September Social Media Roundup

Twitter stops including photos, videos and GIFs in character count – Twitter announced that attachments such as photos, videos, GIFs, polls and Quote Tweets no longer count as part of the 140 characters (they previously took up around between 21-23 characters). This update, which was first reported by Bloomberg in May, will allow Twitter users to share more visuals and engaging content within their tweets without having to compromise on copy.

Crackdown on “unlabelled” social media ads – The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) expressed its concerns about celebrity promotion of brands and products on social media, targeting the Kardashian family in particular. The agency has warned that it will take further action against people who do not make it clear that they are being paid to promote something (through including #ad or #sponsored in posts or making it clear the post has been made ‘in partnership’ with a business).

LinkedIn enables tappable hashtags on mobile app – LinkedIn has introduced hashtag searching on its mobile app…again! This comes after it withdrew hashtag support in 2013. Currently this functionality is only supported by the app and in English, but the platform does plan to expand worldwide. The update is specific to Posts – rather than Updates to your connections – and enables users to discover other posts that are focussed on the same subjects.

Marketers taking advantage of Instagram zooming – Instagram has now enabled zooming on photos, and a number of consumer brands have already begun to use campaigns that use this new feature. By allowing users to zoom in on images, Instagram has opened up opportunities for more creative content (e.g. competitions that encourage users to find objects hidden within an image) and means that marketers can make their posts more interactive for followers.

LinkedIn now lets advertisers track conversions for sponsored updates – LinkedIn has updated its Campaign Manager tool to help advertisers track their conversions. The new capabilities let users measure the leads, sign-ups, downloads and purchases that came through as a result of sponsored updates. These insights will give specific details about the users that are clicking on sponsored content and text adverts and as a result are becoming customers of a company. It’s only available for sponsored content and text ads at the moment, but will likely expand to include inMail in the future, to help users understand how successful their sponsored activity is.

Facebook rolls out live streaming on desktop – Facebook confirmed that it’s beginning the rollout of Facebook Live onto desktop and laptop computers. For users to broadcast live video, they will need to click the ‘Live Video’ button in the status update composer to immediately begin streaming. Peripheral cameras are supported within this feature, in addition to the built-in cameras on laptops and computers. This development is a response to demand from journalists and vloggers and puts Facebook Live on a par with YouTube and Periscope.

YouTube gets its own social network – YouTube has launched YouTube Community, a social network that allows video creators to engage with their viewers better by using text, GIFs, images and more. The purpose of this is to stop creators moving to other platforms by offering engagement tools that go above and beyond the videos themselves. In their Community stream, creators will be able to share text posts, images, GIFs and other content that audiences can react to – with the thumbs up and thumbs down buttons as well as comments – as they can with videos. The platform was recently launched into public beta with a group of testers and will be made more widely available to video creators in the “months ahead”.

Twitter grows its customer support capabilities – Twitter is committed to helping businesses deliver a better customer experience on the platform. To help it do so, it has announced new features to help users find and get help from companies providing customer support through the platform (following the introduction of a deep link that can be included in a tweet, with a call-to-action to Direct Message the company in question). The new features let businesses tell users they provide help on Twitter, indicate when they’re most active, and make sure users know that they have the option to send a Direct Message.

More specifically, when a company is shown as a search result, when it is included in an @mention, or when it is searched for within Direct Messages, its name will be accompanied by a small label reading “Provides support”. Businesses can also choose to include their hours of availability in their profile, as well as a more prominent call-to-action button for Direct Messaging.

Snapchat rebrands and launches Spectacles – Snapchat has renamed itself ‘Snap Inc’ and is describing itself as a ‘camera company’ rather than a social media platform. Further to this, it is venturing into wearable tech with the release of ‘Spectacles’. These video-capturing sunglasses follow in the footsteps of Google Glass and GoPro and, for $129.99, will record videos of up to 10 seconds through a button on the frame hinge which will be posted wirelessly to the popular picture sharing app. Can Snap Inc succeed in a territory which Google failed? Watch this space…

Twitter further expands its business capabilities – Twitter’s Dashboard was introduced to the platform at the end of June, with the intention of helping businesses connect with their customers and community. Dashboard now offers new features that assist with audience engagement and monitor key metrics, including: a streamlined social listening feed (which includes both name mentions and keywords, in case a user hasn’t tagged your company correctly); scheduling capabilities; and suggested content and enhanced analytics, with advice on what to post, insights on how best to participate and a comprehensive review of individual tweets.

Twitter integrates into Bloomberg – In a further commitment to businesses (particularly within the corporate and financial sector), Twitter has now integrated into Bloomberg. This means that Bloomberg Professional subscribers can now tweet directly from their Terminals and can actively engage in the conversation on the network. The new SOCIAL <GO> tool lets compliance officers give users permission to post tweets via the Instant Bloomberg chat service, while monitoring Twitter activity to ensure it falls within the relevant regulatory guidelines. These posts will appear on Bloomberg Terminal’s Twitter newswire and will be tagged with the appropriate news codes, company news pages and biography pages.

Facebook’s 360-degree video comes to full-screen mobile ads – Facebook has now introduced 360-degree video capability to full-screen mobile Canvas adverts. It also allows Canvas advertisers to link through to other Canvas ads. The platform describes Canvas, which was launched in February this year, as “an immersive and expressive experience on Facebook for businesses to tell their stories and showcase their products”, and this development creates even more of an immersive feel. This multi-page experience is designed to tell a more in-depth and engaging brand narrative, much like a digital storybook.

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