By: Bethany Pappas, Summer 2018 Intern 

The popularity of social media has had a huge impact on the marketing and PR world. Since its origin, social media has quickly become one of the most popular PR techniques for businesses across the board. Maintaining a positive image on social media is not only critical for success, but it can also be a fun way to showcase brand creativity. One of the greatest marketing aspects of social media is that it is constantly updating and evolving. Here are some PR and Social Media things we are loving this week! First let’s begin with my personal favorite, Instagram. 

1.     You can now add hashtags and profile links to your Instagram profile

This is one of Instagram’s newest and most overdue features. Clickable links were already available in Instagram bios, but as of late March, users can also include live links to other Instagram profiles in their bios. Adding an @ sign in your bio allows your followers to get to other profiles you associate with quickly and easily. When you mention another account in your profile, they receive a notification and can choose to remove or accept the link from your profile to theirs. In addition, users can also add functioning hashtags in their bios. Including a hashtag in your Instagram bio allows users to be connected to a hashtag page which contains other posts that include that same hashtag. Branded hashtags are a big PR tool over social media, and Instagram just created a way to expand on this! 

2.     Instagram is reportedly developing a Data Portability Tool

The Data Portability tool that Instagram is reportedly developing will allow users to download the content they have previously uploaded onto Instagram. This content includes pictures, videos, and possibly direct messages. The reported development of a Data Portability Tool is more or less related to staying compliant with the upcoming European GDPR privacy law, which requires data portability. Data portability allows users to download their content and potentially upload it on another form of social media. This is a great addition to Instagram because unlike Facebook, Instagram users were unable to save or download images off of any profiles—including their own. This addition is sure to help even the playing field and give Instagram users more control over their content.

3.     You can broadcast live with a guest on Instagram

Instagram took their live broadcast feature up a notch by allowing users and brands the ability to broadcast live with a guest. Using a split screen format, this can be a fun feature for friends or a strategic branding technique for businesses. This is a great feature for brands because they can invite business partners or even social media influencers to co-host a live broadcast session. Incorporating other brands or influencers can help generate a large amount of attention. In addition, if a broadcast achieves a significant following, it can show up on Instagram’s Explore tab and receive more press. In a world of increasing video content, Instagram created the perfect touch!

4.     Instagram voting poll update

At first, Instagram’s addition of stories got some mixed emotions for “copying snapchat,” but let’s be honest—now we’re obsessed. Although Instagram wasn’t the first to come up with a story, they were the first to feature voting polls on their stories. Poll voting through Instagram stories is a game changer because it allows companies to interact with their followers and get direct feedback from them. Just recently, Instagram updated this feature even further and released the emoji slider poll. This new feature lets users answer questions by sliding an emoji based on their agreement or disagreement with your statement. The addition of an emoji allows users to add more detail to the tone of the question, and the option to slide the emoji to an individual desired length allows for a wider and more personalized range of responses. 

5.     Facebook Watch

Facebook might be older than Instagram, but that doesn’t mean it can’t keep up.Creating a video strategy is an important part of maintaining relevance in the social media world. Video content in any form has become tremendously popular over the last few years. For example, YouTube has become one of the most popular forms of social media for the younger generation due to the new trend of vlogging, AKA video blogging. Facebook recognized the growing trend of video content, and in response created Facebook Watch. Watch is a platform for watching TV-like shows via Facebook. Users will see shows based on their interests and what their friends are watching, thanks to highlights like “Most Talked About.” Watch is a great addition to Facebook because it gives users the content they are most interested in, and it allows brands to target and therefore increase viewers based on their interests.