The Ever Changing Social Media Landscape

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Recent social media innovations which could make a difference to your business

There is so much noise in the digital world which continuously makes it difficult for businesses to stand out in the virtual world of social media. Spotting new trends and adopting them quickly at the right time and in the right place is key in an ever growing social media environment.

Here is a summary of some social media updates introduced recently or appearing shortly, which if adopted at the early stage and if fitted to your objectives can create a significant impact to your business.

Instagram Video Carousel Ads

By 2019 video will account for 80% of global internet traffic. It’s definitely one of the most important trends to watch this year and the signs of video’s significance is becoming apparent through social media.

According to James Quarles, Instagram’s global head of business and brand development, the platform’s video views have increased 40 percent in the past six months.

Clearly video traffic on Instagram is going to increase even more as Instagram has now introduced Video Carousel Ads which allow marketers to pick five videos or a combination of videos and photos, for the users to swipe through.

Launch partners include Airbnb, Taco Bell, Hollister, IBM and W Hotels. You can check the example of the Taco Bell Instagram video carousel ad here: http://bcove.me/mz6509fu.

Such video carousel ads will give marketers a creative flexibility to tell richer stories on Instagram and more effectively capture users’ attention. It is a good way to inspire people to spend more time learning about your business and how it fits into their life.

Instagram Brand Profiles

Another new feature allowing brands to stand out more effectively and be more closely connected with the users on Instagram is Brand Profiles. Three new features introduced into the Brand profile will be a contact button, location link and category, which are currently being tested and would make an Instagram bio look more like Facebook. Images of the new format of the Brand Profile were first spotted on the Later.com page recently.

Instagram

 

The ‘Contact’ option brings up a new menu with options to either ‘Get Directions’ or ‘Email’ the business. Emailing the business by clicking ‘Contact’ will save the bio space, protect the privacy of the e-mail address from potential spammers and will allow brands to connect with potential customers more easily as they will be able to directly contact the business.

By clicking the ‘Get Directions’ button from the same menu brings up a map with the business location. This will be especially useful for the marketers, who try to find other ways to provide such business information on their bio. This new option will save the bio space and allow users to locate the business in a much easier and convenient way.

The third significant addition to the profile is a business category underneath the business name. This feature will allow users to search for a specific type of the business, products or services more easily as well as helping customers to quickly see what the brand page is about.

As Instagram has an active engaged user base hitting the 400 million, mark, Brand Profiles will definitely be a  big step forward for the Instagram platform, helping the brands engage with users in a more convenient and effective way.

It will be interesting to see how these Brand Profiles will look like with a new simpler, more consistent design of Instagram introduced on May 11, which major aim was to put the focus on videos and pictures without changing how users navigate the app.

Facebook Live Video Streaming

Online livestreaming has been around for a decade, however, it is still in its infancy in the social media world. Facebook has recently introduced livestreaming as an attempt to get users watching and creating live video content on the social network.

To use Live Video, users have to tap on the Update Status button, where they can then write a brief description of the livestream. Users also can choose the audience before going live. During the livestream, users are able to see the number of viewers, the names of friends who are viewing and also a real-time list of comments. Completed broadcasts are saved to the Timeline like other videos.

Facebook isn’t the first web platform trying to introduce video livestreaming (e.g. Periscope, Meerkat, YouTube). However, the scale of the platform and Facebook’s aim to change the way users consume live content might be a serious threat for TV and entrenched video names such as YouTube.

According to Brandon Gabriel, president of agency Midnight Oil, the livestreaming hub on Facebook will lure marketers. “We believe that by pairing live video with Facebook’s user base, we can encourage brands to transition away from less personal content to more authentic content,” Gabriel said.

Facebook Instant Articles

Facebook recently introduced Instant Articles which load ‘instantly’ in the news feed. It means users can enjoy a much faster and convenient reading experience.

According to Facebook, Instant Articles are 10 times faster than standard mobile web articles, it generates 20% more read on average and 70% of the readers are less likely to abandon the article. Furthermore, users share Instant Articles 30% more often than mobile web articles, on average.

Last month Facebook made Instant Articles open to all of the publishers worldwide and response was tremendous with more than 1,000 publishers officially being part of the programme.

Publishers can now also create branded content as Instant Articles, which can help visually distinguish branded content from the standard editorial content and highlight the sponsors, making them more visible to the users.

Benefits of this innovation are mutual for both users and brands as Instant Articles can help to boost the brand’s content, generate better brand experiences and reach much bigger audiences on Facebook.

Twitter to refine character limit rules?

It’s expected that Twitter will soon announce that it will stop counting photos and links as part of its 140-character limit for messages.

Links for example currently take up 23 characters much to the frustration of many Twitter users and social media managers.

It seems a minor refining of their character limit but this move will offer much more flexibility when it comes to content creation on Twitter.

What about your social media strategy?

These are just a few recent innovations in the social media sphere. It keeps changing and continuously evolves…. faster than you think! Keeping up to date with digital world changes and spotting the trends that fit your business model must be a key component of your social media strategy.

You must be an early adopter in order to leverage the benefits of the new innovations, otherwise your brand will struggle in this fierce competition and ever changing digital world.