A Guide to Using the Latest Social Media Changes to Your Advantage

Social media sites like Twitter and Instagram are constantly evolving and tweaking their settings in the hopes of attracting new users and creating a better experience for their current user base. Facebook, for example, is famous for frequently changing up its features and privacy settings.

While many are annoyed by these seemingly constant adjustments, others choose to make the best of new features and updates by using them to their marketing advantage. Here’s a round up of several social media sites’ latest changes, along with tips for how your company can use them to grow its online presence.

Google+: Now offers customized URLs. Previously, Google+ only allowed major company accounts such as NBC, or well-known celebrities like Mariah Carey, to have a Google+ url personalized with their name, rather than a long line of numbers like regular users. But starting this month, Google+ gives you the option to customize your URL to your name – or your practice’s name, if your company also has a Google+ account.

This change will help with your personal branding by making it easier for others to find and remember your Google+ URL. Just take note that it will contain the + character before your name, like this:

Twitter: Now allows DMs from users who you don’t follow. A direct message, abbreviated as DM, allows you to have a private conversation with just one Twitter account, rather than tweeting @ each other on your timelines. Previously, users could only send a DM to accounts that had followed them back.

You can use this new change as a networking tool by sending direct messages introducing yourself to users who are relevant in your field. However, make sure that your messages are friendly, professional and do not read like spam. As a way of possibly preventing DM spam, Twitter appears to be changing users’ ability to send URL links in DM messages, according to the below warning, although whether this change is permanent remains to be seen.

Facebook: Now has clickable hashtags. Following in Twitter’s footsteps, Facebook recently rolled out a feature that allows you to brows other users’ public content by doing a hashtag search, like I did below.

Also, if you make a Facebook post containing a hashtag, you can then simply click on the hashtagged word to see what others are saying about that topic. Adding hashtags to your company’s posts will make it easier for your content to reach more users and will increase your online presence.

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