Social media changes every day—and last week particularly stood out from our perspective as something to recap for everyone. I’ve gathered several updates I thought relevant to not only our clients at DEG, but all social media marketers and strategists.
3 Stories about Facebook
It’s not surprising Stories are a hot topic in social media. People are prone to binging content and Stories help us get snippets of updates on others’ lives. They are also a powerful marketing tool for brands.
Currently, Stories are being used by 1.25 billion people across the Facebook app family every day. If you’re not using Stories in your content strategy, you should consider adding it into your social marketing plan ASAP.
Facebook specifically looked at three key elements that help Stories stand out from the multi-billion people crowd:
- Look and feel: What creative strategies and elements are unique to driving effectiveness?
- Brand and product: How do brands and products most effectively show up?
- Format and execution: Which creative formats and styles are driving the most effective storytelling?
In our closest achievement to the moving pictures in the Harry Potter universe, 3D photos enable viewers to see an alternate, moving perspective. Leveraging the dual camera set up of most recent smartphone models, Facebook provides this new option with no additional effort or tools required. Now, the platform has announced three new 3D image options, including:
- 3D photos in Stories
- 3D photo creation on the web
- 3D photo creation on Android
Facebook is in the midst of testing a new side-scroll News Feed experience similar to that of Stories, which could be the future of the platform. This could be the answer to merge the News Feed with Stories.
TechCrunch noted that Facebook is still in the very early stages of development of this new format. In addition, we know that Facebook Stories hasn’t taken off in the way the capability has on the Instagram platform. As of late September, Facebook reported that Stories were being used by 300 million people daily, which accounts for less than 10 percent of the entire Facebook user base compared to 40 percent of Instagram’s users who engage with Stories daily.
In fact, reports have shown that News Feed engagement is declining. That’s why it’s unsurprising Facebook would continue to shift focus to Stories, Messenger and groups, which Mark Zuckerberg has emphasized as “the fasted growing areas of online communication.”
Welcome to the party, LinkedIn
Although LinkedIn has been growing in popularity and usage over the last several years with detailed sharing of past and current triumphs and failures, the platform has remained behind in certain aspects of the social sharing community. Now, get ready to add a bit more flair.
LinkedIn officially announced the introduction of “reactions” for the platform allowing you to respond to posts with a Like, Celebrate, Love, Insightful, or Curious reaction. It’s no surprise these aren’t the same reactions first made available by Facebook, as the content on LinkedIn tends to vary in nature and engagement.
“One of the things we regularly hear from all of you is that you want more expressive ways than a “Like” to respond to the variety of posts you see in your feed,” writes Cissy Chen on the LinkedIn Official Blog. “At the same time, you’ve also told us that when you post on LinkedIn, you want more ways to feel heard and understand why someone liked what you said. That’s why today we’re starting to roll out a set of Reactions on LinkedIn, giving you more ways to quickly and constructively communicate with one another.”
It’s also unsurprising to see the functional replication from Facebook to LinkedIn, especially after Facebook lifted Stories straight from Snapchat. LinkedIn provides an overview of the process of choosing its Reactions—essentially it boiled down to the responses that corresponded with the most common 1-2 word responses used on the platform.
Social Media Today reported that, “According to LinkedIn, its users are around 60 percent more likely to engage with content from their coworkers on the platform, as opposed to other connections that they don’t work directly with.” This insight, in conjunction with ongoing efforts to boost engagement, led to the new LinkedIn option to connect with current “Teammates” or colleagues and prioritize updates from immediate connections.
“Simply visit ‘My Network,’ and look to the left panel. If the features is enabled for you, you should see the text ‘Add Teammates,’ where you can specify your manager, peers and/or direct reports,” explains LinkedIn. “From there, we’ll prioritize updates in your feed about your team’s activity on LinkedIn, such as posts, comments, likes, shares, and work anniversaries.”
This new functionality is promising for those driving social advocacy programs with employees and should keep a close eye on changes to reach and engagement over the next few weeks and months compared to its prior period. Teammates is set to roll out over the coming months in the U.S. on both desktop and mobile, followed by global availability shortly after.
