From liking and tweeting to sharing and reposting, there’s always a constant flow of information being pushed out on your social news feed. So, how do you filter through it all while staying up-to-date with what’s currently trending? Whether you are a freelancer or a brand marketer, it is important to keep an eye out for the latest updates and news occurring in the world of social media marketing.
Want to be in the social know? Fret not! If your greatest challenge is finding more time in your already busy content-filled day to stay up-to-date on what is happening in social media, I have done the work for you and compiled the most recent news and trends in digital and social media marketing into one post. This weekly curated #ContentRadar features the latest news, trends, and topics that will be beneficial to you. Cut through the chatter and stay current with the following updates:On this week's #SocialMedia content radar, learn about @Instagram's new stop-motion video addition, @LinkedIn's algorithm change, and @Yelp's newest B2B update! #SMM | #ContentMarketing | @SingWeist Click To Tweet
Recent social media marketing news to keep up on:
1. A new way to capture video content in Instagram
Have you spent hours editing, cutting, and creating shot-lists for stop motion videos? Cut down on the time with Instagram’s newest video story feature. “The new tool would assist your creation process by ghosting the frame you’re capturing with the previous,” which will allow you to create a stop-motion video effortlessly. Sounds too good to be true? Most likely. There currently is a restriction, where the video caps out at ten frames. However, you can still plan out a shot list that will allow you to convey an easy, effortless stop-motion video that’s engaging. Although the product is not out yet, it is definitely in the pipeline, so start planning what you are hoping to film. (6/23/19)
2. Another algorithm change? Yes, but it’s for LinkedIn and it just might help your B2B profile.
Tired of constantly hearing how Facebook and Instagram updated their algorithm, and how you need to find new strategies to get your content in front of your targeted audience? This time, it is LinkedIn that has updated its algorithm.
The company recently announced that it would change its algorithm, which it found was rewarding the top 1% of “power users,” while the bottom 99% were receiving less engagement than before. With only 1% of users being rewarded, they needed to find a way to make sure other users’ content was also showing up on other individuals’ feeds. LinkedIn has made changes to prioritize professional content with some customized call-to-action buttons, which include: Contact Us, Learn More, Sign Up, Register, and Visit Website. Additionally, page admins can now connect their pages to hashtags that are relevant to their industry. This will allow readers to discover and engage with pages based on hashtags that they already follow. (6/26/19)
3. A new, quicker way to find restaurants locally.
Yelp is working on improving its searchability with new business highlights. This allows restaurants to choose short phrases (e.g., “Vegan-Friendly, “Dog-Friendly,” or “Outdoor/Patio Seating”) to make it even easier for users to find what they are looking for. Additionally, users can make a note whether or not these phrases are accurate or not, this will ensure that businesses do not make false claims about what they have to offer.
Lastly, Yelp is allowing businesses to include a portfolio. Similar to LinkedIn, Yelp will allow individuals to feature projects they have worked on along with a myriad of photos in their portfolio. This will be a great way for users to gauge a business’s previous work. The only caveat, will the photos be photoshopped and misleading? One of the many perks of Yelp is that it allows users to upload photos to a particular restaurant. Hopefully, the platform will stay user-friendly and unbiased when individuals actively search for services. (6/25/19)
4. LinkedIn now allows you to react to posts with different emotions.
Similar to Facebook’s reaction icons that pop-up when you hover over the “like” button, LinkedIn has expanded its options with the following reactions: Like, Celebrate, Love, Insightful, and Curious. Unlike Facebook, they opted out of an “angry” option. So, how will this improve your social strategy? Emotion engagement is a huge driving factor for building your marketing and brand strategy.
