It might be the shortest month of the year, but a lot happened in the social media industry in February. Here’s everything social media managers should know.
Instagram introduces Gallery posts
With this latest update to the IG app, you can now share up to 10 photos or videos in a single post. As we’ve seen with previous Facebook/Instagram updates, this feature mimics a multiple-image functionality that has been available for sponsored posts.
Like a Facebook photo album, a Twitter video or a Snapchat story, these gallery posts create an opportunity to extend your storytelling on Instagram. Test out the feature with photos of products, user-generated event content, or different views of your store or office.
If you need a little inspiration, here’s how some brands have used gallery posts so far:
Facebook Job posts – Could FB be the new LinkedIn?
Businesses can now publish job openings directly to Facebook. Posting a job is free, but as with any Facebook efforts, you can pay to “boost” the post as a targeted ad—something that could prove highly effective for certain companies, and highly lucrative for Zuckerberg and Co.
This is a pretty obvious market-grab directed straight at LinkedIn, and it could quickly work out in their favor. As TechCrunch pointed out, whereas LinkedIn provides a jobs channel focused on medium- to high-skilled job seekers, Facebook could be a perfect channel for those seeking part-time and entry-level positions who may not see much use for a LinkedIn profile. These job seekers are less focused on networking and would probably be perfectly comfortable using Facebook to quickly apply to nearby job openings.
Those interested in finding work through Facebook can check out the new “Jobs bookmark” at https://www.facebook.com/jobs. It’s easy to fiddle around with the location, industry and role filters in the sidebar, then just click an “Apply Now” link on an interesting post and you’ll see an application pre-filled using info. from your profile. (You can edit/delete anything that shows up.) Just remember to check your profile settings—after all, this setup effectively takes all of the legwork out of potential employers looking you up on Facebook!
New “Your Post” pop-ups in Facebook chat windows
Along with the Jobs feature, you may have also noticed a new “Your Post” area next to your minimized Facebook chat messages.
A Facebook spokesperson had this to say:
"We've heard from people that they would like an easier way to participate in conversations on a post while they are still in News Feed so we are testing a new option that opens up a window when someone comments on your post, replies to your comment or tags you in a comment. You can always hide the conversation or turn off notifications from within the dropdown menu of the post." Source: CNET
So far the feature is only active for a “small test” group of users, but we could soon see these chat-like post notifications rolled out to all Facebook users soon.
As IPO looms, Snap introducing innovative advertising strategies
Snapchat’s popular “Lenses”—that allow you to affect your face or the environment around you with fun animations—will soon be able to effectively turn “any surface into a billboard.” Updates to Snapchat’s current augmented reality features would allow the app’s camera to better identify surfaces around you, which would then let advertisers wrap those surfaces with promotional content.
Snap Inc. (Snapchat’s parent company) is set to go public next month, and as founder Evan Spiegel continues wooing investors this new ad product will surely help him tell an even more compelling story. In the meantime, we social media managers should stay attentive. Brands could win points with a Millennial audience when they’re one of the first to take advantage of a new social feature.
New Picture-in-Picture Functionality for Facebook Videos
Since people have “come to expect sound when the volume on their device is turned on,” videos will now play automatically with sound on when viewed in the Newsfeed on mobile. This could improve engagement for brand videos since the tapping barrier for sound has been removed, though it may annoy users who would rather just read the captions while in public. After all, the Facebook video experience is very different than YouTube, where the latter’s users start with headphones on.
This announcement also comes with a new progress bar for easier scrolling through a video, as well as an optimized “vertical expand” function so vertically-oriented videos will have a better full-screen experience on phones.
Another exciting feature is a “watch and scroll” function similar to the “picture-in-picture” option on TVs or the scrolling videos seen on news sites like CNN or video apps like YouTube. Basically, Facebook videos will now “follow” you if you decide to keep scrolling through the newsfeed after playing the video. This happens on both desktop and mobile, however, the video will even keep playing on mobile if you switch out of the Facebook app. We haven’t experienced this update on our own phones yet, but we’re definitely keeping an eye on it to see how it plays out. In this era of multi-tasking and short-attention-spans, this function should help increase their average “minutes viewed” measurements.
LinkedIn rolls out new interface with new post graphic dimensions
This has been rolling out for some time, but it seems that nearly all users are now experiencing LinkedIn’s new desktop layout. That includes simpler-looking profiles with larger banner images, and new company pages with tabs for Updates, Overview and Jobs. Generally speaking, the website now looks a lot more like the mobile apps, leading analysts to speculate that both ought to be updated simultaneously moving forward.
Be sure to take note of the new link graphic dimensions that have accompanied this new design. Some of you may be using old dimensions for custom graphics that now get awkwardly cropped in link previews. This help page provides graphic specs that can be used in your sponsored LinkedIn posts, but as far as we can tell they work just as well for non-sponsored content, too.
You might also have noticed the removal of the network updates area in the top corner of the LI home page, where we used to be able to interact with job anniversaries or new jobs in your personal network. It seems the Newsfeed and the Notifications tab are now the venues for these interactions. (Sidenote: That whole area brings to mind a classic meme poking fun at the old Facebook “mini newsfeed” feature, which has since been removed. So… simplifying the LinkedIn homepage? Probably a good move!)
Next-level Pinterest-ing with “Search the Look,” “LensBETA,” and instant “Related Ideas”
Pinterest is way more than an online wedding planner scrapbook, and these new updates are going to make some of its core offerings even fancier.
First, “Search the Look” is letting businesses—specifically fashion brands—provide enhanced interactions for their users. Fashion Pins that take advantage have small blue dots on different clothing and accessories that, as the name suggests, allow you to explore and buy the items directly in Pinterest.
Next, Pinterest’s new “Lens” feature feels like a combination of Snapchat lenses and a Google search (or Google Goggles - remember?). Users will be able to point their camera at anything in the world around them, and Pinterest Lens will analyze what you see and return related home decor, fashion and recipe results. Currently in Beta testing, this feature could simultaneously highlight and revolutionize the content discovery potential of the platform.
Finally, a new circle overlaid on pins in your feed (termed “Related Ideas on Demand” in the Pinterest blog) lets users tap to instantly check out related Pins. While this isn’t crazy exciting at first glance, these buttons give users way more control of their own Pinterest experience. As the platform works to expand their user base, this could prove powerful.
If you haven’t given Pinterest a chance yet, it’s a great time to start testing the platform!