With spring weather finally rolling in, social media networks have started announcing fresh updates to make their services more interactive and user-friendly. In particular, companies have been focused on making their channels more inclusive for individuals who are visually impaired by launching their own versions of alternative text. Read on to find out how your agency can benefit from these new social media updates.

Facebook

At the Facebook Developer Conference F8 earlier this month, Facebook announced that it launched the Messenger Platform with bots in beta mode. Bots allow Messenger users to get personalized information they need, including weather and traffic updates, shipping notifications, and receipts. Businesses can now access documents to help them build their own bots for Messenger, which they can submit to Facebook for approval  This can help businesses provide a more interactive experience for users via the Messenger Platform.

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Facebook announced updates to Facebook Live, which allows users to share live video with friends and family. Users can now go live in Facebook groups or events, express feelings for what they see in real time with Live Reactions and comments, and use filters on their live broadcasts. Users can also invite friends to watch live videos with them.

Facebook started rolling out a dedicated place on the Facebook mobile app where users can find live videos they may be interested in. Users can even check out the Facebook Live Map to explore public broadcasts in more than 60 countries.

Facebook started rolling out automatic alternative text on iOS to help individuals who are blind or visually impaired experience Facebook photos. People using screen readers now hear a list of items a photo may contain when they scroll past photos on Facebook, instead of just hearing the word “photo”. This technology allows people who are visually impaired to take in more useful information from photos on Facebook.

Twitter

Twitter has introduced an easier way to share Tweets privately by adding a Message button to Tweets so users can quickly share Twitter content to private conversations. The Message button is available on iOS and Android.

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Adding alternative text to Twitter images is now possible for iOS and Android users. As with the Facebook update, it makes the social channel more accessible to individuals using screen readers. To enable alternative text, use the “compose image descriptions” option in Twitter’s accessibility settings, which will display an “add description” button next time you post images. You can add descriptions up to 420 characters.

Twitter for Windows 10 is now available on mobile. Twitter added features such as Moments, group Direct Messages, and the ability to shoot, edit, and Tweet video on Windows 10 devices, making content sharing easier for users.

Instagram

Instagram is changing the format of its feed to show users the moments they want to see first.  This includes content shared from businesses, and the social network noted it will take user feedback into account as it rolls out and tweaks the new functionality in the coming months. . Users will see post based on “their relationship with the person or business posting and the timeliness of the post.”

Longer Instagram videos will soon be possible, as the network announced it’s increasing its maximum video length to 60 seconds. Instagram is also reintroducing the ability to make videos out of multiple clips from your camera roll for iOS users.

Pinterest

pinLast month, we told you that Pinterest announced plans to let U.S. business buy its “promoted pins” advertising product. Well, beginning this month, Promoted Pins will now be available in the UK, so UK-based businesses can now increase engagement by promoting their content. Promoted Pins will be expanding to other English-speaking markets later this year including the USA.  This could be huge for Pinterest as they set their sights on becoming the second largest social network after Facebook. Stay tuned.

Flickr

Users of Flickr Pro now have access to additional services. One of the biggest changes to Flickr Pro is that the desktop feature Auto-Uploadr will now only be available. This feature lets you upload photos from wherever they are stored and makes them accessible from any device.

Youtube

Last year, YouTube introduced 360° videos, which allow the viewer to watch from every angle by moving your phone or tablet around, or dragging your mouse around, if you are on your computer. (See: Björk’s “Stonemilker” video.) Then just last week,  YouTube announced that they would begin offering 360° live streams. The feature was launched at Coachella last Wednesday.

YouTube has also announced the launch of “spatial audio,” a new feature that broadcasts audio at different levels based on its real-life sources. “Just as watching a concert in 360° can give you an unmatched immersive experience, spatial audio allows you to listen along as you do in real life, where depth, distance and intensity all play a role,” Neal Mohan, YouTube’s Chief Product Officer, said in a statement.

Google+

gplusGoogle + has introduced updates to Google Photos that will allow the platform to suggest a photo album with your best shots from photos you’ve uploaded. Google Photos will also add maps and location pins to your album. You can personalize the album by adding text captions to or turning on collaboration and letting others add their photos too. The albums experience is available on Android, iOS, and the web.

 

 

Please feel free to reach out to me with any questions about marketing or social media strategy.

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