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The Marketing Edge – 5 new Facebook and Instagram features you shouldn’t miss

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If you use social media channels for marketing your business, staying on top of new features that are consistently rolled out for platforms such as Facebook and Instagram is important. Facebook bought out Instagram in 2012, and since then the popular photo sharing application has gone through a rebrand and introduced new and helpful features to users. Facebook is always introducing new things as well, whether they be for personal accounts or business accounts.

Here are a few new Facebook and Instagram features that you should take advantage of:

Facebook’s “Messenger Day” and “Instagram Stories”

One of the first new Facebook and Instagram features that may be of interest to marketers is Facebook’s “Messenger Day” and Instagram’s “Instagram Stories” features. Snapchat, now called “Snap,” has over 100 million daily users, according to Hootsuite, and it’s obvious that the folks at Facebook are trying to mimic the popular platform with features of their own.

The “Messenger Day” feature functions just like Snapchat and includes stickers, filters, and more — all of which disappear after 24 hours. The “Instagram Stories” feature “lets you share all the moments of your day, not just the ones you want to keep on your profile. As you share multiple photos and videos, they appear together in a slideshow format: your story.” This feature mimics the Snapchat story tool, and can help your business connect with customers in new ways. Keep in mind that Snapchat generally caters to younger users, and because these features mimic Snapchat in so many ways, it may be safe to assume that younger users of Facebook and Instagram will also dominate use of these features — that’s yet to be seen, of course.

Facebook Messenger Reactions

According to AdEspresso by Hootsuite, Facebook Messenger has shown some users a reactions option. Much like the reactions you can choose when engaging with a Facebook post, the messenger reactions offer the option to use dislike, wow, sad, angry, and other emojis. This isn’t as important for businesses, especially because it may appear unprofessional to interact in this way with customers who may message you, but it’s still important to keep an eye on.

Multi-Image Posts with Instagram Carousel

Instagram now offers the option to include multiple images in one post. You might be thinking, “but you can already do that by using a layout.” You’d be right, but layouts can be limiting. The Instagram Carousel feature allows you to choose 10 photos that users can swipe through. This eliminates perky posting of a bunch of photos every day, and helps you offer a more cohesive look at something — maybe it’s a three-course dinner at your restaurant, or the process of soap making at your shop. Whatever you choose to use this feature for, it can be a useful way of providing your Instagram followers with more photos to engage with.

Additional Facebook Ad Features and Tools

Ad breaks have been introduced to Facebook’s videos, which allows publishers the opportunity to insert short ads into the videos they upload (or advertisers to pay to get their ads seen on a publisher’s video). New developments have been made for this feature, which you can read more about on Facebook.

According to AdEspresso by Hootsuite, Facebook also plans to bring ad measurement tools that were previously only available to large advertisers to business manager. “Product Marketing Director for Measurement Scott Shapiro said Facebook will be launching a new area of the Facebook Business Manager called Advanced Measurement, where it will be making Atlas capabilities available in a self-serve way,” AdEspresso reported. “In the future, the advanced reporting capacity will be available to tens of thousands of marketers using Facebook’s ad tools.”

This is an interesting feature to keep an eye out for, especially since it can help you improve the way you deliver ads.

Instagram Story Ads

Instagram has also rolled out a feature called “story ads.” “Ads in stories will let you use targeting, reach and measurement capabilities that make your ads personally relevant to the people you want to reach—which is unmatched in a stories experience today,” Instagram reports. They have also added insights to their stories feature, which will allow you to see how your stories are performing, and if it’s worth it to invest time (and money) into maintaining the feature and creating ads. 

While some of these new Facebook and Instagram features are still being rolled out, it is clear to see their potential for businesses -- especially those who advertise on these platforms.

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