Yes, those Facebook images are bigger. No, the changes to Google won’t necessarily deep-six your company’s placement in search results. And no, you’re not the only one who has noticed how much traffic Pinterest and Instagram are now driving to small businesses.
With so many sweeping changes across the social media landscape, how can you possibly keep up? What follows is a look at the most notable new features of Google, Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest and Twitter.
The latest change to Google’s algorithm affects the way content is ranked and indexed. Specifically, the search giant no longer makes a user’s natural search keywords freely available to marketers. Also, content that's shared, liked and otherwise deemed valuable by its target audience appears higher in search engine results.
These changes reinforce that search engine optimization has never been about keyword stuffing in an attempt to manipulate your company’s placement in Google’s search engine results. Instead, compelling content that adds value and engages readers is what bubbles to the top.
There are three big changes on Facebook:
1. The new Facebook for Business Page helps small businesses increase their visibility on the network with marketing tips, advertising resources, and an active blog packed with great insight and advice.
2. There are now more than 100,000 individual weights determining how prominently your posts appear in users’ newsfeeds. While Facebook isn’t sharing the specific criteria, three critical factors are:
- How much users engage with your content in terms of sharing, commenting and liking.
- How often users interact with your page.
- Whether users are hiding or reporting your posts as spam.
3. Now that Facebook supports bigger images, make sure your pictures follow the recommended guideline (400 x 209 pixels) to effectively tell your visual story on the network.
Instagram now has 150 million users, and there are an estimated 55 million photos uploaded daily to the site. Three big benefits of adding Instagram to your marketing arsenal are:
- It allows you to easily tell a visual story while engaging other users.
- It helps show the human side of your business, such as happy customers, motivated employees or the interesting processes behind your company.
- It broadens your reach without a lot of extra effort because you can easily link your Instagram profile to your Facebook Page and Twitter feed.
Earlier this year, Pinterest introduced free Web analytics tools that offer great insight into user data, including how many visitors refer traffic to your site and the number of views for each pin.
Also, Pinterest’s new “article pin” allows you to share and post content from around the Web, including your blog, so you can engage more followers and drive additional traffic to your website. To learn how to do this, go to the Pinterest Business Blog.
And last but not least, Twitter now lets you receive direct messages from any of your followers. This is great news, especially if you want to take public conversations, including grievances, private.
All of these changes found across the social media platforms are designed to help you better connect with your customers and measure that engagement. If you find the options a bit overwhelming, just pick one or two platforms where your customers are spending their time, and really commit to building a meaningful presence.
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Photo: Getty Images