5 terrific new social media tools for marketers

Facebook Search, Twitter Polls and Instagram’s one-second GIF-like video, these fun gizmos can enhance your online content. Here’s a primer.

Social media platforms change fast—and often for the better.

Communications and marketing professionals will probably find some recently released social media tools very helpful.

Here are some recent enhancements to the more prominent social media platforms, along with how they can be helpful to PR professionals and marketers:

1. Facebook Search

Facebook search has been around for about a year, and its utility has been suspect. Recently, Facebook changed its search feature to include all (2 trillion and counting) Facebook posts. This means that when you search for something on Facebook you will get results from your timeline, your friends’ timelines and any public posts. It’s presumably much more robust.

This adds a deeper relevance to contextual hashtags, should make search more helpful and could heighten privacy concerns. Incidentally, if you want to change your past posts so that they don’t show up in search you do that pretty easily by following these instructions.

How you can use it: This makes hashtagging for your public posts hyper-relevant. Hashtagging on Facebook should be as important now as it is on Instagram and Twitter. From a user standpoint it should give you a little more context to your Facebook searches, although many people share posts with friends by default.

2. Twitter Polls

As I have written, Twitter is making developer and user tweaks to increase advertising revenue, and a cool feature it recently introduced is Twitter Polls. It’s a straightforward and limited feature: You press the poll button, write a question with two possible answers (this is the big limitation) and tweet.

The poll shows up on the timelines of your followers; you access (anonymous) polling data based upon responses.

How you can use it: This may be a way to make your Twitter content more engaging to your followers, or to promote your Twitter channel.

3. LinkedIn new apps

Like Instagram (mentioned below), LinkedIn has an interesting mobile strategy: It’s building standalone apps for each function of the platform. There is the flagship app, LinkedIn Pulse (content), LinkedIn Recruiter (recruiting), LinkedIn Connected (contacts), LinkedIn Lookup (for internal search), and two new apps, LinkedIn Groups and LinkedIn Job Search.

  • LinkedIn streamlined its parent app, making messaging more straightforward and cleaning up its look.
  • The Groups app (launching soon) will enable group interaction within the app, coinciding with a revamp of the Groups feature.
  • The Job Search app is specifically for job searches.

How you can use them: If you manage or interact in groups, LinkedIn Groups will make doing so more convenient. The job search feature should be helpful for professionals seeking a transition.

Allowing access to the platform by specialization should be a draw for the Job Search tool (and possibly the Groups app).

4. Instagram “Boomerang”

Instagram is banking on GIFs’ allure with its Boomerang app, which creates “looping videos” (though technically not GIFs, they serve the same function) with the same stop-action feature implemented in Instagram video.

Think of Boomerang as an abbreviated Instagram video-a one-second Vine. Boomerang continues Instagram’s cool app strategy, which started with Hyperlapse and Layout.

How you can use it: This could become a popular content-creation feature on the most engaging social platform. Anyone creating online content should get to know Boomerang.

5. Reddit “Upvoted”

What would it look like if Reddit was professionally curated and didn’t allow comments on its articles? That’s the concept behind Upvoted, an offshoot of Reddit that launched last week.

The intention behind Upvoted isn’t to offer an alternative to Reddit, but to offer to a different audience a Reddit-lite experience and to recapture Web traffic that diverts from the parent site when others poach Reddit articles.

The content itself is taken from Reddit, vetted and edited by the editorial team, and despite its name there is no “upvoting” that happens on the site. The lack of commenting is an attempt to differentiate the content from that of Reddit, where the tenor of commentary is a bit harsher than the average site.

How you can use it: As with any new content site, you probably want to be bearish about the distribution or promotion potential of the platform. It could become a source of content inspiration that serves as a kinder, gentler Reddit. Also, the curators are all accessible through Reddit. so there may be opportunity to pitch a Reddit story for consideration on Upvoted.

A version of this article first appeared on Cision.

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