Jeep 75th anniversary: The industry’s most copied brand

Jeep 75th anniversary: The industry’s most copied brand

Jeep inspired Land Rovers, Land Cruisers, Broncos and Scouts

Jeep can claim many milestones. But here’s one you may not have thought of: It’s the most copied brand of American vehicles.

The World War II military Jeep — the forerunner of today’s Wrangler — spawned the Land Rover in 1948 and, in the early 1950s, Toyota’s BJ and FJ, which morphed into the Land Cruiser.

Later the civilian Willys Jeep CJ series was the inspiration for all other competitors, from the International Scout and Ford Bronco of the 1960s to the Suzuki Samurai and Daihatsu Rocky of the 1980s.

Then there’s the 1984 Jeep Cherokee XJ — the first unibody SUV — which is the template for the modern SUV and has been copied universally.

Early competitors tore apart the military Jeeps while creating their own versions. The first Land Rover prototype, built in 1947, had a Jeep chassis.

In the book Land Rover: The Unbeatable 4X4, authors Ken and Julie Slavin document the creation of the first Land Rover, which over the years has proved to be the Jeep’s toughest competitor.

Photo: Jeeps at Moab

1944 Willys-Overland “Jeep” MB, 1945 Willys-Overland Jeep CJ-2A, 1949 Willys-Overland Jeep Station Wagon, 1963 Jeep Wagoneer, 1984 Jeep Cherokee, 1987 Jeep Wrangler and 1993 Jeep Grand Cherokee Photo by Jeep

“Using the Willys Jeep as a jumping off point, the design team had to scrutinize every detail of the American product and drive it in all possible conditions to learn its limitations,” the Slavins wrote. “Two Jeeps were acquired early on, solely for dissection purposes, but although certain of its stronger points were without doubt copied in the Land Rover, the Rover team maintained vehemently that there was nothing on the Land Rover that corresponded exactly to the Jeep.”

Today, the Wrangler, with its fold-forward windshield, exposed hinges, round headlights and other design cues, has no real competition. But the same cannot be said for all the other vehicles in the Jeep lineup, especially the Grand Cherokee, which traces its DNA back to the 1984 Jeep Cherokee and slugs it out in one of the most competitive market segments.

Roy Lunn, Jeep’s former director of engineering, led the team in the early 1980s that created the XJ. Lunn said the inspiration for the unibody SUV came from the fuel shocks of the 1970s.

“Other companies didn’t do it by choice. They said, “We’ll make an SUV-type vehicle and what is the nearest vehicle to base it on?’ They chose their light truck to derive it from. But the light truck line had a separate frame and normal heavy construction,” Lunn said. “I chose unitized because it is stronger pound for pound and it is lightest for meeting fuel economy requirements.”

The article “The industry’s most copied brand” first appeared on Automotive News.



By Richard Truett, Automotive News

Jeep is the engine that drives Fiat Chrysler Automobiles

Jeep is the engine that drives Fiat Chrysler Automobiles

Jeep sales are up 17 percent in the United States over 2015 record sales

In its 75-year history, Jeep never has been in better shape than it is right now.

The reason? Current owner Fiat Chrysler Automobiles has accomplished what a succession of previous owners only dreamed of: truly globalizing one of the world’s most storied automotive brands.

Worldwide, Jeep’s deliveries in 2015 topped 1.2 million vehicles, its fourth consecutive record year for global production and sales.

Jeep Renegades are now built in Europe (Italy), South America (Brazil) and Asia (China) for sale in those regional markets. By the end of the year, production of the replacement for the Jeep Compass will begin in Brazil and China, as well as Mexico. Jeep-branded vehicles also will soon begin rolling into India, with local production slated to begin in 2017.

Meanwhile, sales in Jeep’s largest and most profitable market, the United States, are up 17 percent through June over record 2015 sales.

Jeep’s lineup also is expanding. Brand head Mike Manley said last month that luxury full-size SUVs under the storied Wagoneer and Grand Wagoneer names will return with the development of a redesigned Jeep Grand Cherokee in 2019. On the other end of the size spectrum, a micro-segment Jeep, smaller than the Renegade, is under strong consideration, primarily for markets outside North America.

