Friday Social: Twitter DMs & Scheduled Tweets, Google Plus and Laughing Gas

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Our #FridaySocial is a weekly round-up of the key social media news stories from the previous seven days.

1. Twitter to allow DMs from people you don’t follow

It was revealed this week that Twitter is giving users the opportunity to accept DMs from people who you don’t follow.  Twitter recently blocked URLs from being posted in DMs, in an attempt to prevent the potential huge spam issue that this move would have started. Read more here.

2. New Facebook Page Insights

Facebook has unveiled a new version of Page Insights.  It recently annouced that, after gathering feedback from early users, it was bringing in a range of updates, including:
* Simpler metrics
* Tools to publish better content
* Insights about people interacting with your page
* A new Page Insights Export

3. Google Plus users to appear in ads?

In a note to its users on 11 October, Google said that users of Google+ could appear in ads unless they opt-out.  Essentially, a user’s photo and profile can now appear in the advertising of a company they have endorsed by clicking on the +1 button.

Mirroring an earlier move by Facebook, Google’s spin was thus: “Feedback from people you know can save you time and improve results for you and your friends across all Google services, including Search, Maps, Play and in advertising.  For example, your friends might see that you rated an album four starts on the band’s Google Play page. And the +1 you gave your favourite local bakery could be included in an ad that the bakery runs through Google. We call these recommendations and endorsements.”

4. Scheduled Tweets

In a busy month of updates from the three biggest social networks, Twitter announced on Monday this week that marketers using Twitter’s Ad Products can schedule Tweets (either regular Tweeted content or Promoted Tweets) for specific dates or times.  It remains to be seen whether this service will become available, free of charge for regular users.  It’s possible that this is the kind of service Twitter could offer to regular users who pay for a Premium Twitter service.

5. British (Laughing) Gas

Much hilarity on The Twitter this week as (yet another) leading British company loused up its social comms.  We’re not sure whose idea it was (inhouse or agency) to launch a Twitter Q&A on the day it announced a 9.2% price hike for customers, but it was a pretty terrible one. For Twitter users, on the other hand, it was manna from heaven and the #askBG hashtag was suitably roasted.

The company turned to its PR team to rustle up a statement: “Our announcement today is difficult news for customers. We know people are worried and they want to talk about this. If you are worried about covering the cost of your energy bill, please visit our website for information.”

Oh dear.