Welcome to Social Media Catchup! It’s your monthly round-up of social media news, changes and updates, geared towards what UK small businesses need to know.
We missed our last catchup blog post – we blame that back-to-work feeling that always hits at the start of September. This means we have a bumper issue prepared for you today, including something shocking from Snapchat and something terrific from Twitter…
We’ll discussed some of the top changes in-depth in our monthly Facebook Live session, and scroll down to see all the changes across social media in the last month.
Facebook – improved Offers, new analytics for Videos, more images on Carousel ads, WhatsApp-Facebook integration, doodles on WhatsApp
Instagram – Business profiles, Save To Draft, pinch to zoom, save and mute Stories, coloured text on Stories, keyword moderation in comments, ad improvements
Twitter – longer tweets, Moments, customer support tools, DM button and improvements
LinkedIn – hashtags and content search, conversion tracking, Publishing Platform revamp, desktop redesign
Google – YouTube Community, Hangouts on Air retired, Allo
Snapchat – Snap Inc. and Spectacles, custom geofilter templates
Misc – #SocialQuirkDay
Offers have been about as long as Facebook pages (I think), but they’ve always been a little bit clunky. Facebook’s decided to make some improvements for them – desktop reminders for offers claimed on mobile; easily copied codes, and scannable QR codes or barcodes for in-store use.
Video continues to be a major player. If you navigate to your Video Library (head to your page then Publishing Tools at the top, then Video Library in the left-hand sidebar), you can see stats for all your posted videos, including unique viewers, average watch time and live viewing stats.
One of the most popular types of Facebook ads, Carousel ads, have seen a bit of a tweak. Carousel ads are adverts with multiple “cards”, each containing an image/video and text. Previously advertisers were limited to 5 cards; now that’s been doubled to 10.
Finally, if you haven’t updated your Facebook Page to make the most of the new design, take a look at our blog post and get optimisin’.
Messenger / WhatsApp
Messenger constantly makes me sad that I don’t live in the USA. They have a lot of bots and features rolling out over the Atlantic that we haven’t seen here yet, and may never make it across.
The other Facebook-owned IMing tool, WhatsApp, landed in hot water after announcing that it would be integrating its data further with Facebook – not surprising considering the social media giant paid a tidy $19 billion for it. The data shared doesn’t include any of your message content – it’s all encrypted – but does include app usage stats and your mobile number.
And WhatsApp is about to get some Snapchat-esque features. Rolling out to Android now and coming soon to iOS, you can add doodles, emojis and text to photos before you send them.
Hurray, hurrah, it’s finally in the UK! If you haven’t done it already – go and turn your Instagram page into a business profile! You’ll get a nice big contact button, better analytics and easy ways to boost images right from the app. Do it, do it now!
In more minor (but useful) news, Instagram has added a couple of key features. When exiting out of a half-written post, you get the ability to Save To Draft. This is so handy when you’re just looking up the username of the person you want to tag. And the ability to pinch to zoom is pretty universal across the mobile web, and it’s finally landed on Instagram!
Starting today, you can pinch to zoom on photos and videos in feed, on profiles and on Explore. Dive into an adorable puppy’s smile or into every detail of your friend’s new shirt. Over the past six months, you’ve seen many exciting changes come to Instagram, from a new icon to longer videos and even a new way to share everyday moments with Instagram Stories. And as things change, we’re still focused on improving the core parts of Instagram. Zoom is available today for Instagram on iOS. Zoom will be available on Android in the coming weeks.
Now let’s talk Stories, one of the newer features that landed over the summer (here’s a recap if you’re not sure what they are). you can now save individual stories to your Camera Roll, and you can also now mute users whose Stories you don’t want to see. And, even better, they’ve finally added the ability to pick a colour for your text.
Harassment on Instagram is a problem, and one of the methods they’re using to tackle it is by allowing users to filter out comments based on a certain keyword.
And finally, if you’re advertising on Instagram, they’ve made some improvements. The call-to-action will now be seen in the comments sections on the ad, and the CTA button itself will become more prominent when a user shows interest in an ad, e.g. by pausing over it.
Longer tweets are here! Now you can add images, videos, GIFs, polls and Quote Tweets to your tweets, without sacrificing your precious character count. We’ve already found it massively useful to not have to choose between an image and a link.
Say more about what's happening! Rolling out now: photos, videos, GIFs, polls, and Quote Tweets no longer count toward your 140 characters. pic.twitter.com/I9pUC0NdZC
— Twitter (@Twitter) September 19, 2016
And the second awesome bit of news from Twitter is that Moments have been rolled out to everyone. We had a go at creating one for our client Woking Means Business: check it out here.
If you use Twitter for customer support, you can now make that clear on your profile (including your open hours).
And if you want customers to send a Direct Message? You can add a DM button onto your website! And DMs have seen a revamp as well, whith read receipts, typing indicators and web link previews.
Announcing our new Message button. Now people can easily slide into your DMs from your website. Get yours now! https://t.co/ash9ouvgzu
— TwitterDev (@TwitterDev) August 24, 2016
LinkedIn has always trailed a little bit behind the social media leaders (*cough Facebook and Twitter*), and it’s now added a couple of useful features that you’re more than used to on other platforms.
They’ve added hashtags which, when clicked, show all the posts containing that hashtag. And you can now search for content using keywords – handy if you’re trying to find content you saw earlier.
Their advertising platform has also recently added conversion tracking, so you can now calculate how effective your LinkedIn paid campaigns have been.
Their best feature, the LinkedIn Publishing Platform, has seen a touch-up. The interface is now cleaner and it’s easier to add images. If you haven’t tried out their blogging platform yet, here’s your get-started guide.
But the most exciting thing on the LinkedIn radar? They’re revamping the entire desktop experience. Currently, it’s clunky and overcomplicated. The redesign takes aspects of the much cleaner mobile app and some inspiration from Facebook, to produce a website that looks like I might actually want to use it… Watch this space.
They’ve also teased that they’re working on improving their messenger experience, and even plan to integrate bots who can act as a personal assistant, helping you schedule appointments and prep for meetings.
YouTube is often called a search engine or a social media platform. To us, it’s a video hosting platform first and foremost, but they’re definitely taking steps towards the social aspect, with the addition of a Community tab on YouTube profiles. It’s currently in beta testing, but it promises to bring content beyond video to your YouTube experience.
They’ve also discontinued Hangouts On Air, encouraging users to take up YouTube Live instead.
They’ve introduced Allo, a messaging app that allows users to get a taste of the super smart new Google Assistant bot. Whether the app itself will rival the likes of Messenger and WhatsApp remains to be seen.
We bet you weren’t expecting this! Snapchat has “pivoted”, and is now called Snap Inc.! Not the app itself, but the company. Snap is now selling itself as a camera company, and it’s released its first product: Spectacles! Though why they aren’t called Snaptacles is beyond me… They’re smart sunglasses with an integrated camera, kind of like a very scaled back Google Glass.
If you want to get into the Snapchat game, they’ve now made it easier to design custom geofilters with their template-based design process. Geofilter pricing starts at $5, so it’s pretty cheap to get started with them.
Not much has happened outside the main platforms this month…
So we’re going to take this opportunity to tell you that it’s Social Quirk’s birthday in a couple of weeks. And we like to go OVERBOARD on our birthday. Watch this space for some excitement…
This month I’m making the most of my extra characters on Twitter, and having far too much fun playing Emoji Film with my Google Assistant on Allo. What do you think of this month’s changes?