Photo: 2017 Jeep Grand Cherokee Trailhawk

2017 Jeep Grand Cherokee Trailhawk Photo by Jeep

Meanwhile, FCA is expanding production capacity of its profit-rich Wrangler by at least 50 percent, allowing the brand to fulfill what it sees as unmet domestic and international demand. The added capacity also will allow for the return of a pickup to the Jeep lineup for the first time since 1996.

CEO Sergio Marchionne says Jeep is the engine that keeps his company going, no matter how tough the economic circumstances become.

“One of the things that we’ve always faced in the United States in the production of Jeeps is to make this unfortunate Sophie’s Choice about whether we sell in the U.S. or whether we sell overseas,” Marchionne explained this year. “In the last probably three or four years especially, we’ve been forced to make choices about which markets get allocated product.

“Even if there were to be a contraction of the U.S. market, there is unexplored potential in terms of outside U.S. markets, especially where we have not established local production,” he said.

“Anything which relates to either a Cherokee or a Grand Cherokee and eventually a Wagoneer or Wrangler will have additional means of expression in international markets.”

The article “Jeep is the engine that drives Fiat Chrysler globally” first appeared on Automotive News.



By Larry P. Vellequette, Automotive News

Inside the data center where Facebook trains and tests its apps

Inside the data center where Facebook trains and tests its apps

Https%3a%2f%2fblueprint-api-production.s3.amazonaws.com%2fuploads%2fcard%2fimage%2f143446%2fcold_storageFacebook’s data center in Prineville, Oregon.

Image: Facebook

PRINEVILLE, Oregon — Tucked deep in a Facebook data center, amid hundreds of humming server racks, nearly 2,000 smartphones are running some some version of a Facebook app.

Some are scrolling through the News Feed, Facebook’s notoriously algorithmic and somehow always-controversial stream of updates from its users. Other devices are launching Messenger, the spin-off messaging app Facebook made a requirement for users about two years ago. Some of the phones are rebooting. At least one is scrolling through Lady Gaga’s official Facebook page.

The phones are part of Facebook’s Mobile Device Lab, a new system the company is using to test the performance of Facebook, Messenger, Instagram and the company’s other apps. The goal? To ensure updates and features Facebook is testing at its Melo Park headquarters won’t break the app when they get pushed out to the company’s 1.6 billion users — including ones using four-year-old devices half a world away.

In total, Prineville has about 60 racks, each containing 32 smartphones, mounted on boards behind layers of insulation. Most of the phones themselves are a at least a year old, and some are significantly older. Some represent cutting-edge smartphone tech from half a decade ago: the iPhone 4S, Samsung Galaxy Nexus and Nexus 5 are all there. In each rack, above the tangle of cables and phones, sits a camera, recording every onscreen movement in case a developer needs to review specific hiccup.

Facebook’s Mobile Device Lab at its Prinveille, Oregon, data center.

Image: Facebook

“When a developer makes a change to one of the mobile applications, we take that change, we build the app with the change, and then we install it on one of the devices that are here and we run the app while collecting metrics,” explains Facebook production engineer Antoine Reversat.

If the update negatively impacts a device’s memory usage, battery life or the performance of the app, like slowing down News Feed scrolling, then it’s sent back to the developer for a fix before the update can be pushed live.

The whole point is to go fast, we have to get better quickly

The setup is an important one for Facebook, which is aggressively pursuing users in developing countries — many of whom are using older devices and operating systems — as it looks to get its next billion users online. At stake is much more than a few app crashes or bug reports. The elaborate testing setup helps Facebook push performance-enhancing updates faster, which could be the difference between whether or not a frustrated user deletes the Facebook app from their phone after noticing it’s a battery hog.

“The whole point is to go fast; we have to get better quickly,” says Ken Patchett, Facebook’s Director of Western Data Center Operations

Right now the Mobile Device Lab is only looking at how updates affect each app’s performance while on Wi-Fi networks. But this eventually could grow to include how they perform while on reduced network speeds — an issue that is particularly important to the company as it looks to grow its presence un developing markets.

“That’s sort of the next step,” Reversat says.

Facebook’s Mobile Device Lab at its Prineville, Oregon, data center. Each rack has 32 phones in it.

Image: Mashable/Karissa bell

Besides device testing, Facebook’s sprawling Prineville facility is also home to one of the social network’s biggest artificial intelligence projects: the hardware Facebook has designed specifically for machine learning, also known as Big Sur.

At first glance, Big Sur doesn’t look much different than what’s inside other racks in the data center. But inside are eight powerful graphical processing units (GPUs) that allow Facebook to train its artificial intelligence at previously unprecedented speeds.

