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3 New Social Features for Marketers to Be Aware Of

There’s no getting around it: social media can make your head spin. The social sphere changes at lightning speed, and when you’re an overwhelmed marketer trying to balance social with an endless list of other tasks, staying on top of the latest trends is more than just difficult — it’s unrealistic.

So in an attempt to make the process easier, we’ve compiled a few recent social updates that marketers should be aware of, as well as a few ideas for incorporating them into your marketing strategy. Here’s a quick run-down on three new social media features that have been rolled out in the last month: Twitter Cards, Instagram videos, and Facebook hashtags.

Twitter Cards

Perhaps the most interesting recent development from a business standpoint is a feature that Twitter rolled out in late May: Twitter Cards. In an attempt to make Twitter a more powerful lead generation tool for businesses, Twitter Cards allow prospects to instantly and securely share their email address with a business without ever leaving Twitter. Consider the example below (provided by Twitter):

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For B2B marketers, it’s important to consider the limitations of this scenario: for one thing, the information you’re able to collect from this one-click sign up — name, email, and Twitter handle — may not be enough information to accomplish some goals (let’s say, signing them up for an event), and you may have to reach out for more information. For another, the email associated with the prospect’s Twitter account may not be their business email. But you’ll still want to keep an eye on this interesting new direction for Twitter and explore possible uses for this feature — particularly when you consider that it can be directly integrated with your marketing automation platform.

Instagram Videos

Video sharing apps have been all the rage lately (think Vine and Snapchat), and Instagram wasted no time in catching up. If you’ve already set up an Instagram account for your company, getting ahead of this new trend is easy: just make sure you have the latest update installed, switch from the camera icon to the video icon, take your phone off of silent if you want sound, and you’re ready to record!

True, they may not have the lead generation perks of Twitter Cards, but Instagram videos can be a great way to make your brand seem more creative, personable, and fun. Use these 15-second videos to show off your company culture and let your followers get a glimpse of the people behind your brand. Or, better yet, allow followers to interact with your brand by setting up a hashtag, holding a contest for the best video, and offering a prize (“Show us your favorite thing about our product in 15 seconds or less”).

Facebook Hashtags

Earlier this month, Facebook jumped on the hashtag bandwagon to allow for categorized topics and phrases on the world’s largest social network. As of yesterday, they also rolled out these changes for their mobile app and introduced related hashtags, which show similar hashtags posted around the same time.

So how can you utilize this feature in your marketing?

Well, start by conducting a quick search on the hashtags for common buzzwords in your industry; if they’re seeing any action, make sure your company is represented. But the fact is, if you’re in the B2B realm with a somewhat less than sexy product, the odds that your prospects will turn to Facebook hashtags to research your solution are slim to none.

So get a little more creative with things: hashtags can also be a great way to organize your own posted content. Creating a unique tag for a specific type of content (say you have a fun name for your webinar series) allows users to quickly access everything that shares that tag. Hashtags are all about allowing users to access more information and join conversations on a topic, which should always be a central goal in your marketing.

What are some other creative ways to use these new trends in social media? We’d love to hear from you in our comments section!