May Edition: Social Media Updates for Business
I get it. Social media is changing quickly. You are busy running your business and you don’t have the time to stay on top of all of the updates that are happening constantly (I’m looking at you, Facebook!). I am compiling all of the most relevant changes that you need to know about here in a single post - bookmark it and check back monthly!
Heads up! This post contains affiliate links, marked with an asterisk(*). If you sign up through one of those links you won't pay anything extra (sometimes you’ll even get a discount!), but I'll get a small commission or credit that helps me to keep delivering this awesome free content to you! I only recommend tools that I use and trust. Read my affiliate disclosure here.
Note: new updates are indicated in bold.
Create a Slideshow for Your Page Cover
I have mixed feelings about this since I know that rotating banners at the top of websites generally don’t perform that well. The pro: you get to keep the unique description for each slide of your cover so you can have multiple calls to action. The con: those people that actually visit your profile probably won’t even realize you have a slideshow because it doesn’t auto-rotate and the controls are easy to miss. Full details.
New Group Type: Social Learning
Facebook has created a new group type that operates a bit like an online course - there is a dedicated area for lessons (called Units) and students can keep track of which units they’ve completed. Full details.
Invite Page Fans to Your Group
If you have linked your Facebook Page to your group, you may find a new section in the right sidebar of your group: People Who Like [your page name] with a list of fans and the ability to invite them to the group (without being personal Facebook friends first). This is a feature that all page admins have been asking for, but I imagine that as soon as people start abusing it Facebook will remove it.
A Place For Group Rules
Rules are a staple of increasingly popular groups, so Facebook has created a dedicated spot for rules: add up to 10 rules that will display in the About section of your group.
Disappearing Comments in Groups
Facebook has always had automations in place to automatically remove or hide posts or comments that it considers spammy. It resulted in confusion on the part of groups members and group admins when people would complain about their posts and comments being deleted and the admins having no idea what they were talking about. Now you can see these auto-flagged posts in your group and choose to approve them if they are not actually spam.
QR Codes for Pages
You can now generate a QR code for your page that will allow the user to like your page, check-in, and/or view an offer you’ve created. Users can scan the QR code using the Facebook camera. The QR code section might not show up on your page yet, so if you can’t find it under Publishing Tools, simply copy-paste this link https://www.facebook.com/PAGENAME/publishing_tools/?section=QR_CODE and replace PAGENAME with your actual page username. Full details.
Understand the Impact Your Ads Are Having
The Facebook Ads Manager has become increasingly confusing, and the performance reporting even more so. Facebook has introduced Test and Learn so that it can help you create the most effective ads, such as figuring out campaign is most cost effective, or which is generating the most sales. Full details.
Posting to Groups with a Scheduling Tool
In light of the privacy concerns around third-party access to Facebook user data Facebook shut off posting to Groups using scheduling tools. Those companies then had to apply for this functionality and become approved Facebook partners. As of now, group posting is available in Hootsuite, SocialPilot, and RecurPost*.
You can now add up to 10 announcements to your group which will stay pinned & visible to the top of the group at all times. To control which announcement goes at the top you can pin the individual post.
Customize Group Colour
Pick a colour and make your group a bit more branded - you can select a predefined colour, or let Facebook pull the primary colour from your group header. Full details.
More info added to Group Analytics
This includes information like most popular days/times for engagement.
Updated Controls for Facebook Group Admins
You can now prevent group members from randomly adding stories to you group with the new ‘Story Post Approval’ setting.
Explore Feed is Gone
When the Explore Feed rolled out, businesses were thrown into a tizzy thinking that their posts were no longer going to show up in the regular news feed. While this didn’t actually happen, individual users reported that having 2 news feeds was actually more annoying and so Facebook has scrapped it. Full details.
Facebook Groups are getting access to this new feature, which allows group admins to post a link to a previously recorded video and have group members watch and comment on it together - like a live viewing party. Full details.
Organic Post Reach Dropping
You’ll see a drop in your reach, but it’s because it’s being calculated *more accurately* now than before. Previously, reach meant that a post was loaded in a user’s newsfeed (even if they didn’t scroll far enough to see it!). The new calculation only counts reach if the post appears on a user’s screen (this is how they measure reach in paid advertising) - makes sense! If you download your insights, you’ll be able to see the measurements for the ‘old’ reach and compare it to the new measurement. Full details.
Scheduling Posts in Events
If Facebook events are a large part of your marketing strategy, you can now schedule posts inside events to better provide timely content to those who are interested.
