When it comes to social media, there are two things you can count on: It will never run out of memes, and it will always release a new update as soon as you’ve mastered the old one.
Over the past few weeks, our favorite social media giants have made a number of tweaks and changes to their platforms. While these updates can be a headache, it’s all for a good cause, as these updates are designed to improve user experience and make it easier for businesses to reach new customers and clients. To help keep you in the know, we’ve rounded up the latest updates to Instagram, Twitter and Facebook. Remember: Knowing is half the battle!
Instagram has been working hard to create a better experience for businesses, and so far it’s paying off. At Sage Island, we’ve seen many of our clients’ accounts receive higher engagement and more clicks, thanks to a number of the platform’s tweaks.
- A new look. In May, Instagram debuted its biggest design overhaul yet. This included logos and icons that are cleaner, modern and more colorful to better reflect the spectrum of content shared on the app. Instagram also simplified the app itself, opting for a flatter look with black and white accents. This keeps the focus on the photos and videos users choose to share, rather than the app itself. While the new look received its share of complaints, users have now accepted it and many even seem to prefer it.
- Business profiles. Technically this is in the “coming soon” category, but we’re already excited about it. Soon, Instagram will let brands and companies add a contact button to their profile, which will allow customers to call or email with a click. Business profiles will also include analytics, similar to Facebook Insights, so you can see how your photos and videos are performing, track audience trends, and change your strategy accordingly.
- Promoted posts. Like most social media communities, sponsored posts are Instagram’s bread and butter. Thanks to updates to its advertising model, it’s easier than ever to create high-performing ads on the platform. Previously, Instagram ads were completely separate posts that appeared in users’ feeds, but not on your page. Once the campaign ended, the post (and all the engagement it received) disappeared. No more! Now, if a post is performing well, you can boost it to get more exposure, and the post remains on your profile as a regular part of your content. This saves time and lets you reap the rewards of your ads indefinitely.
remains a relevant and important part of any digital marketing campaign. If you don’t believe me, just check accounts of the candidates currently running for president. To get big results from this micro platform, it’s important to know what’s new. Here’s your cheat sheet:
- Twitter Connect. One of the best things about Twitter is finding new people to follow, especially when those people share your interests, hobbies or industry. In May, Twitter unveiled a new way to make finding those people easier than ever, called “Connect.” In the top left-hand corner of the Twitter app, you’ll now see a small icon of a person with a plus sign. Click this, and it will take you to a new screen where you can “Find Friends.” Twitter will search your contacts, but it also will suggest people based on who you already follow, which tweets you’ve recently liked, and accounts that are popular near where you live. For businesses, this is a great way to connect with like-minded users who will enjoy your account and hopefully use your services.
- 140, for real. Since the very beginning, tweets have been limited to 140 characters, which isn’t an arbitrary number; there was once a time when text messages couldn’t exceed this limit. Times have changed, but this quirky and beloved restriction is part of what makes Twitter unique. While the company will be keeping the 140 limit, it will no longer count @names in replies and media attachments such as photos, GIFs, videos and polls in those numbers. This means you can now send media rich tweets without limiting your own witty commentary and brilliant contributions.
- Tweet yourself. Retweeting is a great way to join a conversation or boost a tweet (especially if the tweet says something nice about your company). Sometimes, though, we want to retweet or quote ourselves. Maybe we wrote a brilliant tweet no one saw and we want to give it a boost. Maybe we have more to say on a subject. Maybe it’s just plain narcissism. At any rate, users can’t currently retweet themselves but that will soon change. Twitter plans to enable the Retweet button on our own tweets, so everyone will finally know how brilliant we are. It’s about time.
- Reply all. One of the most confusing aspects of Twitter is how replies work. If you begin a tweet with a name – “@name is the best company in the world,” for example – only users who follow both you AND @name will see the tweet. In the past, users have worked around this limitation by placing a period in front of the tweet, like so: “[email protected] is the best company in the world,” but this solution was inelegant, to the say the least. Twitter is finally making things easier on us by allowing tweets that start with a username to be seen by everyone, which helps with exposure and engagement.
When it comes to sheer numbers of uses and vast quantities of data, Facebook
is still king. Still, even the king has to keep up, lest he lose his crown. That’s why Facebook continues to tweak its platform. Latest updates to the monolith include:
- Chat bots uprising. Okay, so it’s not quite an uprising, but Facebook is making its chat bot application available to business accounts. This means that your business can now create bots for Messenger, tasking them to answer simple customer questions such as, “When are you open?” and “Is this item in stock?” While bots will never replace real live customer service, they can save you time and keep your customers happier.
- More control. In the past, when you wrote a status update on Facebook, it appeared both on your profile page and in the feeds of your friends. You could later hide these updates from your profile page, but this could only be done retroactively. A new change will allow you to publish updates on Facebook that never appear on your profile page. This can be a bonus for people who don’t necessarily want a public and permanent record of their Facebook activity, and is part of Facebook's desire to get its users to share as much personal information as possible. It may also be an attempt to keep up with the rise of SnapChat, where photos and videos are public for just 24 hours before disappearing into the ether.
- More diversity. More than 900 million people communicate using Facebook Messenger, but until recently the app’s emoji didn’t come close to reflecting the diversity of its users. At the beginning of June, the company rolled out 100 new emoji characters that seek to fix this oversight. These emoji allow people to choose a variety of skin tones to better reflect who they are. While some people may roll their eyes at this update, it’s actually a big step forward for Facebook. Users who feel comfortable, included and connected to social media platform are more likely to stick around. What more could a business want?
As you can see, social media is constantly changing, updating services and tweaking platforms to improve their users’ experiences. If you’re a business owner on Instagram, Facebook or Twitter and you need help keeping up with these changes, contact Sage Island
. Our digital marketing professionals love to stay on the cutting edge of social media and are happy to help you do the same.
Mike Duncan co-founded Sage Island in 1997 and since then has evolved the agency’s scope to include marketing strategy, creative design, technical development and a wide range of digital marketing services. With an integrated approach that leverages the power and measurability of the internet, the savvy Sage Island team develops strategies, builds brands, writes killer copy and delivers to clients all over the world. And they have an awesome time doing it. Sage’s collaborative working environment keeps creativity and innovation at the heart of the concept. With a 17-year history in Wilmington and beyond, Sage Island shows no signs of slowing down. To learn how Sage Island can grow your business, check us out at www.sageisland.com. To stay updated on the latest in digital marketing, follow Sage Island on Facebook at www.facebook.com/SageIsland, and on Twitter at twitter.com/Sage Island.