This week's 'Skim is filled to the brim: The impending demise of apps and why your company needs to start thinking different; Twitter's brand-new, personable customer service feature; Instagram's big change that just made it easier to tell your brand story; how Facebook just turned WhatsApp into Snapchat; how to get more leads on Instagram; how to get your business verified on Facebook; 10 social media mistakes killing your company; and much more...
Skim to make sense of it all!
1. Fire up your chatbots, because messaging is eating away at apps
Where will Facebook's WhatsApp go in the future? All we have to do is look to China to know, suggests a new report from Gartner. Use of standalone video, map, and social media apps has decreased from last year, but messaging app use has increased, and the report suggests that trend will continue as users shy away from downloading new apps and instead stick to what they know.
WeChat, the Chinese "super app" that combines everything from Google Maps and Facebook to Tinder and Amazon is a blueprint of what will inevitably hit the shores of the US, so your brand might want to put the development of chatbots and services that could be integrated to Facebook's Messenger and WhatsApp at the top of its priority list. After all, Bill Gates just joined WeChat. Need we say more?
2. Twitter becomes personable with custom profiles for business' agents
While Facebook moves toward automation via chatbots, Twitter's taking a different approach. The social network this week introduced custom profiles for businesses' customer-service agents; now, instead of customers' seeing a simple brand logo, they'll be greeted with a profile picture and name so customers know they're chatting with a human and not a bot.
There's no limit to how many custom profiles a business can have, and there's no size requirement for the business, which means this is an easy option for your company to personalize its interactions with leads and customers in a way that can further those relationships.
Already interested? You can sign-up here.
3. Instagram users can now share multiple photos, videos in single posts
Up to 10 photos and videos can be added to a single Instagram post with the release of the photo- and video-sharing network's 10.9 software update, which is now live for both iOS and Android users. Businesses and private users can customize the new post format by selecting the exact photos and videos, switching their order, and applying filters to all—or just one—of them.
When browsing on a user's profile, posts with the new feature, which are limited to square photos and videos for now, are indicated with a new square icon in the top-right corner. The new post type could help brands tell stories in a single post without the story getting lost among multiple posts.
4. Facebook's WhatsApp ups its status with new Snapchat clone
Everybody wants to be everything these days. Or Facebook does, at least. Meet WhatsApp Status, a new tab on the messaging platform dedicated to sharing decorated photos, videos, and GIFs that disappear after 24 hours. Sound familiar? Yes, except this time it's encrypted.
The new WhatsApp tab is rolling out across iOS, Android, and Windows Phone devices. Now with 1.2 billion WhatsApp users worldwide, the new feature could be the first step to earning advertising revenue should the social messaging app take a cue from Snapchat and insert ads between users' statuses.
What are your thoughts? Will one messaging app take off to rule them all?
5. Facebook opens up Messenger Platform for standard messaging
The social network's latest revision of policy opens its Messenger platform up for standard messaging, meaning businesses can now respond to customers who have initiated conversations in the previous 24 hours on the Messenger app.
A Facebook product manager assured users the news didn't mean they would be bombarded with sponsored messages, and stressed that users still must initiate the conversation and can block or mute businesses at any time. This might just get more brands interested in, and in developing, chatbots to take advantage of these new communication tools.
6. How to generate more leads with Instagram
Setting up lead ads on Instagram can be a great way to gather valuable contact information about potential customers without disrupting their social media experience by pulling them to an external website. As social media moves increasingly to mobile, your brand needs to know what ad options it has to assist in generating leads and initiating first contact.
The Social Media Examiner has a step-by-step cheat sheet to doing just that. From defining your audience and setting your bid, to choosing an ad format and drafting your lead form, it's an indispensable tipsheet to start from scratch and develop a true, lead-generation strategy on Instagram.
7. Facebook plans weekly appointment-to-view with Major League Baseball
The social network is reportedly in talks with Major League Baseball (MLB) to live-stream one game per week on its platform, further proving that Facebook and other social networks like Twitter are pushing hard for deals with sports leagues, as their events are one of the final types of content people still consume live.
While Twitter cozied up more quickly to the National Football League, analysts say Facebook doesn't need football to succeed in the sports space. Given Facebook's global audience, there is a wide range of audiences and sports it could appeal to. And we think it's just the start.
8. 10 social media mistakes killing your business
Staying up-to-date on the latest social media trends with the 'Skim can be rewarding in and of itself, but take time to look back and evaluate what strategies and posts are driving the most engagement for your brand and truly resulting in social ROI.
Often, a few overlooked details can lead to a plethora of bad habits and practices that leave your social media strategy in the stone age. Luckily, we've got a reminder of 10 mistakes on social platforms that could be killing your business. Covered in detail: cross-platform auto-posts, sharing video links on Facebook, over-hashtagging, excessive engagement on LinkedIn, and more...
9. How to get your business verified on Facebook
Making your company's Facebook page official will give it not only a more professional and trustworthy look but also a higher priority in search results. Earning official status—indicated with either a gray or blue checkmark next to your Page's business name—can help your brand stand out as legitimate.
But how does one go about securing such status?
Blue badges are reserved for verified public figures, media companies, and global brands, whereas gray verification checks confirm the authenticity of specific locations for businesses and organizations.
Once you decide which is right for you, take a look at this foolproof walkthrough of how to earn this badge of instant credibility for your brand.
10. Snap begins selling Spectacles online
The company behind Snapchat began selling its first hardware product, a set of 10-30-second video-recording sunglasses that sync instantly with users' Snapchat accounts, via vending machines in surprise locations, including the Grand Canyon and in a pop-up store in New York.
Now, Snap Inc., apparently set to prove to investors that it can make money off the product before its upcoming IPO, began selling Spectacles online.
Fans and Snapchat users can purchase the product for $129.99 at www.spectacles.com, and can expect delivery in 2-4 weeks.
Reviews have been generally positive for the social network's first hardware device, which could prove that the core of the company is more than just a messaging platform used by Millennials.
11. We'll wrap with Facebook's latest attempt to avoid controversy
Facebook will soon ask users what content they find objectionable, enabling them to personalize the level of nudity, violence, and profanity they're comfortable with seeing as they scroll through their News Feeds.
The social network will prompt users to provide their opinions on the matter over time, and will continue to block content based on its own standards and local laws. Users who don't contribute will be assigned the policy decided by the majority of users in their region, but they can always personalize their preferences at any time.
It's a fascinating approach for Facebook, and we'll see whether it sets the standard for social networks across the board.