Social media… it can be so difficult to keep up with the constant changes, new features and new platforms.
This year alone we have seen some huge changes from the major platforms, some that could shape the future of social media and how we use it in our personal and business lives.
Here are three of the newest features and how they could impact your business.
Messenger has been around for a few years now and is essentially the evolution of Facebook’s private message feature.
What was once a simple email type system has developed into a full on instant messenger platform, with it’s own identity, separate platform and app. Now it has over 700 million active monthly users, it is becoming a stand alone platform in it’s own right.
So why has messenger been so talked about and hyped up over the last year?
Well, it’s because of its future potential…
There has been a notable increase in discussions around AI and especially chatbots, and its potential as a business application.
We have already seen a huge number of businesses, especially e-commerce businesses, start to use Messenger as a 24/7 helpline and support option. With a growing number of web users already having Facebook profiles, it makes perfect sense for companies to tap into this as a way of communicating with customers.
The future for Messenger will likely be to try and encompass more and more aspects of day to day life into it. Personal tasks like booking tickets for the cinema, or business tasks like running your company support system could become part of Messenger in the future.
Expect to see messenger edge more and more into your daily life, both at home and in the office.
Instagram (owned by Facebook…) is the most popular photo sharing app and social media platform out there at the moment.
The sheer number of photos uploaded a day (100 million) speaks for itself…
Last year a new feature was announced that was really an attempt to take some ground away from new rival Snapchat.
Instagram actually tried to buy Snapchat unsuccessfully a few years ago, so instead of trying to purchase them again, they developed their own take on one of Snapchat’s core features.
The concept of Instagram Stories (and Snapchat) is to take a photo or video on your phone and upload it to your story. This is then available for your followers to see for 24 hours before it disappears forever.
This allows you to turn your day into a story through the use of image, video and Instagram stories’ built in library of stickers, filters and creative tools.
So how does this translate into the business world?
Instagram has already started to accommodate businesses by allowing them to set up a business profile instead of a regular one. This profile type will add your business address and calls-to-action along the bottom of your profile which allow people to contact you via email, phone or find directions.
Instagram stories allows businesses and brands to create stories and it’s turning into another essential content channel.
We find that there are still a huge number of businesses, especially B2B firms, that haven’t taken a look at Instagram. With 700 million active users and growing fast, Instagram will soon become at least a ‘must review’ when it comes to your marketing mix.
Snapchat caused a bit of a stir a few months ago when they released their new feature ‘Snap Map’... partly for the wrong reasons.
Snap Map is a very interesting concept which allows users to view a map of the world (exactly like Google maps). On the map it will show exactly where your friends are in real-time. It also allows you to upload Snaps to a separate story called ‘Our Story’ which will allow anyone looking at the area you posted it in to also see the snap.
Now, you can see why there was so much controversy with this feature. If you don’t activate a setting called ‘Ghost mode’, everyone on your Snapchat friends list can see your exact location at all times!
As a business application, Snapchat has still yet to offer anything other than just being a content channel. On the other hand, Snapchat’s advert platform has just been launched to everyone, so it will be interesting to see in the future if Snap Map will be incorporated into this.
Maybe one day you will be able to appear as a business on Snap Map in the same way firms currently list themselves on Facebook and using Google My Business?