As someone who is attached to the Internet, it’s hard to keep up with all of the changes taking place on apps and social networks and…phew, I’m getting exhausted just thinking about it. For people running a business whose primary purpose isn’t digital media, I can only imagine how tough it is. But staying abreast on what’s happening with the major channels means you can be ahead of your customers and not come across like a complete dummy. So, here are 5 social media updates that can help your business or are, at the very least, major food for thought. And I’ve included two bonus ones because let’s be real, I’m an overachiever.

Recent Updates in Social Media

1. Instagram pictures no longer need to be square. – Gone are the days of cropping photos and showing your true composition skills. Instagram’s latest udate allows you to share vertical and horizontal photos. See ya later, Whitagram! Well, I mean, unless you’re dying for your account to be riddled with white bars (I don’t judge, Steve Yeun makes it look good!). Your pictures will be preserved in their original glory while your account’s grid view remains consistently full.

2. Facebook lets you organize your feed. – You may be aware of the Facebook shift, but what you didn’t know about this change to the channel is you can now save a few of your faves for frequent viewing. You’re not limited to adding your besties to that list either. Instead of hiding massive clickbait-y media outlets (time suck!), you can select the ones you want to see daily and they’ll take priority in your feed. This might be one of my favorite changes because now I can save industry news, snarky sites (I’m looking at you, Jezebel), my favorite blogs and my top peeps without having to roll my eyes at other less interesting updates.

3. Snapchat shows you who’s watching. – What was once a network to share pure ridiculousness (code for sexting), has now turned into a must-have social platform for brands and people looking to narrow the connection gap. Along with the sticker style emoji change and travel mode, you can now EASILY see who is watching your Snapchat Stories. You’ve always been able to view, but not like this. Using this feature can give you a much better gauge on who your audience is and if you’re being watched (not stalkery at all) by bigger properties.

4. Tumblr makes mobile comment threads easier to read. – Whether they like it or not, users are now seeing comments or reblogs showing up in one single line instead of the old indented format. The new layout is fairly uncommon for commenting systems, but may be a good way to filter through engagements. Now users can see who is reblogging their content and hold rebloggers accountable for what they have said or posted–on the old system they could tweak captions. For brands, it allows the original poster to retain credit, which means you’ll know if they found content through you and who the influencers are in your community.

5. Periscope adds global map. – I’m completely fascinated by this update, especially as it relates to news. For businesses that help raise awareness for varying causes, have an international market, or publish topical content, this one will make the platform even more desirable. You used to have to scroll through tons of Periscope live feeds to find one of interest (I’m sorry I’m just not into watching people eat). You could seek people out, but weren’t really sure who to follow. Now, you can use the global map to watch local feeds, or better yet, see what’s going on internationally. When riots or festivals or protests take place, you can tap into them live and get multiple perspectives. Just think of the possibilities (I’m already imagining ways this can be used at NYFW)!



Facebook Notes feature gets a facelift. – Not sure if this one is a good update or a bad one (particularly for bloggers), but Facebook is giving blogging platforms a run for their money with the very basic, but visually enhanced Notes upgrade. In a move to keep users even more strapped to their Facebook Dashboard, Notes now looks nicer, allowing for a teeny bit of style and the inclusion of photos. Since Facebook gives priority to content that lives on the platform, it may be worth testing out the feature to make sure you’re still getting eyes on what you have to say.

Instagram amps up its private messaging. – When Instagram added the private image share function to compete with Snapchat, I didn’t take much notice. Yes, cute dog photos were shared with friends, but overall, I had group chats that were more robust and worth my time. But now they’ve made the feature even better. Instead of @ replying to someone on a random person’s image, you can now privately send the photo to a friend. You can also engage back with a private video or photo of your own. For brands, this feature could act as an amazing customer service tool. For celebs, a way to have a deeper connection with fans (live video calls are so 2013). And for networking, a picture alone might not get you a new client, but it can help start a dialogue that you previously didn’t want to have out in the open.