Affiliate Marketing on Facebook
There has been a lot of confusion about what ‘Branded Content’ is on Facebook, but essentially if you are posting affiliate links you need to apply for and use Facebook’s branded content tool. This video breaks it down in plain language. Here are the official Facebook guidelines and where to apply for your page.
Persistent Stream Key for Livestreaming
If you use a 3rd party tool like OBS for livestreaming to FB, one of the challenges is having to update your stream key every time you want to stream. FB now allows the same key to be used in multiple livestreams, saving you a step!
Upload Custom Thumbnails for Your Video
If you are not satisfied with any of the auto-generated thumbnails or you want a specific graphic, you can now upload your own custom thumbnails to your videos. Full details.
Send Ads to the Messenger Homepage
If your users engage with you in messages, it might be a good idea to start sending ads to the messenger homepage. Full details.
Newsfeed Algorithm Changes Affecting Pages
To sum up: users have reported that they are seeing too many crappy posts from pages in their newsfeed, and not enough quality page content or posts from friends/family. If you post content that people are not engaging with, you will start to see decreased reach for you posts. For more info, check out the live video I posted when the news was announced.
Run Tests on Your Ads
Test and Learn is a new feature from Facebook that allows you to create more effective ads. Currently there are 2 things you can test:
Compare 2 campaigns to see which one is the most cost effective (lowest cost per conversion)
See if your ads overall are generating more conversions compared to other paid or organic channels
Enhanced Admin Activity Features for Groups
The admin activity list has been around for awhile, however now you can do a little bit more with it. These features will be most helpful for those with large busy groups or multiple admins/moderators. Undo admin activity (i.e. approving/declining members, pinning posts, etc.) and also add notes on this activity. For example, if you are declining a membership request you might want to note why.
Create a Video Playlist on Your Page
If you have a lot of videos, you can now create playlists to group videos that go together (if you use YouTube you’ll be familiar with this concept).
Add a Donate Button To Your Videos
If you have a non-profit page, you can add a donate button to your live or uploaded videos. Full details.
Image/Video Customization for Ad Placement
As Facebook continues to expand the places where your ads can be delivered, it became an issue to use the same photo or video for multiple placements since the images or videos were displaying in in different dimensions. The result was that people were having to create a separate ad for different placements. Now Facebook is allowing us to customize the images and videos we use for placements all within the same ad, saving time and hassle. Full details.
Import Instagram Contacts into Facebook Messenger
If you have mutual followers on Instagram, you can import those people into Messenger. This will allow you to include them in Messenger Ads or chatbots. Full Details.
Create Stories for Groups and Events
You can now create stories within Groups and Events, and all members can contribute. Full Details.
Create an Ad Campaign Shell
You can now set up the structure of an ad campaign as a draft (i.e. objective, ad set, ad) and come back to fill everything in later.
Exclude Publishers from Audience Network Placement
There may be certain publishers or content categories where you don’t want your ad to appear. For example, if you are selling B2B services, you may not want your ad to appear in a pop-up for a videogame targeted at children, or for a website with adult content. Full details.
Songs and Sounds Effects For Your Videos
Facebook has created a Sound Collection - music and effects that they have purchased the rights to, meaning that you can use them in your videos on Facebook and Instagram without worrying about copyright violations. Full details.
Snooze People and Pages
Users now have the ability to snooze people and pages in their newsfeed for 30 days. So now instead of unfollowing or unliking your page, they may simply snooze you if you are posting a lot about a topic that doesn’t interest them. Full details.
Algorithm Change Affecting Videos
Facebook has made a change to the algorithm giving a boost to videos that get repeat viewers, that match search terms people are looking for, or that belong to pages with videos that are already popular. That means that it’s incredibly important to create videos that hook people within the first few seconds and engage your viewers! Full details.
Customize the Placement of Ad Creative
There are now a lot of different ad options in the Facebook ad manager, and some of those option have different sizes depending on where they will be displayed - for example, an ad running to the Facebook newsfeed could have a square or horizontal image, but the same ad running to Instagram Stories needs to be vertical. Now instead of creating a separate ad set for those requirements you can now customize your images and videos for a single ad depending on their placement. Full details.
A lot of people see posts that outright ask for shares, comments, and likes as spammy. Personally, I’m on the fence on this one, but I suppose there is no harm in asking people to write posts that are so engaging or useful that of course they are going to engage :) So for now, any posts where you ask for engagement are going to get demoted (the Facebook word for penalized) in the newsfeed. If you continue to do this, eventually ALL of your posts will get demoted whether you’re asking for engagement or not. Best to stop right away. Full details.
