With each monthly update we’ll add several new social media marketing tips and examples to the top of the list, while letting older updates gradually fall off the list as they fade from interest. (It’s also interesting to see how quickly some updates go from fresh to “that’s so yesterday” in the world of social media.)
From features to algorithms, the social media industry is ever-evolving with new changes. As freelance business owners, we understand the difficulty of keeping a pulse on all things industry-related. So, we want to help you stay abreast of all the latest updates!
Social media updates for Instagram:
1. Instagram releases a vanishing mode within direct messages.
If you are active within Instagram direct messages, you may have noticed a new feature that’s available to you. It’s called vanishing mode. Essentially, users now have the option to have messages disappear once the recipient views them. (February 2021)
Freelancer Angle: Professionally, we recommend staying away from this feature for several reasons. If you’re engaging with your audience in a meaningful way, your messages should provide support, information, or guidance. With the vanishing mode, your dms are not retrievable for your customer. Although screenshots are still plausible, this feature deems itself more for personal accounts instead of business accounts.
This lends itself to the importance of ensuring you have the proper account set-up if you’re using your Instagram presence for business purposes. It is against the platform’s policy to advertise without a business profile. To remain compliant, merely go into your profile settings and switch over to a business page.
2. Invite a friend (or two) to your Instagram scrolling experience.
The Instagram experience is often a solo experience, but now you can scroll with friends. Instagram recently launched co-watching, which allows friends on a video chat or group video chat to browse through feed posts of one user. Within the feature, users can include various stickers that remind us all of healthy living and staying safe.
Are you in need of a little inspiration? If so, spend time with a business BFF to discover content that encourages you to be more productive throughout your day. Not only will these accounts bring you a little motivation, but they can also become great resources later. (March 2020)From @Facebook's new desktop interface to @Instagram's new co-watching experience, this week's #ContentRadar highlights the latest and greatest in social media news. #ContentMarketing | #SocialIndustryNews | via @AltimeseNichole Click To Tweet
3. Instagram adds a new video editing tool to Instagram Stories for creators.
For Instagram’s highly engaged feature, Instagram Stories, users can incorporate images and video into a flowing stream of updates. With consideration to the 15-second limit restriction, platform users and content creators alike can now trim videos to fit the 15-second frame.
If you have amazing video content that’s too long for Instagram stories, this new feature gives you a chance to break your content down into digestible content for the IG Stories experience. (February 2020)
Freelancer angle: Everyone thinks about your standard way of sharing video, but get creative with your video content. Here are great examples of brand creativity within Instagram Stories that go beyond a mix of traditional images and video content.
4. Instagram allows for direct messaging from your desktop.
For marketers who manage client accounts on social media, one of the most time-consuming tasks involves community management. For Instagram, which is a mobile-first platform, native replies worked best (and not through a third party tool). This process ensures your response attached to the individual’s comment. Rumors began of the platform testing this new feature last year that would allow for desktop access to direct messaging, and Instagram is making it official.
Although this is a new feature, they also integrated the messaging systems for admins within Facebook Creator Studio. Within the admin view, social media managers can reply to all comments and private messages, directly from the messages tab. The latest feature provides yet another way to gain access to your content for efficient community management. (January 2020)
5. IGTV is removed from Instagram’s main screen.
Instagram removes the IGTV Icon from the feed but allows for timeline post previews. Since they’ve added the feature to include an IGTV preview as a timeline post, the usage of the main button has declined. Although Instagram is still trying to find the features “sweet spot,” there’s no indication that IGTV is going away anytime soon. (January 2020)
6. Instagram attempts to move us away from comparison and closer to content-focused substance.
In 2019, the platform officially started the process of removing the Like metric from the visibility of the timeline experience. After announcing this change during the F8 Conference, Instagram began the process in April with Canada, with Japan, Australia, and New Zealand immediately following.
As a result of recent studies that show the correlation between social media and depression, Facebook’s decision is a direct effort to diminish the effect of user comparison of success on the platform.
The metric is not going away entirely. Like other prominent data performance, the metric will be visible to admin users only. This shift encourages brands, businesses, and influencers alike to consider the desired conversion instead of general engagement. The change will implement in phases to all U.S. platform users. (November 2019)
What does this mean to you? If you’re a small business owner, freelancer, or influencer, your likes will transfer from a visible metric to an admin metric. With this change, your followers will see your content and the comments from others. Review your content’s performance through Facebook Creator Studio, and incorporate a strategy that’s focused on the relevance and substance of your content. Additionally, make it a point to be clear on your content’s primary objective, making the engagement a secondary goal.
