Facebook, Google+, YouTube, Pinterest, Twitter Get Major Redesigns: What You Need to Know

By Laura Christianson

“Goodbye clutter.”

Facebook’s moniker for its redesigned News Feed also applies to Google+, YouTube, and Twitter, all of which have received makeovers. The new designs organize written content into clean, user-friendly modules and play up images and videos.

As you read through each network’s changes, log in to your own account and spruce up your profile. A fresh profile will help you showcase your brand in the most compelling manner.

Facebook

Images have become Facebook’s hallmark, with 50 percent of the total news feed content consisting of photos and videos. As such, Facebook is displaying photos and videos much larger in the news feed and is letting users overlay text captions atop images.

The redesign creates a unified user experience across desktop, tablet, and mobile devices. A collapsible left-hand menu simplifies navigation and allows users to filter the content they view into category-specific feeds.

Facebook redesign

  • The “All Friends” feed displays a full, unfiltered stream of all your friends’ status updates, photos, check-ins, and links, in chronological order.
  • The “Most Recent” feed displays a filtered stream of your friends’ comments and likes on posts, pages, and public figures they follow. It also displays the people they’ve recently friended.
  • The “Following” feed displays posts from Facebook brand pages you like, from public figures you follow, and from people whose personal updates you “follow.” It also displays posts from pages your friends like.
  • The “Music” feed displays what your friends are listening to, new albums being released, and recommendations of artists you might like.
  • The “Photos” feed displays photos only – those uploaded to Facebook as well as photos shared from Instagram and other photo-sharing apps.

Facebook is encouraging users to share content more often by increasing the size of the image, title, and article summary in stories shared in the news feed. Shared stories pull in thumbnails of the sharers’ profile image.

It also appears that when you “friend” someone, Facebook displays elements of your new friend’s timeline, cover photo — even thumbnails of their friends or likes. (Hopefully, Facebook will allow us to decide how much of this information we want to remain private.)

 

Facebook Friends

Facebook’s redesign applies to personal timelines, but I predict we’ll soon see similar changes on Facebook brand pages.

To join the wait list for the new design, visit https://www.facebook.com/about/newsfeed

Here’s a video from Facebook that highlights the changes.

YouTube Preview Image

Google+

It’s obvious that Google intends to give Facebook and LinkedIn a run for their money with the attractive upgrades they’ve given to personal profiles and brand pages.

Google+ has super-sized its cover photo. Now a whopping 2120 by 1192 pixels, the photo hogs most – if not all – of your screen. Unlike Facebook, Google+ allows you to overlay your cover photo with a call-to-action that touts your products and services.

The Google+ About page for personal profiles features five easy-to-edit modules:

  1. People
  2. Story
  3. Contact Information
  4. Links
  5. Community

When you edit each module on your profile and brand page, you’ll discover that you can add significantly more content than before. You can also add direct links to various web pages on which you publish content. Since Google indexes its users’ profiles and pages, beefing up your content may help your search engine ranking.

A handy change for brand pages is an at-a-glance view of all the pages you administer. You can switch from page to page with one click and you can see how many people follow each page and the date the last post was published.

Google+ profiles now have a “Reviews” tab that displays reviews you’ve published about other people’s pages. In your Profile Settings, you can check whether you want the Reviews tab to be visible to the public.

YouTube

YouTube’s new “One Channel” design allows you to arrange videos and playlists into topical sections that highlight your content.

The channel art (cover photo) scales to display perfectly on any size screen: a laptop, phone, tablet, or TV.

YouTube's One Channel design

Since YouTube is owned by Google, it’s not surprising that the channel art image is 2120 by 1129 pixels.

Here’s a helpful tutorial for how to create channel art.

To help you entice new subscribers, you can feature a trailer that plays only when non-subscribed viewers visit your channel.

Of course, you’ll want to optimize your channel so people can find it.

Here are some fabulous YouTube Channel optimization tips. 

Pinterest

The virtual pinboard network has been rolling out changes over the past few months; several of them appeared on my account late last week. Currently, you can switch between the “new look” or the “old look” so you’ll have time to get used to the change before the “new look” becomes permanent.

Pinterest Switch to the Old Look

In this Old Look/New Look comparison screenshot, you’ll notice that the new look isn’t all that different.

Pinterest Old Look New Look

Your bio area now has the ubiquitous “pencil” icon so you can edit your info with one click. Nice.

Your clickable website address now displays the URL, instead of just an icon. Great for branding.

Your follower counts and activity logs have been moved to the sides, creating a less-cluttered look.

The type fonts sitewide are a larger, sans serif font.

Categories are much more prominent — they’ve moved to a new search bar on the upper left, next to the Search field. This makes it easy to find pins in your topic area(s).

Pinterest Categories

The best change is that pins are now larger. Each pin displays its description as well as a link to the pinner and the board to which the image is pinned.

When you look at a close-up view of a pin, you’ll see other pins on the same board. This feature should promote increased re-pinning of content from your boards.

Bigger Pins

When I switched to the new look, I noticed that most of my board’s covers were displaying off kilter, so I edited each board’s cover to make it display properly.

With the new look, you cannot currently re-arrange boards, so before you make the switch, arrange your boards in the order you want them.

With the new look, you can’t convert to or sign up as a business from business.pinterest.com. If you need to create a business account, switch back to the old look and create it from there.

For a complete rundown of the changes, visit the Pinterest Help Center.

Twitter

Last September, Twitter rolled out their new header photos to create continuity in the look of profiles on desktop and mobile devices. But the majority of users have not yet taken advantage of this feature. The header image size is 1252 by 626 pixels, with a maximum file size of 5MB.

The main drawback of the header image is that Twitter superimposes your bio in white type over the bottom portion of the image. For your bio to display properly, the bottom third of your header photo needs to be a dark, solid color.

Twitter cover photo for Spane Buildings in Mount Vernon, WA

Cover photo for Spane Buildings produced by Blogging Bistro

Here’s an illustrated tutorial that explains how to add a header photo to your Twitter profile

Although not design changes, Twitter has made a couple of changes you should take note of:

  • For tweets that include a URL link, the character limit has been reduced from 140 to 118.
  • For tweets that include an https link, the maximum length is 117 characters.

You can now archive every single tweet and retweet. This feature is available in 13 languages and will archive your tweets in the language you specified in your account settings (as long as it’s one of these languages: Dutch, English, Farsi, Finnish, French, German, Hebrew, Hindi, Hungarian, Malay, Norwegian, Polish, Spanish).

Twitter Archive 1

Under “Settings,” scroll down to “Your Twitter Archive” and click “Request your archive.” Twitter will email you a link to a ZIP file of your archives when your file is ready to download.

Here’s an illustrated tutorial that explains how to archive your tweets.

LinkedIn

LinkedIn rolled out their redesign about six months ago, so they’re either ahead of or behind the other networks, depending on how you look at it.

LinkedIn Company Pages

If you don’t yet have a LinkedIn Company Page, you’ll want to check out this micro-site: http://marketing.linkedin.com/company-pages/. The site includes videos and guides for how to create a Page, attract followers, and build trusting relationships.

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