Fall is here in Massachusetts! For us, that may mean autumnal foliage and apple picking, but for social media networks, it’s all about app creation. With five new apps rolling out from the major networks, updates to help voters find election information, and a certain social network relaxing its character limitations, there’s plenty to get excited about as the weather cools. Read on to find out what social media networks have in store for you this season.
Facebook has introduced Messenger Lite, a slimmed down version of Messenger for areas with slower internet speeds and people who have Android phones. Messenger Lite has the same basic features as Messenger, such as the ability to send and receive messages, photos, links, and stickers, while also allowing you to stay connected even if the network is slow or if your phone has storage limitations. The app is rolling out in Kenya, Tunisia, Malaysia, Sri Lanka, and Venezuela, and will roll out to more countries in the coming months.
In addition, Facebook has added new updates to the original Messenger platform. Businesses can now link News Feed ads to Messenger and create welcome messages for their pages, while customers can now store payment information to check out faster and use a share icon to share products or company channels with their friends. Facebook plans to continue building new features for the platform.
As you may have noticed, Facebook has introduced a new feature called Marketplace, which allows you to buy and sell items with your local community. Facebook users can access Marketplace by tapping the shop icon at the bottom of the screen. You can filter items by location, category, or price, or post your own items to sell. Marketplace is available in the U.S., UK, Australia, and New Zealand for users who are 18 or older.
Facebook has introduced the Events from Facebook app to help social media users find events in their area. The app allows you to find events your friends are going to, events the pages you like are hosting, and updates from events you’re going to. You can browse events by time, location, or interests, and then keep track of it all in an event calendar. The app is available for iPhone users in the U.S., and will soon be available for Android.
Facebook recently another new app, Workplace, which allows organizations to stay connected in a professional space. The app, which originally started as a way for Facebook to run itself internally, has many of the same features as Facebook, such as News Feed, Groups, and live streaming, as well as new work features, such as an analytics dashboard, Multi-Company Groups, and more. Any company can now get Workplace for their organization.
Twitter users rejoice! The network has finally rolled out relaxed character count limits, which means that photos, GIFs, videos, polls, and quoted tweets no longer count towards the 140-character count limit. Twitter plans to do the same for replies, so user handles don’t count towards character count limits, but this feature hasn’t rolled out yet.
Twitter is helping users register to vote through the network itself. Users can now send a Direct Message to Twitter’s @Gov account with their zip code and receive their state’s voter registration deadline and a personalized link to help them register. As Election Day approaches, Twitter’s @Gov account will start to answer other election questions, so users can find out more about their polling location, ballot, and more.
Twitter users can now stay up-to-date on the latest live streams with the addition of a new Notification button that allows you to subscribe to be alerted when someone you follow is live-streaming. The new button is in the top-right of the screen.
Instagram announced that there are now more than 500,000 advertisers using Instagram for business. The company will continue to roll out more ad offerings and business tools to help businesses thrive on the network.
Earlier this year, we mentioned that Instagram had rolled out an anti-abuse comment filter for high-profile users. Now, all users have access to a keyword moderation tool that allows you to pick offensive or inappropriate words you don’t want to see. Comments that use these words will be hidden from your posts.
Instagram has rolled out a few new updates to link ads. Additions include highlighting the call to action button when people show interest in an ad, a call to action button that appears at the bottom of a profile when you tap into a company’s profile through an ad, and the ability to browse a landing page while you watch a video ad.
The network has also made creating posts easier by rolling out a drafts feature. You can now edit a photo with effects, captions, filters, or locations, then save it as a draft to revisit later.
Pinterest has made it easier to create Promoted Pins. The network has added a new Promote button that you’ll see when you create a Pin or view it on your profile, so you can quickly promote the pins you want to boost.
Earlier this year, we told you that Google had updated the way it displays voting information to make it easier for voters to find what they need for upcoming elections. Now, Google has added this same voting information in Spanish, so Spanish speakers can get the same in-depth, state-by-state voting information.
Google has also released a new app, called Google Allo, which is a smart messaging app for iOS and Android. Features include Smart Reply, which suggests replies for you and improves over time to adjust to your style, the ability to share and enlarge photos, emojis, and stickers, and a Google Assistant that functions similarly to Siri.
Google has introduced Google Photos to allow users to share photos and videos faster. Google Photos allows you to pick the people you want to share with instead of the app, so you don’t need to waste time posting on multiple apps.
YouTube has introduced YouTube Heroes, a program that recognizes Trusted Flaggers who help the YouTube community by adding video captions and subtitles, reporting inappropriate videos, and sharing information in help forums. People admitted to the program can learn from others on a community site, track their contributions, and more. The program is accessible to a select group of contributors, and others will be admitted gradually over time.
YouTube’s new app, YouTube Go, is currently rolling out in India. Features include video recommendations just for you, the option to preview videos before you watch, the ability to change your resolution, and sharing capabilities. The app will work even with low or no connectivity, and helps reduce data usage. It will be rolled out to more people in the coming months, and will be launched widely early next year.
YouTube has released a beta of a new product called YouTube Community, which is designed to help channels engage with their viewers outside of video. YouTube Community allows channels to text, stream live videos, and use images and GIFs to connect with viewers. The beta is only available for a limited group of creators, but will become available to more channels in the coming months.
As always, please feel free to reach out to me with any questions about social media strategy.