The top social media channels have been as busy as Santa’s elves updating and enhancing their offerings.  Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and more have released new features and updates over the past week or two, all of which can impact your brand’s marketing and engagement plans.

Let’s have a look at some recent changes and how it affects you.

Facebook

Facebook launched its “Year in Review” feature this week giving users a chance to showcase their own personal 2012 highlights.  Inside Facebook dissects the feature from a marketer’s perspective noting:

“With other photo posts on Facebook, clicking on the image brings up a larger version of the photo within a lightbox view. If a person or page wants to post a full-size photo, but also send viewers to a particular destination, they can include a hyperlink within the photo caption. However, users are less likely to notice and click on this small line of text.”

Key takeaway: Inside Facebook goes on to say, “This new format is something that businesses would benefit from if brought to their pages in the future. Currently they have to make trade-offs when posting images and links.”

Twitter

With Instagram images no longer popping up on users’ streams, Twitter announced the release of new Aviary powered Instagram-like camera filters this past week.

Key takeaway: If you previously used Instagram to post images to Twitter, you have to make a choice. You can stay on Twitter for all your photos or update both Instagram and Twitter with photos. Depending on how this update impacts your audience, you may want to take the extra step and post in both places to be sure they see your content.

Google+

Google+ Communities is newest feature added to the search giant’s social network.  Similar to Facebook groups, Communities could become an important part of social media users’ search experience and online social lives and give people another location to gather and discuss areas of interest, which may include your brand and/or your products.

Key Takeaway: Communities allow for a resource gathering location. Keep it updated and full of helpful content.

Pinterest

Pinterest recently added support for Twitter cards so expect to see content from this hot social media site appearing in your Twitter streams more and more.  Users can now expand a Tweet to see the pinned image itself as well as the name of the board it’s pinned to and a description.

Key takeaway: Start sharing pins with your Twitter followers. If Pinterest’s power is what many seem to think it is, then users will click through the Tweet in order to find the original image and, perhaps more importantly, see the rest of your catalog.

Foursquare

The location-based social network recently added the ability to add events to your location. Events allow customers to share, via Foursquare check in, that they’re not just visiting a certain location at that point, but experiencing something unique.

Key takeaway: As VentureBeat notes, “The idea is to help businesses better promote their unique offerings.” Simple enough.

Have any thoughts on these updates to the big social media platforms? Tell us about it below.

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