Creating a Second Facebook Profile to Admin Your Business Page
Facebook is really cracking down on people who are using their platform to harass and stalk other users. As you can imagine, many of those people create fake profiles, and so Facebook is going to get stricter about monitoring these. If you have created a second profile solely for the purposes of managing your Facebook page (a practice that I STRONGLY discourage), the chances are higher than ever that your profile may be flagged as fake and removed, which means you will permanently lose access to your Facebook page. Full details.
Booking or Tickets Right from Your Profile
Instagram is rolling out Reserve, Get Tickets, Start Order or Book buttons to business accounts who use services like Acuity, Eventbrite, OpenTable, and more. Full details.
New Poll Type for Stories
Instead of a yes-no option, there is now a slider poll option featuring emojis so you can express a range of agreement/excitement/opinion. Full details.
More Comment Filtering
Instead of leaving it up to Instagram to decide what is and isn’t offensive, you can now also manually specify keywords that will cause comments to be automatically hidden. Full details.
Upload Multiple Stories at One Time
You can now upload up to 10 photos at a single time into your Stories, saving a lot of repetitive tapping. Full details.
Updated: Repost Stories You’re Tagged In
Updated: you can share any post to your stories!If another user tags you in their story you’ll see an ‘Add this to your story’ option when you view the notification in your direct messages. You can repost the story as-is or make your own edits. Full details.
New Camera Feature
The Instagram camera has a new mode called focus - it will detect faces in the foreground of a live photo and blur the background. Full details.
Add Clickable Links to Instagram Posts
This is a *big* deal, however it only applies to certain businesses: you have to have a Shopify account/store, you have to have a shop section set up on your business Facebook page with your Shopify products linked, and you have to have a business Instagram account. Phew! Worth it if you are already a Shopify user. Full details.
More Control Over Your Feed
Instagram is updating the feed in 2 ways: no more auto-scrolling to the top when there are new posts, and the algorithm is changing to show more new posts (instead of the same 10 popular posts that are a week old!). Full details.
Hashtag and Profile Links in Your Bio
Now those hashtags and @mentions in your bio will now be clickable links. If you mention someone in your bio, they will get a notification and can choose to remove the link. Full details.
Search Results Customized to Users
It used to be that if 5 people searched for a hashtag they would all see the same top results. Now the algorithm has changed to deliver the results that Instagram feels are the most relevant to you (likely based on the accounts you follow and the posts you interact with). Full details.
Real Post Scheduling for Business Accounts
Now allowing direct publishing to business accounts for photos (not videos) through 3rd party tools. Full details. Note: currently this feature works in Hootsuite, Tailwind, Buffer, Later, and Agorapulse
Real Post Scheduling for Business Accounts
Now allowing direct publishing to business accounts for photos (not videos) through 3rd party tools. Full details. Note: currently this feature works in Hootsuite and Tailwind
If you prefer to tell stories in text format, now you can! Full details.
No More Awkward Cropping in Your Stories
Upload photos and videos of any size/dimension. Full details.
Block posts When Following Hashtags
It is *super* important to only use relevant hashtags these days because right after Instagram rolled out the ‘follow hashtags’ feature (marketers rejoice), they also added a feature that allows users to block specific posts from showing in their feed (it’s like negative feedback). If you are consistently using irrelevant hashtags your post performance is going to decrease and people start to block your posts. Full details.
Share Instagram Stories to Facebook Stories
If you have linked your Facebook to Instagram, you can share your Instagram stories to your Facebook account. You can do this on a per story basis, or choose to have all of your stories share by default. Full details.
GIF Stickers for Stories
Instagram has partnered up with GIPHY so that you can add animated stickers to your stories. Full details.
Instead of having your stories disappear forever after 24 hours, you can now selectively choose stories to add to your profile that will stay there as long as you want. This is a great way to showcase the most important content or promotions since (unlike Facebook) it is common for people to visit your profile even after following you. Full details. Full details.
View Saved Posts on Desktop
When you view your profile on desktop, there will now be an option to see saved posts - if you have created collections for your saved posts, you won’t be able to see those categories. Full details.
Send a Live Video via a Direct Message
While you’re live, you can share your video to a person or group via DM so they can get in on the action. People watching your video can also share it, but this is a feature you can disable if you want. Full details.
