While we all know that we need to get social to enhance our brand presence and engage our customers online, it is increasingly challenging to do so.
If you are having trouble keeping up with all of the changes happening across all of the social media channels, you’re not alone. Lately, it feels like every time we sign on, there is something new to consider.
To help you stay on top of things, we have highlighted some of the most recent changes to popular social media platforms this past year.
- At the beginning of 2015, Facebook started reducing the number of promotional posts showing up in people’s News Feeds. Pages that post content pushing readers to purchase a product or service, download apps or enter sweepstakes should expect their organic reach to decline. This also applies to posts that reuse the exact same content from ads.
- In April 2015, Facebook made a change to their algorithm that essentially killed organic reach and viral posts. According to Facebook’s blog, people claimed not to like seeing stories about posts their friends may have commented on or liked, and so these stories are being pushed down in their News Feed or not showing up at all.
- Your community can now select which friends and pages they would like to see at the top of their News Feed. The updated controls also give Facebook users the ability to discover new businesses, artists and publishers based on the pages they have followed in the past.
- Time spent viewing a story is a new signal in the algorithm used to determine which stories will show up in your community’s News Feed. Even if the person does not comment, like or interact with the post, simply stopping to read the story is an indication they are interested in the topic.
- Facebook now takes into account more interactions with videos, such as turning up the sound or making the video full screen, as an indication the viewer liked the video.
- Your community can now send you a Direct Message without having to follow you and you follow them. This is good news for businesses and members of their community who wish to send private inquiries about their product or service. Of course, this feature can be turned on and off in the settings menu.
- Twitter removed the 140-character limit on Direct Messages, making life much easier for Customer Service Reps and businesses interacting and supporting their community.
- Retweet with comment allows users to add their own commentary, up to 116 characters, to their retweets.
- Another new feature provides advertisers with more demographic information about their paid audiences and helps to streamline how to target demographic segments. It provides information about interests, income, and purchasing behavior.
- Persona-targeting feature allows users to filter results within the insights dashboard. Advertisers can now target categories directly from the dashboard.
- Twitter introduced the new Twitter Safety Center – a resource for users to learn about online safety.
- Twitter backgrounds have been changed to a default background. Backgrounds are removed from the home and notification timelines.
- Twitter is currently working on a new product that will allow users to write tweets longer than 140 characters.
- Twitter is experimenting with a new way to poll users.
- Instagram announced upgrades to its direct messaging features. New features include the ability to name group chats, threaded messages, emojis, a quick camera button, hashtag results pages, and the ability to share public photos.
- The new Explore page provides trends as they happen in real time, making it easier for users to connect to the events and join the conversation. You can use trending tags and trending places to connect.
- Instagram has significantly improved its search functionality. The new Top Search allows users to search places, people, and tags simultaneously.
- Instagram is working on becoming more desktop friendly. You can now do almost anything to manage your account, with the exception of uploading photos and videos. It is now easier than ever to search and engage with other users via your desktop.
- Instagram now supports images in formats other than square. You can now share images and videos in landscape and portrait format.
- As of August 1st, Google+ photos has been shut down. Any photos you have on the site are moved over to photos.google.com. Google Photos is the new and unlimited storage host.
- Google announced that it will delete Google+ business pages that are not in use or have not been verified by users.
- Google is working on making some important changes to how users interact with its products. It is currently working on creating a more focused and refined Google+ experience, making it easier to use Google without a Google+ profile.
- You will no longer be required to have a Google+ account to create, comment or use a YouTube account. Google is also working on implementing a refined comment ranking system to reduce junk comments. The comments you make on YouTube will no longer appear on Google+.
- Google announced that it is scaling back integration of Google+ profiles and Google accounts. Google+ is no longer a requirement to use other Google services.
- On November 17th, Google launches a re-vamped version of Google Plus with a focus on Collections and Communities.
- Pinterest launched Smart Feed – a new method where pins are delivered to your home feed based on your interests.
- Pinterest users now have the ability to get directions to stores and make phone calls from within the iOS app using Place Pins.
- LinkedIn recently made changes to the look and messaging features of its inbox. You now have the ability to have professional conversations with connections through your inbox.
- LinkedIn Pulse allows users to keep up with the latest in industry news. But more importantly, it allows you to create and share posts through your LinkedIn profile – providing you with another way to share content.
- LinkedIn announced that it has begun to launch a redesign to LinkedIn Groups. The product will have its own app, making it easier for users to manage the conversations they are having in multiple groups.
- LinkedIn is in the process of a major redesign for its mobile app.
Staying on top of the latest developments in social media and understanding how to use these new tools to your advantage is one of the keys to getting the most out of your social media use.
See something we missed? Let us know and we can add it to the list.
Of these changes, which one do you think will have the most impact on your social media usage? Which changes do you like? Which ones do you hate? Let us know!