September 2017 Edition: The Social Media Updates You Need to Know

In case you missed hearing your friends playing that Green Day song... September has officially ended. 

As always, all the major social channels were busy pushing out updates last month. Here are the big ones that marketers should know about.


Twitter is Testing 280-character Tweets (!)

Twitter's main claim to fame has always been the 140-character limit, but they have taken numerous steps in recent memory to give people more room to write. For example, photos and links no longer count against the character limit and DMs are basically unlimited (10,000 characters).

Now, Twitter has announced a test that doubles the 140-character limit to 280. The test is being billed as a way to help them reach their goal of "every person around the world [being able] to easily express themselves on Twitter." Apparently, 9% of all English tweets hit the 140 character mark, so the Twitter team feels that expanding the limit will help people say what they need to. 

CEO Jack Dorsey sent this message (via Twitter, of course) about the test:

While this is only in the testing stages, it's interesting that they are announcing the test since most networks will only make big announcements when a big change is definitely going to happen. This may be a way to soften the blow, since there will surely be those who dislike the change. 

Those who will be part of the test are being selected "at random." Of course, some of those "random" accounts happen to be pretty popular:

Twitter promises to keep everyone posted about the results, so we'll be sure to update you when that happens!


Circular Logos are Coming to Facebook

*This one will definitely affect your brand!

Facebook recently announced a slew of UI (User Interface) updates, including bigger engagement buttons on posts, improved conversation nesting in comments, and increased contrast (e.g. cleaner comment threads).

The announcement included a short line detailing a switch in how profile pictures will now display. Rather than the squares we've seen on Facebook since the earliest days of FB profiles, the channel is joining Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest, Google, and pretty much everyone else in using circles. This is now rolling out to both personal profiles and business pages. 

Here's the alert local dealership Kelsey Chevrolet got about this on their Facebook page:

circular-facebook-page-logo-2017.png

So now is the time to make sure your brand's logo won't be cropped awkwardly once your page makes the switch! Your best bet is to have a designer take a look at your logo image and adjust to make sure the artwork won't be cut off by the circle (or use Picmonkey or Canva for quick editing). If it is cutoff, either adjust the crop or choose a different logo treatment to use for your page. 


Instagram Threaded Replies

ICYMI, Instagram has also been rolling out an improved commenting interface:

instagram-threaded-replies-2017.jpg

Now reply comments show up "nested" beneath the comment being responded to. This makes comments a lot easier to consume, and actually makes it a little less awkward for brands who like to respond to each comment, since those responses can now be quickly scrolled past by other users if desired. 


Instagram Rainbow Text

Whoa, did just Instagram Stories just beat Snapchat to the punch on something?

There is now a small but fun feature that lets you turn your text from plain-old one-color text to a visual symphony of colors. Here's how:

  1. After taking a photo or video, type some text on top of it.
  2. Select all the text, then tap and hold on the color option.
  3. Use TWO fingers to slowly drag across the colors. You'll see it change letter-by-letter.
how-to-create-instagram-rainbow-text-2017.jpg

Not sure if this will be used too often, but hey, might as well try it out!


Snapchat Announces Campus Publisher Stories

While older generations may be gradually moving to Instagram Stories for their disappearing visual communique, Snapchat is still immensely popular with the high school and college crowd. So it's not surprising that Snapchat has decided to give campus news teams access to its Publisher platform. 

According to Teen Vogue, the only campuses on the platform so far are these 4 lucky campuses:

...but Snapchat says it will be available to "dozens" of campus partners soon.


The Fake News Saga Continues

You've probably seen at least a few headlines about revelations from Facebook and Twitter concerning fake news being spread by Russian bots during the election, including via advertising. Those two companies (and Google) will soon be testifying about just how big a problem it was. If you want to catch up on this, here are a few recent articles to check out:


Check Out These Branded LinkedIn Videos 

Last month, we told you about LinkedIn's new native-video feature. Recently, the official LinkedIn blog shared these examples of how brands have already made use of the feature. Click the links below to check them out.

How do you think you could put LinkedIn videos to use for your brand?


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