Social media updates for LinkedIn:
1. LinkedIn launches Marketing Labs for its advertisers.
For marketing advertisers that work with B2B clients, the Linkedin advertising platform was considered a bit of a mystery until now. Recently, LinkedIn announced its rollout of LinkedIn Marketing Labs, which consists of on-demand courses for in-house advertisers to learn best practices for advertising on the platform. (February 2021)
If you’re working with B2B clients, LinkedIn should be a platform at the top of your list for engagement, leads, and content marketing. With over 55 million businesses with business pages and a significant chance to reach decision-makers on the platform, the investment of time into Marketing Labs should be a no brainer.
If you’re not working with B2B clients, consider your own business leads for clients and teamlancing connections. LinkedIn Marketing Labs is a great place to begin understanding the distinct differences between personal pages, business pages, and the algorithm.
2. LinkedIn adds a new feature to highlight key achievements.
In response to user feedback, Linkedin recently added its latest achievement feature that allows users to showcase portfolio work at the top of their profile pages. Users can include links to external websites or personal blogs, images, and documents to showcase specific details of their achievements to your profile visitors. Technically, this feature isn’t necessarily new. However, the original version is often overlooked.
The feature was initially integrated into a user’s chronological work history. For example, as you’re updating your work history, you could also attach previous work that you completed while working in that role. However, the accomplishments would be connected to the role within your profile, and some visitors may overlook it. (February 2020)
Freelancer angle: This is perfect for highlighting your writing portfolio for brands. If you’re a ClearVoice Writer, include your best work in your featured section. (If you’re not a part of the ClearVoice Community, what are you waiting for? Seriously.)
Social media updates for Facebook:
1. Facebook acquires CRM platform Kustomer.
In recent news, Facebook announced its acquisition of Kustomer, a customer service-focused platform and CRM designed for an optimal experience across digital mediums. With Kustomer joining the Facebook family of brands, the goal resides in maximizing the WhatsApp marketing capabilities and experience for advertisers while keeping the user experience in mind. (February 2021)
Are you utilizing Messenger ads within your content advertising strategy? If not, now is the time to begin testing the response from your audience. With text advertising on a steady rise, it’s clear that Facebook is placing strong priority on its messaging advertising features through Messenger and WhatsApp.Have you heard the news? @Facebook recently acquired @Kustomer. Learn more in that latest #ClearVoice monthly roundup, #SocialMediaNews edition. #SocialMediaNews | #ContentRadar | via @AltimeseNichole Click To Tweet
2. Silence the noise with Facebook’s Quiet Mode.
Facebook launched a new feature called Quiet Mode, which allows its users to silence notifications during a specified time of choice. The function attempts to set boundaries for information overload during the COVID-19 pandemic while helping users to create a healthy balance with social media consumption.
For social media marketers, many of us cannot unplug from social media overload. Our businesses and clients depend on us to stay connected and informed. However, boundaries are essential, and there is no better time to implement guardrails that honor your time for mental relief from the noise of social media.
All things require balance, and this feature is Facebook’s way of encouraging a little balance to the ongoing stream of social information overload. (April 2020)
3. Get ready for Facebook’s new look.
During the 2019 F8 Conference, Facebook announced its plan to roll out a new interface, and the time is here. In February, the social platform began introducing the new interface to its users, and regular updates continue to release to users in phases. The interface update puts a significant focus on platform events and groups while minimizing the attention of the newsfeed. (February 2020)
Freelancer angle: As we see the platform shifting its focus less on the news feed interactions and more on groups, brands and freelance business owners should consider ways to incorporate building a community on the platform through Facebook Groups. With organic content only reaching 1-6 percent of your audience, your advertising strategy can act as a top funnel that leads into a more engaged group that continues to conversion.
Social media updates for Pinterest:
1. Pinterest launches new e-commerce features for retailers in support of small businesses.
Pinterest recently announced its release of a variety of features for e-commerce businesses, including the Verified Merchant Program, dynamic retargeting through advertising, and an update to the platform’s product catalogs.
Pinterest users can shop directly from boards, search, style guides, and direct pins, which provides various ways for product tagging while making it easier for pinners to purchase some of their favorite pinned products.
