5 Newer Social Media Marketing Options to Consider in 2017
The new year is underway, which means it's now time to put your 2017 social media strategy into effect. Well, maybe not right away, maybe next week. Or in February, when things really start kicking into gear.
Either way, you can only put off taking action so long, and when the time does come to ramp up your strategy and look for new ways to boost your social presence, it's worth considering the latest options and tools and offer and if/how they might be able to help.
Here are five social platform tools that were introduced in 2016 which are worth consideration as part of your new year strategy.
1. Twitter Moments
For everyone who wants to make a Moment - starting today you can! Creators everywhere can now tell stories with Tweets. pic.twitter.com/ZJtNBoTPWf- Twitter (@twitter) September 28, 2016
You could argue (as I have) that not opening it up to everyone from the get go has probably reduced its effectiveness and take-up, but still, Moments is an interesting tool to consider, especially if your brand has an active Twitter presence.
What's more, as of last month, you can now create Moments on both desktop and mobile (previously it was only possible via desktop), so the process has been made both more available and more accessible.
To create a Moment, you can click on 'Create a Moment' from within the Moments tab on your desktop profile.
Or you can locate the Moments menu on mobile by tapping on the gear icon on your profile.
Alternatively, you can also start with a tweet you want to add - tap on the drop-down menu in the top right (on mobile) and you'll see an option to "Add to Moment".
On desktop, you click on the three dots option at the bottom of a tweet and you'll see three Moments options - "Add to Untitled Moment", "More" and "New Moment".
You can also use either of these options to start a Moment, giving you more ways to access the tool.
Once you start, the process is fairly straight-forward - you're taken to a walk-through with options to build your Moment by adding tweets, putting them in the order you want them presented, and additional preferences.
You can add your own tweets, tweets you've liked or you can search Twitter for relevant content
Used well, Moments can be a great way to showcase specific subjects or topics - for example, you can present a Moment that highlights a recent tweet promotion and the subsequent reactions from your audience. Maybe you could put a call out for fans to show how they're using your latest product with an image, posted to Twitter using a certain hashtag. You could then search that hashtag and add the top images to your set.
You can add GIFs, live video and any other tweet option. Images take up the entire frame, so it's worth ensuring the dimensions are right and suit mobile presentation.
Some brands have even turned their Moments into interactive games - Twitter released a guide in October on some of the best examples of how to use the option.
Once you've created your Moment, you can share it via tweet, embed it, even send a link out by any other means.
Moments may not have become as significant a tool as Twitter had initially hoped, but it still presents a great opportunity, and can be good option to create more narrative-focused social posts.
2. Custom Snapchat Geofilters
Back in February, Snapchat added "On Demand Geofilters" which gives users the option to create their own, location-triggered image enhancements for events or promotions.
As shown in the video, you create the image you want as your overlay, the region you want it available in, how long for, and then you pay to have it made accessible in the app (pending Snapchat approval).
The problem is that not everyone's a graphic design pro - but Snapchat's thought of that too, adding new tools and templates to simplify the process in August.
Despite rising competition from Facebook, Snapchat has been able to maintain its hold on the Millennial market in 2017 and should be a key consideration for brands looking to reach younger audiences. If that's you, custom Geofilters could be a great option, and reports indicate that they are relatively cost effective, with some filter covering a specific event location for a four hour period coming in at under $US10.
This can be a great way to generate more buzz and facilitate user-generated content, which can help spread the word about your events, or your business more generally.
Even if you've never considered Snapchat before, it can also be an option to test the waters and see what sort of response you get.
3. Facebook Live
Live-streaming's been covered a lot, so no doubt you've already thought about how it might fit, but it's worth highlighting again here, not just because it's still relatively new, but because the options for connection via Live are so great.
And I'm focusing on Facebook Live here, but there's obviously Periscope and YouTube live-streaming also, among other options, but Facebook Live is the one that's made the most noise in 2016, and the one with, likely, the most potential.
First off, going Live from Facebook is very easy - you click on that "Live" camera icon at the top left of your News Feed, enter the relevant details and go.
Facebook's very keen to get more people broadcasting Live, so they've made the process as simple as possible. Another benefit of the platform's enthusiasm for Live content is that Live content gets a reach boost in Facebook's algorithm.
"As a first step, we are making a small update to News Feed so that Facebook Live videos are more likely to appear higher in News Feed when those videos are actually live, compared to after they are no longer live. People spend more than 3x more time watching a Facebook Live video on average compared to a video that's no longer live. This is because Facebook Live videos are more interesting in the moment than after the fact."
This has also been backed up by various reports and studies, Live videos have been shown to consistently be amongst the best performing content on Facebook in the last 12 months, so if you're looking to boost your Facebook reach and engagement (and who isn't?), Live is definitely worth consideration.
But then, of course, you have to actually create Live content that people will want to watch. This is a big challenge - while the physical process of going live is dead simple, you need to have some plan, some idea of what you're sharing with your audience, and what they want to see.
