What’s New on Social Media Sites? Changes You Should Know

The past few months have brought some interesting and important changes to the world of social media and online marketing. So let’s take a look at some buzzworthy updates to top social media sites like Twitter, Google+, LinkedIn, Facebook, and Pinterest and see how they can impact the way you market your business.

Twitter Analytics

Twitter released a native analytics dashboard to all of its users. This dashboard is accessible by logging into your account on Twitter’s advertising page. From this dashboard you can see how many times your tweets were retweeted, how many replies they received, and if they were favorited. You can also see a graph of your mentions, follows, and unfollows. You can also sort your tweets by “Best,” “Good,” or “All,” and even download the list into a CSV file for offline analysis. You can use these native analytics to learn more about how your tweets, campaigns, and Twitter strategies are performing.

Google+ Dashboard for business pages

Google recently rolled out its Google+ Dashboard to all users. This dashboard gives SMBs a way to update company information, including website URLs, store hours, and phone numbers from a single location. This information is then distributed to Google Maps and Google+ pages. Page owners can also use this area to assign page managers, share photos and videos, and start hangouts with fans and customers. The dashboard also provides a way to monitor your Google+ page, see “at-a-glance” information about your AdWords Express account, generate special offers through Google Offers, and get insights about your business, such as top searches, sources of driving direction requests, and performance of your posts on Google+.

LinkedIn: Rich media

What is rich media, you ask? When we talk about rich media, which LinkedIn recently rolled out to users, we’re talking about images, videos, documents, and presentations—the visual and written content that gives more depth to a LinkedIn profile than words alone. With rich media, LinkedIn members can now post pictures, videos, and other content to their individual profiles. Rich media can help SMB owners reach their personal LinkedIn network through helpful content that promotes their business and industry and engages audience interest. For example, a professional portrait photographer could post work samples to her profile and then promote that post to her LinkedIn network.

Facebook hashtags

Taking a page out of the Twitter and Instagram playbooks, Facebook began supporting hashtag functionality. Users can add a hashtag to a word or phrase, and the word will become clickable. Then, when a Facebook user clicks on that word or phrase, a feed will pop up that pulls up public posts that have been tagged with the same word or phrase. This makes it easy for users to discover other similar content or for a group of people to follow the conversation on Facebook around a specific hashtag term, such as a sporting event, campaign, public event, concert, TV program, or promotion.

As a business, you’re now able to use Facebook hashtags for a variety of purposes, such as promoting your products or services, integrating them into your Facebook campaigns, and more. Remember not to use too many hashtags, and only use those that are relevant to the post or to your business.

Pinterest: Rich pins

Pinterest recently added a new feature called rich pins, which includes more detailed information than a standard Pinterest pin. There are currently three types of rich pins: recipe, product, and movie pins. Recipe pins include ingredients, cooking times, and serving information. Product pins include real-time pricing, location, and availability information. Movie pins include ratings, cast members, and reviews. SMBs whose products or services fall within these categories are now well positioned to create pins that include more information and ultimately have the potential to lead to more shares and discoverability by users on the site.

Instagram video

Video continues to be a popular way to reach consumers and add depth to marketing content. Instagram now offers videos as a type of content you can share on its photo-sharing platform. SMBs who use Instagram can record videos that are up to 15 seconds in length or upload videos from their phone and select the 15 seconds-worth of video they want to share. Similar to Vine’s stop-motion functionality, these videos can be made up of several short segments of video. Once the video is selected, you can apply one of thirteen video filters to customize the look and feel. After recording a video, you can select a frame from the video to use as the video cover image.

When considering adding video to your marketing plan, think about the kinds of video you can create within the 15-second limit, such as part of an event, a new product introduction, a quick tour of your store, or a series of shorter clips artfully put together to tell a story or show a progression. Also, to help make your videos spread, take advantage of Instagram’s and Facebook’s hashtag features to tag videos with relevant content. Since Instagram is owned by Facebook, you can choose to post your “Instavideos” to your Facebook page as well.

Google Maps update

Google Maps launched its app for Android, and a new generation of Google Maps was unveiled. The refresh of Google Maps offers some promising features small businesses will appreciate. For example, information cards provide helpful details, such as a company’s business hours, business ratings, and reviews. And your customers can now enjoy road rerouting directions to your business in the event of slow traffic or car accidents near your location.

And now, question to you: Do you plan to use any of these new features in your social media and online marketing?

Tiffany Monhollon is the senior content marketing manager at ReachLocal.

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