10 Things Social Networks Did in February


10 Things Social Networks Did in February ...

Whether it’s Facebook’s new ad format or Twitter’s call-to-actions for customer support, there are plenty of new features you can take advantage of right now.

Social networks got off to a flying start in 2016. From January to 1
st March, the networks announced 7 times as many updates as they did at the same time last year – a huge leap. Let’s take a look at what happened in February.


An all-new mobile ad format

GIF Animation of all-new mobile ad format

Advertisers on Facebook celebrate the launch of
Canvas, a new ad format which appears within Facebook users’ mobile news feeds. Users can tap the ad in their newsfeeds to open the advert in full-screen.

Canvas opens up a whole new set of tools to help advertisers make an impact with potential customers, giving them the opportunity to put their creative skills to work so they can
wow their audiences. Compared to the current ad formats, it’s now easier to stand out and share your story with potential customers.

Canvas has a host of exciting features you can take advantage of:

  • A custom header (logo and colour background)
  • Photos (regular, panoramic “tilt-to-view” images and carousels)
  • Auto-play video
  • Text Blocks
  • Call-to-Action Buttons
  • Product Carousels

If you’re interested in finding out more about how this can work for you, take a look at the
Canvas documentation.


You’ve most likely heard about Facebook’s new
reactions, an extension of the “like” button. Cat Pinner recently wrote a great post asking whether brands should be worried about the change to the much-loved like button – it’s well worth a read.

It’ll be interesting to see how reactions affect post rankings in Facebook’s news feed. Sammi Krug, Product Manager at Facebook mentioned
in a blog post that reactions are currently being treated in the same way as a “like”, although he noted that Facebook are watching to see whether certain reactions should be weighted differently when ranking posts on your Facebook homepage. We’ll keep an eye on this space.

Live video rollout

Android users rejoice: you can now join your iOS compatriots with the ability to stream live video from your device. In the
announcement post, Facebook mentioned that users “watch a live video more than three times longer when it is live compared to when it is not live”.

Interestingly, Facebook wrote a
separate post, saying that live video is likely to rank higher in the news feed while being streamed, although this applies to regular users, not pages and public figures at present.

Live video is raw, uncut and unedited – it’s perfect for sharing moments with your friends and (if you run a page) followers, and it’s not going to be long until we see businesses flocking to stream events with their fans. If live-streaming is something you’re interested in, have a read of
this social media examiner post for some great tips about live streaming with your fans. If you’ve tried this already, what did you think?


The image sharing network released two new features, the first of which will be especially useful for social media managers:

Account Switching

You’re now able to
switch between accounts, so you can manage content from up to 5 Instagram accounts, all within the app. Social managers suffer no longer: you won’t have the headache of managing multiple Instagram apps to look after your personal, and business, accounts.

View Counts for Video

A small, but significant update – people who post videos to the network will
now see view counts in addition to likes, which used to be the only metric alongside videos.

Welcome news for data fiends.


New Logged Out Experience

Example of new twitter homepage

A much-needed feature, Twitter have
completely revamped their homepage, so you’ll no longer see just the login form – you’ll now be able to see the top conversations from around the world without signing in.

This is a major step forward for the network, whose
previous homepage didn’t offer much excitement to logged-out users. The radical transformation is likely to entice more users into the network, and is useful for anyone who wants to explore what’s happening in the world right now.

We haven’t spotted adverts on the homepage yet, but this might be a logical step to bring in more revenue from non-users.

Best Tweets First

In a move that suspiciously mirrors Facebook’s switch to an
algorithmic newsfeed back in 2011, Twitter announced a new feature, “show me the best tweets first”. Designed to show you the most popular tweets from people you follow, the feature ensures you don’t miss out on big news when you return to the platform.

It’s currently an opt-in feature (just as Facebook’s
Top Stories used to be), so don’t expect a mass change quite yet.

GIF Library

twitter team up with Giphy and Riffsy

In an unquestionably brilliant development, Twitter
teamed up with popular animated GIF websites Giphy and Riffsy to enable an all-new GIF search, all within the “compose tweet” section.

Now you can benefit from the ability to quickly insert a relevant GIF to back up your tweet.

Expect to see cat GIFs plastered all over your timeline.

Call-to-Action for Customer Services

Call-to-action for customer services on twitter

Running your customer services operations through Twitter just got
that much better with this smart little feature.

Customer services reps sometimes need personal information from a customer so they can look into their case (such as an address and order number). These support interactions generally move to a Direct Message, so personal information isn’t shared publicly – and that’s where the new tool comes in.

When replying to a customer on Twitter, you can share a custom link which generates a “Send a private message” call-to-action. You can even create links which will pre-populate the Direct Message, so the customer can quickly work out what they need to provide – which will save you time chasing up additional details. Read more about the update and how you can use it on the Twitter blog.

LinkedIn – Account Targeting

This is huge news for B2B brands – you can now
target ads to “a priority list of accounts”. That is, if you want to target ads or sponsored updates to high level executives at a certain set of companies; you’ve now got the ability to do so through the business network.

You’ll need to arrange this through your LinkedIn account representative, but LinkedIn say that
they’ll be expanding this to self-serve clients “over time”. This is a fantastic development, meaning you’re going to be able to laser-focus your campaigns. Get the full low-down from the LinkedIn Marketing Solutions blog.

…and that’s just a single month

Things are moving fast this year.
Oculus Rift pre-orders are being delivered later this month and Facebook have already shown off some cool social features built in, so there’s going to be lots to talk about in our next social update.

We’ll try not to get
too excited about virtual reality, unlike this guy:

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