Big Sur is used to train neural networks — a type of AI that learns from data much the same way as the human brain does. Previously, the development of a single neural network could take weeks or even months, depending on the hardware setup. With Big Sur, Facebook has cut that time down to less than a day.

Facebook’s Big Sur at its Prineville data center.

Image: Facebook

If you’re a Facebook user, chances are you are already experiencing the benefits of this. Big Sur helps power the social network’s real-time translations and photo-recognition abilities — where Facebook actually describes what’s in a photo instead of relying solely on tagging and user-written captions, which are often notoriously unspecific. Visually impaired users experience this through the app’s ability to recognize photos and read what’s in them.

In the future, Big Sur could be used for even more ambitious AI projects. The field is increasingly moving toward something unsupervised learning — a type of AI that’s able to learn from data on its own — which could have even bigger implications for how Facebook uses artificial intelligence in its products.

Have something to add to this story? Share it in the comments.

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Facebook Releases New Data on What Users Are Looking for on Facebook and Instagram

Facebook Releases New Data on What Users Are Looking for on Facebook and Instagram

Facebook Releases New Data on What Users Are Looking for on Facebook and Instagram | Social Media TodayEvery social platform is different. This is something every social media analyst and marketer will underline from the outset – what works on Twitter won’t necessarily resonate on Facebook, what you Pin on Pinterest isn’t the same as what you’d post on Instagram.

The platforms that succeed in the social media landscape do so largely because of differentiation – an argument could be made, for example, that Google+ failed because it tried to mirror what people could already do on Facebook, rather than offering a new, unique experience. For social apps to gain traction, they need to provide something that users can’t get anywhere else, a compelling reason as to why you and your friends should head over and start up a new conversation within their system.

Given this, it’s important for businesses to recognize that differentiation factor and to approach each social network with a platform-specific approach. But how do you work out which approach and content works best on each platform?

To help with this – within their own social networks at least – Facebook has conducted a study of more than 7, 800 people aged between 18 and 64 from Australia, Brazil, France, Japan, the UK and the US who use Facebook and/or Instagram at least weekly in order to get some perspective on why and how they use each.

As per the report:

“While people turn to both Facebook and Instagram throughout the day to connect with family, friends and the world, it’s clear that each platform plays a different role in their lives. But what, exactly, are those roles? And do they vary based on people’s age, gender and geography?”

And while the two platforms are obviously very different, the results provide some interesting and specific perspective around what people use each platform for – here are some of the key highlights.

Opinion Vs Escapism

According to Facebook IQ Researcher Vicki Molina-Estolano, the main finding of the report was that Facebook better satisfies people’s need for empowerment, recognition and connection, while Instagram more strongly fulfills their desire for fun, relaxation and discovery.

On Instagram, people follow celebrities, get DIY inspiration and are visually transported to new places – while on Facebook, the primary appeal is connecting with family and friends.”

Facebook Releases New Data on What Users Are Looking for on Facebook and Instagram | Social Media TodayAs shown by the different sizes of the topics in this bubble graph, you can see that Facebook interactions are more clearly weighted towards family, friends and acquaintances, while celebrities get much more precedence on Instagram.

According to the data, users look to Instagram more for insider perspectives and insights, a window into a different world, while Facebook is their real world, the people and perspectives they care about and want to discuss.

Molina-Estolano says this is clearly evident in the content that gets most shared on each:

“A good illustration of this comes from the 2015 Melbourne Cup, a high-profile horse race. The most popular Instagram content during the event came from celebrities and focused on fashion, while the most popular Facebook content centered on animal rights and real-time reactions to the race.”

This supports some of the more common psychological understandings around sharing behavior, that people share to define themselves to others, which is more relevant on Facebook, where your connections are more likely to be your friends and family. And while you may still have similar connections on Instagram, the visual focus of the platform makes it more conducive to escapism, to entertainment as opposed to opinion.

Based on these findings, marketers might experiment with sharing reactions and opinions on Facebook and behind-the-scenes content on Instagram.”

Demographic Differences

Facebook’s research also looked at the different ways in which men and women use each platform, with Molina-Estolano noting that:

For men in the markets we looked at, the platforms are practical. And for women in those markets, they’re more personal.”

For example, men on Facebook and Instagram ranked learning about events and joining groups as the most important reasons why they the use the platform, while women indicated that staying in touch with friends and family was more relevant.

