Social Media Report - Friday 1st April 2016

Hot Topic...

Snapchat revamp launches ‘Chat 2.0’

Snapchat has updated its platform with a slew of new features allowing users to morph conversations between mediums, depending on what they want to show or tell. The changes now allow people to video or audio call someone at any time, effectively serving as a phone, and turning it into a full communication suite. There are also over 200 new stickers, and it has been made easier to send photos and videos whilst chatting, so users can access their camera roll from the messaging screen while talking. Snapchat is positioning itself as the most human and holistic way to chat. ‘We want Chat to be the best way to communicate - second only to hanging out face-to-face,’ the platform said in a blog post. The social network is also changing its terms of service to include a new privacy centre which it claims will ‘making things clearer’ about safety features like not showing a user’s friends a history of everything they've ever posted.

Snapchat is also reported to have acquired cartoon emoji app Bitstrips for over $100m, as it continues to compete with Facebook. The app allows users to create an avatar of themselves and send it via an in app keyboard. The acquisition follows Facebook’s buyout of MSQRD, an app that allows users to swap faces with people or things, a feature also utilised by Snapchat.

PR and Marketing in Social Media...

Eurostar campaign sees Instagram sideways

Instagram users who flip their device horizontally can scroll through an online Instagram 'tapestry' called @LaVieOnBoard, made up of hundreds of animated and still images, and discover hidden offers from nine museum partners. The ‘illustrated narrative’ of life on a Eurostar train was developed by AKQA to promote a new fleet of e320 trains on the London-Paris route. To kick start the campaign, Eurostar partnered with a number of popular Instagrammers, including French fashion editor Adenorah, food blogger Plus une miette and London-based photographer By Afrique. They hosted social competitions inviting their followers to post a travel selfie and tag it with #eurostar to win prizes including the chance to be illustrated within the Instagram narrative.

Lionel Benbassat, Eurostar’s marketing director, said: ‘This Instagram horizontal canvas idea has immediately seduced us. It allows us to discover in a playful way all the features of our new trains, and it gives users a preview of their travelling experience from London to Paris.

Social Media Brands...

Twitter improves accessibility for the visually impaired

Photos can now be tagged with an image description, as Twitter enhances its functionality to improve accessibility for its visually impaired users. The new tag option allows people with the Apple and iOS app to describe their pictures in up to 420 characters. Visually impaired users are then able to access and read the description using an automated text reader. Recent statistics have shown that tweets including an image generate 313% higher engagement than non-visual posts. The feature not only helps with accessibility but may also make it easier for search engines to identify specific tweets, making it easier to match labelled posts with search terms. The tool could also be useful for publishers.

Twitter has pushed ahead with a number of improvements to its service, agreeing to increase the 140 character limit for tweets as well as considering the possibility of offering the ability to edit tweets. The social network has not revealed information on when it might introduce the image tag functionality for web users.

Instagram offers users the option to post longer videos

Following the recent launch of its 60-second video feature to brands in the UK and US, Instagram is now offering the option to its everyday users. The update was announced on the platform in a star-studded video featuring creators such as Bretman Rock and Jack Johnson. ‘We want to bring fun, flexible and creative ways to create and watch video on Instagram’, the social network announced in a blog post. It also teased that the new feature ‘is one step of many you’ll see this year’. Previously videos were capped at 15-seconds for everyday users, and it is hoped the longer video option will give people a greater opportunity to tell a story, moving closer to YouTube territory.

Instagram noted the amount of time users spend watching videos on the platform has risen by more than 40% in the past six months. The new update also reintroduced the ability to create videos using multiple clips in a iOS version.

Pinterest launches interactive How-to Pins

Pinterest has unveiled a new type of Pin that offers step-by-step instructions on a variety of subjects from cooking to styling. The How-to-Pin has been introduced to further engage users and brands, whereby people can follow and complete a Pinterest guide, as well as search and repost the pins or access them via the profile page of the brand without having to leave the platform. The pins have been rolled-out in the US, UK, France and Germany via Android and web, with iOS set to follow.

More than 25 organisations and brands are providing content for the interactive feature without being charged, according to product manager for Pins Jason Costa, who also noted individual users will not be able to create the pins themselves. So far How-to-Pins have been used by popular accounts on the social network, such as Seventeen and

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