Engagement is a key success metric for many brands on social media. While likes, comments and shares are nothing new, it appears that the biggest social media platforms are heavily investing in new tools and features to help brands deepen their connection with followers.
Over at Meta, Instagram is rolling out their popular interactive sticker, Polls, in the comment section of feed posts and Reels. In an effort to revive waning usage numbers, Threads is set to score a new DM feature to inspire 1:1 conversations between brands and customers.
Plus, the team at TikTok are expanding their ad placement options with a bold new initiative, and Google is making it easier for businesses to promote and leverage their social media channels in business listings.
Clearly, there’s a lot to cover – so let’s get right to it.
Instagram is currently testing Polls in the comments section
Have you heard the news? Instagram’s oh-so-popular Polls feature is coming soon to the comments section of feed posts and Instagram Reels.
The news comes after Instagram chief Adam Mosseri and Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg confirmed the feature is currently being tested by a small pool of users. In fact, Polls are set to land in the comments section across both the Instagram and Facebook platforms.
While the feature is still in the early stages of development, we know that Polls will appear as an option when publishing your feed post or Reel. Just like on Instagram Stories and in DMs, you’ll be able to ask a short question, followed by up to four custom response options.
This will be a powerful new feature for brands and creators looking to boost organic visibility on Meta’s platforms. We know that Polls are an interactive feature that increases view time on posts, which is a key factor used by both algorithms to rank and prioritize content. The longer the view time, the more likely your posts will appear in other users’ feeds!
Plus, Polls offer users the ability to share their thoughts, feedback, opinions and preferences with creators through a simple, one-touch interaction. If you’re looking to gather user feedback on an upcoming product release or new content idea, Polls enable you to score real-time insights from your followers at scale (with a low barrier to entry key to generating a higher volume of responses).
Want to capitalize on this new feature once it’s rolled out globally? Here are a few high-impact wants to harness Polls in comments on Instagram and Facebook:
• Road-test a potential product or service idea: Not sure if a new product or service will gain traction with your customers? Get early-stage feedback from your followers by running a Poll in the comments section of your teaser post, helping you to make data-driven decisions about what offering to roll out next.
Poll prompt idea: “We need your help! Which [product/service] would you like to see next from us?”
• Gather insights into your audience’s key problems or challenges: Want to craft content and refine your offering to solve the problems your audience is facing? Get your audiences involved and ask them directly what key challenges they’re navigating. This can help you refine your positioning and offering to better align with the real-world needs of your ideal customers.
Poll prompt idea: “Help us help you! What is the biggest roadblock you’re facing right now?
• Build anticipation and engagement on your upcoming content: One of the best ways to boost engagement is to give your audience a voice in your content. Which Reel should you share next? What FAQ should you answer in an upcoming carousel? What problem should you solve in your next how-to tutorial? Use Polls to gather audience feedback and get users to weigh in on what you’ll post to Instagram and Facebook next.
Poll prompt idea: “Have your say! Which Reel topic should we post tonight at [TIME]?”
Hot tip: remember that your questions on Instagram Polls can be up to 80 characters, and each response option should be 24 characters or less.
TikTok expands ad placements with new ‘Out of Phone’ option
Looking to experiment with paid ad campaigns on TikTok? You’re in luck: TikTok has just launched its new out-of-home advertising solution (cleverly titled ‘Out of Phone’) to give brands the ability to leverage TikTok content outside of the platform.
@tiktoknewsroomIntroducing Out of Phone! This new out-of-home solution enables brands and partners to extend TikTok content beyond the platform, into the real world through screens on billboards, in cinemas, restaurants, airports, gas stations, retail stores, and more.🌎 🤩 Learn more at the link in our bio!♬ Canyons – Official Sound Studio
Out of Phone will enable brands to display TikTok clips and content through screens on billboards, kiosks, retail stores, gas stations, airports, and automobiles, as well as at cinemas, bars and restaurants. Currently, this ad option offers three key placements:
• Out of Phone – Billboard
• Out of Phone – Cinema
• Out of Phone – Other Screens
The goal is to give advertisers an opportunity to amplify their content outside of the TikTok platform, ensuring your campaigns are reaching the widest audience possible.
The catch? Out of Phone is likely to come with a high price tag, meaning it is best suited to larger companies and big brands (rather than smaller businesses and emerging brands).
While it might be out of budget for many brands using TikTok for business, this new ad placement gives us a good insight into the future of social advertising. Taking short-form video content off-platform is likely to be a common tactic used by household names and big brands looking to reach millions, if not billions, of customers across the globe.
If nothing else, this new feature reveals the power of bite-sized vertical video in helping brands and businesses reach new audiences, build trust and inspire conversion at scale.
Threads is set to launch its own direct messaging option
With usage plummeting over 80% just a month after launch, Threads (a.k.a. The Meta team) is doing everything it can to boost user engagement.
The latest focus for the platform is this: launching direct messaging tools on Threads. In an effort to compete with its closest rival, X, Threads is now working on DMs as a new communication tool for brands and creators.
Post by @datadrivenmd
View on Threads
This update is still in the early days, with developers spotting new code in the backend of the iOS Threads app that hints at the launch of new end-to-end encrypted direct messaging (perhaps even with ephemeral functionality, meaning messages will disappear after a certain time period, too).
With DMs proving to be one of the most popular engagement features on Meta’s other platforms (Facebook and Instagram), we’re not surprised to see Threads scoring the same level of DM functionality. While we know Meta has long-term plans to integrate DMs across their suite of platforms, this latest update seems to be driven by strong user demand for DMs on Threads and a desire to keep up with the platform’s biggest rival, X.
This update also comes as we begin to see a shift in usage on Threads, with the app climbing from #40 to #20 on the global downloads charts in October 2023. It’s a small yet significant indication that X’s dominance might be waning as more users become concerned about the direction Elon Musk is taking the platform (with Threads now positioned as the obvious alternative platform).
Google is allowing more businesses to add social media links to their Business Listings
Finally, businesses of all sizes have scored a win from Google. Now, most brands in most regions will be able to add social media links to their Google Business profile.
It comes after the launch of social links to Google Business profiles in August 2023. At the time, only a select number of businesses and regions had access to the feature.
Now, most businesses should be able to tap into this tool, allowing you to add links to your Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, Pinterest, TikTok, X and YouTube profiles. Simply log in to your Google Business profile, select Edit Profile and Business Information. Under the Contact section, you’ll now be able to add social links.
While it might seem like a small change, this latest update is a powerful way to drive organic traffic to your brand’s social media profiles and expand your reach with high-intent users already searching for your business on Google.
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