But there are a range of options to consider.
* With Live content seeing that reach boost, brands have been finding ways to exploit the system, broadcasting basically static images or pre-recorded content - one Page actually just plays streams of old Tom and Jerry cartoons (and it actually gets viewers). Facebook has sought to combat this, reducing the reach of graphics only polls and working to stamp down on copyright infringing material, but it's hard to deny that this can actually work - by Facebook's own stats, five of the top 10 most watched Live streams of 2016 were static content - broadcasts like this.
While it's not necessarily advisable to just broadcast static content or polls - and content which infringes copyright is definitely out of the question - these examples do highlight an interesting use case for Live, which is using the tool as a focal point for a wider conversation, as opposed to the broadcast itself.
For example, the above stream is not visually engaging - a countdown clock to the 2020 election. But people didn't tune in to watch the numbers roll by, they came for the live conversation, which was happening as part of the stream. Now, you could have such conversations in Groups and such as well, but because live content is more visible - both in terms of News Feed exposure and in Facebook's Live map and highlights - it opens the discussion up to more people, which could be a consideration to boost engagement, if used well. It may not necessarily be what Live is intended for, but as noted, the data shows people are tuning in for such discussion.
* Last month, Facebook announced that broadcasters would soon be able to broadcast live in 360 degrees - which Twitter has also since announced via Periscope. 360 degree content provides a whole new consideration for content creators, enabling a more immersive experience which can help build connection and bring viewers into the moment. And with 360 cameras becoming more widely available (and cost-effective), you can expect this to become a more popular option in 2017 - it's worth considering how your business might be able to use the option and get a jump on the competition.
* Facebook has also announced that audio-only Live streams will be made available to all users soon, adding another element to the Live eco-system. This will obviously hold appeal for podcasters (and podcasting is a growth area in itself), but with Live content getting a reach boost, it should also be a consideration for all brands, particularly those who may not have felt as comfortable presenting on camera.
These are just three potential options beyond simply broadcasting yourself talking to the camera. And with all indications suggesting that live-streaming is going to be a core area of focus for Facebook in 2017, it's worth considering how to tap into that additional exposure potential as a means of boosting your brand message.
Even if it doesn't pay off straight away, getting in practice with Live could be hugely beneficial if the option takes off the way many predict it will.
4. Instagram Stories
Since then, they've added a range of new tools and options, the most recent being live-streaming, which is now available to U.S. users. And given Instagram now has more than 600 million users - gaining an additional 100 million in the last six months (the period within which Stories was released), it's worth considering how Stories could be of benefit to your brand messaging and how you might use the tool to communicate with your audience.
The process of creating an Instagram Story is very simple:
As you can see in the video, you tap on the option to add to your Story from the main page then go from there - the image additions and tools are all laid out on screen, with the new live-stream option also incorporated into the camera tools.
Another recent addition, the ability to add links within Stories (either to other Instagram users or off-platform URLs) also boosts the functionality of the option from a brand perspective.
Coupled with Instagram's soon to be released Shopping Tags, the combination of options available could be huge for eCommerce businesses, in particular.
If your brand isn't active on Instagram yet, it's worth investigating whether it's worth the effort, whether your target audience is active on the platform. The numbers would indicate at least some of them probably are, and if that's the case, Stories, and the rising amount of options and tools within it, could be a great option.
And if Stories actually supercedes Snapchat at some stage (which is possible), there could be a big influx of young users across to the app.
5. Boosting Messaging
Messaging is seen by many as the next big thing in social business. This is being driven by the growth in reliance on messaging - Facebook, which owns the two most popular messaging apps in the world (Messenger and WhatsApp), is now processing around 60 billion messages per day. By comparison, at its peak, global SMS volume was around 20 billion messages every 24 hours.
Given we're now conducting so many of our daily interactions via message, it makes sense that more brands are looking to tap into that trend and give users more options to connect with them via this medium. And your business can tap into that trend too.
In the last year, Facebook has added a range of new tools and options to Messenger, including new ways for brands to boost connection with their audience more directly. These include things like new @handles and Messenger Codes to provide more ways to link people to a messaging thread.
It's worth considering how such tools can help your business connect, as messaging provides more intimate communication and more ways to personalize your engagements.
Twitter too has moved to facilitate more interaction via message, adding new customer service and response options on profiles that opt in.
To activate the new support options, you need to go to your customer support settings page in your Twitter Dashboard, where you can select whether your page is open to receiving direct messages, whether it provides support and choose what hours are displayed as available times.
Given that messaging is becoming more of a focus, it makes sense for brands to tap into that trend and look to ways they can amplify their responsiveness, using the available options.
These are just some of the newer options added to the major platforms over the last 12 months, and there are always more, and newer, tools being added. It's worth investigating these options, but also, it's equally worth staying abreast of the latest developments and tools to ensure you're providing the best support options for your customers.
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