According to a Capgemini report, “70 percent of highly emotionally engaged consumers spend twice as much or more on brands they feel loyal to, compared to only 49 percent of the not-so-emotionally-engaged ones.” Utilize the power of emotional engagement to connect with your customers and turn them into loyal fans. (5/22/19)
5. Facebook is looking into creating a crypto-currency by the end of the year.
First bitcoin, now Facebook? Facebook’s plan is to create a digital currency that will offer individuals a safe, secure, and affordable way to make payment transactions, whether you have a bank account or not. It seems slightly adventurous for this social media conglomerate who also owns WhatsApp, Instagram, and a myriad of other apps. “The concept was designed to ensure security and anonymity for users, by preventing tampering or hijacking of the network.” However, with security concerns and a mass blackout that Facebook faced last year and Q1 of this quarter, it will be interesting to see how Mark Zuckerberg tackles these ongoing concerns. (5/24/19)
6. Does the quantity of subscribers affect YouTubers? It just might with their recent update.
So much of social media is all about the number of subscribers you have, or maybe it’s not? YouTube’s most recent rollout is hoping to consolidate your subscriber list and make a more consistent number count of your subscribers across all devices: mobile and desktop. By August of this year, YouTube creators with less than 1,000 subscribers will be able to see their full subscriber count, but for all those with more than 1,000 subscribers, their count will be abbreviated on a scale. Who will this affect? Both YouTube creators, as well as, third party analytics and tracking sites that help pull in your followers/subscribers to provide you your social rank. “With this sliding scale, YouTube creators with more subscribers will find it more challenging to get a higher count displayed in public.” The overall sentiment regarding this change has been negative, yet YouTube is still moving forward with this plan in order to create consistency for all creators, users, and third parties. (5/23/19)
7. Instagram rolls our new quiz sticker integration and join chat function.
With 500 million active users, Instagram has become one of the most popular social media platforms. It is no surprise that the platform frequently rolls out new stickers and fun interactive features that allow users and brands to actively engage with their followers via stories. Instagram’s newest sticker roll-out allows users to quiz their followers to see how well they know the people they are following. You can list up to four multiple choice answers for your fans to choose from.
How does this benefit you as a brand or freelance writer? It’s simple: Most people like answering multiple-choice quizzes. It’s a great way for followers to learn about people behind their favorite accounts, while also engaging with them on a personal level.
Additionally, the platform will allow users to communicate more effectively with each other. Instagram is looking to add a Join Chat sticker, which would enable followers and viewers currently watching a story to initiate a private DM (Direct Message) directly from the story. What are the benefits of this function? Similar to Facebook Messenger, Instagram is focusing on driving additional traffic to DM, which creates more opportunities for engagement with your fans. Utilizing these tools allows you to create more interactive, engaging content for your current and growing list of followers. (4/24/2019)
8. Missed the F8 conference? No worries, here are the main takeaways of the event.
2018 was an exceptionally rough year for Facebook. With privacy breaches and a blackout that lasted more than 12 hours, we hope that the platform will have a much more successful 2019. At the most recent F8 conference, Mark Zuckerberg stated, “Privacy gives us the freedom to be ourselves.” He hopes to achieve this through the following six steps: “encryption, private interactions, safety, reducing permanence, secure data storage, and interoperability” for Instagram, Facebook, WhatsApp, and their growing list of family apps.
Facebook is gearing up for another re-design in which one centralized hub platform will house messenger, news feed, and stories, creating a more seamless community experience. Additionally, combining each of these apps will allow you to connect and even make calls to your friends without leaving the platform.
“Over the next year, we plan to make messenger the fastest private communication app on the entire planet,” stated Asha Sharma, Head of Consumer Product for Messenger at Facebook. Hopefully, we’ll see more users returning to Facebook in the next year as a result of these rollouts. (5/4/2019)
9. Instagram has created in-app purchase features for e-commerce brands and influencers.
For brands looking to sell more products and participate in influencer marketing, Instagram is the platform for you. Instagram is rolling out a new update that allows users to purchase products within the app in order to help cut down on follower questions such as, “Where can I buy this?” or “How much is this item?” This new tool will be tested with some of the app’s top influencers.
(Hmmm, I wonder what will happen with the swipe up feature to purchase items on e-commerce landing pages. Will the CTR (Click-Through-Rate) drop tremendously if consumers are able to purchase within the app itself?)
“Creators will also receive additional insights with shopping posts, such as engagements and shopping insights,” which will help brands understand which products sell best. This might be the next transition from an e-commerce website to Instagram purchases. Stay tuned for more updates. (5/1/2019)
10. Is swiping left and right the new “like” on Twitter?
This past month, Twitter released a new function on their prototype app twttr to test out the methods of “liking” a tweet. Using the popular swipe right and left usability on other apps, Twitter wanted to see if their followers would respond to the new function.
