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Allison MelnikMarch 8, 20188 min read

8 Social Media Features You Should Be Using … But Probably Aren’t

Social-Media-Tactics-1Social media helps businesses to connect more meaningfully with customers and prospects, and ultimately boost revenue and sales. In fact, 52% of businesses that utilize various social media platforms feel it positively impacts revenue and sales.

Now more than ever, social media is crucial to lead generation via paid ads, and also offers inventive tactics to reach new audiences, boost a subscriber base, establish a company tone, and so much more.

But, how can you stay on top of ever-evolving trends, tools and features to ensure you are getting the most out of various social media networks?

After all, it's no secret that social platforms are constantly unveiling new innovative features and tools to help businesses utilize their product in creative ways. Let’s also not forget the trials and tribulations that social tools have created for businesses (hint: Facebook’s many algorithm changes).

So, what are some of the latest social media advancements businesses can utilize to improve their social strategies? I’m here to help you dive into the latest and greatest social platforms have to offer to keep your business fresh and relevant.

1. Facebook and Instagram Live

Facebook Live is a basic feature offered by Facebook that allows users to live stream video content of their choice via a smartphone. With the click of a button, friends and followers can tune-in to hear what other users have to say in real-time.

Facebook Live provides businesses with the opportunity to show instead of tell. For example, if a company is unveiling a new, never-before-seen product, they could utilize Facebook Live to give consumers a “first-look exclusive.” Another example would be to demonstrate how a product or service is created, giving audiences a behind-the-scenes look at what goes into the products and services they love.

It even allows viewers to comment, making the event interactive. Once the live stream has ended, users also have the ability to post the recorded video to their business page. This provides audiences, who may not have been able to view it live, to watch it at their own convenience or reference the content at a later date.

Like Facebook Live, Instagram also offers a similar feature allowing its users to live stream content in real time.

Who Does It Best?

Many companies like Sephora have been engaging in Ask Me Anythings (AMAS) on Facebook Live. The concept behind this is to showcase special guests that audiences will resonate with. For example, Sephora took advantage of this idea by inviting Jen Atkin of Ouai Haircare and Christophe Robin Paris to discuss the wonderful world of beauty. Audience members were able to engage and ask questions that they typically wouldn’t be able to ask via Facebook Live.

2. Boomerang

Depending on a company’s culture, Boomerang can be a fun and interactive way to enhance your follower’s experience. Boomerang is simple, and can be accessed through either the Boomerang app or the Instagram app.

Spice up your usual, and sometimes traditional posts, by giving your account some animation. Boomerang allows companies to bring their social accounts to life in ways, such as:

Liven up your social accounts visual storytelling by adding Boomerang into the mix. See how the PR 20/20 team took advantage of this fun tool to showcase our company culture.

Who Does It Best?

Elle France utilized Boomerang via Instagram to tease the cover and inside of their most recent magazine. This gets followers excited about the content that’s to come in the latest issue, encouraging them to purchase one for themselves.

3. Snapchat Geofilters 

Snapchat geofilters are location-based overlays that people can feature in their “Snaps” within the app.

Companies can create geofilters to help promote:

  • New products, services and features
  • Company culture, parties and/or outings
  • Networking or speaking events
  • Presence at tradeshows or conferences
  • Company brand

Creating your Snapchat geofilter is quite simple. Before you begin, read the Snapchat guidelines to ensure you’re creating it correctly. Once you have read the guidelines, you can create the design from various options provided or through a customized template. Then you simply submit your filter, and wait for it to get approved.

Snapchat geofilters have a variety of options for duration, location range and more. Make sure you are picking the right options to fit within your marketing budget and company needs.

Who Does It Best?

Disneyland jumped on the Snapchat geofilter bandwagon with a customized Minnie Mouse filter for theme park attendees. Now, when people visit Disneyland, they can let their family and friends know that they are truly “feeling like a kid again” with this fun customized filter.

4. Instagram Polls

More recently, Instagram developed the feature for users to create polls within their Instagram Stories. The polls are created through the “stickers” feature. Users can type their own questions and answers and even see who answered the poll in addition to overall results.

