It has been a busy week for social media news this week, with a number of updates and new features announced in quick succession from 3 major platforms. This blog outlines your need-to-know information to keep up with the ever-changing world of social media this week.
Facebook Trending Topics
In recent months, we have seen a steady flow of changes and updates to Facebook seemingly all with the aim of transforming the platform into a social media news hub. Today’s updates take this yet further. The first update we will discuss is the tweak to trending topics.
Currently, the platform displays 3 topics, with the option to ‘see more’. Going forward, the the platform is testing a new format, which displays 5 categories, represented by small icons, which users can toggle between, containing 3 topics per category.
Facebook Place Tips
Following a recent Messenger update that allows users to share their location via the app, Facebook’s main platform has decided to roll out their latest update ‘Place Tips’ to all businesses across the U.S.. In the Newsroom Blog, Facebook stated that it wants users to ‘Get more out of the places you visit’.
The platform’s latest rollout, which was originally released back in January this year for a few businesses in NYC, shows users relevant and useful information about where they are; it will display a series of cards showing everything from popular posts on the location’s Facebook page, to photos and status updates from friends who have visited in the past.
In it’s latest announcement, Facebook is offering up free Beacons to retailers and businesses, which will send out push notifications to nearby Facebook users whilst they are in a prime location to visit the business and make a purchase.
Facebook Ads Scheduler
For the business page admins and digital marketers amongst you, this update is one to really take note of. In the past, when creating a Facebook paid ad, users could select just the start and end dates. Now, however, users have the ability to select the start date, end date, days of the week and times of day for their ad to target their chosen audience.
If you are properly analysing your data and target demographic’s social media habits, this will make Facebook paid ads much more cost effective, thus hopefully delivering a higher ROI to marketers.
Instagram Refreshes Desktop & Mobile Layout
One of the fastest growing platforms at the moment, Instagram is doing all the right things when it comes to attracting new users, and keeping the platform sticky. The new layout boasts a cleaner, more eye-catching layout, displaying just 3 images per line rather than 5, with the profile image displayed in a circle to stand out from the posts. Users can also scroll through images, where previously users had to click in and out of each image, which was an overcomplicated process with no smooth flow between images, particularly on desktop.
This new, decluttered layout has been widely praised, and suggests Instagram’s progression to a professional network where photographers and publishers can display work. This is due to roll out to users this week.
Twitter removes 140-character limit on DMs
Twitter has made a series of changes to Direct Messages in recent months, in efforts to improve user experience and user friendliness. This week the platform announced that it would be removing the 140-character limit from its direct message function.
These recent changes hint towards Twitter’s desire to keep the social media platform sticky; where previously users would need to move away from the platform for more lengthy communication, now they can carry out longer messages within the platform itself, much like Messenger or Whatsapp functionality.
Twitter is making conversation threads easier to follow. The new feature will group related conversations under the original tweet, linking them with a line along the side of the tweet. This update will be invaluable, particularly for marketers with busy twitter profiles, as it will help users to cut out the noise and focus on individual conversation threads. Users can instantaneously see a conversation thread, and can also click on a thread to expand it and see all replies in that thread.
Twitter’s tweak to conversations and replies is a nod towards quality over quantity, as they are refining the customer experience by displaying useful information, rather than drowning tweet replies by flooding the replies section with every reply posted.
Twitter muting & blocking
Similarly, following criticism that Twitter doesn’t do enough to deal with harassment, the platform has recently made a series of changes to its privacy and security features, focussing on users who regularly experience unwanted communication via direct messages and tweets.
This latest advanced feature allows users to share block lists on Twitter.com. You can now export and share your block lists with other users, or import another user’s list into your own account and block multiple accounts all at once, instead of having to trawl through and block them individually.
This is a positive step, however it could lead to blocking accounts that may not actually be causing problems or harassment. This could be problematic, as blocking accounts means that blocked users cannot view the profile that blocked them.