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

InstaStrategy: How to Thrive on the ‘New’ Instagram

Instagram's new look across its family of brands

What a year it’s been for Instagram! The fast-growing social platform is implementing numerous changes to celebrate its sixth year. People tend to resist change, so it’s no wonder that some of these changes have been met with consternation.

View this post on Instagram

What do you think about @instagram's new look? 📷 @Regrann from @instagram – Today we’re introducing a new look. You’ll see an updated icon and app design for Instagram. Inspired by the previous app icon, the new one represents a simpler camera and the rainbow lives on in gradient form. You’ll also see updated icons for our other creative apps: Layout, Boomerang and Hyperlapse. We’ve made improvements to how the Instagram app looks on the inside as well. The simpler design puts more focus on your photos and videos without changing how you navigate the app. The Instagram community has evolved over the past five years from a place to share filtered photos to so much more — a global community of interests sharing more than 80 million photos and videos every day. Our updated look reflects how vibrant and diverse your storytelling has become. Thank you for giving this community its life and color. You make Instagram a place to discover the wonder in the world. Every photo and video — from the littlest things to the most epic — opens a window for people to broaden their experiences and connect in new ways. #Regrann

A post shared by Jaime Shine (@jaimeshine) on

 

The Dreaded Algorithm: We all knew this moment was coming but dreaded its arrival nonetheless. When the social app announced that users’ feeds would be controlled by an algorithm, the internet exploded. My feed was flooded with posts urging me to turn on notifications from everyone or I would never see their posts again. (I hope you didn’t post one of these pleas, but if you did, please spare us when the algorithm actually goes into effect, which will be soon.)

This change should be good for both users and brands alike. I don’t think we’ll see the drastic drop in organic reach like we did on Facebook, and Instagram users are more likely to engage with posts. Make sure that you go for quality content over quantity, which is a reminder we all need from time to time (myself included).

Your devoted fans will still seek out your posts, and appropriate hashtags will continue to help bring in new traffic. Remind fans of your presence on your marketing communications and other platforms, and use data to better target your audience.

Instagram’s New Insights: A new (free) in-app analytics dashboard is on its way! While you have been able to view analytics through a third party platform, such as Iconosquare, Instagram is finally debuting an in-house dashboard to help businesses gain a better understanding of their audiences.

Dig into the data to discover the best times to post and to learn more about your audience. Where are your audience members located? What type of content do they engage with the most? Does a certain type of content extend your reach while another draws more engagement (or website visits)? You can use this information to help shape your future content and strategy while also deciding whether to promote a hot post.

Instagram Embraces Brands: In addition to Insights, the social app is rolling out Business Profiles and promoted posts after previously opening up advertising to all brands and introducing video Carousel ads.

Take advantage of the Business Profile, once available, so you can make it easier for customers to contact (and locate) you while gaining access to Insights and promoted posts. Observe how the algorithm affects your posts once it’s implemented. It may be beneficial to promote a post from time to time, such as a special offer or contest.

Instagram’s New Look: Don’t sweat it. Whether you’re a fan of the new look or not, the updated layout will better showcase your photos and videos. Just make sure to update the branding anywhere you may use it, such as marketing materials, your website or blog.

While 2016 is the year of change for Instagram, it’s still the popular social platform that we know and love. Take a deep breath and see how the algorithm affects you before panicking (or asking your community to turn on notifications). Many of these changes should help brands who are dedicated to growing and building long-term relationships with their Instagram communities.

InstaFeedback

Are you on Instagram? Leave your handle in the comments, so we can connect!

What’s your favorite (and least favorite) Instagram change?

Where does Instagram fall in your preferred list of social media platforms?

Instalik(ing) these changes,
Jaime

Let’s chat (about Instagram, your marketing needs or otherwise):
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Marketers: Don’t Forget About Desktop

Mobile offices, mobile apps, Mobilegeddon: The age of mobile has arrived. We can tap into Wi-Fi at 35,000 feet and conduct business from almost anywhere in the world.

Desktops (and laptops) are still worth paying attention to, marketers.

Desktop access to the Internet has risen 37% over the past four years. Source: comScore

But don’t forget about desktop, marketers. It hasn’t gone the way of 8 tracks and parachute pants just yet — and is still worth your attention.

While browsing trends in social media marketing for 2015, one in particular caught our eye. While mobile access to the Internet has quadrupled over the past four years, desktop access has also risen 37%.^

“Mobile’s new domination of social media activity did not sap numbers and minutes from desktop digital time, however. Instead, digital time seeped into Americans’ off-hours, as they brought their smartphones and tablets to television time, waiting rooms, Starbucks’ lines and bed.”  –Social Media Examiner

Despite its impressive growth, mobile is still not the primary device used to access the top digital properties either, including Facebook.

Furthermore, Instagram recently released web profiles, making it easier to browse and share images on the Web. Despite being the fastest growing social network in 2014*, Instagram still heard loud and clear from users who wanted a better desktop experience. So the popular platform, launched in 2010 as a mobile app, expanded its web presence to make its users happy.

So yes, we live in the age of mobile but the desktop era hasn’t gone the way of dinosaurs just yet. Keep your customers happy (and prospects interested) by spreading your presence across the mobile/desktop divide.

(Irony: We just realized that we’re writing this as a movie about dinosaurs is breaking box office records around the world!)

Mobile/Desktop Feedback

Have you cut into your desktop/laptop time with mobile? Or cut into other activities with mobile?

How do you access social media (approx. mobile/desktop %)?

Are you surprised that mobile is not cutting into desktop’s overall numbers yet?

Sources: ^comScore | *Pew Research Center | Social Media Examiner

Blogging on a desktop,
Jaime

Let’s chat (on mobile, desktop 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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