There were definite reservations that it might be a little confusing; however, the platform is hoping that with a simple swipe engagement will increase on Twitter posts. It will be interesting to see if Twitter will implement this new function and whether it will help increase engagement for brands who are looking to publish more content on the platform. (4/29/2019)
11. Twitter begins testing new user experience — sans engagements.
Now that Twitter has released its prototype application — twttr — to an initial group of testers, some interesting information about its functionality is being shared. Perhaps one of the biggest departures from the classic Twitter experience is the fact that twttr does not showcase hearts, retweets, or replies in the main feed. One must tap or click the tweet to see associated engagements. It should be clear that this (and the other adjustments) are all still being tested and evaluated. iOS users can apply to beta test the twttr experience. (3/13/19)
12. Instagram is exploring a video-scrubbing feature.
Even those who love Instagram have likely found themselves desiring to fast-forward or rewind videos. Up to this point, that has not been an option. However, it now looks like Instagram has started to test a scrubbing feature that allows users to move videos forward and backward. Instagram has provided no word if it will do more testing of the scrubbing feature or if it will make the feature universally available. Some predict the inclusion of this new functionality means that Instagram may increase video length to longer than 60 seconds. See the feature in action here. (3/27/19)
13. Facebook explains to users why they see specific posts.
Figuring out the Facebook news feed has always been tricky — but this has been especially true in the last year or so since Facebook started to put a greater emphasis on building personal connections. In a move to be more transparent (or perhaps because Facebook just feels sorry for us), the company has made it easier than ever for users to better understand why they see the content they are seeing.
Users can click on the dropdown menu on the right-hand corner of a post and select “Why am I seeing this post?” Upon selecting this option, Facebook shares with you some of the past interactions you have had that make you a candidate to receive the content in question. Watch this video to see Facebook explain it. (3/31/2019)
14. Messenger rolls out message replies to global audiences.
Facebook Messenger is trying to simplify how people converse with one another, especially in group conversations in the app. Messenger users now can choose any item that has been communicated anywhere in a one-on-one or group chat and comment specifically on that item. This feature allows Messenger users to develop mini conversations with one another among the larger group conversation. To respond to a specific piece of content in Messenger, a user will long-press on text, an image, a GIF, emoji or video, then press the “reply” icon to share a response. If Messenger updates are intriguing to you, check out our advice on how you can utilize chatbots to improve your marketing efforts. (3/21/2019)
15. Facebook introduces new Watch Party experience.
Although the Facebook Watch Party functionality was first developed to facilitate allowing people to watch more video content inside of the app, the development team has expanded the usage of the app to allow people to hold watch parties that focus on content appearing on live television. As Facebook tests this functionality, it is starting with sports events. Party hosts will be able to choose a sporting event, then Facebook will provide the score and other updates while those in the watch party react to what they are watching on live TV. (3/13/2019)
16. The future of Facebook is private messaging.
What’s new: Perhaps the writing has been on the wall for some time already, but Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg has confirmed what many social media insiders have been anticipating—the future of Facebook looks like it may not include the news feed. In fact, Zuckerberg shared on Facebook that he believes “the future of communication will increasingly shift to private, encrypted services where people can be confident what they say to each other stays secure and their messages and content won’t stick around forever.” (3/6/19)
Freelancer focus: Any adjustment by Facebook could play a significant role in how the content you develop needs to be created. If the delivery of the content becomes one-to-one, you may need to think more about creating spall audience groups to reach individuals.
17. Twitter may allow you to hide replies to your tweets
What’s new: In coming months, Twitter will begin testing a new tool that allows users to hide replies to their tweets that they don’t want showing up as part of a conversation. Currently, account owners only have the ability to block or mute commenters. Hiding replies allows for a softer response from account owners, while still allowing them to have some freedom in how comments on the account are moderated. (3/1/19)
Freelancer focus: If you use your Twitter feed to showcase work to potential clients, this tool may be helpful for helping client reviewers focus on the comments on your tweets as a whole—rather than get stuck on a few random tweets that may not be representative of the larger conversation.
