We’re only six weeks into the new year, but 2016 is already off to a good start for social media marketers. It’s tough to stay in the loop with the changes happening across all the different platforms, so we’ll make sure to keep you updated. Here’s a recent round-up of what’s new in social media.
Instagram has made marketers very happy by rolling out new changes that make it easier for brands to post content and track engagement.
Managing Multiple Accounts
Instagram users can now switch between multiple accounts within the app without having to sign out. The app version 7.15 (for both iOS and Android) will let users add up to five different accounts, switching among them from the top of the screen.
In the past, users who posted to multiple accounts (for personal use and for clients, for example) would have to log in and out, over and over, to manage each one. This process was tedious for marketers; it was also risky, because posting from the correct account required constant vigilance. Push notifications can now also be customized for each account.
Tracking Video View Counts
The trend for content on social media has been video, video and more video. And that’s only going to continue in 2016. Instagram is making it more appealing for video creators to use the platform by introducing video view counts. Watch time on Instagram has increased by 40% in 6 months, and marketers will soon be able to show off the view count – right underneath each video.
Promoting a 60-Second Ad
Instagram is continuing to boost its advertising options for brands. It has just started offering the ability to run 60-second ads; until now, only 30-second spots were possible. Big brands, such as T-Mobile and Warner Brothers, are already taking advantage of the longer runtime.
Last week, Twitter launched a revamp to its timeline – showing recommended tweets at the top of the feed instead of the most recent. The company said the change is designed to give users a better experience, prioritizing tweets more relevant to their interests and increasing engagement. At first, the new timeline will be available as an option users have to turn on, but eventually Twitter will activate the feature for parts of its user base. Though there has been a fair amount of backlash from some Twitter users, this change could be beneficial to brands on the platform. Twitter is notoriously crowded, and it’s easy to get lost in the timeline shuffle. With this change, however, brands that produce interesting and high-quality content have an opportunity to get more organic visibility at the top of the timeline.
Snapchat has more than 100 million active daily users, most of whom fall into the elusive 18 to 24 year old age range. Brands are buzzing about how hot Snapchat is, but honestly, everyone is still figuring out how to best use it. It’s not like any other social media platform, which is great because it’s unique, but also perplexing because it’s a totally new animal.
Some big brands, like Domino’s and Pepsi, are investing in ads and sponsored lenses. But where Snapchat offers a lot of opportunities for brands of all sizes is through influencer marketing. By partnering with influencers who get Snapchat and are already using it to engage a niche audience, brands can find ways to connect with users without pushing a hard sell.
Marriott International, an early Snapchat adopter, did this beautifully last year when it teamed up with four influencers who took over the Marriott channel to tell their stories. The influencers traveled to Marriott properties, but the content they created was about the experiences they were having, not hawking hotel rooms. The campaign earned 24.1 million views and is a good example of creative influencer marketing:
“We told our influencers that we didn’t want them to integrate our hotel into their stories,” said David Beebe, vice president of Marriott International’s global creative and content marketing. “Instead, we want the consumer to realize that our hotels enabled the influencers to have the experiences that they had.”
“Rather than trying to sell [guests] something or interrupt them at first, we want to give them something that entertains and informs them. We want to build that relationship with them and then ask for that sell.”