You can now follow your favourite hashtags on Instagram, and posts with those hashtags will show up in your feed. If you have a specific hashtag you use for your business, now is the time to encourage your audience to follow it so they have a better chance of seeing your posts! Full details.
Add Older Content to Stories
You can now access your entire camera roll when adding content to your stories - a big win for businesses who are trying to plan their posts out in advance! Full details.
New Formats for Stories
Super Zoom and Stop Motion Graphics have rolled out to all users, adding some fun new ways to create content that will engage your audience. Full details.
View Stories on Your Desktop
Now you can watch Instagram stories on your desktop (though you can’t reply or engage with them...yet). Full details.
Archive & Highlight Your Stories on Your Profile
When you create stories, they are now saved in your archive (previously you could only see them in your analytics). And, if you have a collection of stories with a similar theme, you can now bundle them into a featured story that appears on your profile. These highlights do not disappear after 24 hours! Full details.
Profile Layout Revamp
LinkedIn has put more of an emphasis on your summary information, allowing people to see your current position, education, and access to contact information at a glance. They’ve also repositioned your profile photo so that you can make more use of your cover photo. Full details.
New Post Type: Kudos
Give shoutouts to your connection with themes like ‘Great Job’ ‘Making an Impact’ ‘Inspirational Leader’ and more. The post will automatically tag the user, add relevant hashtags, and include an adorable graphic.
Video Posts Now Available for Company Profiles
You can now upload video to share with your company followers (note: this is not live video). Full details.
Stickers and Text Overlay for Live Videos
Add some pizzazz to your live videos with engaging stickers and text. Don’t go crazy, tho - this isn’t snapchat! Full details.
Change to How Photos are Posted
One of the biggest frustrations of posting photos to LinkedIn using a scheduling tool is that your photo shows up as a link preview and includes the name of the tool that posted it. SocialPilot is reporting that LinkedIn has updated their API and that photos shared via a 3rd party tool will now show up as native images.
Filters & Text for Live Video
New filters have been added to live video, as well as the ability to add a simple text overlay so people know what your video is about if they don’t have the sound turned on. Full details.
If you needed yet another distraction, you can install the LinkedIn Chrome extension to easily see activity and notifications. Full details.
Group Moderation Changes
Anything now sitting in the moderation queue that is older than 30 days will be automatically deleted. Full details.
LinkedIn is revamping the group experience and you’ll probably start to find it similar to Facebook Groups: group posts will start appearing in your newsfeed, you can tag members and reply to their comments as well as post videos inside your groups. As of today (Jan 24, 2018) you should start to see some of these changes take effect.
Looking for a Business Mentor?
LinkedIn has introduced a new feature called Career Advisor which helps connect members who are looking for mentorship opportunities. Full details.
Timestamps for Live Video Sharing
Ever watch a live video and want to share your favourite part but don’t want your followers to have to watch 15 minutes just to get to the good stuff? Twitter now allows you to set the exact spot where the video will start playing when you are sharing it! Full details.
Bookmark Tweets for Later
A lot of people use the ‘like’ function to save stuff to read later, but it can be awkward if it’s something that you don’t actually LIKE or you don’t want to publicly declare that you’re going to read it. Now there is a bookmark feature (mobile only so far) that is private to you! Full details.
Cracking Down on Automation
Twitter is getting more strict with their spam and automation policies. It has come to my attention that *I* may be violating the Twitter spam policy, so I will update this section as I get clarification from Twitter Support. Some things that businesses may want to watch out for:
Having multiple accounts and posting/scheduling the exact same tweets to all of them at the same time (you should be posting to 1 account and then retweeting the original tweet from your other accounts - this is the tactic I would recommend anyway!)
Repeating your content on the same account (which is your evergreen content . . . eek!)
If you use scheduling software, be on the lookout for changes to how they work. I have already seen updates to TweetDeck, RecurPost, Hootsuite, and Buffer (all apps had until March 23, 2018 to comply)
The purpose behind this is to prevent bots and fake accounts from spreading fake news. We’ll see how it shakes out for businesses and marketers.
Twitter is rolling out Promote Mode, which will automatically take your first 10 tweets each day and promote them. This is a monthly subscription service. Full details.
Easily Create a Tweet Thread
If 280 characters is still not enough for you, and you often find yourself doing the [1/12, 2/12] tweets, Twitter is now making it easier for you to create a single connected stream (thread) of Tweets. Full details.
