Latest updates for social media channels & their impact on future marketing strategies
Your entire world is in your phone. It is not just a saying, but a reality that affects your life in all its aspects, from texting, calling, checking and replying to emails, engaging family and friends via different apps, starting and maintaining businesses, learning, reading, entertainment, living. So, it is time to accept and quickly adapt to the fact that the world of today is mobile-first. Everything happens with the speed of light and it is shared, debated, commented, questioned, accepted, denied, validated or rejected across the world at a never seen before pace. In this matrix of information, one thing is definitely sure, people are looking for authenticity, for content that is real and expresses their true needs; they are constantly searching for a way to bond with the `similar others` and to feel part of a community, and social media offers them just that, a voice available 24/7 over an infinite number of engagement possibilities. This is the main reason why social media means play a crucial role in shaping the public perception of brands.
“We want to know what consumers are looking for, what their values are, and how we can meet their needs. It’s not just about Big Data; it’s about translating that into the truth.”
Gayle Fuguitt, President and CEO of the Advertising Research Foundation, points out this need for connection that has to go beyond simply gathering data and reshaping it to please the audience. In this mix, social media are excellent helpers in creating this sense of belonging which used right can boost brand credibility, loyalty, increase retention and upgrade ROI.
“If you think of ‘social media’, your mind automatically goes to producing content for customers to consume, or perhaps soliciting their input. But, once firms recognize that consumers want to connect to each other, they can develop social strategies that do exactly that under the umbrella of their brand.”
— Mikołaj Jan Piskorski, author of A Social Strategy: How We Profit from Social Media
Piskorski challenges us to go beyond the social media usual norms to find new ways to get customers in the brand game. But how do we make sure we are on the right social media track? Simple, by being where our customers are and keeping up with the latest updates for social media channels and what changes they are bringing to the marketing strategies. In the following, we will go through a quick, but relevant and dense journey in the world of social media updates. Get ready to discover what the biggest and most-used apps on the Planet are doing to keep audiences glued to the mobile screen.
The newcomer that is taking the social media scene by storm
Clubhouse is a new type of network based on voice, that works, so far, only on I-phones. The app is unique in many ways; besides using audio as the main means of communication instead of posting texts, images or video content, it is a private, invite-only experience.
Practically, only people on the app can invite you on the journey, which gives a very personal and exclusivist touch to this initiative. The founders (Rohan Seth and Paul Davison,) explain on the Official Clubhouse Blog that this decision is something temporary as they are „building Clubhouse for everyone and working to make it available to the world as quickly as possible. It’s not intended to be exclusive; we just aren’t ready to ship the general release version yet”.
Once you download the app you can see and build audio-chat rooms. You can enter any room as an audience member, but if you want to voice your opinion on the subjects discussed in the room you have to raise your hand and the speakers can choose to invite you up.
„It’s a place to meet with friends and with new people around the world—to tell stories, ask questions, debate, learn, and have impromptu conversations on thousands of different topics”.
According to tech writer Vajresh Balaji, Clubhouse has now surpassed 10 million users worldwide, becoming the fastest growing online social media app in recent times.
Clubhouse is currently the 5th most popular app in the “Social Media Network” category of the App Store, behind Facebook, Messenger, WhatsApp and Discord, so marketers out there watch out and see how you can join in the fun, as they say.
You can download ClubHouse from here and see more about their updates on their Twitter account here.
The Facebook revolution in content approach
The king of the social media universe is still the undefeated champion: Facebook, that over the years and especially due to recent events had begun to change its content approach. The famous Trump case is the latest in a long list of scandals that underlined the negative effects of social media means when used with bad intent by people with high levels of popularity. This prompted Facebook to reconsider its content policy and determined CEO Mark Zuckerberg to take a strong stand on this issue and ultimately decide to ban Trump’s Facebook account. Facebook has actually been investing for some time now in its policies when it comes to messages that can cause public distress, strategy which leads to the birth of the Overside Board:
“As its community grew to more than 2 billion people, it became increasingly clear to the Facebook company that it shouldn’t be making so many decisions about speech and online safety on its own. The Oversight Board was created to help Facebook answer some of the most difficult questions around freedom of expression online: what to take down, what to leave up, and why.”
