2013 was a big year for social media! Even though many of the networks in the post below are several years old, they’re still finding new ways to innovate and introduce new features and functionalities that constantly influence the way businesses conduct online marketing.
If you’ve been busy the past few months or you’re just now deciding whether or not to start implementing a social media marketing strategy, make sure you catch up on the latest social media news before you start planning for 2014. Before you spend time searching the news stories to find out what’s next in social media, start here!
Below are the biggest updates to the major social networks in 2013!
Although Facebook is the oldest social network in this post, there were still several big changes this past year. Early in the year Facebook announced Graph Search, the new functionality that allows anyone to search and find terms in posts, pages, groups, and comments from your friends or those who post publicly. This was the first update toward allowing users to dig deeper into trends and conversations. Facebook then announced it would begin using clickable hashtags to help users further follow conversations they are most interested in. Both of these updates allow Facebook users to expand their reach beyond their own friends and make new connections. Businesses can use both of these features to build their customer base and reach fans in real-time.
In addition to Twitter going public with a late-year IPO, Twitter made a few visual changes to expand its use past 140-character tweets. Twitter completely re-designed their mobile app to enhance the visual experience for users, most notably adding a photo stream. The traditional four tabs at the bottom of the app’s screen were replaced with swiping functionality to get to the different streams. Additionally, in the home stream, Twitter made it so images automatically appear (previously, users had to click on a tweet to reveal the photo). These changes mean that businesses can give their followers a more complete picture of their business by incorporating images into their Twitter conversations.
Google+ stepped up its functionality and look and feel in 2013 in a big way. While posted links show less meta information from the source website, Google+ made it easier to filter through posts by incorporating related hashtags. Even if you do not post a hashtag along with your message, Google+ will categorize it by a related hashtag which will allow others to find the most relevant information when they search on a specific topic. For business accounts, Google+ also added a Dashboard so administrators and managers could find all relevant Google information in one place – including other Google products linked to the Google+ page. These changes make it easier for businesses to operate several Google accounts from one central location, thereby leveraging them in a better way.
Pinterest finally gave businesses what they’ve been asking for – insights and advertising! Pinterest analytics allow Pinterest accounts to verify their websites and track pins, likes, re-pins, comments and clicks from their own Pinterest account. Now businesses can track the success of the pins they’re pinning, and learn how to provide better content to followers. Pinterest also announced its plans for Promoted Pins, the network’s first advertising product. These pins will be tested using only a few businesses to begin with, then expanded. These ads will be “tasteful, transparent, and relevant” according to Pinterest, but they will allow businesses to pay to have their pins show up more prominently for followers and other Pinterest users.
Instagram also added advertising to its platform, but the inception of Instagram sponsored ads paled in comparison to Instagram’s biggest update of 2013: video. Mirroring the now Twitter-owned Vine, Instagram began allowing users to create short videos and post them within their accounts. Instagram jumped on this trend on the right time, as SnapChat also began allowing users to send disappearing videos in addition to disappearing photos. Video is one of the biggest trends in social media, so businesses should look into creating more video in 2014.
There you have it – the most important updates for the top social networks to keep you up-to-date and a Social Pro for the year ahead! We are excited to see what 2014 has in store!