Important Social Media Changes & Updates You May Have Missed

Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and LinkedIn have all made changes that affect how financial marketers work in social channels. Here's a recap.

High-quality, personalized content is what social networks expect from brands in 2014. Keeping up with these recent updates and changes will ensure that financial institutions are utilizing all available opportunities to increase engagement on social media.

Social media is always changing due to platform updates, the addition of features and edits to network algorithms. In 2014, social networks began noticeably shifting their focus to encourage more user-controlled, personalized, high-quality content from brands on social media. Keeping up with these trends will ensure that a financial institution is utilizing all available opportunities to increase engagement on social media.

Whether your bank or credit union is active on some or many social networks, it is important to stay current with changes so you can provide the best experience for your fans and followers. Both the financial institution and consumers benefit from increased engagement across social media channels.

With that in mind, here are some of the social media updates you may have missed.

YouTube: Added 3-Second Intros

Financial institutions utilize YouTube in a variety of different ways. Some use the social network to post their commercial videos to promote products, while others understand the importance of providing educational material to their customers or members. Those that create content that is not necessarily promotional (but still intended to help brand the financial institution overall), may be interested in this new YouTube feature.

Content creators can now add a 3-second intro to all of the videos on their channel. They will not have to individually update each video with the intro, and instead, they can upload the introductory video to automatically start before every video on their channel.

Here are Mashable’s instructions for using the new feature: “To set it up, you need to upload the 3-second introductory video as an unlisted video, and then select “add a channel branding intro” on your channel’s InVideo Programming page. Then you can choose which videos the intro will appear on.”

According to Mashable, YouTube also notes that the intros may not be used as ads, sponsorships, or product placements — they’re mainly a tool to help you promote your brand.

By uploading this 3-second video to all of the videos on your channel, your financial institution can quickly promote its brand while maximizing the search power of educationally-focused videos.

Facebook: Changed the News Feed (Again!)

Facebook regularly makes updates to their profiles, company pages and news feed. Over the last few months, Facebook has made a variety of changes, mostly to the news feed, based on the perceived likes and dislikes of each individual Facebook user. Facebook has begun to fully customize the user experience by attempting to provide the most relevant content possible.

Here are some of the recent changes that are likely the most relevant for the financial services industry:

High-quality content, particularly news stories and hot topics, will be shown more regularly to Facebook users. Even though Facebook only surfaces about 20% of the stories per day that could actually appear in the news feed, Facebook is putting additional emphasis on breaking news stories and social conversations. Sorry folks, “meme photos” are no longer considered high-quality content by today’s Facebook standard. Similarly, you’ll notice that a lot of this content will be regularly resurfaced so that Facebook can almost guarantee that you’ll see the content. The lesson for financial institutions is to continue to provide newsworthy, relevant content that is engaging to your customers. In other words, know what your customers want to see and continue to post similar content. This can be achieved by reviewing your page analytics and making necessary adjustments to your posting strategy.

Just because memes are no longer encouraged, it doesn’t mean that you should forego posting humorous visual content. In fact, Facebook has increased the size of photos to extend the entire width of the news feed. This will help drive more visual interest to the content on your page. Invest in creating content that is considered relevant, newsworthy information with an engaging photo that complements the piece.

Banks and credit unions should also consider connecting with other brands on Facebook that offer content that is similar in nature to the services they provide, such as financial experts and bloggers. Why is this important? Facebook encourages brands to share content with each other and is now actually condoning it by increasing the exposure of those posts. Now, if a brand tags another brand in a post, their content can now reach fans of both brand pages. This update will increase the exposure of your brand to a much broader audience than your fans alone.

Facebook bans ‘Like-baiting.’ It was no secret that social media experts encouraged brands to ask fans to like, comment or share posts in order to increase engagement with their pages. This trick helped ensure that the fans would see more of the brand’s content in their news feed in the future. However, Facebook has now announced that this former “tip” is now considered gaming the Facebook system.

Video ads that appear in the news feed will now auto-play (without sound). Video auto-play was added months ago for Facebook users, but will now be supported for paying advertisers. So get your latest commercial ready for posting!

Twitter: Converted to a New Profile Look

If you’ve logged into Twitter recently, you’ll notice that you have the option to convert to a brand new look. While the look may be new to Twitter, you’ll likely notice that the structure of the page is not unfamiliar if you’re accustomed to the similar-looking structure of a Facebook page. Before converting to the new look, be certain to adjust the financial institution’s profile picture to 400×400 pixels, and rework the profile header to 1500×500 pixels. Additionally, if there was disclaimer information located in the Twitter background, this information may need to be moved into the Twitter header image to be visible in Twitter’s new look.

In another development, Twitter is also now making “Lead Generation Cards” available to advertisers. All Twitter advertisers now have access to Twitter’s Lead Generation Cards, where previously they were limited to a small number of elite advertisers. Twitter considers Lead Generation Cards to be a streamlined tool to help advertisers find and connect off-Twitter with users interested in their message. The tool can be set up from start to finish in a matter of minutes, and can allow you to easily access and download all of your leads, metrics and reports.

LinkedIn: Removed Products & Services Tab From Company Profile Pages

As with all things in social media, the time has come for even LinkedIn to change. Starting April 14th, LinkedIn discontinued the Products & Services tab on all LinkedIn Company Pages. While LinkedIn has not exactly offered a replacement solution yet, they suggest that you regularly post Company Page Updates and consider utilizing Showcase Pages. More on that here.

Neither option really replaces the Products & Services tab though. Financial institutions no longer have the opportunity to crosslink from LinkedIn to specific areas of their website through these product pages. To keep traffic flowing from LinkedIn to their website, financial institutions should consider regularly posting content via status updates that link to various pages on their websites. This helps to increase traffic from LinkedIn to the website and allows potential customers and members to grasp the various product options available to them. Similarly, sponsored updates (similar to a promoted post on Facebook) could be used advertise certain products to a very defined target audience.

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