News & Trending Topics in Social Media

Oculus Rift Will Cost $599 – Facebook’s Oculus is finally offering clarity on how much of a premium a virtual reality experience will cost. After months of teasing the introduction of its Oculus Rift virtual reality goggles, the company said on Wednesday that it had opened orders for the system, which includes a headset and controller devices, with a price of $599. That’s without a computer included — you’ll need a fast one that will probably cost around $1,000. The device begins shipping in March. – New York Times

Facebook Tests Interest-Specific News Feeds On Mobile – Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg has said that he wants the social network’s news feed to be “the best personalized newspaper.” But newspapers have sections, and now so does Facebook’s news feed, at least for some people. The social network has been experimenting with category-specific versions of its news feed that take posts that would normally appear in the all-in-one feed and organize them into their own interest-specific feeds. It began the test in October, as reported by Social Times, and now appears to be extending it to mobile. – Facebook

Facebook Wants To Kill The Phone Number in 2016 – Facebook wanting to eradicate phone numbers altogether. The company’s VP of Messaging Products, David Marcus, has penned something that’s less of a blog post and more of a rallying cry for the modern way to do everything. Incredibly, this modern way is called Facebook. Specifically, Facebook Messenger. He writes that toward the end of 2015, more than 800 million people were using Messenger. “We made Messenger blazing fast, we introduced video calling, the ability to customize conversations with colors, nicknames and emojis and with Businesses on Messenger, we introduced a new way for businesses to engage their customers by providing them with a delightful, personal experience,” he says. – cnet

Here Are The Instagram Emojis That Get The Best Engagement For Brands – Simply Measured studied 2,500 Instagram posts by global brands from the Interbrand 100 list and found that the emoji known as “love heart” performs better than all other emojis on the platform by a wide margin, averaging more than 120,000 likes and comments per post. The next two emojis in terms of brand engagement are “sparkles,” which averages 80,000 likes and comments, and “artist palette” with roughly 50,000 likes and comments, according to the Seattle-based data company. – AdWeek

Q&A: Periscope CEO Dishes ON What Brands Can Expect With Livestreaming in 2016 – When Periscope launched to much buzz last March, the Twitter-owned app cemented 2015 as the year of livestreaming for digital marketers. Now boasting more than 10 million users watching 40 years’ worth of video every day, and faced with growing competition from Facebook, YouTube and Meerkat, Periscope CEO Kayvon Beykpour is ready to turn his company into a bigger media and marketing platform in 2016. He spoke with Adweek about new features for marketers, how livestreaming will plug into new gadgets and technology, and Periscope’s unique influence on this year’s presidential election. – AdWeek

Brandi Smith
Brandi Smith
Senior Social-Digital Strategist

A strategic communications professional with 10+ years of experience, Brandi has managed a plethora of award-winning public relations and social media campaigns on behalf of CPG brands. With an emphasis on consumer lifestyle, food, beverage and fashion clients, Brandi specializes in leading the integrated planning and execution of brand management strategies designed to generate both consumer awareness and engagement. Throughout her career, Brandi has served clients such as Kellogg’s, Kimberly-Clark, Jim Beam and White Wave Foods while employed at Ketchum.

After living in Chicago for a number of years, Brandi returned to her hometown of Pittsburgh. She holds a B.S. in Public Relations with a second concentration in Sport Management from West Virginia University.