Practically, we entered a new age in data protection and public protection as never seen before on Facebook, or any other social media app, which automatically means brands need to invest more in social corporate responsibility and data protection activities. The shift in mentality is clear; everything today is not about what a brand can do for you, but about what a brand can build for you, for the future. People see and think of brands as tools that must bear the responsibility of creating more due to the resources they have, which can benefit brands and solidify their image in the public’s eye.
Say goodbye to the Like button
Recently, Facebook has also decided to upgrade the Facebook Page experience for creators and public figures by saying goodbye to the Like button. The initiative is designed to strengthen the „true popularity” of official pages as the like button has been seen as misleading in this area:
„We are removing Likes and focusing on Followers to simplify the way people connect with their favorite Pages. Unlike Likes, Followers of a Page represent the people who can receive updates from Pages, which helps give public figures a stronger indication of their fan base.”
What’s Also New with Facebook:
- A redesigned layout that’s simpler and more intuitive;
- Dedicated News Feedto discover and join conversations, follow trends, interact with peers and engage with fans;
- Easynavigation between personal profile and Pages;
- Updated task-based admin controlsgiving trusted Page admins full control or partial access;
- Actionable insightsand more relevant notifications;
- Safety and integrity features to detect spammy content and impersonator accounts.
For more info on Facebook Updates please check the FB Blog.
Instagram has begun a test trial with some of its users by stopping them from sharing feed posts within their Stories. The company announced the change in a notification banner sent to users in “select countries” where the test is being conducted. The move aims to see how engagement changes on the platform and it is based on the idea that people want to see more original content.
Instagram is also trying to boost engagement by tackling the possibility of integrating Reels into the Facebook news feed. The technical details are still under debate, but the intent is there and, in the future, we may see an even more close integration of both. In the meantime, Instagram is trying to sort out the issues it has been facing with Reels as it wants people to stop sharing content from other sources into its various functions. Still, using Reels as part of a marketing strategy can be beneficial. Many business uses have stated that they’ve seen significant reach boosts when they’ve added Reels into their content mix. So, to all brands out there, our recommendation is to consider Reels as an option in your marketing plans.
Twitter launches Birdwatch, Spaces & buys Revue
Much like Facebook, Twitter has invested more last year and this year in stopping the spread of misinformation. Its latest big announcement being the launch of Birdwatch, a pilot in the US of a new community-driven approach to help address misleading information on Twitter. The change will allow users to add notes to existing Tweets they believe to be misleading. In its current pilot stage, the note won’t be seen on the tweet directly but, instead, can be seen on a separate Birdwatch’s site.
Drum-role please: Spaces enters in center stage
Twitter has launched, promoted, and dedicated itself to perfecting a new social experience on its platform called Spaces, which offers users the possibility to create or take part in audio-only chat rooms, similar to Clubhouse. Spaces aims to offer more engagement, to fulfill that human need to go beyond the 280-character limit on Twitter and looks to offer a more attractive online interaction.
„Spaces is a place to come together, built around the voices of the people using Twitter, your Twitter community. Spaces are live for as long as they’re open; once ended, they will no longer be available publicly on Twitter.”
Twitter Official Blog
To start a Space audio-chat room you can either long-press on compose and then tap the new Spaces icon on the far left. Or, tap on your profile image in Fleets, scroll to the far right, and tap Spaces. You can invite up to 10 people to speak. Speaking of Fleets, this is another cool feature from Twitter that allows users to share fleeting or transitory thoughts, that disappear after 24 hours. You can see more about Fleets here.
Twitter also announced their latest acquisition, Revue, a service that helps people create and get paid for newsletters:
„Revue will accelerate our work to help people stay informed about their interests while giving all types of writers a way to monetize their audience – whether it’s through the one they built at a publication, their website, on Twitter, or elsewhere”.
Kayvon Beykpour, Twitter’s product chief, and Mike Park, vice president of publisher products at Twitter
This change is relevant for brands because more action, more texts, more conversations on Twitter automatically means a larger audience that brands can appeal to, which will directly benefit advertisers that use Twitter as a platform. Furthermore, Revue can be an opportunity for influencers everywhere and brands to create new interactive stories for their intended customers.
“We imagine a number of integrations on Twitter that will help readers more easily discover and connect with writers — from easy ways to subscribe to a newsletter to new settings for writers to host conversations with subscribers.”
