Facebook Group Admins Get Comment Pin Power

Here’s a small, but relevant update – Facebook is now letting group admins pin comments in discussion threads.

According to Social Media Today, the option will enable group admins to highlight the best comments, or new angles of interest, which could help spark further discussion around a specific element, and boost engagement and interaction.

It’s the latest in Facebook’s ongoing efforts to make groups a more critical element of The Social Network. That push comes as more social interactions are switching to private or enclosed forums, with messaging apps seeing the biggest shift.

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With engagement moving away from the main social feed, Facebook’s looking to capitalize on the fact that more than a billion of its users are engaged in groups, with a significant number of those in what Facebook calls ‘highly meaningful’ communities.

If Facebook can help maximize groups, that could help them ensure users stay engaged, despite the trend away from public sharing. That’s why Facebook’s rolled out a heap of new groups tools in the last 12 or so months, including groups for Pages and group analytics tools.

Adding the ability to pin specific comments may not seem like much, but as noted, it does provide another way for admins to guide the conversation, helping to prompt further comment on the most engaging elements without users needing to scroll through everything else. If a specific comment is sparking discussion, putting it front and center will only help to generate more of it, which could make it a valuable tool for group admins to consider.

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IHOP’s Pancake Paradise

Pancakes bring me joy. I’ve never had pancakes on a beach but I imagine if I did, I’d be in heaven. I recently got a slice of heaven.

That’s because IHOP ran its first Facebook Live videos to celebrate its new Paradise Pancakes, which come in flavors like strawberry passion fruit, banana macadamia nut and pineapple upside down. The three videos were simple –  three gorgeous stacks of flapjacks appeared on a table on a beach, with no sound except the waves and occasional seagulls in the background. I wasn’t the only fan – the video had over 380,000 video views earlier this week and is IHOP’s top-performing social video to date.

Take a trip with me to Pancake Paradise real quick:

 

Skyscanner Gets Botty.

My favorite booking service Skyscanner has announced a chat bot that enables users to book their vacation and search for vacay inspiration via Facebook Messenger. The conversation bot’s main function is to search for flights on request and redirect users to the Skyscanner website to confirm their booking and complete payment.

Users can also ask the bot to find destinations they might be interested in based on their departure location.  The bot searches using current trends and cheap offers to offer up getaway inspiration, which can be activated by users in chat by tapping “Don’t know” when asked where they would like to go.

Users can find the bot by typing “Skyscanner” into Messenger’s search field. Users without the Facebook Messenger app can still converse with the bot by going to a browser redirect link that takes them to the web version of the social media company’s messaging platform.

Skyscanner follows the likes of Poncho, KLM, 1-800-Flowers, CNN, and Foursquare in launching a dedicated bot. Facebook brought the bot support to its Messenger platform last month, allowing approved developers direct access to toolkits and live chat APIs so they can build chat programs for companies that let them interface with customers. Botlist is just one dedicated store that has recently arisen where users can discover chat bots they can interact with through the app.

I am super-excited about the power of Bots as related to social customer care. I’ve tried CNN’s and am not really impressed but realize that the technology is new. Let’s see what happens.

What I’m Doing Tomorrow.

I am super excited to kick off my weekend by giving back.

Tomorrow, I’m leading a workshop focused on social and digital media at the 2015 Careers in Media Day which is being presented by New York Women in Communications Foundation. This event will be attended by 9th-12th grade teen girls who are interested in exploring or pursuing careers in communications, media and technology.  The keynote speaker will be Emmy Award-winning TV journalist for ABC News and an anchor of Nightline, Juju Chang

If you know a teen girl who could benefit from this experience, sign them up – registration is still open! For more details go here. 

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Cha-Ching! Social Commerce is on the Rise

Recently, there’s been a plethora of new marketing products like “buy buttons,” product pages and other commerce-oriented features from social players. From Pinterest and Instagram launching essentially identical features on the same day to YouTube’s efforts to drive traffic from video ads, it’s been an interesting month to watch social commerce unfold. It will also be worth keeping tabs on the platforms that pay off the most for brands this year, especially during the holiday shopping season that starts in a few months.buying-platforms-illo-hed-2015

Here’s a peek at the latest and greatest:

Twitter
Twitter rolled out product pages last week, which are like mini e-commerce hubs that live on the microblogging site.

By pulling together tweets about brands and products, Twitter hopes people will spend a little extra time researching products before buying something based on social chatter.

The San Francisco, Calif., company’s new effort also incorporates Twitter’s buy button that launched in September so people can check out straight from the site.

Pinterest
The San Francisco-based platform’s “buyable pin” buttons let users purchase anything they see on the site.

It’s a feature that’s been in the works for a long time to help brands understand how their content drives online sales outside of Pinterest.

Facebook
The Menlo Park, Calif.-based company started testing buy buttons with a handful of retailers last year and recently expanded the program to include more brands.

The click-to-buy button is powered by Shopify, a company that runs e-commerce for small merchants like Tattly and Packer Shoes.

Brands can use Facebook e-commerce in posts they upload or in their ads. To buy something, people either type their credit card number directly into Facebook or store their payment information to check out more quickly.

Instagram
Brands asked for e-commerce, and the Facebook-owned app finally pulled the trigger earlier this month with “Shop Now” buttons.
E-commerce is only open to advertisers initially, so brands that solely use Instagram to post photos and videos can’t test it out. The e-commerce button connects ads to websites where users can shop, making it a seeming gold mine for fashion and luxury brands that regularly promote individual products.

YouTube
The Web video giant is betting that people will shop instead of skip ads if they are given the choice.

In May, YouTube rolled out a souped-up version of its TrueView product that places a shopping button directly across the screen from an option to skip a pre-roll ad.

Clicking through on the shopping button leads to a website featuring the products in the ad, and people can then put products into a shopping cart.

Brand Tweets: Papyrus

Going to Papyrus is bad for me. I usually plan to buy one card. I come out with cards, candles, journals and smelly pens. It’s a sickness. Well, when I heard that they had a perks program, I was over the moon. That is, until I found out that all that glitters isn’t gold. Here’s how I reacted:

Papyrus