Facebook Releases Real-Time Analytics For Social Plugins

Facebook has announced the release of a new set of real-time metrics for folks using their social media plugins on their website. The new version of Facebook Insights provides in-depth performance data on “like” buttons including impressions, referrals and demographics.

Last week, Facebook made a move to push all third-party sites to use the “like” button instead of the “share” button and it looks like it was all leading to this new update.

The new version of Insights shows you how many people saw your “like” button on your website, how many clicked and and conversely, how many people went from your Facebook page to your website. They also provide the same data for the “comment box” option.

Google Adds Instant Previews to Mobile

Google now has instant previews when you search using your mobile phone and this time, it’s a good thing.

Unlike the online version of Instant Preview, the mobile version doesn’t begin showing results until you’ve finished typing in the search box. Then, like its online big brother, Google shows a list of options, each with a magnifying glass beside it.

Online, when you click the magnifier, you get a pop-up of the preview. On mobile, when you click on the magnifier, previews of the first few pages load on your phone and you can flip through them to find the one you want. No more clicking back and forth.

Twitter’s New Quickbar Promotes Trends Over Tweets

Twitter’s new iPhone update is all about helping you Tweet faster and easier, but like everything in life, it has a downside. In this case, it’s an overlay with the latest Trends that resides at the top of your timeline and it can’t be removed.

If you’re interesting in going along with the majority, or you’re an online writer looking to capitalize on some SEO, then the Quickbar is a nifty tool. It scrolls sideways to show you the top trends and when you click on them, you’re taken to search results for that item. In other words, it’s useless for most Twitter Tweeters.

The update isn’t all bad, though, they actually added a couple of tools that are very helpful including a camera button on the Tweet blank so you can upload photos instantly and an auto URL shortener.

Simon & Schuster Turns to Webcam Videos to Connect Authors and Readers

If you could ask your favorite author anything, what would you ask? Would it be a question about how to become a best selling author? A query about the motivations of a character or something more personal like, what would you do if you found out your date had false teeth?

No question is off limits on Simon & Schuster’s Ask the Author page, but just cause you can ask, doesn’t mean you’ll get an answer. Unlike canned interviews of the past, this new program is set up so fans can leave a question for a particular author and get a video response back at a later date. You can also scan through a list of current questions and listen to the answers that have already been recorded. The whole thing is made possible by VYou.com and if you visit their webpage you’ll see how other businesses have used their conversational video software to connect with their readers and fans.

Turning Social Media Followers into Brand Evangelists

Do you know VABeachKevin? He’s a guy on Twitter who might answer your question if you’re confused about a product from Omniture. Funny thing is, he doesn’t work for the company. He’s just a guy who likes the product and likes to share what he knows. He’s a brand evangelist and his word is worth more than ten tweets from a salesman on the company Twitter.

Brian Watkins of Adobe has an interesting new webcast available that talks about how you can get your own VaBeachKevin, because seriously, we all need at least one like him.

American Idol Voters Are Not Fans of Facebook

“sick of everything coming dependent on FB trend…wouldn’t let me vote unless I registered with my FB….grrrr!”

That sentiment is begin repeated over and over again on America Idol’s official posting board in a thread called “The Online Voting Sucks.” So much for the show’s grand, new social media experiment.

For the first time in its history, Idol offered online voting and Ryan Seacrest pimped it regularly throughout the first two performance shows. But when people flocked to the website to actually cast their votes they ran into a number of problems. Some found a message saying the voting was already closed, some simply couldn’t access the site, likely due to traffic issues, but many were stopped cold by the Facebook requirement.

FanTrail App Provides New Marketing Avenues for Musicians

For musicians, MySpace used to be the social network of choice, but now that the stands are empty over there, it’s sort of Facebook or nothing. Enter FanTrail, a new smartphone app with some exciting ideas about marketing to fans. Even if you’re not a musician, keep reading because there’s inspiration here for all of us.

FanTrail is a free application that allows a musician to communicate and sell to his fans on a variety of levels. For the fan, the app acts as a digital newsletter providing social media updates (which can all be updated at the same time with one click), a calendar of events and links to the musician’s music on iTunes. If a user buys through the app, the musician gets a percentage of the price over and above the royalty he makes from iTunes.