3 New Ways To Engage Your Social Media Followers

How Snapchat, Insta­gram, and Twit­ter are evolv­ing and what it means for mar­keters.

Sam Hollingsworth By Sam Hollingsworth from Acronym. Join the discussion » 1 comment

Here’s what mar­keters need to know about recent updates rolled out by Insta­gram, Twit­ter, and Snapchat aimed at improv­ing the user expe­ri­ence.

Social media’s biggest play­ers are the best plat­forms because of the high val­ue they hold for mar­keters and users. For users, it’s sim­ple: what are our friends using, which is the most fun and/or use­ful, and which is the eas­i­est to use? For mar­keters, it’s two-fold: what is our tar­get audi­ence using? But equal­ly impor­tant is: how can we effec­tive­ly use the social media plat­form to engage with that audi­ence and gain its trust?

All of the most suc­cess­ful social media plat­forms have under­gone updates to bet­ter address the above ques­tions – espe­cial­ly those sur­round­ing the user expe­ri­ence and “use­ful­ness” of the chan­nel – and that has allowed those social net­works to grow and thrive.

Most recent­ly, Insta­gram, Twit­ter, and Snapchat have rolled out some fair­ly major updates to improve the user expe­ri­ence and increase the atten­tive­ness of their users. Here’s what mar­keters need to know.

1. Snapchat’s New Chat 2.0

While the three plat­forms’ updates vary in sig­nif­i­cance, Snapchat’s update appears to be the one with the great­est effect.

The update, which Snapchat wrote about on its blog, focused a lot on the updat­ed chat fea­ture, Chat 2.0. It allows users to live-video chat with­in the Snapchat app, like Face­Time with­in Snapchat. If the oth­er user isn’t in the app when you are, you can still send a text or audio mes­sage until they do open the app.

It’s a cool fea­ture that makes Snapchat that much more use­ful to its users, adding anoth­er ele­ment to the plat­form as a true tool for com­mu­ni­cat­ing, not just shar­ing pic­tures with expi­ra­tion dates.

The big­ger sto­ry with­in the update, for mar­keters specif­i­cal­ly, is the new Auto-Advance Sto­ries fea­ture, which auto­mat­i­cal­ly moves onto the next Sto­ry in your queue when one fin­ish­es. Pre­vi­ous­ly, you had to man­u­al­ly select each user’s Sto­ry to view it. This will def­i­nite­ly trans­late into increased engage­ment for all users, pub­lish­ers and view­ers alike. The new fea­ture also allows users to move to the next Snap or Sto­ry with a quick tap or swipe, respec­tive­ly, or just a pull down to exit.

Since the recent update, Snapchat’s growth has con­tin­ued, with dai­ly video views now reach­ing 10 bil­lion per day. In Feb­ru­ary 2016, it was gen­er­at­ing 8 bil­lion per day. Now with more than 100 mil­lion users, it is expect­ed that aver­age user time per day will also increase from the 25-to-30 min­utes dai­ly lev­el. This is proof that Snapchat’s updates are work­ing, mak­ing the plat­form even more valu­able, thanks to con­tin­ued atten­tion-grab­bing of its users.

Unfor­tu­nate­ly, there isn’t much hard data yet as to how much addi­tion­al val­ue this brings to your Snapchat mar­ket­ing efforts, but the increased engage­ment is evi­dent even to my own indi­vid­ual account. Before the update, I rarely had more than 100 views per snap. Now, every snap I pub­lish hits the 100-view mark. For big brands with 10 times the audi­ence size, sim­i­lar results should be expect­ed on a larg­er scale.

2. Instagram’s New Feed

In an app update in March 2016, a move aimed at increas­ing engage­ment, Insta­gram vowed to update the way it shows users’ pho­to feeds. Instead of show­ing media in chrono­log­i­cal order, as it always has, the feed now attempts to deliv­er the most rel­e­vant and inter­est­ing con­tent to each spe­cif­ic user, regard­less of how much time has passed or where the user is locat­ed.

To improve your expe­ri­ence, your feed will soon be ordered to show the moments we believe you will care about the most,” Insta­gram wrote in its offi­cial blog.

The obvi­ous goal here is increased inter­est and, in turn, engage­ment by “opti­miz­ing your feed,” sim­i­lar to the way par­ent com­pa­ny Face­book opti­mizes its feed.

The order of pho­tos and videos in your feed will be based on the like­li­hood you’ll be inter­est­ed in the con­tent, your rela­tion­ship with the per­son post­ing and the time­li­ness of the post,” the announce­ment said.

This has caused a huge increase in users and brands telling their fol­low­ers to “Turn on Noti­fi­ca­tions” so that no post goes unseen. If a user turns on noti­fi­ca­tions, all media shared by that user will pos­i­tive­ly show up in their feed.

While this could cer­tain­ly have the intend­ed effect and increase engage­ment on the plat­form, some users aren’t crazy about the update and have spo­ken out again it — even going as far as start­ing a peti­tion. More than 250,000 peo­ple have already signed it.

But we’re still using Insta­gram, and so are many of the peti­tion­ers.

3. Twitter’s New Timeline

In a sim­i­lar move that tries to pre­dict what’s most inter­est­ing and rel­e­vant to users, Twit­ter also exe­cut­ed an update. For Twit­ter, it’s about offer­ing the choice: keep the default set­ting for the order of tweets on your time­line, or go for the Twit­ter-opti­mized time­line by chang­ing set­tings to “Show me the best Tweets first.”

The plan is sim­i­lar to Instagram’s update ide­ol­o­gy: keep users more inter­est­ed with con­tent, and engage­ment will fol­low.

Less than a month lat­er, Twit­ter launched an update that allows users to send tweets with­in direct mes­sages. (Hon­est­ly, I’m sur­prised this is just now happening!)While users typ­i­cal­ly don’t like change, espe­cial­ly on the social plat­forms they use on a dai­ly basis, in the long run, the pay­off should be worth it – for aver­age users, mar­keters, and the social plat­forms them­selves.

While users typ­i­cal­ly don’t like change, espe­cial­ly on the social plat­forms they use on a dai­ly basis, in the long run, the pay­off should be worth it – for aver­age users, mar­keters, and the social plat­forms them­selves.

Sam Hollingsworth

Written by Sam Hollingsworth

SEO Manager, Acronym

Sam Hollingsworth is an SEO Manager at Acronym with an emphasis on client relations, content marketing, and social media.

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