Mike Park, vice president of publisher products at Twitter
Check out & sign up for Revue here.
New post visibility & better control on platform discussions
LinkedIn is known as the biggest professional network in the world, a digital space where both businesses and people interact, being a tool where companies can display their activities and strengths, a hub for job searching and for finding great employees and employers, but also a hook that can boost brand awareness and especially credibility.
As all big players in the game, LinkedIn has updated a couple of its rules to ensure a better engagement.
“We know that starting a conversation on LinkedIn, by crafting a post with just the right words, takes time (and in some cases, courage!), and you want your voice to reach the right audience so it can spark conversations that help you be productive and successful.”
Liz Li, Official LinkedIn blog.
LinkedIn’s following Twitter’s lead by adding new control tools on posts, these will allow users to decide who can or cannot see or comment on the published content. In addition to this, LinkedIn has also added a new ‘mute’ option to eliminate selected users or company pages from the feed.
“To curate your feed beyond engaging with content, you can also signal to us what you want to see more and less of by clicking the three dots (…) on a post. This will open a toolbox of options available, including saving the post to review later, hiding the specific post from your feed by clicking “I don’t want to see this,” and reporting the post. A new option we just rolled out in this section lets you mute an individual or Page who might show up on your feed because a connection of yours commented, reacted, or reshared that individual’s content.”
Liz Li, Official LinkedIn blog.
With the rise of short-video form content, LinkedIn has also jumped on the trend by introducing stories in the app. Unfortunately, the feature is only available on LinkedIn’s mobile app version for now and can be seen only by connections and pages your brand follows. Another thing to consider as a brand when it comes to B2B or B2C interaction is the opportunity to build a strong community with LinkedIn Live & LinkedIn Events, especially taking into account the global pandemic context.
New portal with guidelines for maximizing Tik-Tok presence
Tik-Tok has launched the ultimate guide when it comes to in-house, interactive, short-video production, the Creator Portal, a tool that offers tips, tricks, recommendations and advice on how to get started on Tik-Tok, what are the best Tik-Tok strategies and most importantly, how one can get paid for producing content, which you guessed it implies an even stronger bond between the hot (from the most know to micro-influencers) influencers out there and the brands that want to promote their content:
“ While becoming a creator is as simple as tapping a few buttons, thriving as a creator takes time, dedication, and some education. With the different tools, analytics, effects, and creative ideas to balance on a Tik Tok account, making a strategy for creating content can be daunting. That’s why we’re excited to launch the Tik Tok Creator Portal, an online hub on TikTok.com filled with educational resources for creators to learn the basics of getting started on Tik Tok, connecting with their audience, and cultivating best practices to bring their videos to the next level. For avid or even expert Tik Tok creators, the Creator Portal will also feature articles that help interpret community trends, dive deeper into the use of sound and music, and spotlight creative effects, helping to inspire and diversify content creation.”
Official Tik-Tok NewsRoom
Big shout out to brands worldwide, if you are not on Tik-Tok get on board quick or be left behind. The numbers and projections show that Tik-Tok will reach a whopping 1.2 billion users in 2021, so brands that use the app for marketing purposes will have a strong advantage over those how don’t.
You can learn more about the Creator Portal here.
Snapcodes & the “new normal”
Snapchat is one of the applications with a solid growth that continues its ascension especially due to its main audience made up by Millennials and Gen Z. According to last year’s data, as June 2020, an average of 238 million people was using Snapchat each day, creating an average of 4 billion snaps per day, which should be of massive interest for marketers and brands everywhere.
“Millennials are the largest generation in history. In 2020, they made one in three purchases, and the generation is expected to drive half the increase in expenditure growth over the next decade.”
Strategies for the Next Normal – Official Snapchat blog
To further appeal to the Millennials and Gen Z, Snapchat has introduced Snapcodes, which allow brands to promote content across platforms:
“What we’ve seen this year is how scannable codes can really build on experiences, bringing physical and digital closer together. We’re looking forward to working with creative partners on Snapcodes that really add value in the years to come.”
Grégoire Gimaret, Product Marketing Lead at Snap.
Basically, you can use snapcodes to redirect Snapchatters to brand websites, they are highly interactive and can be used in very engaging ways, for example your users can play a video, unlock a filter that is locally relevant to where they are, or they can be completely immersed, sliding your users into a new world through augmented reality.