18. Instagram looks to release ‘Watch Party’-esque feature
What’s new: An Instagram user has observed in the wild a new tool that would make watching videos with your friends in a direct message. Presumably, the feature would be most useful for helping Instagram promote content from its IGTV feed. (3/8/19)
Freelancer focus: Instagram is said to be struggling to get people to its IGTV feed and this seems to be an opportunity to get more people there. When the tool rolls out, it may be worth your while to become an early adopter and see if you can use the tool to connect with potential clients or current readers.
19. Twitter introduces ‘Timing is Everything’ tool
What’s new: Twitter’s new “Timing is Everything” tool allows account owners to not only know when their followers are on Twitter—but it also allows them to see when these same followers are watching videos. Twitter hopes the tool provides content creators actionable information to help pinpoint the times when intended audiences might be most likely to engage with video tweets. (3/6/19)
Freelancer focus: If you are creating videos for clients or for external audiences, this feature can be a great tool to help you identify the times when you will be most likely to reach them.
20. Facebook and Instagram direct messages now will be in the same inbox.
What’s new: Instead of switching back and forth between your Facebook and Instagram apps to answer questions or respond to feedback from people who follow your accounts, you now can respond to Instagram direct messages within your inbox on Facebook. (2/7/19)
Freelancer focus: If you have a professional Facebook or Instagram account set up to collect feedback about the work you do, then this tool will be a helpful addition to allow you to stay on top of the messages being shared with you. The new functionality also allows you to more easily stay in touch with potential clients who want to reach out through Facebook and/or Instagram.
21. Two Twitter tests could make your visual content stand out.
What’s new: Twitter is looking to make it easier for users to upload photos and videos to the platform. In a current test, the company has started to roll out Twitter News Camera, which will allow users to add color overlays to live videos, recorded videos, and photos. Users can also add location tags. In a separate development, Twitter is also now allowing iOS users to tap on any @mention inside of a tweet to preview another users’ profile without leaving the tweet. (2/14/19)
Freelancer focus: For freelancers who want to increase their reach on Twitter, the ability to enhance photos and videos to promote the content they create is a tremendous win. Not only does it bring more attention to you as a content creator, but publishers will be thrilled to see you promote content developed for them in unique visual ways.
22. LinkedIn finally launches a live video feature of its own.
What’s new: LinkedIn has announced a beta launch of its live video service: LinkedIn Live. Though the platform is a little later to the game than most other social players, it hopes it will stand out from others thanks to its desire to feature livestream videos that have a higher production value than videos you might find on other platforms. To accomplish this, the company has partnered with livestream services to help provide video production assistance. (2/11/19)
Freelancer focus: Freelancers will be able to use live videos on LinkedIn to find and to be found. Livestream viewers will be able to like videos, submit questions, and leave comments. Among other uses, freelancers can use the feature to join in on company’s earning calls or use it themselves to promote their own content creation expertise in a Q&A format.
23. Instagram looks to expand direct messages to the web.
What’s new: After making direct messages a major part of its web app, Instagram is now looking for an opportunity to allow users to send and receive direct messages on the web. Instagram’s web and mobile direct messaging service has been seen in the wild, though Instagram has been mum on its plans. (2/13/19)
Freelancer focus: Assuming you do most of your freelance writing on a desktop or laptop and you correspond with clients through Instagram Direct Messages, having the ability to correspond while you are writing on the same device you use for writing may be advantageous. It’s not a game-changer, but it’s a nice addition.
24. Facebook makes it easier for admins to develop better online communities.
What’s new: Facebook announced a smattering of new features for Groups that will help admins build and foster better connections with group members. One of the features, a text formatting tool, allows admins to create posts that have block quotes, bulleted lists, and even larger text. Another tool allows admins to let users know why they were muted, had a pending post declined, or had a comment removed. (2/12/19)
Freelancer focus: If your client has given you the reigns for enhancing its Facebook presence, the ability for you to improve the development of the company’s online community should be an attractive prospect. Your continued opportunity to build connections between the organization you are working for and the users who engage with their content is huge.