Pinterest Clarifies Best Practices for Pinners
consistency is more important than how much you pin per day
the first 5 pins you share will get more exposure (so pin your own stuff first!)
pins that don’t perform well don’t impact the overall performance of your account
search is becoming more crucial so board and pin descriptions with hashtags are more important than ever
when you are pinning the same pin multiple times, pin to the more important first since that one will get the most exposure
the pin size that’s performing best is 600px X 900px
Better Analytics for Your Pins
The big news: Pinterest will now aggregate the stats for all versions of a pin. So instead of having 10 pins (of the same image/link from your website) it will combine that into 1 set of numbers so you can see how your pins are *really* performing. Full details.
The new profiles include a dynamic profile header which is a collage of pins that pulls from a board you specify, your most recent pins, or pins that people have saved from you. Full details.
Pincodes for Your Boards
If you want to help people offline discover more of your pins, you can create pincodes for your boards (like a QR code) and add them to printed marketing materials. People can then scan the code using the Pinterest mobile app and be taken right to your board. Full details.
Create Separate Sections for Pins Inside a Board
This is one of my most wanted updates, creating sections or boards within boards. Now you can feel even more organized and clean up your boards - maybe you have 1 board that can have 10 sections instead of having 10 separate boards. Full details.
Repin/Save Counts Gone
You can no longer see how many times a pin has been saved by looking at it. You can see the repin stats on your own pins by viewing the pin and clicking into the stats.
Updates to Live Streaming
Live chat no longer disappears once the livestream is over, and will scroll in time to the video, auto-captions in English are now available for livestreams, and you can add location tags to your videos to showcase where you are. Full details.
Making YouTube More Social
You can now create/send text updates to your community contacts, share links and videos, create polls, quick video clips (Reels), and Stories. Note: most of these features will only be available to users with over 10,000 subscribers. Full details.
New Requirements for Monetizing Your Channel
If you’ve ever uploaded a video to YouTube, you may have noticed that there is an option to monetize the video i.e. allow ads to play before/during your video which generates revenue for you when people click on them. Monetization is not available to everyone. YouTube has now increased the threshold to the following: 4,000 hours of watch time on your videos in the past 12 months and at least 1,000 subscribers. If you have monetized your videos and are under these limits, YouTube will pay you out for whatever you have earned and then turn off monetization. Full details.
Anchor has been completely revamped to focus on podcasting without having to have any fancy or expensive audio editing software. Full details.
Google URL Shortener
Instagram direct scheduling is available inside Buffer for single-image posts. Full details.
New composer makes it easier to create your posts: tag Facebook pages and Twitter accounts, customize your posts for different accounts at the same time, you can only schedule posts to 1 Twitter account at a time (due to the recent Twitter policy changes).
Updated dashboard to allow you to sort, search, and more easily compare your CTT links. Full details.
Instagram scheduling with notifications is now available. Full details.
Content curation added as keyword search, and you can edit/schedule that content directly from the search results. Full details.
You can now individually select which Facebook and LinkedIn profiles you want to add to your project.
SocialAider has been updated with an image editor. Note that these images will not automatically be uploaded to a post - you will have to download your image and then upload it into the composer. Full details.
Crello has introduced a Resize feature, which is available in it’s free plan! Full details.
You can now ‘favourite’ the elements, photos, and templates that you use most in order to find them more quickly. Full details.
Later* now has the 1 big feature that was missing - the ability to schedule to Instagram Stories!
Hootsuite now has built-in Pinterest publishing and scheduling! Full details.
Due to the changes to Facebook’s API (because of the privacy concerns), Hootsuite will no longer have access to a number of features including user name & profile pictures in search streams for both Facebook and Instagram, page messaging, engaging with Instagram posts, and more. Full details.
Instagram direct scheduling is now available for all plans. Full details.
RecurPost* has added a Smart Queue: a calendar of all of your future queued posts (previously you could only see what was coming up in the next 24 hours).
RecurPost* now has integrated with Pixabay, Unsplash, and Giphy to bring you GIFs and stock photos to add to your social media posts.
RecurPost* has created a new more affordable price plan due to Twitter’s recent policy enforcement around duplicate tweets. This new Small Plan allows you to add unlimited Twitter variations to your posts without going over the 100 post limit. Previously you had to upgrade to the Medium plan which was $25/month, but the Small plan is only $10/month. Full details.
If you only started using RecurPost* and you are on a paid plan, you can now import old posts from your social media networks to save the time of manually adding them to your content library. Full details.
Instagram direct scheduling is available inside Tailwind. Full details.