For freelance businesses and brands interested in learning more, check out this Pinterest webinar that shares e-commerce best practices for the platform. (April 2020)
2. Inspire your clients and others with a new Pinterest feature.
As we seek some form of normalcy at a time that’s filled with uncertainty, we’re all looking for inspiration and positivity. During the week of March 16, 2020, Pinterest reported an all-time high of inspirational content searches and saves in the history of the platform’s existence. Although original plans were to launch this feature later this year, recent user data and behavior influenced the early release of a new Pinterest product tab that’s specifically designed for daily inspiration and trending topics on the platform. (March 2020)
Freelancer angle: What we consider routine is now challenged, but this can be an excellent thing for innovative ideas. Proactively create client boards that spark inspiration to keep going while producing creativity. Inspirational boards can have many different angles that can align with your overall content strategy for the platform.
Some creative ways to use the ‘Today’ tab in Pinterest include:
- Building collaborative Pinterest Boards with fellow freelance business owners within your respective industry.
- Creating client inspiration boards (from the client profiles for their customers).
- Incorporating client inspiration boards to the current Pinterest Board profile.
Have fun with this new feature and be open to out an out-of-the-box approach!Active listening on social media allows you to make a quick pivot in your business strategy, and @Pinterest did just that with the latest release of their news feature on the platform. #SocialMediaNews | #ContentRadar | via @AltimeseNichole Click To Tweet
3. Pinterest highlights how the platform supports Women’s International Day (on March 8).
A study compiled by EY reports that by 2028, women are expected to control almost 75 percent of discretionary spending worldwide. With Pinterest reaching 6 in 10 U.S. women, 8 in 10 moms and 75 percent of millennial women, the platform highlights its support and preparation for Women’s International Day on May 8, 2020. (February 2020)
Freelancer angle: As you’re building out your content strategy for socially relevant hashtag holidays, don’t forget to include Pinterest. Since your content-related pins will have longer shelf-life than other social media posts, be sure to keep your focus evergreen.
4. Pinterest claims the title as the third largest social network in the U.S.
eMarketer reports that Pinterest concluded 2019 by surpassing Snapchat’s ranking, now making the platform the third-biggest social media platform in the U.S. According to the recent report, Pinterest users will make up 41.1 percent of all U.S. social network users in 2020 and continues to gain momentum. (January 2020)Is @Pinterest integrated into your #contentstrategy? It's now the third-largest social network in the U.S. #ContentMarketing | #SocialMedia | via @AltimeseNichole Click To Tweet
Freelancer angle: Naturally, many marketers gravitate to the most notable platforms like Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. Don’t be afraid to test other platforms like TikTok or Pinterest in your content marketing strategy.
Unlike platforms like Facebook or Instagram, Pinterest is designed to drive users off the platform. That means that pins are encouraged to drive people to websites for awareness, consideration, or purchase. Also, when thinking of the shelf-life of your social media content, an organic pin can live for months, and beyond! Like Youtube, Pinterest is SEO friendly (which means you will not annoy users trying to maximize your SEO rankings.)
As you consider how Pinterest can impact your content strategy, remember that pins are like proactive planning boards. Users tend to pin for things months in advance. Pinners save pins now for consideration later. So, keep your content evergreen, and your Pinterest links active!
Social media updates for WhatsApp:
1. WhatsApp reaches the 2 billion users milestone.
WhatsApp, which is a part of the Facebook family of brands, recently reached 2 billion users worldwide. According to The Wall Street Journal, this compares to Facebook’s 2.5 billion users and 1 billion Instagram users.
Mark Zuckerberg announced a plan to integrate WhatsApp with Facebook Messenger in 2019. This integration would make the Facebook family of brands more powerful with user data, but there are encryption concerns that keep this plan slow and steady. If (or when) Zukerberg’s plan goes into action, private messages for Facebook and Instagram will be integrated with the end-to-end encryption based platform. This means that messages sent through WhatsApp (and other private messaging platforms associated) will remain secure with no access to anyone outside of the messaging recipients. This is a good thing for users and the apps, but not for third party agencies, including the federal government. (February 2020)
Social media updates for Spotify:
1. Spotify makes new podcast discovery a little easier.
Spotify announced the launch of three human-curated podcast playlists in six countries, including the U.S., Germany, Sweden, the U.K., Mexico, and Brazil. The newly curated playlists will share weekly updates on the best podcasts while highlighting different categories, including Crime Scene, Sci-Fi, and more. (April 2020)
Freelancer angle: Although the podcast industry experienced a decrease in consumption at the beginning of the pandemic, Spotify prides itself on taking the initiative to keep great podcasts at the forefront. If you’re thinking about starting a podcast, there is no better time than the present! Create your podcast with a clear strategy that includes content planning. Think of a long-term strategy while focusing on small milestones to continue moving forward.From @Spotify to @Pinterst and @Canva, we’ve got you covered with our #SocialMedia #ContentRadar. #SocialMediaNews | #ContentWriting | via @AltimeseNichole Click To Tweet