In addition, the researchers also looked at how parents use the two, with some pretty clear differences in the subjects of interest they’re seeking on each.

Facebook Releases New Data on What Users Are Looking for on Facebook and Instagram | Social Media TodayAnd while those findings are specific to parents, they largely reflect the wider trends identified – that users seek more personal content on Facebook and more aspirational material on Instagram. That works in line with the focus of each platform to some degree, but it’s interesting to note either way when considering how you should be approaching each.

Millennial Usage

The last part of the study looked at how Millennials, in particular, use Facebook and Instagram and what content they’re more likely to share. Given the huge focus on Millennials as the next key market, it makes sense that Facebook would highlight this, and the data provides some interesting perspective around what they expect to see and are seeking on each.

Facebook Releases New Data on What Users Are Looking for on Facebook and Instagram | Social Media TodayIn terms of lessons to take away, Molina-Estolano says that:

“Marketers should continue to design big ideas based on their business objectives as usual. But if you’re interested in customizing your concepts for each feed, our research can help you understand the particular interests, needs and expectations of our two communities and give you a starting point for experimentation.”

As noted, each social platform is different, each requires a different approach to maximize performance and engagement. More than that, of course, each brand’s specific audience will also be different, but in terms of wider trends and understanding what users are looking for on Instagram and Facebook, this data provides some great pointers as to what you should be posting in order to provide a more relevant and resonant feed and garner better audience response (and thus, reach).

You can read more about Facebook’s “A Tale of Two Feeds” report here.   

How to Find and Connect With Your Ideal Clients On Social Media

How to Find and Connect With Your Ideal Clients On Social Media

Find & Connect With Your Ideal Clients On Social Media | Social Media TodayHave you ever wondered how to find your ideal clients on social media?

If you are like most business people or marketers, locating your ideal customers and prospects is often a big challenge – in fact, a key finding in the 2016 Social Media Marketing Industry Report by Social Media Examiner discovered that one of areas that marketers (and most other businesses) struggle with most, is locating their ideal customer and prospects (this was true for 86% of the people who took the survey).

Thankfully, this task will be much easier if you have worked through my two previous articles on ideal client, How To Get Your Marketing To Attract Your Ideal Clients and Speak Directly to Your Ideal Clients in Your Marketing.

The content in this series will help you to attract, speak to, locate and connect with your ideal clients.

Locating Your Ideal Clients

Your first objective is to find out what social media platforms your potential clients spend their time on.

If you already have access to your ideal clients, such as through a brick and mortar store or email list, take advantage of this and ask them what platforms they prefer to use.

If you’re not sure where to start, there’s plenty of demographic data out there for each social media platform, which can give you a place to start.

For example:

“Over 90% of the 150 million people on Instagram are under the age of 35, which makes it an attractive platform for many apparel, entertainment, and media brands focused on the 18- to 34-year-old age bracket.”

While stats like this can give you an idea as to whether your ideal clients might be using a particular social network, this is only a starting point – such figures don’t tell the whole story for each unique community, including yours.

Combine what you know about your ideal clients with the function and demographics of each platform.

As an example, if you offer products or services related to home building, décor, fashion, food, travel or sports, these are very visual industries so there’s a good chance that you’ll find your clients on the more visual platforms like Facebook, Instagram or Pinterest as well as video platforms like YouTube, Periscope and Snapchat.

Also, don’t ignore the more specialized platforms. In the case of homebuilding and décor, you may want to look at Houzz, which specializes in all things related to the home, whether it’s services (such as decorators, cabinet builders, plumbers, contractors etc.), vendors offering home related products and a whole a wealth of do-it-yourself content.

Find & Connect With Your Ideal Clients On Social Media | Social Media Today

In the B2B sphere, LinkedIn is one of the most widely used social networking platforms. With over 433 million members, many of which are executive level or business owners, there’s a good chance you’ll find the decision makers you’re targeting here.

Find & Connect With Your Ideal Clients On Social Media | Social Media Today

Once you’ve picked one or more platforms you think your ideal clients can be found on, you need to dig a little deeper.

Run a search for your ideal client using relevant job titles and/or keywords tied to their profession, challenges and hopes.

For example, if you’ve created a medical device to treat back pain, you could approach this from several angles.

