3 New Ways to Make the Most of Social Media

Changes to social media platforms seem constant. Barely a day goes by without an algorithmic tweak, a new ad offering, or a new product to be tested. For most of us involved in digital marketing, the impact of these changes is negligible, affecting only the content creators and community managers working directly on social media. However, there are three big trends and changes that will impact every marketer, regardless of discipline.

LIVE-STREAMING (SOMETIMES IN 360 DEGREES)

For brands looking to connect more in real time – whether for a campaign launch, a product debut, or a thought leadership opportunity – live streaming offers an exciting way to entice and engage viewers. In the last six months, Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram have all debuted live video capabilities within their iOS and Android apps. While the functionalities in these three apps are similar, however, they differ in important ways that will help to determine which platform will drive the best results.

VERTICAL VIDEO

Thanks to the proliferation of mobile devices and the popularity of social story functionality, vertical video is on the rise. In fact, forecasters explain that,

On average, 57% of consumers globally watch videos on a mobile phone every day, while 58% of consumers watch videos on their laptop/desktop every day. With 89% of US and 77% of global consumers saying they can’t live without their smartphone or always have it within arm’s reach, we are very close to the tipping point where mobile will soon be the number one video screen.

Facebook has even optimized its News Feed to share larger previews of vertical videos as users scroll through posts from friends and brands. What does this mean for marketers? It’s time to take a mobile-first approach to video creation and consider optimizing for vertically oriented screens. Even if Snap Ads and Instagram story ads aren’t in your marketing plans, bear in mind that vertical video is only going to get bigger. The time to perfect your mobile-first video strategy is now.

BROADENING THE DEFINITION OF SEARCH

When most people think of search, they think of typing words into a Google search bar and scrolling through a list of associated websites, but that’s about to change. Social media has been quietly transforming search into so much more. It started with Facebook’s 2013 updates to Graph Search, which allowed users to search posts and comments shared with them by their friends.

Now, Pinterest is allowing users to get more personalized results in their feeds through Instant Ideas, denoted by a small circle that appears in the corner of each Pin. When the circle is tapped, Pinterest will share similar Pins inspired by the original. Search also is taking on a more visual quality, thanks to Pinterest’s announcement of its new experimental technology called Pinterest LensBETA, which allows users to use the camera in the Pinterest app (or the desktop-based Pinterest browser button in Chrome) to discover ideas inspired by the objects around them. The platform explains: “Just point Lens at a pair of shoes, then tap to see related styles or even ideas for what else to wear with them. Or try it on a table to find similar designs, or even other furniture from the same era.” Capitalizing on these new functionalities will require beautiful, high quality creative assets that are optimized for user searches.