5 Social Media Hacks You Didn't Know Existed

By this point, we're all very well accustomed to using our favorite social media profiles for the use they were originally intended. But did you know that many of the most popular social media platforms have extra functions that, even after years of use, you may not have encountered. These so-called 'hidden features' are often the domain of power-users alone and remain unknown even to people who've been using these sites for years. Here we'll introduce you to a handful of the best:

1. FB Message Requests

The team at Facebook recently overhauled the social giant's entire messaging dashboard, and with it, their approach to spam on the platform. In particular the messaging experience for desktop computers has radically changed.

While Facebook tries to avoid the most egregious spam from reaching you at all, you can now see messages from people with whom you aren't friends in your 'Message Requests' folder. In the past these messages would've been sent to an obscure 'Other' folder that many people didn't know existed at all.

Facebook also appears to have disposed of its 'pay-to-inbox' messaging format that allowed users to stump up around $1 to ensure a message reached the inbox of a user with whom they weren't friends. While inevitably there will be some messages in your requests folder that are of no interest, it's an essential place to check now and then to ensure you're not missing out on new opportunities or long, lost friends.

To see your message requests now, click the settings wheel in your Messenger dashboard and choose the relevant option.

Here's our pick of some more cream-of-the-crop Facebook features tutorials:

  • Master Your Privacy Settings (PDF): Many analysts have speculated that Facebook deliberately complicates its privacy settings in order to keep as much data public as possible. This guide from UPenn is the best place to start in determining how to keep what should be private, private.
  • Hidden Facebook Features (Slideshow): This detailed article includes many lesser-known functions that can help you get the most from the social network.
  • Comprehensive List of Facebook Features: As ever, Wikipedia offer a truly in-depth perspective on every feature that can be used on Facebook. Note: this list is elementary and best suited to novice users.

2. Let Your Ego Get The Better Of You On Twitter

Okay, we admit it. This second 'hack' isn't so much a fresh, new function as it is a way to satiate your natural curiosity. We've all seen our follower count fluctuate from one day to the next. As long as the overall trend is positive we rarely get too worried about any one individual user.

Nevertheless, there are cases in which we might care more about certain followers than others. For example, we might run a business profile that has earned a follow from a respected influencer in our niche of interest. One quality follower like this can send our content viral quicker than 1000 regular followers.

Instead of manually checking up on these core followers you can automate the process with a tool like Who Unfollowed Me. It'll let you see which followers abandoned you on Twitter, but also new followers and people you followed that didn't return the favor.

Although this tip might be particularly useful to business users of Twitter, even those of us with personal profiles can succumb to curiosity when it comes to friendships. We have our fingers crossed your Election season rants didn't hit your stats too hard (or perhaps you're happy to be rid of them!).

Here's the lowdown on more of our favorite Twitter guides:

  • Features For Twitter Power Users: Written from a marketing perspective, this list is a great starting point for maximizing engagement and networking opportunities.
  • Twitter Hacks You May Not Know About: We all know about pinned tweets by now but this list of tips packs one or two useful ideas for even seasoned users.
  • Little-known Twitter Features: This handily written guide covers the basics but also includes one or two quirky tips, such as the interesting '#Longreads' hashtag for discovering longer form content.
  • Extend Twitter Using Apps : The beauty of Twitter is its brevity but on rare occasions it's essential to write a longer message. For example, you may be making an important statement to fans or friends. Twitter Extender apps that allow you to share a note as an image are perfect for this role and are far superior to the typical method of splitting a longer passage of text into multiple tweets in a series.

3. Circumvent Exorbitant LinkedIn Fees

LinkedIn is a great networking tool and for many seasoned professionals, the $60/month entry level premium membership is a drop in the ocean. However, for students and those just starting their careers, the price can be steep to say the least.

This is a particularly frustrating reality at a time when you're entering the job market and could benefit most from making meaningful connections in your targeted industry.

Well, luckily, there's a 'hack' that might just help if you find yourself in this situation. InMail is a feature of LinkedIn reserved for premium users that also happens to be one of the most useful. With InMail you can directly message anyone on LinkedIn through their profile. This can be enormously useful when you wish to pitch an idea or introduce yourself to an important connection.

Next time, try browsing that person's profile for a list of 'Groups'. You'll want to begin by joining a common group so that you and the individual concerned are both members. Proceed to find a post in that group made by the profile owner you wish to contact. Finally, click the down arrow next to their post and select 'Reply Privately'. Et, voila! This hack will see your message land comfortably in the notifications of your target.

Here's the juicy details regarding some more of our preferred LinkedIn feature tutorials:

  • Round-up Of Hidden LinkedIn Features: This well-written tutorial includes illustrative screenshots and serves as the perfect primer for novice and intermediate users seeking to get more out of their LinkedIn profile.
  • Leveraging LinkedIn To Advance Your Career: This creative and insightful tutorial from the University of Washington is an essential read for young professionals seeking to use LinkedIn for fresh opportunities.
  • LinkedIn Features That Shouldn't Be Hidden: This article has a slightly different approach and lists 6 features that are counterintuitive to the average user.
  • LinkedIn Opportunities For Marketers: This tutorial offers a range of tips for both individuals and businesses on how to maximize their networking capabilities, whether for a "personal" brand or company.
  • LinkedIn Data Analytics: This guide is a little more niche than the others above but is great reading for businesses that wish to use data to improve their engagement levels on LinkedIn.

4. Record Better Snapchats

Its a dilemma many of us have faced when trying to record the perfect Snapchat: you want to flip the camera from front to rear or you want the flexibility to record without having to hold the capture button. Although arguably a quintessential part of the Snapchat experience, holding down the capture button can become limiting and annoying after a while.

Luckily, there is an enterprising 'hack' you can use to overcome this problem. Consider using it if you want to record steadier Snapchats or to free up your hands when using the app. This is achieved by creating a custom gesture, with step-by-step instructions offered by Hootsuite.

Here's a few of the best tutorials on hidden Snapchat features:

5. "Private" Instagram Profiles May Not Be So Private Afterall

Curiosity often gets the better of us when it comes to interactions on social media. I'm not going to say that Instagram is the site most closely associated with vanity posting, but there's certainly a highly curated manner to the way in which most of us approach the platform.

Because using Instagram inevitably involves sharing photos and video of yourself and your family/friends, it makes sense that many of us would take the step of converting our profiles to 'private' — wherein only our approved followers can see our posts.

However, recently new tools have arrived on the market that aim to unlock private Instagram profiles to make them viewable to the public. Let's face it, if you're using this 'hack' you might be a little bit too nosey for your own good, but I can see how temptation might get the better of you! The tutorial from Traffikd includes a number of further tips that can work for viewing private profiles when the main suite of tools doesn't meet your needs.

Here's the best-of-the-rest Instagram 'hacks' you might not have seen:

The Bottom Line: Social Media At An Advanced Level

In this post I hope to have whet your appetite for exploring the possibilities of social media. Both large brands and small-medium enterprises (SME) have been proactive recently in acquiring talent to drive their social presence forward in meaningful and creative ways. If you've reached this page already established as an expert in social media, or as someone with an interest in advancing their professional skills, then you might benefit from the further study and reading material below. Knowing how to manage a brand's social media feeds is a highly marketable skill in technology today and one that many individuals are turning into a valuable career.

Courses/Reading For (Aspiring) Social Media Professionals:

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