Blog post by: Sarah Schrader, Baer Performance Marketing’s Social Media & Creative Specialist
If you’ve opened the Facebook Pages app recently, you may have noticed the icons are different. This is one of the many changes that constantly happen on social media. This week, we are sharing a few of the changes that have occurred on the popular social networks to be aware of because they can affect your business’ use of social media marketing.
Starting with Facebook, in mid-August, profile pictures took on a circular shape. While the large profile picture remains square on your page, your posts and comments show off the new round look. The change was intended to increase engagement amongst Facebook users, and it is important to note that if you have not done so already, you should check to make sure your profile picture works in both circle and square formats.
Other than a few visual changes made to its original site and app, Facebook has been mostly focusing on their Messenger app. In October, they released an article with 5 Tips to Drive Business Results on Messenger. Since then, Facebook has released several announcements and updates for Messenger. This is probably due to a study done by Nielsen stating that 53% of people are more likely to shop with a business they can message directly.
In early November, Facebook started rolling out sponsored messages, which allow businesses to send relevant promotions to people they have been in contact with via Messenger to help reengage with those customers. At the same time, Facebook also announced a beta for a customer chat plugin. Once the beta is completed, you will be able to add a plug-in to your website that allows users to communicate via Facebook Messenger from the website. The idea is that users will be able to go seamlessly from your website to Messenger without losing the conversation, making it convenient for them and you.
Facebook-owned Instagram also received some exciting updates over the last couple weeks to their stories feature. While stories posted disappear after 24 hours, Instagram is now allowing highlights. This ability allows businesses to group stories they have shared and feature them on their profile. It is a great way to share behind-the-scenes photos and videos that showcase what your company is all about! With highlights also comes the stories archive. Unless you turned it off in your settings, Instagram will now archive your stories for you to view via your profile page.
A second exciting update from Instagram is the ability to follow hashtags! If your business has a unique hashtag for its services, a promotion or giveaway, this allows you to follow the hashtag like you would a personal account. The feature can help you discover and interact with customers, and you can always unfollow a hashtag at any time.
Finally, moving on to Twitter, November’s release of an increased 280 character limit was not without mixed reviews. People feared the increased limit, which is double their previous 140 character limit, would hurt the quick scroll-through feel of Twitter. While there are some who will take advantage of the 280 characters, the value that this really provides is the ability to use a few extra characters in your tweets without having to rely on the many shorthands like b/c (because), icymi (incase you missed it), and rn (right now) that the previous limit resulted in. So go ahead, use a bit more proper grammar and punctuation!