LinkedIn’s ongoing effort to improve the creative options provided by the platform continue with the addition of photo tagging, image stickers, and image alt text. Photo tagging is fairly straightforward and is a similar experience in look, feel, and execution to platforms such as Twitter and Facebook.
Anyone tagged in an image (or the post creator) can remove tags after posting. Users will receive a notification—in app and via email—if they are tagged in a post.
LinkedIn also added work-related stickers that can be added to images.
With the addition of image alt text—currently only available on desktop—vision-impaired users gain more understanding on the platform.
LinkedIn is much later to the visual-focused approach bandwagon, but the success seen by Instagram, Facebook, and Snapchat have increased the importance of having additional support and options for users and businesses.
Let’s watch together on Instagram
As we’ve heard from Zuckerberg, people are engaging in content together in Facebook groups. So, it’s no wonder both Facebook and Instagram are looking at ways to involve groups of people in content viewing on the platforms.
Facebook continues to push its Watch Party and group communal video viewing options and now Instagram is moving in this direction as well. Spotted in early experimentation, the new option would allow users to view on-platform video content with a friend while also seeing their reactions on screen via the phone camera.
Research has shown that 85 percent of the messages shared on Instagram are distributed between the same three friends, so it doesn’t come as a surprise that right now the option appears to only support two concurrent viewers.
According to Social Media Today, multi-participatory consumption has become a key trend of focus for social platforms this year. Instagram hasn’t made any official comments on this potential new function at this time, and this function was detected on the back end by reverse engineering expert Jane Manchun Wong.
Safety first is Twitter’s new focus
In recent weeks, we’ve seen a lot of discussion on the topic of safety on social media thanks to Twitter and the heated discussions surfacing on the platform. While brands need to be diligent in not engaging in misinformed conversation, Twitter is now looking to make improvements to its conversation options.
Soon, Twitter users will be able to hide tweet replies as part of the platform’s ongoing efforts to improve discussion and user safety the social networking company confirmed. Twitter has said it is experimenting with the option in June, but the timeline for a beta test or official rollout is unclear.
In addition, Twitter is making efforts to reduce spam and abuse, as well as increase user safety. The company has reported:
- 38% of abusive content that’s enforced is now surfaced proactively to our teams for review, instead of relying on reports from people on Twitter
- 100,000 accounts have been suspended for creating new accounts after a suspension during January-March 2019—a 45% increase from the same time last year
- We’re now responding 60% faster to appeal requests with our new in-app appeal process
- 3x more abusive accounts are being suspended within 24 hours after a report, compared to the same time last year
- 5x more private information is being removed with a new, easier reporting process
Snapchat highlights the video content evolution
As we’ve seen and viewed ourselves, video content is becoming more and more important on social media in the form of posts and Stories. While some believe Instagram is taking over Snapchat, there’s still something to be said about the older video-sharing platform.
Snap Inc. commissioned The National Research group for a report on evolving video consumption trends. The report notes that TV viewership has been in significant decline over the past few years, despite people watching more video than ever before.
However, in the age of Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Prime, and other streaming services, viewers have an increased freedom for when and where they watch their shows. Additionally, short-form video content has continued to rise.
“As mobile grows to be the dominate medium of consumption, content must adapt to be mobile first,” the report states. “Short-form content typically defined as content lasting 10 minutes or less is emerging as a viable solution. Where more traditional long-form content is akin to a full meal, short-form is like an on-the-go snack: consumed along, satiating a quick need, and bringing a little excitement to the day.”
According to Social Media Today, the increase in content types, such as Stories, has subsequently impacted the type of condensed narrative people come to expect: the report indicates 97 percent of respondents indicated that they watch short videos created by their friends or influencers, with 74 percent also watching user-generated content daily.
While the report’s findings are directly linked to Snapchat and its content, the takeaways are platform agnostic: short-form video will continue to rise and create opportunities to connect with the next generation of consumers.
Unlimited characters and possibilities
There are a lot of updates happening in the social space, as evidenced here by a snapshot of the past week alone. While most of these updates don’t have any immediate impacts or required actions, we’ll continue to keep a pulse on further updates and insights.