From smoke signals to snail mail to telegrams – communication has come a long way over the years. In an ever-changing world, it comes as no surprise that social media would need to advance and adapt as well. Turns out things are changing a lot faster these days.
Most marketers are familiar with the benefits of sticking to a predetermined content strategy – they can establish a social presence, build brand voice and consistency, foster connections with followers and create a trusted source for information. Before you flesh out a strategy, though, you must understand and keep up to date with how social mediums have evolved. Check out some of the most recent updates below to manage the best campaign possible for your business.
- Update: Chat Feature in WhatsApp
- Why it’s important: WhatsApp was bought by Facebook a few years ago, but is just starting to test a new feature which allows businesses to talk directly with their customers through the app. Businesses will receive a green check mark next to their name after being reviewed and approved to chat with users. Right now, this service is free as their goal is to learn how to deliver messaging features that users will enjoy and find useful. In the long-run, Facebook hopes WhatsApp and Messenger will aid in growing sales for them, meaning additional opportunities will arise for advertisers to show ads to larger consumer markets.
- Update: Updated Ads Manager
- Why it’s important: To help create and manage ads, Facebook has combined Power Editor with Ads Manager. This creates a new workflow that allows you to create a draft campaign before adding ad sets and ads, making for more creative control. Another benefit is the ability to review and confirm any change that is made within an ad, assuring the final product meets expectations. Combining Power Editor with Ads Manager has also created a one-stop shop for all ad needs, rather than forcing advertisers to move between platforms to discover insights and activity history.
- Update: 3D Posts
- Why it’s important: Interest in VR is continually on the rise, and Facebook’s newest feature will only accelerate awareness about the platform. With Facebook Spaces, users can share 3D objects created in VR on the 2D News Feed. Viewers can interact with posts by swiping around, allowing a 3D object to be seen from different angles – similar to 360-degree video.
- Update: Testing Image-Based Search for Related Products
- Why it’s important: Facebook is testing a tool that enables users to search objects in the Marketplace using an image. This is similar to Pinterest’s image-recognition search, Lens, which was launched in February and allows users to upload a picture and shows them similar Pins. Pinterest saw positive feedback when they rolled out their update, so it makes sense that Facebook would follow suit.
- Update: In-Stream Video Placement Updates
- Why it’s important: This feature allows video advertisers to deliver 5-15 second video ads within videos posted to other pages, leading to increased exposure and relevance as publishers can target their videos to specific groups.
Another Facebook video update includes testing 4K video uploads. Videos have exploded in popularity among users and importance to advertisers, and this upgrade has been a long time coming - let’s see if it boosts views as Facebook is anticipating.
- Update: Monitor and Respond to Instagram through Facebook
- Why it’s important: Facebook now allows the correlation of Instagram to Facebook profiles and pages to simplify monitoring and responding to engagement. Receiving notifications for Instagram through Facebook is convenient for social media campaigns using more than one platform.
- Update: Stories Feature
- Why it’s important: As many have seen, social stories are the new fad, and Facebook and Instagram have followed suit - remember the scandal of Instagram accusedly cloning Snapchat’s core idea? Now, the two platforms will band together to syndicate Instagram Stories and Facebook Stories. This is important for a number of reasons: it will increase the reach as stories can be posted to Facebook by brands, can be viewed via desktop or mobile, are much more widely used on Instagram and can now take advantage of the photo app’s more polished reputation. As for now, the reverse – posting Facebook Stories to Instagram Stories – is not enabled, but it isn’t out of mind.
Instagram stories also now let you ‘go live’ with a friend, making it easy for businesses to communicate with followers with a split screen. Early examples have used the feature for Q&A sessions, interviews, collaboration/joint webinars, announcements, round-ups and contests. All of these are great initiatives to engage with consumers, grow your audience on social, add personality and deliver new experiences.
- Update: 280 Character Limit
- Why it’s important: The move from 140 to 280 characters has caused quite the ordeal in the world of social, but regardless of users’ opinions, it’s here and it might as well be utilized. One advantage that might stand out to marketers is the use of multiple links. Rather than sending off several tweets with different links or choosing one over the other for any given reason, the new character limit can allow sharing multiple links in one tweet, giving the user the total package of information in one place.
- Update: Happening Now and Bookmarking
- Why it’s important: The Happening Now feature is great for tweets regarding real-time events, making them easier to find. This pulls in current hot topics and places them at the top of the news feed, which makes sense considering Twitter is the go-to social medium for live info. Secondly, although it’s not here yet, the bookmarking tool will be helpful for users who are interested in a topic but may not have time to consume the content when they first come across it.
To coincide with the live information displayed on Twitter, Twitter’s new Video Website Card is the perfection addition. The company describes this as “a creative format that combines the power of video with the ability to drive users back to a site to learn more or take action in the moment.” This might be helpful to businesses when thinking of accomplishing several different goals including video views, clicks or overall awareness. This is available to all advertisers so check it out!
- Update: Shareable Links
- Why it’s important: Via iOS share sheets, Snapchat is now allowing users to share links from other apps to several users within a private message. This is important as it will serve as a source of referral traffic to various sites while offering reasons to return to the app. The update will hopefully decrease clutter on the News Feed for users who want to see their friends’ posts rather than too many shared links. With the young, loyal user base of Snapchat, this update could prove to be very popular in the upcoming months.
- Update: Context Cards
- Why it’s important: Context Cards are a new feature from Snapchat that can display relevant information to geotagged images shared in public stories, such as reviews or restaurant reservations. When a user posts to the Our Story feature, a card is included automatically and allows users to swipe up on the snap where ”more” is displayed. The feature is similar to Google Maps, where cards offer basic details about a certain location. This has been used for reserving a table at a restaurant, ordering a ride from Lyft or Uber, etc. Snapchat’s integration will likely create opportunities for revenue as well as increasing its efforts in local products.
- Update: LinkedIn Audience Network
- Why it’s important: A common concern with LinkedIn is the challenge of reaching people of importance to a specific business. The LinkedIn Audience Network allows one to reach professionals with an ad by placing sponsored content on third-party publishers across mobile and desktop. This functionality will predictably increase the marketing footprint beyond LinkedIn. So far, 6,000+ have used his advertising program and have, on average, seen a 3-13% increase in unique impressions served as well as up to 80% increase in unique clicks. Another benefit that comes with delivering ads through this outlet is the ability to download performance reports, which include impressions, clicks and engagement to see the progress in reaching additional prospects.
It’s obvious that social media is changing on a day-to-day basis, so keeping up to speed as a business is crucial to optimize current and future campaigns. Constantly making an effort to keep up will lead to more effective campaigns, more efficient placement and open new outlets when it comes to delivering creative.