NEW Facebook, Instagram + Snapchat Features That Will Improve Your Social Media Efforts

By Morgan Curschman, Social Media Assistant, EVVUS

There are still non-believers when it comes to social media.

For the believers, hard to grasp isn’t it?

It’s hard to believe that in today's world there are still businesses who don't think implementing social media would make a difference in their digital marketing strategy — especially when there are new tools for us to utilize on a daily basis.

Every day these platforms are receiving new users. In fact, as of Quarter 3 for 2016, Facebook had 1.7 billion monthly active users, Instagram had 500 million monthly active users and Snapchat with 200 million. From a business standpoint, I see this as 2 billion potential customers who could somehow stumble across my business profile on Facebook. 2 billion possible opportunities to generate sales. And yes, some might see that as 2 billion other people they have to compete with. However, if you have a strategic approach, generate the right content and take the time to educate yourself on the newest social media innovations, you can easily stand out against the rest!

After looking back on 2016 and analyzing everything Social Media has brought to the table, here is what we at EVVUS believe to be the Top 3 Social Media Platforms and what they can do best for your business in 2017.

Facebook

Facebook Ads: In short, through Facebook Ads, a business can easily target the exact audience segment they want to see their ad: such as male vs. female or even a custom audience list from your email database.

Facebook ads can geographically targeted, meaning you can select a certain state, city or even radius that you want to push your ad towards. This is an enormous feature for small, local businesses who know their ad is only relevant to a group of people within a certain radius. You can also target your ads towards a certain demographic such as gender and age. Taking it one step further, you can target your ad to be pushed out based off similar interests. For example, if you know only people who are interested in Golf would be interested in what your business has to offer, you can push your ad towards a select group of users who follow other golf pages. Once you’ve established who you are targeting your ad towards, you can monitor it’s progress firsthand, and make edits if it’s not getting the response you expected or hoped for.

Facebook Live: Video is thriving, and many believe it is the future! Video breaks through the screen and highly engaging. Video allows you to communicate with your followers on a more personal level. This is an enormous benefit for businesses who thrive off of giving and getting immediate feedback. One of the best ways to bring attention and engage with viewers through your Live Video is by holding a Q&A. Not only will this allow you to hold a successful conversation, it will inspire future content.

For example, if someone asks a question that you believe requires a lengthy response, you can address the topic in your future video. This will ensure yours followers will come back if they are also interested in the conversation.

Instagram

Stories: Originally, the idea of Instagram creating stories seemed foolish because it had already been by Snapchat. However, stories was only the beginning of an enormous concept for Instagram. Several months after launching the new tool, stories transformed into what would soon become an ecommerce platform. Unlike Snapchat, Instagram allows you to post photos and videos into your story, and then insert “mentions” as well as links. Some might think, well what does that feature matter when Instagram posts already allow you to do mentions and links?

Recently Instagram integrated an algorithm into the NewsFeed and now rather than seeing posts in the order of which they are shared, users see them based on priority. This is bad for businesses who don't get much engagement because while they maintain a heavy following, their posts won't be pushed to the top of the page unless the follower is engaged personally with the account often. While Stories, on the other hand, remain at the top of the Instagram home page always. Very little people are using Stories, so it’s crucial that businesses take advantage of it while it’s still new and not being over used.

Instagram Live: Just as Facebook did, Instagram also now has live video, and it’s important for all the same reasons as mentioned above!

Post Control and Management: This is another system very similar to what you see on Facebook. Instagram now allows you to be more engaged with comments and likes on your posts. Businesses can now like comments they get on their posts, which creates a better relationship between them and their followers.

What’s very different about the post feed is that you can turn comments on/off for certain posts. This is something that many businesses may want to refrain from doing because it’s important to keep the communication channel open to your followers. However there are certain circumstances in which it could be extremely beneficial for you. Let’s say you are trying to generate a larger contact list for your business. By creating a caption such “email us for your chance to win” etc. you are gathering more emails from users and now have another more personal platform you can contact them from. Whereas if you have comments turned on for your post, and hold a competition, users are able to simply comment on or like the post, in which case you don't really gain anything. Especially if the comment is from a user who doesn't follow your account. Turning off comments and directing attention and questions towards a business website and email is simply more beneficial.

Snapchat

Geotags: This is probably the best tool Snapchat has to offer small businesses. Every day, people are posting what they see, eat, hear and create. If your business offers anything appealing to the social media eye or something entertaining, you could benefit from creating a Geotag.

For those of you who are unfamiliar to Snapchat, a Geotag is a personal filter local businesses can pay to have appear on the person’s Snapchat anytime they are within a certain radius of your business.

Simply go online, pick the exact location you want your geotag to be active in, then design and submit a graphic for approval. Once approved by Snapchat, you can decide the time frame in which you would like to have the geotag active .It doesn't have to be around year long, there are actually specific times one can thrive better from having on a geotag than others.

For example, if you own a restaurant that doesn't get much business, but you’re hosting an event that offers $10 All You Can Eat, this is the time a Geotag could strongly benefit you. It doesn't have to be the most elaborate design, something as simple as the restaurant name would suffice.

When the time of the event arrives, let guests know about the geotag and prompt your guests to include it in their snaps they take that day. Even if only 5 people use the Geotag, but each of their stories gets 100 views, that’s 500 people who now know what your restaurant is like and the name of it. You could also trying giving users an offer. A clothing boutique, could offer customers they can get 15% off their purchase if they post a snap while trying clothing on. Get creative and have some fun with it!

Discover Feed: This is the best place for a business to push popular content to younger generations in an artistic, fun digital sense! The discover feed is best suited for larger companies as it is quite costly, but if you have a story that performs extremely well on your website and Facebook, this is somewhere to put it, along with other stories and filler content.

To the non believers out there, I understand that tradition is important, but these were just a few of the many additions these social media platforms developed this year. If they didn't persuade you to pump up your social media game, I’m sure that will change by the end of 2017. I've already seen new additions since I began writing this entry last week. Stay informed, and you'll be a pro in no time.