When Twitter first launched, it was heavily integrated with SMS and, awesomely, all of those features still exist. Not only are there a lot of extremely helpful features that were built right into the launch versions of the social media platforms we use today, but there are also a lot of great updates you might have missed. Read on to learn some of the “secret” tools and tricks you can start using right away on Twitter, Facebook, Tumblr, Google+, and Instagram.

Twitter

.@ versus @ on Twitter

Is your intent to tweet to just one person or is it to tweet something to all of your followers? Twitter treats starting a tweet with a handle as a conversation between you and that user. That means that if you start a tweet with @username, it will only show your tweet to that person, along with anyone else tagged in the tweet and the (probably small) percentage of followers you have in common.

This is all in a valiant attempt to save your timeline from overfilling with the thousands of conversations taking place in your network, but it’s not helpful if you actually meant to share something cool with your followers. Here’s an example of tweet that you may have meant to go to all of your followers, but probably only went to that user:

There’s an easy fix that you’ve probably seen other Twitter users use: Simply add a period before the handle to both start the tweet with another user’s handle and share it with all of your followers.

Advanced Search

If you’ve searched on Twitter via mobile or desktop, you may not have noticed a really important distinction at the top of your search. By default, you’ll automatically see all of the “top” tweets related to your search. Those include tweets that received engagement or were tweeted by an influencer. However, you can click the “all” link right next to it to get the full stream of tweets related to your search, starting from the most recent.

Still can’t find who or what you’re looking for? Twitter’s advanced search is available on the bottom of the left-navigation via the desktop site. There, you can search for exact phrases, tweets near specific locations, between two date ranges, and much more.

Multi-photo upload, tagging, and photo filters

It’s rare that you see a tweet with multiple images in it, but it’s easy enough to do if you’re daring enough to try. It would be great to say the opportunities are endless, but you will run into a 5M size limit; however, it doesn’t count against your 140-character limit for any additional image you add.

You can tag friends and other Twitter handles in images before you tweet, which also doesn’t count against your character limit. If you’re uploading from mobile, you’ll be presented with the option to tap the image in order to edit it. If you tap the image you selected, you’ll be able to crop, auto-fix, or add filters before uploading.

Facebook

Craft your interests list

Tucked just under your list of apps on the left-navigation is a little-known Facebook feature called “Interests.” If you click on that heading, you’ll see a screen like this:

You can either search for lists that have already been curated or start building your own. Facebook does a great job of recommending a few lists based on information from your profile and updates you’ve shared. This is a good way to see an entirely streamlined feed of content that you’ve essentially hand-picked. You have the option of keeping your lists entirely private, or sharing them with whomever you’d like.
Save articles and posts for later

We’ve all been there. You check your newsfeed at work and about five articles later, you’re a half hour into lost productivity. There goes your lunch break. If only there were a way to save that post and go back to it later — and there is! Just click the dropdown menu from the corner of any post and click “Save.”

You’ll see a “Saved” section appear on the list just below your profile image. From there you can access anything you’ve saved for later, read it, and delete anything you don’t want to hold onto anymore.
Share files in Chat/Messages

We tend to compartmentalize services and social media. Email is for sending files. Facebook is for connecting with friends and family. LinkedIn is for networking with colleagues and other industry professionals. Despite that, pretty much all of these different channels are encroaching on each other’s territories in interesting and exciting ways. If you’re chatting with someone on Facebook, there’s no longer any need to click over to email in order to send a file. Simply attach it in your chat using the options wheel in the corner:

Tumblr

Research old posts

Tumblr uses UNIX timestamps on any given backdated tag. That means you can see what was being said about any tag you can imagine before any given date. That’s a powerful research tool for topics related to your brand, and even getting some competitor intelligence. To start, you’ll need to convert that date into UNIX, which you can do using timestampgenerator.com. From there simply add that number to the end of of this string:

http://www.tumblr.com/tagged/artists%on%tumblr?before=1360022400

Mass edit posts and tags

If you want to edit multiple posts at the same time, you can do it using the Mass Post Editor. This option is always available in the right-hand navigation, but it’s in a tiny font that can be difficult to spot. It’s particularly helpful for adding more tags, adding the same line of copy to every post, or deleting multiple posts.

Discover trending blogs

Sometimes it’s hard to look past all of the great blogs you’re already following, but it’s worth exploring what’s out there. If you’re on a desktop, simply head to https://www.tumblr.com/explore/trending to see trending topics and blogs. There are also handy links to recommended blogs based on your content and who you already follow. If you’re on mobile, just tap the magnifying glass icon to see trending topics and recommended blogs.

Google+

Format your posts

Most social media channels are missing a huge opportunity in social: the ability to add emphasis via bolding, underlining, and/or italicizing text. Google+ is one of the few networks that has this option built in. Surround any text with asterisks to turn the text bold, with underscores to make it italicized, or with an underscore followed by an asterisk to make it both bold and italicized.

You may have seen emphasized words on other channels, and while that’s certainly possible via Unicode text converters, it’s sadly not baked right just yet.

Track your public reach with Ripples

You can see just how widely any public post is being shared by using Google+’s Ripples feature. Click the small arrow at the top-right corner and select “View Ripples.”

You can also use Ripples to see just how widely most external pages have been shared publicly among Google+ users. Add the URL of any website, news article or YouTube video, to the end of this string and let the fun begin:

http://plus.google.com/ripple/details?url=

Share your circles with anyone on Google+

Have you built an incredible circle of influencers? Maybe you’re the head of HR at a major organization and you have a great circle of employees. You can actually share that list with colleagues or anyone else you want to pass it along to. Simply head over to your circles, select the one you want to share, and then, from the “Actions” dropdown, select “Share this circle.”

Instagram

Delete or reply to a specific comment

If you’ve ever received a spammy comment on Instagram, you’ve probably spent some time trying to figure out how to actually delete it. If you tap the “Comment” button underneath any post, you can then swipe on any comment to see the icons for deleting or replying to it. This is super helpful for anyone who gets a few comments in a short time span and wants to respond to some of them. Instead of making one blanket comment at the bottom, reply to the comments individually. Instagram will also push a notification to the user without you having to tag them in your reply.

Edit a post

With this recently added feature, you can actually go back and edit the captions of your posts! Why is this a huge revelation? It used to be that a simple typo meant you had to delete your post and start all over again, or live with the error. If you chose to delete your post, you lost any engagement or comments along with it. To find the new option, just click on the three dots below any post and select “Edit” from the menu.

Follow people with similar aesthetics

If you follow someone on Instagram whose feed you really like, use the drop-down menu next to the “Follow” button to see similarly awesome Instagrammers. Instagram pulls users with similar aesthetics and friends in common, so the recommendations are usually quite accurate and helpful for discovery.

Have you discovered a new or hidden feature on one of your social networks that you want to share with the world? Let us know in the comments!

Top image: Check-lock and different keys on wooden background concept by Ruslan Grumble