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Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest Said to Drive In-Store and Online Sales

This week's need-to-know social-media news.

Social media sites like Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest aren't killing brick-and-mortar businesses. Instead, they drive even more in-store purchases than online sales, according to the results of four surveys by research firm Vision Critical. Facebook drives the most sales of both types. Pinterest, meanwhile, can be a useful platform for brands to raise their profile among consumers. One in three people who bought something they found on Pinterest had not considered making that purchase previously, the research found.

According to Vision Critical, while 26 percent of consumers browse in stores and then buy online -- a practice known as "showrooming" -- fully 41 percent do the opposite, researching products online before purchasing them in stores. "Instead of feeling threatened by 'showrooming,' retailers should study their customers' paths to purchase and use the insights gained to hone their online marketing efforts," the company concluded. -- The Drum

Social-media startup WeHeartIt may be the next Pinterest.
WeHeartIt, a Brazil-based image-sharing platform that existed before Pinterest, is finally getting some mainstream attention. The company has just raised $8 million in a Series A financing round, and the team -- all except founder Fabio Giolito, who is having trouble securing a visa -- has relocated to San Francisco. What's more, the startup now has 20 million monthly unique visitors, and its registered user base is growing by one million per month. One major difference between WeHeartIt and Pinterest is that the former targets women under the age of 24, while middle-aged women form the core user base of the latter. -- Business Insider

Chat rooms may be coming to Facebook.
Remember AOL's chat rooms from the 1990s? Apparently Facebook does. The social-media giant is said to be testing a chat room feature. In its current form, the "host chat" feature is added to the status update composer along with the current text, photo and video options, TechCrunch reported. Users can open chat rooms and name them for particular purposes, such as planning an event with friends. The difference between the new feature and Facebook's existing chat option is that stories will appear in users' news feeds to let them know their friends are hosting chat rooms. Also, you can join a chat room without an invitation, though the host can block you if he or she chooses. No word yet on when this feature might go public to Facebook's more than one billion users. -- TechCrunch

LinkedIn lets you track who is viewing and sharing your content.
LinkedIn has updated its homepage with two new features: "Who's Viewed Your Updates" and "You Recently Visited." The former shows which of your connections have viewed, liked and shared your updates over the past 14 days, while the latter shows you not only 1st-degree but also 2nd- and 3rd-degree connections, letting you know which users in your larger network are interested in your content. The aim is to give users more ways to track their influence and determine who to connect with to grow their network, LinkedIn product manager Caroline Gaffney wrote in a company blog post. The You Recently Visited feature shows profiles you have viewed and discussions you have participated in, and serves as a reminder of past activity that you might like to follow up on. -- ZDNet

A new app wants to make work more fun and more social.
A startup called Tomfoolery released its first app, Anchor, this week, with an eye toward making the workplace a more fun place to be. There are plenty of productivity apps that let you share files and collaborate with colleagues, but how about building relationships with them? Enter Anchor, which functions as a social network for people within a single company. You need a company email address to join up and share photos, events and other things with your coworkers. Anchor is available free for iOS and on the web. The 10-employee Tomfoolery may be onto something, having already raised $1.7 million in venture capital. -- Business Insider