If this device requires a professional to use it, you might want to locate those professionals, such as chiropractors, doctors, physiotherapists, etc., most likely on a platform like LinkedIn. You’ll want to find (and join) groups that these people belong to as well as search for people in your network with those professional titles.

You might also want to search for back pain groups on Facebook or use the hashtag #backpain to search on Twitter.

Depending on your goals, pick the best one or two platforms and create a strategy to begin connecting and building relationships with your community.

Once you’ve found them, hangout where they are and listen to what they’re talking about.

Do NOT try to just jump into their conversation.

You want to ensure that:

a) These are indeed your ideal customers and

b) That you fully understand what they are discussing and the language they are using.

If you feel that you’re in the right place and understand the topics and language being used, you can begin by engaging in small ways (that I’ll expand upon shortly).

If, after a six month or more period, you’re not seeing results, you may need to re-evaluate the platform. Don’t be afraid to regularly analyze your results and course correct as necessary.

Most platforms have their own analytics tools, which you can use to track your progress as well as get demographic info. This information can help you to understand whether you’re reaching the community you’re targeting, as well as if there are other communities interested in what you have to share.

Here are some examples of the audience demographic info available on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn.

Find & Connect With Your Ideal Clients On Social Media | Social Media Today

Facebook Insights

Find & Connect With Your Ideal Clients On Social Media | Social Media Today

Twitter Analytics

Find & Connect With Your Ideal Clients On Social Media | Social Media Today

LinkedIn Analytics

Remember that social networks are constantly evolving, as are your ideal clients. You need to be prepared to be equally as nimble in your marketing efforts.

Connecting with Your Ideal Clients

After you’ve located your ideal clients, you’ll need to become a respected community member by providing consistent value to the group.

Find & Connect With Your Ideal Clients On Social Media | Social Media Today

Start this process slowly.

In the case of groups, forums or other public spaces, begin by engaging with the content of others. This includes leaving thoughtful and appropriate comments. The goal is to join the conversation.

Once you’re familiar and comfortable, you may want to reply to other’s comments and ask questions.

Finally, start your own conversations by posting helpful content, whether it’s curated from others or content you have created.

NEVER blast your sales materials or marketing pitches or you’ll quickly lose any hope you had of building relationships with the community.

Find & Connect With Your Ideal Clients On Social Media | Social Media Today

It’s a similar process when connecting with individuals on platforms like Twitter or LinkedIn.

On Twitter you might start by replying to or retweeting the person you want to connect with and work towards starting a conversation.

On LinkedIn the process starts with your initial connection request. Make sure that the connection request is personalized, telling people why they might want to connect with you.

Successfully Marketing to Your Ideal Clients

After you’ve located and connected with your community, your goal is to become a trusted expert and authority on your topic.

This is done by consistently sharing content in the forms most favored by your community (such as videos, images, animated gifs, articles, webinars, case studies, etc.) with the aim of helping them to overcome their challenges or speak to what’s important to them.

Respond to any and all engagement from your community in a reasonable amount of time, and always in a positive and appropriate way.

Find & Connect With Your Ideal Clients On Social Media | Social Media Today

If you successfully do this, you can build a loyal following of people who’ll be eager to purchase from you.

Wrapping Up

You’ll find the greatest success with your marketing when you focus your efforts on knowing who your ideal clients are, what’s important to them, what keeps them up at night and what they hope for in the future, then use this information to find, connect and help them be their most successful selves.

Find & Connect With Your Ideal Clients On Social Media | Social Media Today

People make buying decisions based on emotion rather than facts, so SHOW your ideal clients that you understand and care about what’s important to them.

If you don’t, someone else will.

The post Find & Connect With Your Ideal Clients On Social Media appeared first on Top Dog Social Media.

The Most Discussed Issues on Facebook and Instagram in June [Infographic]

The Most Discussed Issues on Facebook and Instagram in June [Infographic]

Facebook has released its latest “Hot Topics” reports, highlighting the most discussed issues across Facebook and Instagram, along with which age and gender groups were most engaged in each discussion.

So what was the biggest topic of interest for June?

The Most Discussed Issues on Facebook and Instagram in June [Infographic] | Social Media TodayAs you can see, Father’s Day was the most mentioned topic, and by a big margin. Seasonal events always get a lot of attention across social networks, so it’s no surprise to see Father’s Day featured so prominently – and, of course, that’s relevant from a marketing perspective, knowing that Father’s Day is a big focus on Facebook (particularly amongst female users). But to focus more on current events and their impact, here’s the same chart with Father’s Day removed.

