By Interactive Strategies
Nov 22, 2016

Let’s Give Thanks: The Top Social Media Features of 2016

You can say it. 2016 has been a raging dumpster fire. From a contentious election cycle to Prince’s untimely death, we’ve all had better years. But this Thanksgiving, I’m choosing to reflect on the blessings that 2016 has bestowed upon marketers – particularly on social media. From fancy new features to much-needed updates, my three favorite social channels never let me down.

Here’s a list of the top social media trends to be thankful for this year:

Facebook

  • Canvas – The new mobile feature allows advertisers to create immersive experiences within the social network.  
    • Tip: Link to your website within the Canvas in order to generate conversions. And don’t forget to leverage Canvas analytics!
  • Chatbots – The automated chat feature allows businesses to engage with customers through custom queries. Businesses like Burberry have leveraged it to help fans find gifts for the holiday season. (Spoiler Alert: the gifts are from Burberry.)
    • Tip: Craft chats that will deepen your relationship with existing customers. Don’t try to “sell” on the platform yet – the technology isn’t refined enough for that.
  • Live Video – There are countless ways to engage with users on social media in real time, but Facebook Live is one of the most immersive. NPR, a live video powerhouse, has used the platform to discuss trending topics before they go stale.
    • Tip: Encourage users to follow your feed, which will notify them whenever you go live.
Twitter
  • Filters – Twitter has been dogged by criticism about its lack of safeguards, effectively allowing trolls to roam free in our newsfeeds. But the new quality filter allows users (like Leslie Jones, who was ruthlessly attacked by Twitter trolls over the summer) to ignore people they don’t follow. It’s about time, but they still have a lot of work to do.
    • Tip: Twitter still allows you to block or mute people who harass your business on social media. (It’s not advisable, but it’s still an option.)
  • Character Limit – You still have to worry about exceeding 140 characters, but Twitter now excludes images and links from that count.
    • Tip: Lower your character count even further by providing context clues within URLs and images.
  • GIF Search – If you don’t have a GIF folder like me, you probably appreciate Twitter’s proprietary GIF library. It’s the best way to add Big Ang to your repertoire of social media reactions – and who doesn’t want that?
    • Tip: Regardless of your industry, you can catch followers’ eyes with eye-popping, propriety GIFs. Use that to your advantage.

Instagram

  • Stories – For those of us who occasionally struggle with Snapchat’s unintuitive interface, Instagram Stories is a welcome addition to the platform. It allows you to comment within your stories and keep them for years to come. (For better or worse, I might add.)
    • Tip: Don’t forget to follow users who watch your story!
  • Video Length – This year, Instagram bumped the maximum video length to one minute. You still won’t be able to read War and Peace, but you may be able to get through a few haikus.
    • Tip: Only use the amount of time you actually need for a video. There’s no need to reach the limit.
  • Algorithm – The refined algorithm now connects content to those who engage with it regularly. That means you can strengthen your existing relationships with customers on the platform.
    • Tip: Create content that will primarily generate engagement in order strengthen your position within followers’ newfeeds.

Tweet us @interactive_DC or follow us on Facebook to tell us about your favorite features of 2016 and the features you hope for next year. Happy Thanksgiving!

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