As one month ends, a new one begins, bringing with it a whole lot of new social media features. Trying to stay on top of these trends can be difficult for businesses when 101 other things going on, but it’s important to be across these changes as some features can leverage your business.
Sailing Through Socials has hit the (small!) screen, with monthly instalments now discussed through Instagram Video. The second instalment of Sailing Through Socials the blog is here to highlight all the new social media features you might have missed from the past month.
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Cross-app group chats
Last year, Facebook added the option to message Facebook accounts from Instagram and vice versa. This made it much easier to communicate and share posts with friends. The addition of this function means you’re able to start group chats between your Instagram and Messenger contacts. While group chats aren’t necessarily needed for businesses, cross-app communication works well for customers who might only have one of the platforms and wish to contact you.
World Mental Health Day fell on October 10th this year. To support it, Facebook added new assistance and awareness resources. Working in conjunction with UNICEF, Facebook developed mental health resource cards as well as guides for BIPOC Mental Health Month, to provide equitable access to mental health support. These mental health cards include information like how to reduce stress, and how to start conversations around mental health. You can find this tab by clicking on ‘menu’ and then ‘see more.’
Additional ad elements
You may have noticed it, but Facebook is trialling a new social media feature for businesses. On certain Facebook ads, they are providing more context and legitimacy to businesses by adding a horizontal scrolling display underneath the ‘shop now’ button. This display shows a summary of how many likes the page has, as well as check-ins and location. Facebook is trialling these changes as users may find it particularly beneficial in weeding out scammers who are seeking to misuse Facebook ads for nefarious purposes. This feature is still being trialled so you may not see it just yet.
Quick access toolbar
A new Facebook feature being trialled is the ‘quick access’ feature. This allows you to have the profiles, pages and functions that you use the most appear at the top of your search bar, above your recent searches. Kelsey and Eloise from our Sailing Through Socials Instagram Video both agree that this feature will be a great time saver for people, allowing them to quickly access the people and things they interact with or search for the most.
Live stream scheduling
A valuable new social media feature Instagram has added is the ability to schedule upcoming live streams. Instead of followers only getting notified of a live stream if they’re online at the time, businesses and creators can now schedule a time to go live, up to 90 days in advance. To notify your audience, you can create a feed post that will allow your audience to sign up for reminders and notifications so they can be alerted when you go live. This tool will allow businesses to connect with their audience directly and vice versa.
Instagram story likes
Another new Instagram feature that’s being rolled out and a quick way for businesses to engage with their audience and other businesses are story likes on Instagram. Although you can currently engage via a quick emoji or message by swiping up on someone’s story, Instagram is hoping this new feature will add another element of engagement for creators. These likes do serve a ranking purpose, and they are important for the users receiving that engagement. Not everyone can see these yet, but keep your eyes peeled! Eloise and Kelsey both agree in our Sailing Through Socials Instagram Video that this new feature is a bit of a ‘fail.’ With quick reactions already in place on Instagram Stories, this new feature seems a little redundant.
Click to WhatsApp message ads
To promote cross-app communication, Instagram has launched a feature that allows businesses to connect their WhatsApp business account to Instagram to facilitate new connection opportunities in the app. Customers will see a ‘WhatsApp button’ on your profile next to the ‘message’ button. This is where they can contact your business directly. Off the back of this feature, Instagram is also allowing creators to use new calls to action when boosting posts, that drive customers directly to message you on WhatsApp. This feature adds another element of personalisation to your business and is ideal for those wanting to engage with and excite their audience.
Just when we thought we had our head around it, IGTV is now a thing of the past! At the start of the month, Instagram merged IGTV with feed videos to create a single format that they’ve renamed, Instagram Video. Instagram Video collates all your videos – posts and any old IGTV videos – and has added them under a new Instagram Videos tab on your profile. Reels are still being kept in a separate tab. By merging IGTV with Feed videos, Instagram has a single destination for longer-form video content – providing a clearer distinction between Instagram Reels. Social media features like this are perfect for those who love their video content!