The Most Discussed Issues on Facebook and Instagram in June [Infographic] | Social Media TodayThis provides a much clearer picture of the topics and events that generated the most interest amongst the different audience segments.

The horrific Orlando nightclub shooting fuelled much discussion, skewing more towards female users, while the death of Muhummad Ali was also a topic of focus, particularly amongst older men.

Sport was a big focus for the month, with the Cleveland Cavaliers winning the NBA title over the record-breaking Golden State Warriors – various topics related to the NBA finals gained traction amongst male Facebook users specifically. Brexit was also of interest, though mostly to older males (though how “European Union” qualifies as an “Entertainment” topic is beyond me – I suspect this is a typo).

For female users, the new Disney Pixar movie “Finding Dory” generated a lot of discussion, as did the new series of “Orange is the New Black” – the Facebook discussion of which was clearly dominated by young female users.

And onion rings were a pretty popular topic of discussion amongst older women.

And one other interesting note on branded content, mentions of “Cheetos” ranked high in June on the back of the “what shape is that cloud” promotion, where fans were asked to submit photos of one-of-a-kind-shaped Cheetos and describe what they could see. The fact that this made it into the Hot Topics underlines just how successful the campaign has been on Facebook – worth noting for marketers considering interactive content.

On Instagram, Father’s Day also dominated.

The Most Discussed Issues on Facebook and Instagram in June [Infographic] | Social Media TodayThis is actually the most aligned the hot topics across both platforms have been – normally the issues that resonate on Instagram are significantly different to those that rank on Facebook, but a quick scan across this chart, in comparison to the Facebook mentions, and you can see the main issues are very similar, with a few scatterings of smaller, more niche topics (“Pottermore”, “Weezer”, “Forza Italia”) woven in between.

Facebook’s monthly Hot Topics reports are essential reading for marketers as they provide additional perspective and audience understanding, highlighting the issues that are of most relevance to your target markets. And while most businesses will already have some understanding in this regard, seeing the overall trends and interests in each demographic category can open your thinking to new ideas and understandings, which can then help inform your future strategic direction and seasonal approach.

And as always, in addition to the above charts for the US, Facebook has provided the same data for the UK, Canada and Australia.

Canada

The Most Discussed Issues on Facebook and Instagram in June [Infographic] | Social Media TodayThe UK (which is, understandably) dominated by Brexit discussion)

The Most Discussed Issues on Facebook and Instagram in June [Infographic] | Social Media TodayAustralia

The Most Discussed Issues on Facebook and Instagram in June [Infographic] | Social Media TodayThe charts provide some great perspective as to what’s resonating on Facebook, underlining what people are interested in and what they’re more likely to share on The Social Network.

You can check out all of Facebook’s monthly Hot Topics reports here.

Facebook's Instant Articles are now on Messenger

Facebook's Instant Articles are now on Messenger

Https%3a%2f%2fblueprint-api-production.s3.amazonaws.com%2fuploads%2fcard%2fimage%2f145247%2fphone-76

Facebook is expanding its Instant Articles format.

The feature, previously limited to the main Facebook app, is now compatible with the Android version of Messenger and will be on iOS soon.

Unlike typical links that load in an in-app browser, Instant Articles load within the Facebook (and now Messenger) app instantly and don’t direct users to the publisher’s website. The social network began experimenting with the feature last year with a limited number of media partners (including Mashable) and has slowly expanded it since.

But the addition of Messenger marks the first time the company has expanded the articles beyond the main Facebook app.

Just like Instant Articles elsewhere on Facebook, those on Messenger will include a lightning bolt in the preview to indicate that they will load as an Instant Article.

The feature is available now to Android users, and Facebook’s head of Messenger David Marcus said in a Facebook post that it will be available on iOS “in a couple of weeks.”

Have something to add to this story? Share it in the comments.

Pinterest acquires the team behind Highlight and Shorts

Pinterest acquires the team behind Highlight and Shorts

Pinterest today said it was acquiring the team behind Math Camp, the creators of Highlight, and will be sunsetting its applications Roll and Shorts in the next few weeks.