2. Spotify enhances its analytics for podcast advertisers.
Spotify recently announced its release of new metric tools for podcast advertisers, which will provide insightful data on impressions, frequency, and reach concerning audience insights and listening behaviors. Before this new metric, podcast advertisers had a general idea of the ads targeting parameters, but the data was still uncertain. Now, Spotify’s latest technology, called Streaming Ad Insertion (SIA), unveils data that makes it easier for advertisers to understand the ROI of their advertising spend. (January 2020)Performance data for podcast advertising is becoming more in-depth, thanks to @Spotify's recent update. #PodcastAdvertising | #MarTech |via @AltimeseNichole Click To Tweet
Freelancer angle: As content creators and producers, this pivotal shift in performance data opens the door of consideration for brands to invest in podcast advertising. If you are considering launching your own podcast, it’s a good time to start, but begin your podcast with intention. Do your research, discover your audience, and create a solid strategy. These things will make your podcast more attractive to your listeners and advertisers.
Social media updates for Canva:
1. Canva becomes an official Pinterest Partner for content creators.
Canva, which is one of the fastest-growing, web-based design platforms recently paired up with Pinterest, a visual discovery engine used by over 332 million active monthly users around the world and 52 million actively engaged pinners in the US.
Through this new partnership, content creators can curate engaging content quickly, while integrating Pinterest best practices within their pins to maximize campaign performance. (April 2020)
Freelancer angle: If you have great content yet haven’t incorporated Pinterest into your social media strategy, what are you waiting for? Through the Canva partnership, creating visually engaging pins is more straightforward and seamless. Additionally, Pinterest can be a great platform that assists with your SEO strategy as well..@Canva becomes an official @Pinterest partner, which is great news for content creatives that use both platforms. #SocialMediaNews | #ContentRadar | via @AltimeseNichole Click To Tweet
2. Canva rolls out video editing capabilities to help your brand stand out.
This year, Canva has made great strides to maximize the user experience within their platform that’s designed to help entrepreneurs and business owners to have the power and beauty of graphic design at their fingertips! As a part of their 2020 strategic planning, they recently released video editing capabilities to the platform.
The video editing features are available to premium users at the moment, but this added capability makes powerful branding more accessible to all brands, big and small. (December 2019).@Canva adds a video editing feature to the platform, and we're here for it! 🙌 #SocialMedia | #MarketingNews | via @AltimeseNichole Click To Tweet
Social media updates for TikTok:
1. Marketers and brands need to pay attention to TikTok as it continues to rise in popularity.
Have you heard of TikTok? If not, it’s time to put it on your radar. TikTok is a mobile video app that highlights short video snippets among friends launched by Chinese developer, ByteDance. The app released in 2017 and recently reached over 1.5 billion downloads in the Apple Store or Google Play. (November 2019)
More social media marketing tips and updates from the past:
1. YouTube gives more control to content creators with copyright claims. YouTube is making this process easier, giving creators more control over removing the content associated with the claim. It’s as simple as a video editing tool within YouTube Studio. (December 2019)
2. To showcase its predictions for the 2020 trends, Pinterest released its Pinterest 100, which highlights key categories and top searches on the platform. (December 2019)
3. As the most powerful professional networking tool, LinkedIn recently released a new feature that allows users to create, manage, and track professional gatherings directly from the platform. (October 2019)
4. Facebook announced its removal of the gray badges to make the verification request process simple. Whether on Facebook or Instagram, you’re now able to request profile verification directly from your business profile page. (December 2019)
5. Influencers shift from engagement to conversion. Instagram hiding platform Likes causes influencer marketing campaigns to focus more on substance and how that relates to a business objective rather than engagement, and this shouldn’t be considered a bad thing! (11/15/19)
6. MarketingProfs B2B conference recap: The MarketingProfs B2B Conference from Oct. 16-18 shared three compelling themes, included the power of marketing and the human experience, the evolution of influencer marketing from a B2B perspective, and the impact of a robust content strategy. (10/10/19)
7. Facebook makes a commitment to improving how it measures organic page impressions. According to a recent update announced by Facebook, the company is shortening the time-frame by which it calculates the metric, which updates the organic impressions to align with the methodology it uses for paid performance. This change will allow organic content to maintain comparable metrics to the sponsored (or paid) content for a business page. (8/18/19)
See more monthly roundups and tips for social media marketers: