Social Media’s Sizzling New Features You Need to Know About

Summer may conjure up lazy days at the beach, but social media platforms have been busy debuting new features. Here’s a summer roundup of features you may have missed, so you can incorporate them into your social media strategies.

Social Media's Sizzling New Features You Need to Know About

Is your brand utilizing all of the new features on your favorite social media platforms?

Instagram

It started in May with an improved inbox. More than 150 million active daily users converse with businesses through Instagram Direct each month, so the platform added more tools for business owners to manage these conversations. You can now star important messages for follow-up, and IG is testing quick replies. In addition, messages now come directly to your inbox instead of languishing in the oft-forgotten Pending section.

Related: Making it Easier to Do Business on Instagram

Then, the popular platform went crazy and introduced five new features in a month! Everyone is talking about IGTV, Instagram’s new platform for long-form vertical video content. It’s available in the upper right hand corner of your app (next to Instagram Direct), or you can download the standalone IGTV app. Will IGTV become a major competitor to YouTube or fade away over time?

Other new features that may benefit your business include group video chat (now available in Instagram Direct), music and question stickers in Instagram Stories and an updated Explore page. The new stickers can help you show personality, draw more eyes (and ears) to your Stories and increase engagement with fans and customers.

Related: 5 New Instagram Features to Help Grow Your Business this Summer

LinkedIn

LinkedIn continues to expand its features, so it’s important that you maintain an active presence. It’s no longer enough to post a resume and forget about it. Even if you’re not actively pursuing new employment, this platform presents a multitude of opportunities: making professional connections, strengthening relationships, seeking new clients and establishing yourself as a thought leader in your field.

We enjoy pulling a quote from an article to highlight an important point and encourage conversation, so we’re excited to see LinkedIn make it easier to do. Now you can highlight a quote, right click and share it to your feed or message it privately on mobile. It will automatically include a link to the article along with your quote as the caption.

LinkedIn's new capabilities

Another exciting new development is the ability to save drafts directly on the LinkedIn platform. Say you’re browsing articles and find three that you’d like to share. Share them, write your caption (or pull a quote) and save as a draft. You can share it at a future date in order to share your content at optimal times for your audience.

The Posts & Activity shortcut (now available on your account drop-down menu) is an easy way to see what you have shared recently with your network. The built-in translator will come in handy when connecting with professionals across the word, and video captions help you communicate with viewers even when they’re watching your video silently, which people commonly do today.

Twitter

Not to be outdone, Twitter has been rolling out new features too. The platform announced it will begin showing related topics in its Trending Topics listing, which could help you tap into trending news. The related topics can give you a more complete view of the trending discussion, so you can see if a tie-in to your brand is appropriate and what additional hashtags to use.

Twitter also removed millions of accounts from follower numbers, cracking down on suspicious and spam accounts. Remember that active, targeted followers are more important than quantity, and don’t ever buy followers. This update will help make follower counts more accurate and add more legitimacy to influencer marketing on Twitter.

Finally, Twitter is making an effort to improve users’ experience by adding the ability to dock videos, so you can keep watching while you scroll. This may lengthen the amount of time viewers watch your videos or even boost views overall.

Facebook

Meanwhile, Facebook has made changes while trying to climb back into users’ good graces. The beleaguered social platform removed its Trending section to make room for future news experiences, such as exclusive video news content on Facebook Watch.


 

The social giant also introduced Keyword Snooze to help users further control their News Feed. This feature allows users to temporarily hide posts with a specific keyword or phrase from people, Pages and Groups for 30 days. It joins Facebook’s other News Feed controls: See First, Hide, Unfollow and Snooze.

Speaking of Groups, Facebook introduced Subscription Groups, so admins can charge for the content they provide group members. This could be a new distribution option for your brand’s premium content, such as in-depth tutorials, live streams of event sessions and video coaching sessions.

As we were compiling this roundup of new features, some platforms dropped even more new features.

Instagram Adds Active Status Notifiers to Fuel Real-Time Connection
Facebook Adds Option to Merge Instagram Contacts into Messenger
Bring Your Conversations to Life with New Updates in LinkedIn Messaging
Google, Facebook, Microsoft, and Twitter partner for ambitious new data project

Watch for more insight on these new features and how they can help you build your brand and connect with your communities in future articles. What new feature are you most excited about? Does one or two platforms work better for you than the others? Do you utilize different platforms for different reasons?

We would love to discuss social media marketing with you! Leave your comments below, contact us to discuss your needs or connect with us on social, so we can stay in touch.

Let’s get social,
Jaime

https://www.facebook.com/ClearlyConveyedCommunications/ LinkedIn_2013_30x30 Pinterest_2013_30x30 Twitter_2013_30x30 https://instagram.com/jaimeshine

The Best Social Media Sites For Business Marketing

"A Conversation" by Khalid Albaih via CC BY 2.0

Social media is one of the best marketing tools for businesses. In fact, it’s not just great for businesses; it’s great for individuals looking to market a blog too.

I could go on and on about the advantages and strengths of social media marketing. Instead, I’m going to talk about some of the best social media sites for business marketing.

Facebook image via CC0 Public Domain

Is your business on the largest social networking site on the planet?

Facebook

Facebook has been around for 11 years now and few would have predicted its success. When it started out, there were a few users who accessed the platform to stay in touch with family and friends. Facebook is currently the most used social networking site of all time and shows no sign of slowing down. Millions of people use Facebook every day for a variety of reasons, and this is why it’s perfect for marketing. In addition to the vast amount of potential customers, the social giant offers resources for businesses to help with your marketing efforts. You can pay to have your Facebook page advertised on people’s News Feeds who fall into your target audience(s). There’s also a local element; you can advertise directly to potential customers in your area and promote your location via check-ins, a map and your profile. It’s a tremendous site for businesses to use and continues to add new features and resources on a regular basis.

Twitter image via CC0 Public Domain

Has your business joined the conversation on Twitter?

Twitter

When I think of Twitter, two words pop into my head: real-time and community. Twitter is the social networking site that people go to for instant updates. With its 140-character limit (for now), the micro-blogging platform encourages a higher volume of posting than other social platforms. Many people now go on Twitter to find out about news stories and learn what’s going on in the world. If you’re a Twitter veteran, you’ve probably noticed that online communities are easily formed there by utilizing lists, hashtags and tagging other users. In a business sense, it’s ideal for marketing. You can zone in on Twitter audiences that are most relevant to your business. Twitter also presents you the opportunity to engage with a lot of people. Some of the best social media marketing strategies include using Twitter to engage with users. Using hashtags gives you the chance to promote your business to people all over the world.

Image via CC0 Public Domain

Is your business utilizing the power of video?

YouTube

Many people forget about YouTube when the discussion turns to social media. It is considered a social networking site because you can create a profile and interact with others. YouTube was purchased by Google in 2006, only a year after its arrival, and is now a serious player in the entertainment business, with billions of people watching videos every day. This is fantastic news from a business marketing perspective. It gives you a chance to upload videos promoting your business, which can be viewed by potential customers around town or around the world. There’s also a chance that your video could go viral, resulting in a significant increase in traffic, attention and customers to your business. If a picture’s worth a thousand words, than a video is worth even more.

While social media is a conversation, what you want to achieve from this game-changing addition to your marketing mix is all about you.

While these three social platforms can be great options for businesses, remember that your business has unique objectives and needs. That’s why it’s crucial to put together a strategy before getting social. If you’d like help putting together your targeted strategy (or just have some questions on the subject), let us know. We love to help brands get social with their targeted audience(s)!

Let’s do social well (and social good),
Jaime

Let’s chat (about social media for business, social strategies or otherwise):
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Peanutized: How to Encourage Fans to Engage With Your Brand

Have you been Peanutized?

Get Peanutized: The Peanuts Movie's interactive promotionI took the plunge this afternoon. After seeing the fun creations in my Facebook News Feed the past few days, I couldn’t resist anymore. (Ah, the power of social media…)

Get Peanutized is a cool microsite that 20th Century Fox is using to promote the upcoming release of The Peanuts Movie on November 6th. You can turn yourself into a character in the movie by selecting everything from your hair style and color to the shoes on your feet. So 20th Century Fox provided the site and is now sitting back and watching people promote their new movie for them. Genius!

People will share their creations and promote the movie, because it’s fun and engaging. At our core, we want to socialize with others, even brands. How can you encourage fans to engage with your brand?

  • Give out swag: For CCC’s 3rd anniversary, we threw a week-long party and invited our fans to join in the celebration. By engaging with us (and therefore spreading our message) on social, fans were entered to win cool swag with a special retro look. It was a success! In addition to increased engagement on our networks, we developed some new advocates for our brand.

 

  • Hold a contest: Ask people to post photos of your products in action to be entered to win a prize. Remind them to tag you and/or use a special hashtag, so you see the photos and others can too. This is also a great way to share tips or helpful hints about your products. No physical products? No worries! Utilize the aforementioned fun swag and ask fans to post photos of themselves (or others) showing off your promotional products wherever they are — on vacation, at work, etc.
  • Join the conversation: Don’t just respond to messages and comments directed to you; reach out to people when appropriate. Search relevant keywords and hashtags to find conversations you can join and people you can help. The key is to provide helpful information, not to sell. Nobody wants you to bust into their conversation with a sales pitch. But if you have helpful DIY tips, writing advice or relevant experience to share, they may end up becoming a customer down the road.
  • Open all lines of communication: Communicate with your customers where they’re comfortable, whether that’s Facebook Messenger or over the phone. Let people know the myriad of ways they can contact you, and you’re much more likely to hear from them. According to Andrew Bosworth, Facebook’s Ad Chief, “messaging via Pages has doubled year-over-year-over-year, and some companies have told Facebook that it is now the primary place for them to receive customer service requests.”

However you choose to engage with your fans, put some effort into it. Don’t create an app that doesn’t offer any value. Don’t set up presences on every social network and then forget about them. If you don’t have the bandwidth to be everywhere, choose what fits your company the best and will benefit your customers the most. Consider bringing in outside help to manage what you can’t.

And always keep an eye on the future. You never know when you’ll be able to share your first virtual reality (VR) ad or beam up fans to your event location. How cool would that be?!

Engage With Us on Engagement

How do you encourage fans to engage with your brand?

Do your fans show a preference in how they contact you?

What cool technology would you love to utilize someday for your brand?

Who’s your favorite Peanuts character?

p.s.Looking for some ideas to spice up your marketing? We can help!

Peanutized and lovin’ it,
Jaime

Let’s chat (about engagement, the Peanuts gang or otherwise):
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Warning: Appropriate Hashtag Usage on Instagram Will Result in Major Traffic Increase

Hashtags: you either love them or hate them. This blog has pondered hashtag usage before and received a mixed response from readers on their effectiveness and aesthetic appeal. But more than a year after that discussion, one thing is clear. Hashtag usage should be defined more than ever by social platform.

Hashtags? They can be a beautiful thing when used appropriately.

Original photo credit: “Protesters Blur By” by Geraint Rowland via CC BY 2.0 // edited by author


Social Platform Hashtag Usage

Twitter? One to two hashtags raises engagement and can help you reach new audiences. Three or more turn off potential readers because #nobody #wants to #read a #tweet #like #this. Remember, aesthetics matter, especially now that pictures are viewed directly in the tweet and articles can be previewed. CCC Tip: put your hashtags at the end of the tweet if character space allows.

Facebook? Not so much. The largest social network was late to the game recognizing hashtags and its audience doesn’t have patience for them. One or two may bring new eyes to your post, but make sure you tuck them in at the end so they’re as out of sight as possible. CCC Tip: Pass on hashtag usage on Facebook; they do more damage than good. In fact, when we published the previous hashtag post, Facebook was where we received the most negative feedback on the subject.

Pinterest? Meh. The verdict is sill out on this platform, so you may want to use a couple of applicable hashtags, if appropriate, or bypass altogether. Pins are typically easier to find via category (by search) or by board, so make sure to ‘file’ them properly. Also, take advantage of board descriptions! Let your prospective audience know why they should follow a particular board so they’re more likely to see future pins.

Instagram? Gold mine. Some days it seems like hashtags were created for this popular visual platform instead of Twitter. Sure, you’ll see some people complain about the plethora of hashtags used on this site (30 are allowed per photo), but they are SO effective in bringing increased traffic when used appropriately.

Hashtag Guidelines on Instagram

  • First, only tag your photos with hashtags that make sense; don’t tag accounts or hashtags only to fool people into looking at your picture. That makes people mad, so it’s not an effective long-term solution. Example: CCC is a marketing company that specializes in writing (including social media), but we don’t tag a picture of a sunset with #marketing, #writing or #socialmedia (unless it’s applicable for some reason).
  • Research hashtags to check their popularity and what type of photos show up in the search. More popular hashtags (#socialmedia, #writing) mean more people are searching, but more results in the search mean more competition. Less popular hashtags (such as ones you create) have less competition, but you’ll need to promote the tag to draw eyes to it. During your research, get a feel for what type of photos show up in the search. You may be surprised by the double meaning of some hashtags or an unexpected use by another campaign.
  • You can use up to thirty hashtags per photo, but don’t feel obligated. In our experience, most photos don’t warrant that many hashtags.
  • Creating your own hashtag? Try to keep it reasonable in length and avoid special characters (?!#$%), because they don’t work. Numbers do though. Make your hashtag easy to remember and promote, promote, promote!
CCC on Instagram: @jaimeshine

Are you visually inspired? Follow CCC on Instagram! Find us under jaimeshine.

Hashtags & Instagram: An Experiment that Produced Results

I was reviewing our Instagram account on Sunday evening (OK, more like Monday morning) and decided to try adding hashtags to older photos that didn’t have any or only had one or two. I thought it would be worth the time to draw more traffic and possibly bring new eyes to CCC’s posts. Wow! I couldn’t believe the results.

In only 48 hours, we picked up nearly 100 likes, 10 comments and 6 new followers.

These numbers are for an account with 185 followers, under 300 photos and little to no engagement at some points in the past, so we’re thrilled!

Conclusion: Appropriate hashtag usage on Instagram will result in major traffic increase, so please use responsibly.

Join the Discussion

Do you agree with our recommended hashtag usage on the social platforms mentioned above? Or have you had a different experience?

Do you have any Instagram hashtag guidelines to add?

Have you conducted a hashtag experiment on any social platform?

Hashtags: do you love them or hate them?

p.s. It’s Election Day! Go vote and make your voice heard.

A reformed, if reluctant, hashtagger,
Jaime,

Join the conversation: 
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Get Social: 4 Easy Ways to Join the Conversation

At CCC, we’re always telling people to join the conversation. Social media is, after all, about being social. Then one day, a client asked us how, and a light bulb went off. Hey, there’s a blog post in there somewhere!

Make It Personal

When you thank people for sharing your content or answer a question that someone’s posed, why not make it personal? Refer to people by their name (spelled correctly). Look at the user’s profile or recent tweets and mention something that catches your interest. It’s a great way to create dialogue and make someone remember you. As you develop relationships, it’s easier to ask about or note something of interest to people you’re routinely conversing with. Until then, make the extra effort; people will appreciate you.

Do A Little Soul (& Keyword) Searching

Search for popular hashtags and search terms in your industry, so you can check out what people are talking about. (If there are terms you’d like to search consistently, save a search in your social media software or set up a Google Alert.) Join appropriate conversations (not with sales pitches!), and share relevant discussions with your fans and followers to hear their thoughts. This is a great way to stay on top of trends in your industry, gain targeted followers/fans and discover new business opportunities.

Facebook search

You can search for hashtags and keywords on Facebook too.

Hashtag to Happiness (Within Reason)

Searching hashtags is also how you will know which ones to use in your posts to gain the most traction. You can see what type of posts use a particular hashtag if you’re trying to decide between #video, #videooftheday or #videoads, and choose accordingly. It varies with each platform, but generally you don’t want to use more than 2-3 hashtags on a single post. “Overhashtagging” (my word) makes your content difficult to read and turns people off. Remember, space is at a commodity, whether there’s a specific character limit or not. Most people will not take the time to read lengthy social media updates.

Related reading: #Hashtags: Big Business or Bust?

Get Social

Talk to people. Answer questions, ask your own. Engage with other users’ content, and encourage others’ to do the same with yours. Don’t just lurk or broadcast information. Social media is a two-way street, not a one-way marketing vehicle. The more you engage, the better you’ll do. Share others’ content. Leave thoughtful comments. Converse. Be social, and others will be social with you. It’s amazing how branching out to other Facebook Pages, Twitter profiles, LinkedIn pages and profiles, blogs, etc. will encourage reciprocation and help you grow your network.

So there you have it…. How do you join the conversation?

  1. Make It Personal
  2. Do A Little Soul (& Keyword) Searching
  3. Hashtag to Happiness (Within Reason)
  4. Get Social

What would you add to this list? Chime in with your thoughts, recommendations and insight below. If you have questions or would like more information on anything mentioned in this post, let us know. We’d be happy to help you join the conversation!

Get Social,
Jaime

Get Social with CCC!
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