The acquisition shouldn’t seem like a twist — Highlight captured a ton of buzz at SXSW a few years ago, but the reality is Highlight and Math Camp’s later applications never really blew up in such a way to make them necessary social utilities. Simply notifying users about other people nearby turned out to be a limited use case that was a product of the density of people and a willingness to open up your current location to the rest of the world. The good elements inevitably found their way into other applications, like sharing locations in iMessage, but it was a so-so product for an open-minded dense conference like SXSW and not much outside that.

Highlight also ran into a slew of problems like draining a user’s battery life, and was eventually taken down in 2015. In the end, it couldn’t find mass popularity once SXSW ended, and it seemed inevitable that the company would have to go in a different direction regardless of the promise the technology showed. So the company made a pivot earlier this year into releasing a couple of photo-sharing applications, Roll and Shorts (which allowed you to share your camera roll). But those also never really caught on and became breakout successes.

Most of the team is joining Pinterest, including CEO Paul Davison, who will be working across multiple areas of Pinterest. It’s an interesting buy for Pinterest, but not entirely unexpected. Pinterest’s core competency is discovering new content, and the Math Camp team launched with an app initially created around the hope of discovering people around you. Those are hard problems that require understanding the nature and behavior of a user and diving deep into a diverse array of content that might match up with those attributes.

Given that Shorts launched in March, this is kind of an abrupt end to Math Camp. The startup raised $5.5 million in two rounds of financing over its five-year life. But much like other flash-in-the-pan apps like Secret, which gathered a ton of buzz in Silicon Valley, it couldn’t break into the mainstream and offer some kind of core use case that would become a necessity every day.

As Pinterest improves its discovery products, the overall Pinterest experience should improve. That, in turn, leads to higher engagement, and a bigger opportunity to monetize its user base by chasing down users with content that they might not even realize they thought would be interesting. It’s a heavy duty problem, and an area where Pinterest has been aggressively investing.

That includes improving the traditional discovery experience and also introducing powerful tools like visual search — which gives users a way to look for products by just selecting things that pop up in pictures. In the future, users should even be able to do that with a photo they just took, based on what Pinterest showed last month. All of this requires a group of people that understand the underlying connections that various nodes have between each other.

Some of the work done on Math Camp’s other apps will be open sourced in the form of a range of libraries and frameworks, much in the same way Fleksy’s keyboard technology was open sourced for developers when Pinterest acquired it earlier this year. The company has been pretty busy acquiring talent in the past couple of months, but that’s important for a growing company to bring in outside expertise. Acquihires give companies options to buy a group of people with a core competency that already have experience working together on a product.

5 Tricks and Tools to Reclaim Your Social Media Marketing Game

5 Tricks and Tools to Reclaim Your Social Media Marketing Game

5 Tricks and Tools to Reclaim Your Social Media Marketing Game | Social Media Today If you’re a social media manager who’s been at it for some time, you’ve probably tried all the tricks and strategies going around, and have maintained those stable few that have lead to optimal results for your brand. But with the landscape changing so quickly – both in terms of on-platform offerings and consumer expectations – every now and then you need something new, something fresh, a different approach to get your stats spiking and maintain the ideal levels of audience engagement and response.

The following is a list of quirky and, dare I say, fun ideas for that social media marketing breakthrough you’re looking for.

And if you’re the new marketing kid on the block, here are 5 good tools to get started with, along with an explanation as to why you might want to try them.

1. Serve it hot 

4 millions posts find their way to Facebook every minute of every day. Because of this influx, finding the right sources of news and information, those which are most relevant to you and your interests, can be tough. While the amount of content flowing through the internet continues to rise, our capacity to consume media does remains stable, which can be overwhelming for some.

That’s where you come in – the super helpful industry enthusiast who finds and serves the freshest, most useful content that there is in your niche.

But of course, doing this yourself can be hard – as noted, there’s a huge amount of content being posted every day and sifting through is no easier for you than it is for others.

So how do you do it, how can you locate the best, most relevant info to share with your audience and establish yourself as a leader in your field?

You need to use a combination of apps, your judgment and some smart personal touches to effectively curate content.

Here’s one option – you can set up keywords related to your industry and/or topics of interest on DrumUp, a content curation platform. You can also integrate RSS feeds of blogs and sites you like with the app, providing you with a filtered list of relevant material.

5 Tricks and Tools to Reclaim Your Social Media Marketing Game | Social Media Today
From there, you simply pick the most relevant articles from your feed, click on share and type out your own description. And this last element is important – while sharing important news and updates can help your audience, by adding your own insights, you’re also working to establish your expertise in this area, rather than just parroting the latest headlines. Why is this latest development important to your audience? Share your thoughts and ideas on each.

