41 little-known social media features

Here is a comprehensive list of Facebook, Twitter, Google+, LinkedIn, Pinterest and Instagram features you may not have heard about.

When I go to Disneyland, I race to the famous rides first: Splash Mountain, Matterhorn Bobsleds, and Indiana Jones. They’re the biggest and best. But there are many attractions I miss in my sprint for the headliners.

Social networks are like the rides at Disneyland. There are so many social media sites and features that some are bound to slip through the cracks.

Which Facebook, Twitter and the other major social network features have slipped under our noses? Here are 41 tricks and tools for Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+, Pinterest and Instagram.

Facebook

1. Save links to read later.

Whenever you see a story in your news feed that someone shared, you’ll find a “save” option in the drop-down menu in the top right corner. According to Facebook, this option appears for links, places, music, books, movies, TV shows and events (but not plain-text updates or photos).


“Save” also shows up on pages. Click the “…” next to the like, follow and message buttons at the top of the page.

Where do all these saved posts and pages end up?

Once you’ve saved a few items, you’ll notice a new menu item in your homepage’s left sidebar. Click “Saved,” and you’ll see a complete list of all the posts and pages you saved. You can view them in one chunk or by category.


2. Follow rather than friend.

Here’s a fun one: You can follow someone without friending him, and others can follow you without friending you.

Here’s how it works: When you’re on someone’s profile page and he has the follow feature turned on, you’ll see a “Follow” button along with an “Add as Friend” button.


When you follow someone, you’ll see his posts in your news feed just as you would if you were friends. The difference between friending and following is that, if you follow someone, that person doesn’t need to follow you back.

For instance, if you want to see what Jay Baer posts, but he doesn’t return your friend request, you can follow him instead.

To turn on the follow feature for your profile, go to your Facebook settings. Click on the “Followers” link in the left-hand menu, and change “Who Can Follow Me” from “Friends” to “Everyone.”


3. Manage your “Posts to Page.”

People can post to your business page by tagging your name in their updates. These posts land in the sidebar below your photos. It is prime real estate, and if you prune it correctly, can be an asset to your page.

Check regularly for spam, customer service opportunities and ways to engage with those who mention you. Maybe you’ll find something worth sharing.

4. Reorder page sections.

I mentioned above that “Posts to Page” appear under your photos, but they don’t have to if you don’t want them to.

Facebook page administrators can rearrange sidebar elements. “People” and “About” always remain in the top two spots, but you can drag and drop the remaining sections into any order.


To see this option, hover over the title of any sidebar section, and click the gray pencil icon.

5. See advanced statistics for any post.

You’re likely familiar with the “X people reached” note at the bottom of all your page posts. Have you ever clicked on it?

Here’s what you’ll see:


These insights (which you could also grab from Facebook Analytics) show you all sorts of cool statistics, like the breakdown of likes, comments and shares, as well as how your post looks in the feed and which actions people took on the post.

6. Receive email from your Facebook email address.

If you email me at kevanlee@facebook.com, the message will go straight to my Gmail account. The same goes for you and your Facebook email address. Your Facebook email is your username on Facebook plus @facebook.com.

7. Download everything you’ve ever done on Facebook.

Go to your settings page and click the “Download Facebook Data” option at the bottom.


8. Share files via Facebook chat.

When you have an open chat window, click on the gear icon and choose “Add Files …”


9. Check your “other” messages.

When you click through to your messages page, you’ll see the default view of the latest messages in your inbox. If you look at the top of the left sidebar, you’ll see “Inbox” and “Other.”

10. Embed a Facebook post.

Click the drop-down arrow in the top right corner of any Facebook post and choose “Embed.”

11. Pin a post to the top of your page.

Click the drop-down arrow in the top right corner of any of post and choose “Pin to Top.”

12. Feature page owners and liked pages.

In your page settings, you can set which page owners show up on your “About” page and which page likes show up in your “Liked Pages” widget.


13. Change your language to Pirate or Upside Down.

On your settings page, go to “Language.” Choose one.

14. Visit facebook.com/us for a timeline with your significant other.

Facebook collects all the images and moments you share with the person you’re “in a relationship with.”

