Each new year signals a new beginning—especially when it comes to your social media strategy. If you try new things on social this year that other brands aren’t doing, you have a much better chance of surprising your audience and engaging them.
We’ve outlined all the major updates and new features for each of the major networks so you can incorporate them into your social marketing strategy for 2018.
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1. Experiment with TV-style content using Watch
When you’re thinking about your 2018 video strategy, consider Watch, a platform for hosting TV-like shows on Facebook.
The shows that a Facebook user will see depends on their interests and what their friends are watching—with highlights like “Most Talked About” or “What’s Making People Laugh.” This Netflix-style approach to targeting viewers based on interests is a big deal for brands. You’ll be able to extend your reach through your existing fanbase.
Watch is currently being introduced to a small group in the U.S. and will soon extend access to other groups and content creators .
2. Create collaborative Stories in groups and events
Facebook’s Stories—which allow you to post content that disappears after 24 hours—is now available for groups and events. People can post Stories that are visible only to their groups or on any event page. These Stories will have a private hashtag and will be moderated by admins to make sure that content is appropriate and on-brand.
If your brand uses Facebook Groups or Events, collaborative Stories offer a fun new way to engage with your audience. For example, if your brand is promoting an event on Facebook, you can build excitement by sharing insider, sneak peek clips before the day.
You could also provide incentives (like prizes) to get people to share their experiences at an event. User-generated content from attendees can help build a sense of community and brand advocacy, and give you more information on your most engaged customers.
3. Add royalty-free music to your Facebook videos
Adding the right soundtrack to your video is key to creating a successful social video. To help make this process easier, Facebook has introduced the video editing tool Sound Collection, which lets you add sound effects or music—free of charge—to your video clips.
Audio files on Sound Collection are royalty-free so you don’t have to worry about copyright infringement or blowing your budget. It can help you save time and money while producing your video.
4. Showcase your best content using Stories Highlights
Instagram Stories Highlights lets your brand showcase your best Stories and post them permanently on your Instagram profile. This feature is super valuable for brands because, unlike self-destructing Story content, Stories Highlights can be saved, reposted, and measured for long-term performance. You can organize your own Stories Highlights however you want before you post, whether it’s by theme, campaign, or date.
Stories Highlights is also a good way for you to promote the content you want users to see first. They appear right below your bio for easy viewing.
5. Be more transparent
Instagram has introduced a paid partnership tagging feature so that influencers and brands can be more transparent about disclosing which of their posts are sponsored. When an influencer tags a business in their post with the paid partnership feature, that business will then have access to performance data for that post, including metrics such as reach and replies.
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If you run influencer marketing campaigns on Instagram, you’ll want to use this feature. While the paid partnership tagging may not meet all of the FTC’s requirements, it still allows you to disclose important paid partnership information and provides additional user behaviour data.
6. Broadcast live with a guest
Instagram now lets users and brands broadcast live with a guest in a split screen format. Broadcasts will appear in the Stories section of the platform with two circles (instead of the typical one circle). If your broadcast receives a lot of engagement, you could end up in Instagram’s Search and Explore tab.
When planning a collaborative broadcast, think about how two speakers can create unique content for this new format. You might choose to invite a guest from a strategic brand partnership for an announcement or ask an influencer to co-host an Instagram takeover.
Image via Instagram Press
7. Add website links to sponsored filters and lenses
Brands can now track what a user does after they’ve seen a sponsored lens or filter, which makes it a lot more appealing to direct-response advertisers.
When you buy a sponsored lens or geofilter, you can attach a Context Card to the ad so that people can swipe up and tap on the link provided. Since this additional functionality is free for advertisers, it’s worth trying so that you can better track conversions and the performance of your ads.
8. Easily create branded Snapchat lenses
Snapchat’s Lens Studio enables any user or business to create their own augmented reality (AR) lenses. The desktop app offers instructions for beginners to start with basic 2D animation, while more advanced creators can actually access the API and create complex lenses from scratch.
Once you’ve created your lens, you’ll receive a unique Snapcode to share from anywhere, and anyone can unlock your lens.
If you have an in-house creative team that can help build and create lenses for campaigns, this is a great opportunity to try something a little different on Snapchat and engage users.
9. Tell a story in 280 characters
Twitter has officially rolled out their 280-character limit around the world (with the exception of several Asian countries). In its announcement, Twitter said that the character increase would allow people to express more, while still encouraging the importance of brevity.
Play around with new storytelling concepts that would have been formerly impossible under the 140 character limit—but don’t write more just because you can. Being clear and succinct is still the way to go on Twitter.
10. Send more creative, personalized direct messages
With Twitter’s Direct Message Cards, your brand can share engaging images and videos—with customizable call to action (CTA) buttons—all within your message conversations.
Direct Message cards give brands the freedom and flexibility to consider the customer experience and take a more visual approach to customer interactions.
11. Automate Promoted tweets
Twitter’s Promote Mode will let small businesses and brands run automated ad campaigns on Twitter for $99/month. Once you’ve enabled Promote Mode, Twitter will automatically amplify your brand’s best tweets based on Twitter’s algorithms. To users, the ads will appear the same as any other promoted tweet.
If you don’t have a dedicated team to run your social ad campaigns, then this is a good option.
12. Educate your audience using LinkedIn video
LinkedIn video allows you to create and share videos with the LinkedIn community. You can make recordings using the LinkedIn mobile app or upload a video file to the app.
Creators will get valuable audience insights into their video audience such as job titles and location. You’ll also be able to monitor comments and social reactions.
LinkedIn video is a great way for your brand to share expertise and showcase specialists within your business. Think about how you can take thought leadership articles, blogs, and interviews and repurpose them for LinkedIn video.
13. Get your executives mentoring on social
LinkedIn’s Career Advice feature is a new way for users to find and connect with other professionals for mentorship. Here, users can enter preferences and the type of advice they’re looking for and LinkedIn will make relevant recommendations.
If your business has executives, thought leaders, or other experts that want to share their knowledge and build your brand’s credibility, then it may be worth incorporating this feature into your corporate social strategy.
14. Feature your products in inspirational photos
With Pinterest’s visual discovery tools (including the new Lens Your Look), users can take photos of objects they like and Pinterest will match it to photos on the platform. For example, if someone takes a picture of a chair they love—and your business sells a similar chair that’s featured on Pinterest—then there’s a good chance that your photo will pop up for them to see.
Right now the Lens is best used for home decor, food, and clothing, but Pinterest plans to roll out the feature more broadly in the future.
Image via Pinterest blog
By revamping your social strategy and trying out new things on social networks, you have a better chance of increasing your engagement and delighting your audience. Use this list to guide what new features and tactics you try out in 2018.
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