This year, several social media platforms added new features and improvements that could benefit your small business’s Internet marketing efforts in 2018.
Let’s take a look at the changes and how they might help you gain a stronger following and improve engagement on your social media channels.
1. Instagram’s introduction of the capability to follow specific hashtags.
In December 2017, Instagram introduced a new way for users to interact with hashtags. You can now follow hashtags—in the same way you can follow Instagram accounts. After you follow a hashtag, Instagram curates highlights from posts with that hashtag and places them into your main feed.
What does this mean for you and your business? It is now easier for people who are interested in the types of products and services you provide to discover you on Instagram. If you use hashtags that your customers and prospective customers are following, you will increase brand awareness and likely gain more followers to your Instagram account.
Which hashtags will work best? You may have to experiment and gauge how much interest you’re getting with various hashtags. One way to zero in on the best hashtag contenders is to use the search feature on Instagram to research specific hashtags to assess their popularity and relevance to your business.
2. Twitter’s tweet length has extended from 140 characters to 280 characters.
In early November 2017, Twitter expanded the character limit for tweets from 140 characters to 280 characters. This is good news for brands and business professionals who struggled to fit meaningful information into the confines of 140 characters. With the extended tweet length, you have the opportunity to share more detailed insight. That can help you better demonstrate your expertise and value to your followers.
Take care not to overdo it, though. Because of Twitter’s fast-moving nature, followers might not have the patience to read long-winded tweets—especially if you constantly push yours to the limit.
3. LinkedIn’s has introduced in-app LinkedIn video for uploading/recording videos in posts.
In late August – early September 2017, LinkedIn began allowing users to either upload videos from their camera rolls or record videos via LinkedIn’s video feature. With this new capability, consider the many ways you might use it to bond with your audience:
- Behind-the-scenes videos of your team helping customers
- How-to videos to demonstrate your expertise and empower your audience.
- Celebrations of key milestones along your business journey
- Video bios of your team members to help your audience get to know the people behind your brand
4. Facebook allows people and brands to create polls that can use GIFs as response options.
Although Facebook offered a feature with a polling function in the past, it nixed it in 2014 when rolling out other updates. In the last quarter of 2017, however, it added a new, improved poll feature—following its acquisition of polling app tbh.
As a result, brand pages and individuals can again post polls to entice interaction from fans and friends. Besides giving text-only response options to poll participants, poll creators can offer photos or GIFs as possible choices. This gives your business an opportunity to add an element of fun to your Facebook posts and get your fans excited about interacting and sharing your content.
What Role Will Social Media and the New Capabilities Play in Your Marketing Efforts?
As you’re assessing your current social media strategy and what you’ll do moving forward in 2018, remember that SCORE is here to offer guidance and feedback. Contact us today! With mentors who have experience in all aspects of starting and growing a business, we can provide insight and direction as you develop your marketing plan for the New Year.