Social platform updates (and trends to keep an eye on)

I write a weekly roundup of what’s changed in social media for WGBH’s national producers, and have decided to begin sharing the wider lessons here on my blog. Hopefully this will become a valuable resource for social media managers and executives who do not have the time or bandwidth to keep up with the daily changes and shifts in social media best practices.

Platform updates from the week

  • Snapchat introduced three new publishers this week to its Discover platform: Tastemade, IGN, and Mashable. The Discover page now allows you to scroll down to view all 15 publisher channels.
  • Instagram now allows landscape and vertical images and video, in addition to the classic Instagram square.
  • Facebook has pledged to actively combat “freebooting,” with new rights management tools including video matching technology, enhanced reporting tools and IP policies. More info here.
  • GIFs.com has launched, allowing creators to host their own GIFs with links to the source and attribution.
  • Facebook introduces a “Donate Now” button for Non-Profit Facebook page posts and link ads. Check it out in action on WGBH’s Facebook page.

Social trends to keep an eye on

  • The evolution of LinkedIn: As LinkedIn becomes increasingly a publisher in its own right (the average # of articles published to LinkedIn has grown from 500k to 3 million monthly), it is driving less and less referral traffic. [Editorial note: Don’t read this as a reason to abandon your investment in the platform, but start to see it as an important part of your distributed content strategy.]
  • Citing the shift of conversation to social media, the Daily Beast killed its comments section this week (part of a larger movement, see here).
  • The New York Times becomes one of the first to use Facebook’s enhanced Notes section as a publishing platform.
  • More from the Times: This Digiday article details how the NYT has achieved success (in some cases, a 70% open rate) with newsletters by creating more newsletter options about niche topics — instead of more generalized digests.
  • Here’s how Facebook decides what to put on its “Trending” section. A good look into the mysterious Facebook API.
  • A Nielsen study shows the link between Twitter activity and program buzz — and identifies opportunities for maximizing the impact of Twitter for your TV program.
  • Instagram ads are showing promise, delivering click-through rates almost double that of Facebook. The average cost-per-click is higher than Facebook’s, but the high engagement rates from Instagram show that the platform might be a worthwhile investment in the future.

The downsides of autoplay

The shift of social platforms towards autoplaying videos showed its dark side this week, when the shooter in the Virginia journalist killings uploaded his deed to both Twitter and Facebook. Despite many journalists’ pleas, the video was shared in thousands of newsfeeds, not allowing for users to choose whether to watch the upsetting video or not. The incident has started a lot of conversations in the social media and journalism communities about the ethics of autoplay, and I wouldn’t be surprised if Facebook introduces an alternative to the feature in the near future.

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