By: Madeleine Wojtalewicz
One could argue that the way brands and businesses use social media has become standardized. The once rare punny hashtag that accompanies a Facebook post or a one-time cunning response to a customer complaint on Twitter has now become the new norm for all businesses across the board. And while these new norms are important in maintaining a positive social media presence, what does a business or brand need to do to continue being noticed across all different channels?
Among numerous other perks, social media provides businesses and brands with a platform to engage with customers, helping drive sales and increasing overall brand awareness. But, social media is changing right before our eyes along with the rest of the digital-world we live in. Recently, there’s been a flux of new features on some of the most popular platforms, and if businesses and brands decide to forego utilizing these new and exciting tools they could be missing out on great opportunities. Below are the most recent features that popular social media platforms have released and that businesses and brands should consider using. Because, let’s be honest, everyone wants to stay trendy!
- Facebook in-app Purchasing – Most recently, Facebook launched a new e-commerce platform, Shopify. With Shopify, Facebook users can make purchases directly from merchants in Facebook Messenger while retailers can provide customer service and push notifications via the platform. Allowing Facebook users to purchase your products inside the platform significantly widens your audience while showing your customers that you’re an accessible business with a strong social media presence. You can now see what your friends and family are doing and at the same time buy those new winter boots you’ve been needing.
- Twitter Longer Character Count – Twitter is currently in the process of pushing out their newest change: expanding the number of things you can post in a tweet. While Twitter is not getting rid of their classic 140-character limit, it now allows usernames, quoted tweets and multimedia to not count toward the 140-character limit. Simply put, businesses and brands can now say more in the conversations they’re having. It’s time to start thinking of more creative hashtags!
- Instagram Stories – This past August, Instagram launched “Stories,” where users can create a 24-hour stream of images and videos separate from their regular Instagram feed. While this may sound eerily similar to Snapchat, having this feature specifically on Instagram can have its advantages. Overall, your business and brand is pushing out more content without overloading your followers. Followers can now watch your story, which can be anything from giving an exclusive behind-the-scenes scoop to driving traffic and awareness to other activations that your business is pushing out.
- Snapchat On-Demand Geofilters – In February, Snapchat released a feature that allows on-demand geofilters for businesses. Businesses can now easily create personalized geofilters, which is a graphic that is overlaid atop images and videos. The business decides the geographic location and duration of the filter. Because a majority of Snapchat users are millennials (3/4 of 150 million daily users!), this is a direct way to target the millennial audience while also touting your brand’s digital presence.
- Instagram Sponsored Ads – Instagram Sponsored Ads, which launched in September of 2015, is a way for businesses to post advertisements that show up directly on their targeted audience’s personal feed. In just over a year since becoming available, more than 500,000 businesses around the world have used it to grow their business and 1 billion actions have been taken via Instagram advertisements. The data shows that these ads are correlating directly into purchases and donations for businesses and organizations. You can now scroll through your feed and come across a new favorite product, you otherwise would have never known about.
Businesses and brands have a wide variety of options when it comes to increasing their awareness, but social media can be a real game-changer. The new features such as real-time video and personalized geofilters rolling out prove that social media is an ever-evolving platform. In turn, having a strong presence across all these platforms proves to customers that your business or brand is adaptable and relevant. To continue reaping the endless benefits of social media, businesses and brands must be willing to evolve with it.