You can also use the hashtags from DrumUp’s recommendations, then you can schedule shares across all your social accounts.

It’s an effective way to curate relevant news and build your presence on social platforms.

2. Tweet Tweet

Twitter is like a large community in conversation, and it moves incredibly fast.

Being a part of this pulse-quickening rush of information has its advantages. You can locate and touch base with all the people pertinent to your industry and product in seconds. And if you have the right content, and can match that with the right moves, you can drastically improve your lead generation efforts using the micro-blog platform.

What are those right moves? Here’s Twitter marketing aficionado Madalyn Sklar’s secret sauce for Twitter success –

“Tweet everyday (2/3 times a day), respond to every notification, use advanced Twitter search, Twitter lists and engage, engage, engage.”  

You should also consider participating in Twitter chats. This is something Sklar does extremely well herself with her own #TwitterSmarter chat.

5 Tricks and Tools to Reclaim Your Social Media Marketing Game | Social Media Today

Twitter chats are essentially highly concentrated assemblies of people with a common interest. Catch the chat that discusses your niche’ and you may just catch your audience.

And while Twitter chats run quite well on Twitter, it can be easier to manage and host your own using a Twitter chat platform like Nurph.

Nurph lets you send the invitations, schedule and manage the chat, and gives you post chat statistics so you can analyze who the most active, influential participants were so you can direct the chat better the next time you host it (and thank active members for their participation also).

Alternatively, Nurph also allows you to locate and join conversations that are important for you.

3. Stun with captures 

Visuals can increase your social media engagement rates dramatically, but many people are still wary of including images because of copyright concerns, while creating their own is often too time consuming and/or difficult..

Visual creation is definitely a challenge and designers can certainly accomplish a lot more with visuals than untrained people can, but that shouldn’t stop you from attempting it yourself.

There’s a heap of tools that can help you convert your concepts into visual representations that have the potential to catch so much more attention than simple, flat text.

Canva is one such option, which simplifies image creation by providing an easy to use drag and drop interface. You can create your featured image using this (like I did with mine for this post).

5 Tricks and Tools to Reclaim Your Social Media Marketing Game | Social Media Today

Piktochart is another graph-based visual platform that lets you turn pre-existing templates into graphs and infographics depicting your studies and concepts.

If you’d rather re-use visuals, you could pull them from resource libraries like Flickr and Giphy – but be sure to always provide proper credit to the creators of the original content.

4. Keep your eyes open  

Remember how back in your school classroom there was always one kid that didn’t study too much but still did quite well without seeming to put too much effort into it? Those kids were able to succeed by relying on their powers of observation – working smarter, rather than harder.

It pays to be observant because you see what no one else does, and that’s a window into added advantages over everyone else.

Social listening tools give you some of that ability, but a good analytics tool completes the picture.

Which of your advances on social are more effective? Which blog post titles should you ideally use? Who should you follow on Twitter? Who should you engage with?

While Brand24 gives you sentiment analysis on shares, Rival IQ lets you monitor your campaigns and measure them up against competitors, and Shareaholic Analytics helps you understand the kinds of content your audience is most receptive to.

Deploy your feelers on social and map your actions to results so you can re-hash and alter your social strategies to best serve your audience.

5. Volunteer and Participate

The definition of social, in itself, refers to groups of people, organizations and gatherings, the need for companionship. One of the consistent trends across social platforms is engagement of the like-minded. People seek out other people who they have things in common with. Of those connections, communities are built and exchange of communication takes place.

As a professional in your industry, you need to seek out communities that discuss topics related to your area of expertise. Volunteer information to help people, and participate whole-heartedly in conversations on community pages. By doing this, there’s a good chances that when people are ready to invest and make that buy, your brand will be what comes to mind. This concept, which is referred to as ‘Top of Mind Marketing’, is one of the most organic and powerful ways to build a loyal following of people who could be potential leads.

Begin with communities like Quora, and groups on Facebook, LinkedIn and Google Plus and then progress into independent communities that are built to solve problems in your industry.

Social is all about give and take – rather than pushing out content, locate content that’s genuinely useful to your audience. Instead of promoting yourself, find situations where your product can actually be useful to people. And do that with the right social tools for efficiency.

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