So how can this benefit businesses? There is a great opportunity for businesses to interact directly with its followers by allowing them to participate in a poll. For example:

  • Ask followers which products or service they prefer
  • Conduct market research through a series of questions
  • Chime in on trending industry topics
  • Run contests

Who Does It Best?

Companies like Tribe Hummus and the NBA have utilized this feature to enhance the user experience and gain valuable insight. Utilizing polls gives your company additional consumer feedback to improve offerings. Plus, it provides more insight into who is viewing your Instagram posts.

5. Account-Based Targeting for LinkedIn Ads

Account-based targeting via LinkedIn ads helps users reach people who are making purchasing decisions with a targeted approach. This tool provides users the chance to:

  • Run account-based marketing campaigns
  • Target by specific professional demographics
  • Dig deeper into conversions

Sit down and identify a list of companies you want to reach. Instead of reaching out to individual contacts, this tool will help reach out to companies as a whole. Setting up LinkedIn account targeting is as simple as setting up a list, uploading it and creating an intended audience.

Who Does It Best?

While this feature is more difficult to gauge since it’s private and utilized on the back-end, companies like DXC have really hit the nail on the head. By using account-based ads, the DXC team has seen an impact on revenue, team feedback and sales’ perception of the program’s value.

6. AI Powered Chat Bots

Artificial intelligence (AI) chat bots are often employed to advance a company’s overall marketing strategy, especially when it comes to social media. When integrating AI in conjunction with your social media accounts, you have the ability to boost:

  • Consumer intelligence
  • Customer service
  • Influencer marketing
  • Content optimization
  • Competitive intelligence

For example, when AI chat bots are utilized, Facebook Messenger can divide inquiries by customized needs—directing customers to the most specific representative as possible. Businesses can also utilize AI chat bots to better personalize shopping experiences for customers.

Who Does It Best?

Companies like Domino's and Tommy Hilfiger have been able to create specific purchasing recommendations based on buying history or previously visited pages. By gathering smart insights, businesses can deliver more value to customers and streamline its social media processes.

7. GIFs 

Graphic Interchangeable Formats, more commonly known as GIFs, can be used in a variety of ways to liven up a conversation, including your business’s social accounts. GIFs are images that move in an endless loop.

So how exactly can a business benefit from these forms of silly (and fun) content? Utilize GIFs to:

  • Bring more personality to your business’s social media accounts
  • Feature new products or services
  • Overview instructions or explain a process
  • Create presentations
  • Tell stories
  • Display advertisements or current specials
  • Animate data or insights

These are just some of the reasons your business should consider adding GIFs into your social media mix. Plus, it’s easy to share them. Now, you can upload premade or customize GIFs straight to Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and more to share with your audiences.

Who Does It Best?

Nike takes the GIF approach by baking them into emails. The GIFs breathe life into content and spark interest, enticing receivers to click and “learn more.”

8. Instagram Alt Text

Instagram rolled out a new feature that allows users to update images with alternative text, also known as alt text.

What value could this add to your Instagram photos? By adding alt text to your images, the following happens:

  • Ability to provide richer descriptions on your photos to help followers gain more insight to the image they are viewing.
  • When using Feed, Explore or Profile, descriptions of photos will automatically be read to help the visually impaired understand what the image is.
For example, if you decide to use a simple Emoji to “describe” an image of yourself eating an ice cream cone, you will now also be able to include a more in-depth description explaining what type of ice cream it is, where you are at, etc. This provides more customization and assistance to ensure your followers are getting the most out of following your account.

Who Does It Best?

G2 Crowd provides and in-depth guide to help you better understand the benefits of Instagram alt text as well as how you can get started on adding it to your photos today.

What social media tools and features does your company utilize? Share with us in the comments below.

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Image credit: Pexels 


Allison Melnik

Allison Melnik is a consultant at PR 20/20. She is a 2014 graduate of Kent State University with a concentration in organizational communications and public relations. Full bio.