2017 was a year full of social media advancements, some more important than others as they relate to BC small businesses. It’s an ever-changing landscape, and one that impacts every single small business in the country, so taking stock with a social media roundup from time to time is worth the effort.
Just when you think you’ve ‘got the hang of this’ on one network, something on another network changes, forcing you to start from scratch (or at least makes you think that way). Most of these changes actually impact your business in a positive way! As each social media network clambers to figure out how to get more advertising spend happening on their platform, the targeting options for small business owners get more and more robust – enabling you to get your product and/or service to a very focused segment of your ideal clients.
Social Media Roundup
It is our job as social media experts to ensure other small businesses that we assist stay ahead of the curve in terms of what new features might help them grow their business. Here is our roundup of 2017 changes we saw in the social media landscape – separated by social media channel. *Note, there are of course more social media channels than the ones listed below, but these are the most popular for small businesses in BC.
- Facebook added the feature to target people with ‘offline activity’ – ie. You can target people on Facebook with ads that may have visited you in a physical store or called your business.
- You can optimize ads to get ‘messenger replies’
- Facebook introduced new ‘canvas’ templates for ads (a different layout to showcase photos in an ad)
- Dwell time and link sharing targeting options were added to ads manager (you can target ads to people who interacted with your ad but didn’t complete a sale or hung around on your ad without taking further action)
- You can now target people who ‘engaged’ with your content on your page or on your business Instagram account. Note: you can always check out Facebook new ad releases.
- Facebook introduced an online fundraising ability called Fundraisers
- Facebook removed the ability to boost certain posts such as Note sharing and Poll sharing
- Much like Instagram stories, Facebook introduced this new popular feature which lasts for 24 hours
- Video cover images – not just static photos but eye-catching videos can now be used.
- LinkedIn added native video to the platform. Video being one of the most popular media choices, this seems like a late, but essential update.
- New profile designs.
- Redesign navigation buttons, including managing multiple LinkedIn pages from the home page.
- LinkedIn brought back #hashtags for easier searches outside of your network.
- Sponsored InMail – very targeted messages that go directly to your audience. The catch here is that each person can only received one sponsored inmail message every 60 days, not just from one brand but in total from anywhere.
- Lead generation ads – users can be prompted to submit their information right in the ad and not redirected to a landing page.
- Remarketing advances which allow businesses to set up ads to show to people who have visited their website or provided their email addresses.
- Google+ steeped up their game with a new feature hiding low quality comments to help cut down on spam notifications a lot of users have become accustomed to.
- Replying to stories on Instagram with photos or videos, including filters, Boomerang, stickers, etc.
- Expanded older content options for Instagram stories – no longer just a 24-hour window in your camera roll.
- New sponsored posts format for influencers, which adds a “paid partnership” tagline under the influencers name at the top of the post to help keep Instagram’s claim to authenticity in check.
- Polling stickers on Instagram stories. This allows users or businesses to give their viewers two options to choose from when posing a question (left or right? yes or no?, etc.) This increases engagement with viewers directly.
- Comment control improvements – blocking features, offensive language filters and more.
- Monitoring Instagram engagement from Facebook. See comments and more through your Facebook business page, when connected.
- Threaded comments – this one seems small but it is rather important. Conversations in comments can now be linked together rather than in chronological order
- Story ads rolled out to help business get more reach. In addition, they created an update allowing business profiles with more than 10,000 followers to connect links on their stories with an option for viewers to Swipe-up to see more
- Instagram Live now saves for 24 hours in the stories
- Multiple image and video posts – rather than just one video or photo posted at a time, you can select multiples for viewers to swipe through
- Twitter has laxed their 140-character limit so it no longer includes Twitter handles. This comes after Twitter also stopped counting characters for photos, videos, quote tweets, polls and GIF animations.
- Switch from cropped to uncropped photos by changing the size limitations on images.
- GIF search feature in app. Now you can simply use the GIF search to find that perfect GIF response without leaving Twitter.
What’s in store for 2018?
Until we see the releases become public for what’s in store for 2018 and beyond, we can only speculate as to what the trends for 2018 will be. Industry experts however have already weighed in on what they feel will be coming down the line for 2018’s social media changes and updates.
Here’s what you will find if you look around online for next year’s trends:
- VIDEO! Video already rules the roost for content consumption on most social media platforms, and 2018 will be no different. Many experts are predicting more tools on each social media channel (especially Facebook) to encourage the creation of more video content.
- The evolution of voice search – some are speculating the evolution of ads based upon voice search features
- Organic reach for business content will continue to decline making it even more important to have a content strategy in place that has an advertising budget behind it.
- Chatbots! You may have already noticed this one. Chatbots are becoming more popular for customer support and for advertising lead streams as well!
- Bigger and better ‘influencer’ marketing options. Building personal brands and having larger brands take advantage of this will continue and grow in 2018.
What big trends do you think will impact you this coming year? Follow @SmallBusinessBC to stay up to date on how these trends may impact YOUR small business.