While I’m sure several pages and blog posts can be devoted to ideas to enhance or improve the major players in social networking, this posts offers a single suggestion for each. Some have been on my mind for a while, others more extemporaneous. Some small, some big. Please add your ideas in the comments!
Without further rambling, my one idea for each social network, Part I of II (Facebook, YouTube, Pinterest, Instagram):
Facebook: One of the most effective social network features that makes me a sticky user is the “Who’s Viewed Your Profile” on LinkedIn. It’s not only a small ego boost to know someone is interested enough to check out your profile, but interesting to see who within or outside your network is looking at your profile. I can only imagine the pull Facebook would have to drive users even more frequently to their site if this feature were added. (Perhaps with an opt-out option in settings).
YouTube: Not long ago, YouTube clearly began trying to service brands more effectively through channel customization and revenue share for video views. Brands consistently (try to) create quality content whose goal is to deliver more users to YouTube to see its video and banner ads. My idea for YouTube, though, is to have branded pages. Reward these brands for bringing in traffic by allowing them to “own” the page when a user lands on their video. Show their other related videos, not those of others; offer them banner ads for their products, or at least a revenue share with the existing banners, provide, and have a clear Subscribe button on the video page instead of forcing the brand to add an annotation to each video. I believe in the value and reach of YouTube, and its importance in video/content discovery and search, but they can be doing much more to help businesses.
Pinterest: Pinterest’s first sources of success, primarily, were food and fashion. People loved showcasing their favorite finds, personal recipes or outfits they wanted to make, buy, or share. These are all amenable to social proof; yes via repins, but Pinterest can and should get more nuanced with ratings. When you try or see a recipe, see an outfit, product color, etc., users could enter a 1-10 rating, for example, and those pins with social proof could help enhance the Pinterest experience, as well as marketers looking to get feedback, showcase popular items, and throw marketing dollars behind items with social proof that have a better chance for conversion. People love rating things and could kill hours scrolling through, and rating, pins of all sorts!
Instagram: This is an idea I share with some peers, so I cannot take all the credit, but Instagram is way too noisy and could stand to benefit in several ways from segmented news feeds. I personally follow mostly sports teams and brands and a few friends, but I find I only see a handful of posts, primarily by some active sports teams, with others getting buried in the chronological news feed. I do not follow many Instagram profiles and already find it too many and find my bar to follow is excessively high, as a result. If I could view segmented news feeds – friends vs. brands; photo vs. video; categories of profiles — anything! Not only would this improve user experience, but provide more targeted news feeds and content that would improve advertising optimization.
See Part II on Thursday with ideas for: Twitter, LinkedIn, and Google Plus
Posted by Neil Horowitz