Articles for pages
Previously, only users on LinkedIn were able to publish long-form content – businesses were limited to character counts for organic feed posts. The introduction of articles for pages means business pages can publish longer-form content to spark conversation. Instead of being limited to posting links to a blog post or other sources, businesses have the chance to engage users on the platform. They won’t even need to leave the platform. LinkedIn states this will allow pages to:
- Engage members with professional content without them having to leave the platform
- Produce and share robust content at length
- Spark visible and inviting conversations with their community in the comments section
- Encourage valuable next-action steps like following your page, clicking through, or downloading resources
- Access detailed audience insights to learn about the people reading and engaging with your post
If your business loves sparking meaningful conversations, this may be the new platform to do so!
For businesses wanting to create greater exposure within their audience, LinkedIn has created LinkedIn Live Events. This feature allows businesses to create and run live events smoothly in one easy way. Businesses now can sponsor their stream in advance, auto-notify event registrants and a subset of page followers when the event goes live, amass views on your public Live Event from anyone on the platform and allow for easy sharing of the event replay. This tool will help businesses to grow and connect with new followers from anywhere on the platform.
Like what Facebook did around World Mental Health Day, Pinterest launched its version with Pinterest Havens. Although it’s not some new fancy space, Pinterest has created a board that is designed to help users explore the relationship between mental health and rest. It features a collection of pins from creators around the world and has a range of different things such as gratitude journal prompts, bedtime affirmation, exercises, and tips for a mental reboot. Social media features like this can really help nurture users well-being.
You can check out the Pinterest Haven: Invest in Rest board here.
Pinterest has launched the next stage of their community rebuild program which launched in February in a bid to assist underrepresented business owners who have been heavily impacted by the pandemic. The name of the program has been changed to ‘Pinterest Elevates’ and, according to Pinterest, “offers tailored training and ads credit to help uplift business owners who are people of colour, people with disabilities and members of the LGBTQ+ community.” This training will include virtual workshops on branding and strategy, as well as a personal coach to guide them towards their goals. Businesses can find out more and nominate themselves here.
New shopping features
The Pinterest e-commerce space is continually expanding its social media features for businesses. This will allow businesses to connect with customers and take advantage of their opportunities. The slideshow for collections promotion features sources products from your uploaded catalogue into an automatically generated, attention-grabbing collections ad. These will then appear in-stream among similar searches which will help reach those who have shown interest in similar products. If tapped, the ad expands into a more focused collection of your products generated based on your inventory. The aim here is to reach the right shoppers at the right time to maximise sales. As Kelsey and Eloise point out during our Sailing Through Socials Instagram Video – this has come at the perfect with Christmas coming up!
Another new feature for e-commerce profiles on Pinterest is the adding of new merchant details to brand profiles, which will enable businesses to showcase their values. Labels like ‘eco-friendly’, ‘ethically sourced’, and ‘LGBTQ+ owned’ can be added to your profile details. This will help your customers to get a good understanding of your business and build trust.
Twitter Spaces is a new initiative that has recently been made available. Anyone is able to join and those with over 600 followers are able to host a Space. Essentially, a Space is almost like a live podcast that others can join in on and voice their opinion – it brings the power of real-time voice communication to social media.
Spaces are public so anyone on Twitter can view and join when you go live. If you’re listening and would like to speak, you can request to, which the host can either accept or decline. If given access, your microphone will be switched on and you’ll be able to talk. This is a great way for businesses to do things such as Q&As without having to get on camera like they would in something like Instagram Live.
There is now an option available to all businesses to change their profile display to a business account. This will allow them to display their business information on their profile page, while also providing the option to include a ‘shop’ or ‘newsletter’ module for those that have a Revue newsletter. It’s still being developed and unfortunately, businesses need to submit a request to have access. This means they can’t change any of their ‘about’ information once the request has been submitted. Twitter is also working to develop new e-commerce features where brands can sell their products in-stream.
This month has been full of new social media features, many of which can elevate and benefit your brand. Whether you’re using Facebook, Instagram, or a combination, we’ll keep you up to date with everything new.
If you’d like to talk to a team member about how you can use any of these features, reach out to us today. We’ll see you next month for the next instalment of Sailing Through Socials.
You can check out our second instalment of Sailing Through Socials here.