Bob Dylan once wrote, “the times they are a changing.’” Who would have thought that more than 50 years after he wrote that song we’d be using those lyrics to reference the always-changing social media landscape?

Keeping up with the ever-evolving social platforms and their features can be a daunting task as new updates and rollouts seem to be happening weekly.

Most recently, Instagram gave confirmation that it will soon be rolling out features marketers have long been waiting for: brand pages and analytics. As if that wasn’t enough, Twitter announced usernames and images will no longer count toward a tweet’s 140 characters (and a collective “hallelujah” was heard from its users).

Twitter has come right out and expanded its 140-character limit just enough to keep users happy.

More Space Equals More Possibilities

There were rumors a while back that Twitter could be getting rid of its character limit altogether, giving it more of a Facebook-like feel where users could post without restriction. Now, it seems Twitter has come right out and quashed that idea by expanding its 140-character limit just enough to keep users happy.

Usernames and media attachments will no longer count toward a tweet's 140-character limit. via The Verge

Usernames and media attachments will no longer count toward a tweet’s 140-character limit. via The Verge

The Twitter change will begin happening over the next couple of months when usernames, quoted tweets, photos, and other media attachments will no longer count toward your 140-character tweet. Another great little feature of this change is that Twitter will also soon allow users to no longer have to put that annoying “.” in front of a username at the beginning of a tweet (finally) in order for the user to be tagged.

By not counting usernames toward the tweet-count, it will allow more conversation and discussion on the platform, Jack Dorsey, CEO of Twitter, said in an article from The Verge. This change will allow brands more space to better engage with their followers, talk about products and announcements, and take more advantage of using multimedia in their tweets.

Instagram’s New Insights

Panic may have set in among brands on the Facebook-owned Instagram social channel when the platform announced it would be implementing an algorithm in its feed, no longer showing users posts in chronological order. Instagram’s newest feature announcements of business profiles and analytics, however, have been embraced with open arms by brands and users alike.

Taking a page from Facebook, Instagram’s business profiles will allow businesses to have separate accounts for their brands, offering features like a “Contact” button, access to maps and directions, and the ability to categorize your business by type.

While many users and brands have already added a business email to their bios so customers can connect with the company, adding a contact button can help people reach brands and users more easily, but also filter out possible spam, and keep contact information more anonymous.

By adding a business category, it makes finding and following certain users much easier than having to search by hashtags and possible usernames, and lets users know upfront what kind of content they can expect to find on your Instagram. The inclusion of a location tag allows users to view the location on a map – a great feature for those brands with storefronts.

Instagram analytics shows data such as post views, follower demographics, and what times followers interact the most.

And a possibly more long-awaited feature may be the confirmation of Instagram Analytics. A simple chart icon in the new Instagram business profiles will allow users to access their analytics easily. Similar to the analytics a business page would see in Facebook, Instagram analytics shows data such as who your followers are, what days and times the followers are using Instagram and interacting the most, and how many people viewed a post.

Instagram's new analytics feature will be similar to Facebook's, giving key insights into follower demographics and engagement – via Later.

Instagram’s new analytics feature will be similar to Facebook’s, giving key insights into follower demographics and engagement – via Later.

The Instagram “follower” analytics section gives marketers and brands more insight into where their followers are located, age, and gender for a more targeted approach, while the “insights” section of analytics resembles that of Facebook business’ analytics as it shows impressions, reach, website clicks, and follower activity.

You can also sort Instagram posts by top-performing posts for a seven-day and 30-day period. You’re also able to see how many users viewed a post, in comparison to how many followers you have.

While these Instagram and Twitter updates are rolling out slowly to specific users, you can check out some snapshots of what Instagram analytics looks like so far to get an idea of how your brand can start planning for the change.

Is there a new feature you are looking forward to incorporating most? Let us know in the comment section, and then see how we can help boost your social media presence across any platform.

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