15. Use secret emoji.

Here are fun tips for Facebook secret emoji:

  • (y) = thumbs-up ‘like’ symbol
  • (^^^) = a great white shark
  • :|] = a robot
  • :poop: = well, you know
  • <(“) = a penguin
  • :Putnam: = the head of former Facebook engineer, Chris Putnam who left the company in 2010

There’s also a library of Facebook emoticons.

Twitter

1. Create a collection of tweets.

Twitter allows you to compose custom timelines that contain only the tweets you want. These collections are made possible via Tweetdeck, Twitter’s free management dashboard app.

Add a custom timeline column to your Tweetdeck dashboard, and drag and drop the tweets you wish to add. This custom timeline gets its own URL on Twitter, and you can embed it into a blog post or page.


See this example of a Twitter tools collection.

2. Tag people in photos.

You can tag up to 10 people when you add a photo to a tweet. These tags won’t count against your 140 characters.

Here’s where the tagging option appears on a desktop. It’s also available on mobile.


3. Create a photo collage.

Have you tried Twitter’s photo collages? You can share up to four photos in one tweet. When composing, upload an image, and click “Add more” to keep adding pictures.


Here’s an example:


4. Manage Twitter via SMS.

If you turn on tweeting via text message in your Twitter settings, you’ll receive a custom number where you can send tweets, reply to users, favorite, retweet, follow, unfollow and more.

Twitter has a lot of SMS options. Here are a few popular ones:

  • D [username] + message: Sends a direct message to the person’s device, and saves in his Web archive.
  • Set location [place name]: Updates the location field in your profile.
    • Example: set location San Francisco
  • Get [username]: Retrieves the latest Twitter update posted by that person. You can also use g [username] to get a user’s latest tweet.
    • Examples: get goldman or g goldman
  • Follow [username]: Allows you to follow someone, as well as receive SMS notifications.
    • Example: FOLLOW jerry

5. Use the mute feature.

Rather than unfollow someone, you can mute his account. This can be helpful if you want to manage your Twitter stream or keep things quiet while others participate in chats or tweet bursts.

You can access the mute option from any tweet. Click on the “More” drop-down menu, and choose “Mute.” Visit the person’s profile to unmute.


Google+

1. Run a poll.

You might not find this in Google+’s official features, but it’s a fun workaround. Ask a question in a Google+ post, and use the comments as poll choices. Ask people to +1 the comment they want to vote for.


Be sure you disable comments after you add the poll options. This keeps the poll clean and organized.

2. Save posts to empty circles.

You can create a circle with no one in it. This seems counterintuitive, but it can actually be a great bookmarking tool or swipe file. Share posts to this empty circle for easy reference later. Google+ will add the posts you share to this circle to your profile page. Only you will be able to see them.

A neat add-on to this empty circle is your favorite save-for-later services like Evernote or Pocket. Do this through your custom share email from the service. Include your share email in the circle, and the content you save will automatically be forwarded.

3. Share your circles.

Go to “People” in the left menu, choose “Your Circles” and click on the circle you want to share. Inside the actions menu is an option to “Share this circle.” You then have the option to compose a post that features this circle for others to follow.

4. Create a photo slideshow that links to your avatar.

When someone clicks on your profile picture from your profile, they’ll see a photo album. You can control what appears in this photo album.

In the “Photos” menu, scroll or search for the “Profile Photos” collection. Add, edit and arrange the photos in this set.

5. Use a GIF as your profile picture or cover photo.

Just upload it!

LinkedIn

1. Download a list of your connections.

You can download a list of your connections (including their names, titles, current companies and email addresses) into a spreadsheet.

Click “Connections” in the top menu, then click the gear icon that appears in the top right corner of your connections page. In the advanced settings, the first option will be to “Export LinkedIn Connections.”

2. Display media files on your profile.

You can add media like images, video, audio, slideshows and documents to various sections on your profile. It’s a great way to add flair to an otherwise text-heavy resume.

Click “Edit Profile,” and look for the media icon for each section. It’s between the pencil icon and the up/down arrow.


Another helpful tip is to reorder your profile sections. Say you want your job experience to appear above your summary. Click the “Edit Profile” button on the homepage, and look for the up/down arrow at the top of each section. Click, drag and drop where you’d like.

3. Message someone with whom you’re not connected.

If you want to contact someone but you’re not connected, join a common group.

