How Recent Social Media Updates May Impact Your Brand

Earlier this week, social media managers around the world exclaimed a collective “hallelujah!” as Instagram rolled out its latest API updates. With Instagram’s latest update, automatic publishing from third party tool sets – something social media managers have requested for years – is finally a reality. Those early-morning and late-night posts just got a lot easier to share.

This isn’t the only recent social media update you should know about. We’ve gathered a list of the biggest changes over the past few months and how they could affect anyone managing a social media presence.

Instagram

Follow #hashtags. In addition to following other users, you can now also follow hashtags. This is especially helpful for brands that encourage customers to share product photos using a specific hashtag. It’s also great for finding influencers and user content related to your industry or brand that you can request permission to share with your own audience.

Commenting from the home feed. In December, Instagram quietly rolled out an update to encourage commenting on content that appears in your feed. If you spend more than 5 seconds viewing a post in your feed, a comment box will appear below the post, allowing you to comment directly from your feed (rather than clicking the comment icon to add one). In addition to encouraging engagement from users, it also encourages brands to create content that leads users to view a post for at least 5 seconds, anything from a short video or album to a particularly breathtaking or detailed photo.

Recommended posts and accounts. In addition to your feed including posts from accounts you follow and Sponsored (paid) posts, you’ll now occasionally see posts that are Recommended for You. According to Instagram, these are populated based on the accounts you already follow. While there’s no way for brands to ensure their posts are recommended, this may be a good time to check out your competitors and see if you can adjust the hashtags you’re using and the keywords in your bio to more closely relate to others in your industry.

Facebook

News Feed update. Facebook started off 2018 by announcing plans for a major News Feed update that has spurred big questions for social media managers. How will this impact my post reach and overall engagement? Will I need to spend more to reach my existing followers?

According to CEO Mark Zuckerberg, the goal of this update is to shift from “helping you find relevant content to helping you have more meaningful social interactions.” This means that in addition to the engagement rates Facebook already uses to determine how high posts appear in users’ News Feeds, it will now “also prioritize posts that spark conversations and meaningful interactions between people.”

Social media managers and marketers are in the early stages of figuring out what this means for brand pages and how content strategies may need to shift to stay visible to their followers. More than likely, it will mean a decrease in reach and a need to experiment with new post styles in order to find what gets more visibility. It also may mean needing to pay to increase the likelihood your followers will see your posts.

Messenger Kids. At the end of 2017, Facebook rolled out a new app called Messenger Kids. Available in the U.S. to start, Messenger Kids is a standalone app designed for children under 13 to use for messaging and video chat with a contact list controlled by their parents. While this kid-focused app has generated concern among some child advocacy groups, Facebook notes that the app is compliant with COPPA, contains no advertising, and children’s information is not used for advertising.

Twitter

Tweetstorm support. Tweetstorms are nothing new. For years, users have circumvented the 140 (and now 280) character limit by posted long threads of tweets, with new tweets in the thread posted as replies to the previous tweet. Twitter has now embraced this behavior and provided official support for sending multiple tweets in an organized thread, all at once.

New verified accounts. Towards the end of 2016, Twitter announced it would halt its account verification process in search of a better system. This has made it impossible for new companies to receive the coveted blue checkmark that fosters customer confidence that the account they’re tweeting at is the right one.

At the start of 2018, however, users noticed Twitter was quietly verifying some accounts again. Twitter hasn’t publicly commented, so we have yet to see whether these were one-off verifications or if a new process will soon be accessible again for everyone.

Have any of these social media channel updates changed the type of content you share or your strategy for posting? Are there updates other than these that you’ve found to impact your social presence? Share your thoughts in the comments.

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