There's always something new in the social media space . Every day there's a new announcement, a new feature - some of them are major and some less significant. But then again, the impact of each change is relative - what may be small to the general user may be huge to someone else.
As part of our ongoing effort to provide you with the best coverage of the latest social media news and insights, we feel it's important to cover all of these updates and tests - but sometimes they're not worthy of a their own individual post.
So to keep you up to date on these smaller changes and features, here's a rundown of five upcoming or "in test mode" features that are currently being trialed by some of the major platforms - starting with Facebook, which is trying out a couple of new options.
1. Job listings on Pages
Facebook is testing out a new job listing option for some Pages. As highlighted by Matt Navarra, some Pages will now see a new 'Jobs' tab in the 'Manage Tab' section of your Page.
Such an option has been available previously through integration with third party providers, but this appears to be the first time Facebook has provided a native tool for this purpose.
A jobs tab would be another indication that Facebook's looking to intrude on LinkedIn's territory. As we reported back in April, Facebook's Data Science team have been conducting research on career-related insights that can be gleaned via Facebook's interest graph, and with the introduction of Facebook's professional platform 'Workplace', such a move makes even more sense. Increasingly, human resources decisions are going to be fuelled by machine learning systems, and Facebook could logically contend with LinkedIn on this front if they determined that their algorithms could find relevant signals within their vast amounts of user data.
The shift to more data-driven recruitment insights is likely to be very lucrative for LinkedIn - if Facebook could work out a way to get into the same area, it'd be another option for the platform to consider, keeping more people on platform more often.
2. Instagram Live
Reports from Russia have indicated that Instagram is testing out a new live-streaming option built into Instagram Stories.
Really, this is not overly surprising - back in August, as part of the launch of Instagram Stories, Instagram CEO Kevin Systrom noted that they've been considering their own version of Live on the back of Facebook's bigger streaming push.
"What's important to us is to figure out how it fits into Instagram because you don't just want to, like, adopt a technology and say 'great, now we have live'. We have to figure out it exactly how works inside of Instagram and how it'll be different to all the other offerings."
With Stories, it seems they may have worked out where that functionality might fit. Reports at this stage are fairly thin so we'll have to wait and see how it develops.
3. Facebook testing removal of Page Like counts
Back in July, I wrote a post which questioned whether Facebook Page Likes even matter anymore. The summary of my query is this: with Facebook's algorithm reducing the organic reach of Pages, and the ability for users to unfollow without un-Liking a Page (and for Pages to buy Likes), the Page Like count is no longer an indicative measure of engagement. Really, a count of actual Page followers or engagement per post would be of more value.
It seems Facebook might just agree with me - as part of a new test, Facebook is removing the Page Like count entirely.
(Image via Matt Navarra)
It's not 100% clear why Facebook's conducting this trial, or how widespread it is, but they have, reportedly, confirmed that such a test is underway.
A wider roll-out of this option would certainly spark interest. As noted, Page Likes don't hold as much meaning as they used to, but they still provide an important 'social proof' function - you're more likely to trust a Page with 10,000 Likes than one with 10.
But still, Page Likes can, of course, be bought, so it's possible that they really aren't adding any significant value. That said, Facebook would probably need a replacement metric to help users determine a business' legitimacy - you could just look at the activity on their most recent posts, but a follower count or some sort of engagement measurement might also do the trick.
4. Pinterest introduces 'Pin Collective'
Pinterest has been working to make their platform a more viable option for businesses, introducing a range of new advertising tools and features which better enable brands to showcase their products to the platform's 150 million active users.
To help further capitalize on this, Pinterest has introduced 'Pin Collective', "a hand-selected group of publishers, production shops and independent creators who know the nuances of what makes content successful on Pinterest"
Certainly this hipster tattoo guy looks like he means business
Through the Pin Collective, brands can work directly with these creators in order to get advanced insights into how to make best use of the platform and create Pin content that resonates with their target audience.
There's a lot of potential in Pins, but it can be a difficult platform to master. Pin Collective offers a new way for brands to start off on the right foot and get advice from those who know the platform best.
5. Scheduling Facebook Live broadcasts
Facebook recently announced an update to the Facebook Live API that enables Page owners to schedule their Facebook Live broadcasts - including a new tool which sends out an announcement post with an option for users to get a reminder of when your broadcast is active.
"You can schedule a live broadcast up to one week in advance, and people can join your lobby three minutes before your broadcast begins. Once you've scheduled a live video, you'll be able to share a link to the broadcast or embed it in other places, such as websites or blogs."
Scheduling will only be available to Verified Pages initially, rolling out to all Pages "in the weeks to come". The option is not being made available to personal profiles at this time.
To schedule a Live broadcast, Page owners need to click on 'Publishing Tools' at the top of their Page, then select 'Video library', then 'Live'.
From there, you'll be able to enter your stream credentials (e.g. steam key, Server URL), write a description for your broadcast and add a custom image if you choose. There's more information on how to schedule a Live broadcast available here.