of all apps, Snapchat saw the biggest rise in use as it is accepted by more and more teens worldwide. You can download the full report from GlobalWebIndexhere, but Martin Beck also summarizes the findings over on Marketing Land.

Though it seems that Facebook’s users are beginning to skew older each year, that doesn’t necessarily mean that you can no longer reach the under 20 crowd there. But, there are certainly more direct approaches if you desire a bump in conversions from a younger market. Tumlbr is one of the social media alternatives that not only boasts a huge share of 13-25 year olds’ web traffic, but has also begun to make a significant push to improve their advertising options.

Sheila Shayon reports for Brand Channel that Tumblr is valued at $800-million, so if you haven’t heard of it, or still consider it a lower-tier social networking site, it is time to catch up. Multiple media deals have been handed out to Tumlbr authors, which means an increase in both users and visitors is likely on the horizon. Now seems like the time to capitalize so keep your eye out for announcements in the near future about ways Tumblr is welcoming in advertisers.

To maximize your business’s potential, you need an online presence. But in order to be successful with your endeavors into social media, there’s a foundation that must be layed. Here are four fundamentals, or building blocks, to get you started on creating your social media presence.

1. Set Goals, Make a Plan

Without a plan and clear goals in mind, you are already doomed to fail. Afterall, if you don’t know where you’re going, how will you know when you get there? Or, more importantly, when you veer off course.

Think about how you will define success and how you plan to achieve it. Consider why you are using social media and how you’d like it to benefit your business. Also, put yourself in your desired audience’s shoes and try to discover what they’d like to see out of your profile.

The Digital Relativity blog has more on setting goals.

2. Tools

By tools, I mean the social media platform of your choosing. This goes right along with making a plan because before jumping in, you should be researching various platforms to make sure you are using the most effective one for your business.

If your target demographic doesn’t include women 18-30, maybe you can skip making a Pinterest account.

If you want to concentrate more on articles and written content, you may not need to spend time on Instagram, YouTube or Tumblr.

Not that you can’t manage more than one social media platform at once, but you’ll likely be most effective with your time if you narrow down your choice as much as possible so your message is most powerful and received by your desired audience.

3. Be a Credible Source

Once you’ve landed on the right site for you, become a source of constant, consistent, credible content. Not only should you create your own, but you can also share content from other sources. You can even share competitors content and add a little extra commentary to set yourself apart.

The idea is to send the message that your business is the expert in your field. Ideally, when people think of topics that pertain to your business, they’ll think of you.

4. Build an Audience

What good is any of this if no one is around to see what you’ve done? Certainly, being on the right social media platform is a great start. Boxcar Marketing has some tips for building an audience on specific platforms.

Having great content is also key to making sure you have users continually viewing your profile.

Once everything is in place, target influential users that boast a large following and send them your content in hopes that they’ll share it. This isn’t necessarily someone you personally think is influential, but rather someone your users will respect and likely be paying attention to already.

Also, be active on your profile and on other user’s profiles. If you receive comments on content you’ve shared, comment back and start an intelligent discussion. If you see interesting content shared by someone else, drop in your two-cents, which again helps you become a trusted expert in your field. Interaction will bring potential customers back more than sterile content.

Above all, be professional, be courteous and be relevant. Don’t stray off course from your business. This isn’t a profile where you share your views or you interests. This profile is for the users that need your service. Give them what they want.

The Pew Research Center’s Internet & American Life Project recently released it’s findings from a phone survey of about 1-thousand US adults. As Matt McGee reports for Marketing Land, the survey aimed to discover who exactly is using various social networking sites. Some of the findings you may have already assumed, such as, Pinterest is dominated by women and those with good, higher paying careers are using LinkedIn. All of the information is valuable, however, so you can tailor messages on specific sites to the demographics that are most often found there.

Facebook

66-percent of Internet users are on Facebook, which is by far the highest percentage of users. Users are fairly evenly distributed between men and women, education level and annual income. The biggest advantage Facebook features is the captivation of older Internet users. 56-percent of those age 50-64 have an account, which makes Facebook the clear top choice for marketing to the older crowd, despite the fact that younger users also flock their.

Twitter

Though Twitter does not hold a large market share of Internet users overall, it is almost entirely populated by well-educated men and women under 50. The annual income data is well dispersed across the spectrum, which sets Twitter apart from LinkedIn.

LinkedIn

As I mentioned earlier, LinkedIn is generally used by successful professionals over the age of 30. Its clientele is made up of 36-percent of Internet users with college degrees and 34-percent of Internet users with an annual salary over $75-thousand. With the exception of Facebook, which posted large percentages in every category thanks to their sheer number of users, LinkedIn is by far the leader in those two categories.

Pinterest

19-percent of female Internet users have a Pinterest account and that number is almost certainly still growing. Though their ages tend to skew younger than 65, you can reach nearly every female group through Pinterest.

Instagram and Tumblr

These image based sites returned data that is remarkably similar. Their users are mostly young, 30 or below, with at least some college experience. Oddly, Instagram features a large number of well-off users, 16-percent of those with a salary above $75 thousand. Tumblr is more evenly dispersed and, if anything, tends to attract those with a salary below $50-thousand per year.