Welcome to your monthly digest of all that’s new and shiny in the world of social media. This blog will give you insight into new features announced by Instagram, Facebook and Twitter, and advice on how to take advantage of them for your business.
While you read this I’ll be off writing up my Christmas list (an Amazon Echo, some new socks and world peace, if anyone’s asking).
Facebook announces new features for group managers
At this summer’s inaugural Facebook Communities Summit in Chicago, Facebook announced it’s new mission to ‘give people the power to build community and bring the world closer together.’ Off the back of this it has now introduced new tools to help group managers to grow and manage their communities. New features include:
- Welcome posts for new followers. This allows you to write a nice welcome message and automatically tag it with people who have recently joined your group.
- Badges that identify group admins, moderators and new members. Alongside the ability to see publicly available information that they share in common, such as mutual friends and events, this will help your customers to build closer connections with other.
- Insights have been developed to help group admins, for example by giving tips on the best times to post to engage with your followers when they’re online.
- Better moderation controls allow you to prevent specific people from commenting on posts, rather than blocking all comments on a particular post.
How will these help me manage my group?
These four tools give you greater control over your group. The automated tagging of Welcome Posts will save time spent manually searching for recent new followers. The Badges function will help your communities learn more about and interact with each other. The new Insights will guide you in getting the most engagement with your posts, and the Moderation controls will help prevent repeat offenders posting comments that are irrelevant, spam or negatively affect your brand.
The overall theme here is one of community. Facebook is an inherently social platform, allowing people to connect with each other, often around shared interests, causes and companies. Think about this when building your social media strategy and consider posting more content that encourages engagement between your followers. You could consider giving people topics to discuss, asking for input into aspects of your business, or proposing group tasks.
Instagram: Follow the #hashtag
Instagram currently serves your followers a feed of content it thinks will appeal to them based on their previous activity on the platform. It is now testing a feature that will allow people to search for and follow hashtags within the app. This would give your followers greater control over the content they get to see.
What does this mean for my business?
If this feature is rolled out more widely it will allow you to understand which hashtags or topics are most popular among your followers. You can then harness this in your social media marketing.
With a little analysis you’ll be able to tag your content to appeal to your existing audiences as well as having the potential to attract new followers. A simple way of doing this is to start typing the hashtag you’re considering into the search box in Instagram. It then displays the top hashtags used in existing content as well as the number of posts featuring that particular hashtag. This will give you a good indication of which tags to use in your posts. As the feature develops you may see a Twitter-style ‘trending now’ list or have the ability to access insights specific to your particular followers. Definitely one to keep an eye on.
This month Facebook Polls was officially launched. This is an App that allows you to run simple surveys within your Facebook page. These can feature text, photos, GIFs or videos as potential answer options and are a great way of engaging your followers.
How can I use this to promote my business?
You could use this tool to create quirky, engaging or interesting content, and to gain deeper insight into your social audience.
Possible questions could include:
- Which image do you prefer? (Include two potential marketing images from your business)
- Something related to your product: Which brand of hoover do you have? Where do you want to go on holiday next – France or Spain? Do you prefer shopping for clothes online or in-store?
- Use it to share an interesting fact that demonstrates your specific knowledge. i.e. Which country has the greatest number of Facebook users? A. USA, B. United Kingdom or C. India?
We’d advise keeping the polls short – one question only, with limited response options. Make as much use of visual media as possible and keep the content light and fun. When the poll is complete you should share and discuss the results.
Find out how to run your Facebook Poll here
Twitter 280 Characters
For eleven years Twitter has limited Tweets to 140 characters (to fit with old SMS text message limits). This month it rolled out 280 characters to everyone. This move allows people and businesses to include more information in each Tweet, and, of course, people have already been having fun with it.
How will this help me better engage with my customers?
The basic functionality of Twitter hasn’t changed; we’ve just been given more space to express ourselves. But now may be a good time for a reminder of the key principles of good tweeting:
- Post content relevant to your followers
- Keep language clear and concise
- Tag relevant users and hashtags to amplify your message
- Use interesting and unique visual media
- Respond to comments and messages in a timely fashion
- Understand your market by monitoring your influencers and competitors
- And have fun. At the end of the day we are all people (or not, see below)
Facebook Messenger Plugin and Chatbots
Facebook’s Messenger App has developed massively since it launched in 2011. It began as a way for people to chat with each other online privately or in groups. It then offered API connections to allow developers build chatbots using the platform.
Chatbots are programmed with a level of Artificial Intelligence that allows them to respond automatically to simple questions and requests. Many companies have used this platform to automate elements of their customer service, allowing the human workforce to focus on dealing with more complex cases. For example, some airlines allow people to check the status of their flights or find out more about baggage allowance by chatting with a virtual assistant.
The big news this month is that Facebook is beta testing its Messenger platform as a standalone product which can be integrated with third party websites. No longer will companies have to send their customers through to the Facebook Messenger platform to interact with their chatbot. This clearly indicates that Facebook is looking to become the platform for automated customer service.What does this mean for my business?
If your company already has a chatbot then this is great news as, when fully launched, this feature will allow you embed it into your own website, keeping your customers within your online space.
If you find that your company is spending too much time and resource on basic customer service, such answering simple questions or directing customers to information that is held online, then it may be worth building a chatbot. If you lack the technical expertise to build your own chatbot from scratch then there are a range of companies that can build bespoke chatbots for you. Many platforms (such as It’s Alive or Flashchat) have also launched recently that make it easier for non-technical people to build their own.
If you’d like to book a free meeting to discuss how we might be able to help you implement any of these ideas or get you up to speed with social media marketing and advertising, give us a call on 07766 310317 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Sign up to our newsletter to be kept up to date with what’s new in the world of social, receive tips and advice on how to make social media work for your business and be the first to see news about our social media training courses.