Established social media platforms continually launch new tools to help businesses connect with prospects and customers.
Here is a list of new and updated social media tools for merchants. There are tools to create product offers, post branded stories, communicate in real-time with customers, and even sell products.
Slideshow ads. Slideshow is a tool that lets advertisers build lightweight videos from a set of photos or an existing video. Advertisers can now turn videos into slideshows by uploading them into the slideshow tool, which will automatically select 10 image stills to use for building a slideshow.
Also, Slideshow is now fully integrated with the stock image database and the Pages Photo Library feature, so advertisers can choose from thousands of stock photos, reuse photos from their Pages Photo Library, or upload new photos. And advertisers can now create slideshows on the go with their Android mobile device.
Facebook Offers. Facebook has redesigned Facebook Offers, originally launched in 2012, for a streamlined mobile experiences. Businesses can now create two types of Offers, online and in-store, and they can share in an Offers ad or in a Page post. People can copy the offer code and access details on their mobile device while they’re on the advertiser’s mobile site.
For in-store, people can easily access their Offer through the Offers bookmark and pull it up on their phone at the register. Businesses can choose to enable a barcode or QR code to scan at check out. Advertisers decide how long their Offers run, who sees them, where they redeem them, and more.
Instant video. Facebook has introduced Instant Video to its Messenger platform. Just tap on the video icon in the top right corner to start sharing real-time video. Video will float over the active text conversation that you can continue while viewing the video. Recipients can watch your video stream and share a video back if they decide. While the this function is mostly suited for personal conversations, it is also suited for customer service functionality, particularly for small businesses.
Instagram Stories. Instagram Stories is a new feature that lets you share the moments of your day. As you share multiple photos and videos, they appear together in a slideshow format as a story. You can bring your business’ story to life in new ways with text and drawing tools. The photos and videos will disappear after 24 hours and won’t appear on your profile grid or in feed.
Business Profile. With Instagram’s new Business Profile tools, companies of any size can be recognized with a business profile, get insights about followers and posts, and promote posts to drive business objectives — all within the Instagram mobile app.
Consumers can see valuable information in your profile — like your business address or contact info. And you can get actionable information about which posts perform best, which days of the week and times are best to post, and the demographic breakdown of your followers. Promote any posts you’ve shared, and include a button like Learn More, to reach new customers in your target audience.
Snapchat Geofilters with Yext. Snapchat Geofilters are graphical overlays to decorate photos or videos that show up in the app in specific locations. Advertisers can already pay to create branded geofilters on Snapchat. Previously, to run campaigns, businesses needed to manually provide Snapchat with the exact dimensions of where they want the filters to appear. Companies can now use the Yext Location Cloud to access location data for Snapchat Geofilter campaigns.
Buyable pins and shopping bags. Pinterest has launched buyable pins on Pinterest.com. Previously, buyable pins were only visible on the mobile app. Pinterest has added shopping bags, allowing followers to shop for multiple items wherever they are. There’s a new way to search within a pin to find products. Just tap the visual search icon at the top of any pin and explore the dots to see similar pins. Pinterest has also announced new automatic object detection and camera search tools to enhance the shopping experience.
Promoted Video. With Promoted Video, businesses can share their ideas with the people who are looking for them and make it easy for them to give these ideas a try. Promoted Videos are coupled with featured pins below the video. People inspired to take action can simply click below to do more with your products and services.
Targeting tools for Pinterest ads. In addition to targeting Promoted Pins based on pinners’ interests, search keywords, device, and location, you can now target Promoted Pins using your own business data. If you use the Pinterest Ads Manager, you can now create and target in three new ways: customer list targeting, visitor retargeting to reach people who’ve visited your site, and lookalike targeting to reach a larger group of people who look and act like your audience.
Twitter Dashboard. Twitter Dashboard is a tool designed to help businesses connect with their customers and community. It gives business owners a clear picture of what’s being said about their businesses, lets them schedule tweets, and offers insights about their tweet performance. Create a custom feed to find out what’s being said about your business. And schedule tweets to reach your audience members when they’re online and you’re busy doing other things.
Embeddable direct message button. Twitter has launched an embeddable direct message button for websites. This feature allows site visitors to reach website administrators or customer support representative through Twitter’s direct message capability. With tweets no longer limited to 140 characters, the embeddable direct message can function as a real-time customer support tool for small business websites.
Instant Unlock Card. Advertisers can now use conversational ads and an Instant Unlock Card that encourages people to Tweet to unlock exclusive content. Conversational ads contain compelling images or videos that include call-to-action buttons with customizable hashtags. The Instant Unlock Card builds on this by incentivizing users to Tweet by offering access to exclusive content (e.g., a film’s trailer or an exclusive Q&A) after the Tweet is sent. Advanced analytics are available on the Twitter ads dashboard to help keep track of conversational ad units.