3 New Social-Media Features That’ll Help You Stay Close to Your Customers

Recent changes in Facebook Messenger, Pinterest and Instagram features could be useful for understanding and reaching out to your customers. 

Bright-colored paper craft art of speech bubbles representing communication with your customers through social media
Look for new tools and messaging features on your favorite social media platforms. Getty Images

Social-media companies are constantly tweaking their platforms to add new features that help small stores or other dance businesses stay in better touch with their customers—or learn more about what they want. Here are three recent social-media updates that could be useful for your business.

Facebook Messenger for Business

A new feature allows businesses to get back in touch with potential customers with relevant updates. To reduce spam, Facebook normally has strict limits on how often a business can contact potential customers via Messenger. Businesses have 24 hours to respond to a message initiated by a potential customer. Facebook’s rationale: “People expect businesses to respond quickly to their messages and—not surprisingly—businesses achieve better outcomes when they respond in a timely manner.” Still, there are times when a potential client or customer may explicitly ask to receive a one-time notification from a business: a price alert, a back-in-stock alert or an announcement that tickets for an event are now on sale, for instance.

The new one-time notification API (application programming interface) lets businesses send a message to a user asking if they want to be notified on a particular topic, the announcement explained—and then get back to the person outside of the 24 hours. “If the user asks to be notified, the business receives a token [a small piece of programming] and can use this token to send out the notification with the information the user requested at a later time.” For example, say a dancer is shopping for a leotard, but it’s out of stock. You ask if the customer wants to be notified when the leotard is back in the store, and she says yes to receiving a notification via Messenger. When the item is back in stock, your business uses this API token to let the customer know via Messenger that the leo is now available. 


Instagram has begun testing direct messaging in its website version. For marketers and small businesses who send a lot of DMs, having access to them on their laptop or desktop computer, not just via their smartphones, could be very useful. You’ll be able to create new groups or start a chat with someone and double-tap to like a message, but you can also send attachments, such as photos or videos and sort and handle messages into useful categories: unread, sent and received messages. Some of these tasks are a lot easier on a desktop, with a big screen and keyboard than they are on a phone. Stay tuned for further details on any further rollout of this feature after the test.


Marketers often turn to Google Trends for insights on seasonal trends and popular searches. Now Pinterest Trends will also bring businesses and marketers insights into consumer behavior. “More than 200 billion ideas have been saved to over 4 billion boards to-date on the platform,” Pinterest points out, making it a natural source for insights into emerging trends and “early signals into consumer behavior and evolving tastes.” The new tool, available on desktop, will provide an overview of the top U.S. search terms [on Pinterest] in the last 12 months, and when those terms peak “so you can understand how content performs on Pinterest.” For more consumer insights, also check out the Pinterest 100, another trend-watch tool released for 2020. Pinterest continues to focus on new features for marketers and businesses. In 2019 it overtook Snapchat to become the third largest social-media platform.