Group members can message each other even if they aren’t directly connected. Click on the person’s name in the group, and you’ll see “Send message” in the drop-down menu under “Follow.”

4. Save a job search.

You can save searches you perform on LinkedIn. The “Save Search” link is in the top right corner. You can save up to 10 searches at a time, and set alerts.


5. Create a file with relationship notes.

Under each connected profile is the option to add relationship notes—how you met, reminder notices and other important context.


Reminder notices are particularly neat, because you can set future and recurring alerts for each contact. If you click the recurring option, you could set up a reminder to call the person weekly, monthly, every three months or every six months. All of the information in the relationship panel is private.

Pinterest

1. Set up a secret board.

Creating a private board is ideal for marketers wanting to seed a board before it goes live, or individuals wanting to save ideas for surprises, gifts, vacations, dream weddings, etc.

To add a new secret board, go to the bottom of your Pinterest profile. Your secret boards, as well as the option to create new ones, will be there.

2. Rearrange your boards.

While the order of pins within a board stays the same, you can arrange the order of your boards on your profile. Simply click and drag your boards where you’d like them.

3. View all the latest pins from your website.

If you want to see what people are sharing without going into Pinterest’s analytics, type this into your URL bar: http://www.pinterest.com/source/yourwebsite.com/.

Change “yourwebsite.com” to your blog’s address (or the address of the site you want to inspect).

4. Customize cover images.

If there’s an eye-catching pin you want to feature as a board’s cover image, you can set it in a snap.

Hover over a board’s cover image on your profile page. A “Change Cover” button will appear. Click it, and cycle through the images and choose the one you want. Pinterest even lets you adjust the image’s viewable portion so you can get the best look.

5. Pin with a friend.

Click the “Edit” button on any board, and you’ll see a pop-up with the option “Who can add pins?” Type a name or email into the box, and Pinterest will send a request to the pinner. That pinner can then pin directly to this group board.

6. Apply for rich pins.

With the right bit of code, pins can look spectacular. The good news is these rich pins use some of the code you may already use on your site for Facebook, Twitter and Google. To see how your site’s rich pins might look on Pinterest, use the validation tool.

If your site validates well, click “Apply Now” to notify Pinterest you’d like the rich pins feature.

Instagram

1. View Instagram photos online.

View any user’s Instagram feed online at Instagram.com/username. See your feed by logging in at Instagram.com.

If you’re interested in a more optimized viewing experience, several sites have nicely incorporated Instagram’s API:

2. Save an image.

If you’re interested in saving the original images you took via Instagram (and haven’t turned on the “Save Original Photos” setting), tap on the three-dot icon on the picture page, choose “Copy Share URL,” paste the URL into your phone’s browser and save the image by long-pressing on the picture and choosing “Save.”

Alternately, if you’re on a computer and find a picture you’d love to save, grab it via the page’s source code. In Chrome, right-click on the image and choose “Inspect Element.” This will bring up a window containing the page’s code and a highlighted section for the image you right-clicked. If you hover over the first link in the highlighted section, it will reveal the picture. Right-click this image link, and choose “Open Link in New Tab.” Save the picture via the new tab.


3. Add a border to an image.

In addition to Instagram filters, you can also add borders to images. In the Instagram app, choose the filter, then tap the filter again to reveal a box icon. Tap the icon to add a border.

4. Make a collage.

Have you ever seen a collage on Instagram, and wondered how to make one? These collages come from photo-editing apps where you can piece together pictures, save to your camera roll and upload to Instagram.

The same goes for uploading images you made on your computer. Sync your photos on your computer to your mobile device’s photo folder, and add these shots directly to Instagram.

5. Repost a photo.

This tip requires a workaround. Third-party apps like Photo Repost and Repost for Instagram let you view your home stream of Instagram pictures, choose which pictures you’d like to repost, and add an attribution overlay on top of the image. (You can remove most overlays a paid upgrade.)

Web apps like Iconosquare and Webstagram let you repost, but require a bit more work. Once you choose the image and attribution, these apps email you the image. You can then download it to your photo folder, upload it to your phone and add it to Instagram manually.

Kevan Lee is content crafter at Buffer. A version of this article originally appeared on the Buffer blog.

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