“Whatever the Snapcode unlocks, they (your customers) should be glad they scanned”, adds Gimaret.
Learn more on how to use Snapcodes and about their Strategies for the Next Normal here & also all the info you need to create business Snapchat ads here.
In other interesting news, Snapchat is one of the last major social apps to add dark mode, with most apps making the option available following updates to iOS 13 and Android 10 respectively to better facilitate dark mode switching. Facebook has now added dark mode options to all of its apps, while Twitter, Pinterest, TikTok and Reddit also provide dark mode toggles. LinkedIn‘s dark mode option is also in development.
To sum up, even if you think Snapchat is “too young” for your brand, you should take a look at the stats and consider it for your next marketing plan.
Pinterest gets Story Pins
Pinterest has been exploring and testing its own take on Stories for a while. As Pinterest continues to develop its content discovery offerings, the app has just announced their latest update: Story Pins following streams.
„More than 442 million people come to Pinterest every month hungry for ideas and ready to take action. They’re looking for inspiration like what to cook for dinner, how to style an outfit or a new beauty product to buy, and Story Pins from creators can help them bring those discoveries to life.”
Pinterest – NewsRoom
Available on iOS and Android, Story Pins following streams allow users to see more personalized content from the accounts they choose to follow. This is a new opportunity for marketers to push their content up to the top of the home feed, show their personality and build a deeper connection with their Pinterest following.
YouTube brings a new video sharing feature: Clips
YouTube has been experimenting with a new feature entitled „Clips” designed to enable users and creators to share specific segments from videos and live streams. Until now, when sharing YouTube videos and live streams, viewers had to use its watch page URL. It was only possible to start a video at a specific time by adding specific parameters. Clips will now let users share a part of the video or a live stream — between 5 to 60 seconds — with their own attribution.
„We’ve heard a lot of feedback from creators and viewers who have wanted an easy way to capture short segments of content and share moments from videos or streams. We’re excited to begin our testing of a clipping feature on YouTube starting today with a small group of creators while we start gathering feedback. Creation of clips is currently available on desktop and Android devices to start, with iOS devices coming soon.”
Why is this relevant for brands? Well, quite simple, because video is king when it comes to content audience’s preferences and especially short forms of video content are on the rise with: 70% of consumers say that they have shared a brand’s video, 72% of businesses say that video has improved their conversion rate and 52% of consumers say that watching product videos makes them more confident in online purchase decisions. At the same time, video is by far the most popular way customers want to learn about new products. For 70% of B2B marketers, content creation is the top investment for 2021. More on this in the Purple Paper: Digital Marketing Essentials for 2021.
„If you haven’t already, add these three things to your marketing plan for 2021 now:
video & rich content, use of technology, search relevancy.
The huge growth of online consumption & technology adoption from 2020 raised the bar for all marketing strategies to become even more digital. Even more conversational. Even more mobile.”
– Ioana, Cofounder & Marketing Strategist of KITE
For more on how Clips works and how it can help your marketing strategies here and for some inspiration about really good ways of getting solid feedback on your videos from your audiences, take a sneak-peak at YouTube Creators Research initiative.
Last but not least, if you are looking for a bit of flavor to your daily coffee make sure to check out the Upgrade 100 content, where experts from several countries present what’s new on the app world too. Also, Ted Talks Daily are a great plus, we recommend How technology changes our sense of right and wrong | Juan Enriquez or The joy of shopping — and how to recapture it online | Nimisha Jain.
Key learnings to bear in mind for your next marketing strategy
Social media has become our main source of entertainment, of news gathering, of communicating both with personal & professional purposes in mind, it is this world’s mantra and it here to stay, so brands have to be vigilant and keep up with time times and the apps in order to not only remain on the market, but to be relevant and to succeed.
We hope this short journey has been pleasant, and we leave you with a final thought:
„In 2021, social media is not just about fun anymore. It brings us together, helps us face our isolation times and finds communities that share our interests and values.
The SOCIAL part of social media has been more relevant than ever. And the growth continues. In order to be a relevant social media brand, be mobile, create stories, be responsible, be dynamic and open your eyes to the realities of your audience. Their lives should matter to you. Their struggles should matter to you. Be their supporter, be their motivator, be their inspiration. “
– Ioana, Cofounder & Marketing Strategist of KITE