September 14, 2017Published by: Leah Domenet

A handy round-up of new social features this summer

Summer might not be over just yet, but the change in weather would certainly suggest otherwise. June, July and August have flown by, and as always, there have been loads of new developments in the social media world. I don’t know about you, but I can’t even remember what I ate for breakfast let alone what new social media features and innovations came out, so here’s a quick and handy recap of some of the key highlights from each platform.

Instagram continued its Stories takeover of the world, while also releasing some exciting new features. The platform is one of the biggest players in the influencer space and at the same time, paid collaborations are under increased scrutiny with the requirement of obvious disclosure through the use of hashtags like #ad. Instagram has attempted to relieve the pressure of relying on an influencer to include such words, with their new ‘paid partnership’ tag. The feature allows you to include a tag at the top of a sponsored post that reads “Paid partnership with brand Instagram handle,” and the influencer can insert the link of the relevant account to attribute it to.

Next up, Facebook now has its own TV channel! Yes, that’s right, back in June Facebook announced the launch of its own TV channel to compete with other online videos platforms like YouTube and Netflix. Branded Facebook Watch, the platform will create original shows to try and keep its users on the platform, watching longer-form videos. Last week we saw it roll out initially in the US, letting users see their new favourite shows in full, without just happening to find clips as they scroll through their news feed.

More recently, Facebook also jumped on the demise of traditional marketing catalogues and introduced their latest social advertising feature to bring catalogues online, called “lifestyle templates”. The format has the same look as a traditional catalogue, but you can buy directly from the image and link. The new feature will be perfect for consumer clients who already use the platform for as a way to sell their products.

Facebook is continually innovating and introducing new features to stay ahead of the game, but what’s next? Their own Stories haven’t picked up as much traction as they would have liked, but that might be about to change. Instagram has started tests to cross pollinate Stories from the app into the Facebook feed, allowing users to choose to share their Story onto Facebook at the same time as Instagram.

Now for Twitter. Despite its user growth slowing, the platform has added a host of new features to ensure it stays relevant for its existing users. At the beginning of summer the network announced that it was using a type of AI that would filter through the best tweets to be displayed on your timeline, which have proven super handy! It also added a feature to help in the never-ending fight against online trolls. Auto-mute allows you to turn off notifications from new users and people who don’t follow you, so those accounts that are created purely for the sole purpose of trolling will never get your attention.

Photo messaging app, Snapchat, introduced a bunch of new features including voice filters and backdrops in an attempt to stay fresh alongside competitors like Instagram Stories.The app also hit headlines with the launch of Snap Maps - a location sharing feature that displays to other users where you are. Parents, especially, didn’t welcome the new feature and questioned the safety of their children if it was used. It will be interesting to see where Snapchat goes next.

LinkedIn is no stranger to the ongoing convergence of social media platforms and this summer launched its own, Facebook-like audience network. The new feature means that marketers can reach users of Linkedin on apps and websites that the platform isn’t active on. It also launched another feature that further aligns with the other major social networks, with a new ability to upload native videos to your feed. You can now add a video that is up to 10 minutes long, that will play automatically when a user scrolls by.

Those are the highlights, and while they aren’t the only features released this summer, they are certainly some of the most exciting and innovative which will impact the way content can be created for brands, and offer them ways to reach their audience more effectively and efficiently. We can’t wait to see what else there is to come over the rest of 2017 - all we do know is that it’s going to be just as busy!

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