2015 Social Media Outlook

DeathtoStock_SlowDown4As we wrap up 2014, digital experts are already awaiting big changes in 2015 from social platforms like Facebook and Twitter. I know what you’re thinking: “Haven’t they run out of ideas by now?” Nope. Several exciting changes are in store for the new year, and we’ve laid out these expectations for you.


Moving into 2015, it has been predicted that Twitter will release a variety of new features. Some of these expected changes and additions include:

  • a curated timeline to ease the process of finding people to follow upon initial registration,
  • in-feed highlighted tweets that users may have overlooked while away from their phone or computer,
  • introduction of in-app video editing and sharing features, which will surely lead the way for advertisers to make a greater impact on users,
  • breaking news alerts, which will be popular among those who utilize Twitter as a real-time news feed, and
  • a new and improved messaging service (perhaps similar to Facebook’s 2014 messaging app).

Representatives from the company continue to reiterate that their number one priority is to maintain Twitter as a real-time network. These changes are simply an opportunity to keep engagement relevant to each particular user based on his or her interests.


The layout for Facebook changes in 2015 has already been shared by none other than the social network itself, as they continue to regain trust from many who were put-off by their failure to disclose how it uses data gathered from its users.

A recent revision to Facebook’s privacy policy informs its users of how their data is being collected and used by the network in words we can all understand. Coming in 2015, we expect several new features and changes to advertising that everyone will be grateful for.

  • Similar to the current “Nearby Friends” feature, there are plans to add functionality of promotion of nearby services to your feed. Examples might be the ability to see nearby restaurants and their menus or auto-push notifications when a friend is in close vicinity.
  • Facebook is embracing e-commerce in some regions, as they plan to roll out the “buy” button. This sale feature is one businesses will be jumping on, as the ease of in-app purchases is sure to drive sales.
  • The mobile app will require user permission to access phone data moving forward, thus allowing users to feel more secure and in-control of their shared information.
  • Perhaps the most exciting planned feature is the ability to control ads within user news feeds. Yes, you heard that right. Facebook users will be able to choose the kinds of ads that populate in their feed, and they say users will even be able to opt-out of viewing ads altogether. (Although we’ll believe it when we see it!)

Year 2014 was filled with lots of changes, and it seems that 2015 is shaping up to be big for both Twitter and Facebook. Either way, it seems the new year is bringing new opportunities for our most-active social networks. Happy Socializing!

Van West Media is a full service design, support, and consulting agency, offering comprehensive Internet marketing solutions for small to mid-size businesses.

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Coming Soon: Facebook at Work


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A recent article in the Financial Times suggests Facebook is currently testing a new site, Facebook at Work. But most of us are already using Facebook at work, so what gives?

Here’s what we currently know about the new platform:

  • Your Facebook for Work profile is entirely separate from your personal Facebook social account(s); there’s no cross-pollination between users’ professional and social accounts
  • It’s geared specifically to the professional realm
  • The functionality is very similar to the existing Facebook site
  • No obnoxious advertising (…yet)
  • Includes collaborative tools catered to the work environment

It’s easily understood that Facebook at Work is expected to rival existing job tools and career networks like LinkedIn, Google Docs and Microsoft. It has been reported that Facebook employees have been using this interface internally for quite some time.

We want to hear from you. Are you excited about the possibility of Facebook at Work? Will it be a distraction or will it streamline workflow? Comment below or tweet us at @vanwestmedia!

Van West Media is a full service design, support, and consulting agency, offering comprehensive Internet marketing solutions for small to mid-size businesses.

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Forget the ads. Hello, Ello!

DeathtoStock_Wired7Flashback to circa 2006: before your Facebook feed was drowning in advertisements, before you were a data tool – you were a person on a social network for the sole purpose of maintaining relationships.

Over the years, Facebook seems to have (literally) sold out. Now a publicly traded company, profit must be made, thus ads and target marketing have taken over the Facebook platform, among others.

Flash forward to 2014: we’ve been presented with Ello – a free and ad-free social networking platform – that truly reflects the initial purpose of connecting online. Here are our top five reasons to say, “Hello!” to Ello.

  1. Ello is clean, simple and uncluttered.
  2. Your personal information remains personal.
  3. Ello is invitation-only, as it’s still in Beta mode.
  4. Say goodbye to the hashtag; this feature is not part of Ello.
  5. The Ello manifesto is pretty much the greatest thing we’ve seen in a long time.

Weigh in! How do you feel about Ello? Will it hold its own against established social platforms?

Van West Media is a full service design, support, and consulting agency, offering comprehensive Internet marketing solutions for small to mid-size businesses.

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5 Reasons SEO Still Matters in Business

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Many clients come to us for assistance with Search Engine Optimization (SEO) on their websites and shared content. But why do successful businesses need SEO? Here are five reasons SEO matters:

1. Your competitors are benefiting from SEO

Unless you’re in a highly political and controversial business, it’s not to your advantage to keep low profile on the web. Your competition is using SEO to get to customers before you do. A quick Google search on the nature of your business (e.g., photography in New York City) will display competitors who are using SEO the right way (which is why they are at the top of the search results). Keep up and maintain your authority as a leader in your field/industry.

2.  Customers are just one click away (and usually via a Google link)

You do it several times a day: Google a service from your mobile device, and call the first number that pops up…unless you prefer Yahoo or Bing, in which case, please accept our compliments for being unconventional. Your potential buyer is looking for you in the same fashion. Help them find you quick and easy.

3. SEO happens, whether you want it or not

The web already knows something about your business (or, if you registered your company an hour ago, the web will know about it fifteen minutes from now). Unless you have a clear, deliberate SEO strategy in place, Google will make assumptions about your website that may be arbitrary or even incorrect.

That information will be accidental and rarely useful to your prospective customer. With SEO, you can help your customers to find the unique brand of happiness that only you can offer them by making sure Google has accurate info about your business and your site.

4. SEO saves money and grows your business

If your digital footprint expands over time, so will your customer base – ultimately leading to business growth. Do the SEO the right way, and you’ll be able to forget about sales teams and cold calling. You’ll be too busy answering calls and emails from prospective customers!

5. SEO makes you a VIP

Imagine telling your Chief Marketing Officer you found a way to increase sales and reduce cost using SEO instead of expensive print, radio or legacy sales tactics. In many cases, the money saved more than pays for the SEO efforts or campaigns put in place. You are the expert in your field. Make it known. Do the SEO.

To find out more about SEO and what we can offer you and your business, contact Van West Media today.

Van West Media is a full service design, support, and consulting agency, offering comprehensive Internet marketing solutions for small to mid-size businesses.

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