The digital world moves really fast and social media platforms change and introduce new tools and features on a regular basis. This round up highlights some of the best tools that have been introduced in the last year. You could be using all of these to improve your social media activity.
Not surprisingly Facebook has made the most changes. Whilst they are one of the oldest platforms they also continue to push social media forward both internally and externally. One of the biggest changes has been the introduction of Facebook Live to all users. Whilst they weren’t the first to “go live” they have embraced it and it is a great way of providing unique content to your customers which all sizes of business can use successfully. Free audience optimization and preferred audiences is a tool which lets you target your customers by narrowing down your reach by interest keywords, areas, gender and age without any cost. If you have less than 5,000 followers you have to turn the feature on in your general settings so make sure that you do. Facebook have also made changes to their offers tab so that users get reminders and their own offers tab on their profile page, opened Instant Articles to all and are continuing to invest heavily in 360 including 360 Live. Whilst the technology may still be expensive for full 360 you can still share inspiring content from other sources and if you upload a panoramic photo Facebook will automatically convert it to a 360 type image making it easy to create a more interactive experience for your audience.
Twitter have also made several changes and most of these have been to cement their role as both a news and customer support provider. For customer support, you can now request verification of your account so that customers know that they are dealing with the real you (one of the only platforms to allow you to request it). You can also update your profile to include customer service hours and Twitter will highlight that you offer support in their search facility. After their purchase of Periscope back in February 2015 Twitter have continued to embrace Live and it is now possible to go Live from within Twitter and Live videos will autoplay in your feed. Twitter has also made some other significant changes to the format of Tweets when they removed links, images, and @mentions from your character count allowing much more flexibility. Are you using all of your 140 characters?
In the fight against Snapchat, Instagram has introduced some significant features in the last year. Their disappearing Stories, which first appeared in August 2016, are the most prominent of these. Alongside this, Stories now includes Live Video and their latest update also includes a save option for live broadcasts for you to use your content at a later date. Instagram are moving more and more towards video with not just Live but also the option for longer videos of up to a minute (up to 3 minutes for selected advertisers). For businesses, Instagram has introduced business analytics and improved contact options and also now include carousel advertising in their range of advertising options.
Pinterest is on a steep change and development curve. Some of their developments like improved advertising, promoted videos and their very new Lens Beta are currently only available in the US or through selected partners which for some is prohibitively expensive. In the UK, however, you can benefit from Promoted Pins to push your content to your chosen audience and the new business format with a showcase of your best and preferred images highlighted at the top of your business page.