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The August social media updates have arrived!

Nishaa Sharma

It’s that time again! We’re back and rounding up the updates from the world of social media for August. We’ve had another another busy month so let’s get started:

Instagram

The social media update everyone is buzzing about this month is the introduction of Instagram Reels. TikTok has been banned in India, and there are rumours of the same happening in the US, Japan, and Australia. So it’s good news that  Facebook has stepped in to announce a similar tool via Instagram! With Reels, you can create 15-second videos with effects, multiple clips, sounds and music, just like on TikTok. These can be shared to your Instagram profile.

Reels could be a great tool for businesses, as users already have an established audience and will be able to effectively reach both millennials and gen Z with their marketing. Instagram will also be  updating its Explore page to broaden the reach of Reels similar to TikTok’s ‘for you page’. This means businesses could reach even more potential customers than before.

Keep in mind that Reels is still very new and is experimenting with this new form of content. Users who want to get ahead of the game should head over and start working out how it all works!

Look out for QR codes and ID checks!

In other updates, Instagram is introducing QR codes to directly open up a profile in the app. This is a great tool for businesses, letting customers find you on social media without having to search. This replaces Nametags, which involved having to open the function rather than just being able to use the camera. Expect to see your Nametag converted into a QR code soon and don’t forget to advertise it!

Instagram is also going to start running ID checks. Accounts showing inauthentic activity will need to provide valid ID in order to keep their account running properly. If an ID is not provided, Instagram can take action. This ranges from reducing reach and distribution or features all the way up to permanently disabling the account. This should help with curbing the number of bots and fake followers that are currently around.

As Instagram is part of Facebook there is now an upgrade available to connect your Facebook Messenger with your Instagram direct messages. If you opt-in, the paper aeroplane icon for Instagram DM’s will become a Messenger chat bubble. Connecting the two platforms will give more colourful chat options and reactions to a message with any emoji.

Facebook

If you run a Facebook page for your business there are a couple of changes this month you need to know about: the biggest is the new layout which says goodbye to the “Like” button.

This might cause panic, but Facebook made this move in hopes for more accurate indicators of engagement with pages. Users have to make the decision to follow your page instead, opting into seeing your posts in their news feeds.

Another update being made to business pages is adding the use of hashtags. Facebook hopes this will help improve post reach, but historically, hashtags have not been popular on the platform. It’s worth a try to see reach improves, but make sure you monitor progress and don’t overdo it!

Facebook groups are a great way to connect your business with your audience or customers.  If you’re already running a group and have over 1,000 members, you now have the option to add sponsored posts.
This new addition means businesses can monetize your audience and other brands can work with them to target their demographic. Don’t forget that this could also be a  way to generate more income from social media.

Facebook still focusing on supporting businesses!

Another way Facebook hopes to help businesses monetize their audience is through introducing paid events. This allows businesses to broadcast content like training and classes as paid workshops to their customers or through targeted ads.
There are a few rules to be mindful of in Facebook’s Partner Monetization Policies, such as restrictions on types of events and banned content like slideshows of images, looping videos, and static image polls, so it’s worth reading those over if you’re thinking of setting up a paid event.

To further help businesses with online growth and driving business through Facebook, the app has also announced a Messenger chat plugin that can be used on websites to connect with customers even when they are not logged in. The goal of the plugin is to give businesses an easier way to have personal connections and conversations with audiences. It will also help to build lasting relationships even when we cannot connect in person.

Other changes at Facebook

Facebook is also continuing its move towards becoming an e-commerce destination by running tests, in the US, of a shopping tab within the app. They hope this will highlight the Shopping feature introduced to businesses last year and encourage more product sales in-app.

Facebook is joining Messenger Rooms with Facebook Live, meaning you can now broadcast your meetings to your personal, group, or business page. Messenger Live Broadcasts can have up to 50 people, and are a great way to share webinars, interviews, or classes. This update competes with Zoom, where users have to pay to broadcast their meetings on other platforms. The update will soon also include linking into Whatsapp and Instagram contacts.

The introduction of ID checks on Instagram should help reduce the number of bots and fake followers.

Twitter

To help save time when looking through  Twitter message requests, the platform has added more details about receiving direct messages from people you don’t follow. These additional details mean that finding out who the user is and how you’re connected.

In another move towards protecting privacy and creating a healthier online space, there is now a way to limit who can reply to your tweets. You can do this using a small globe icon at the bottom of tweets to select who can respond to your content, decide to leave this setting public, change it to only those mentioned in the tweet, or only your followers. It’s hoped this new feature will minimize harassment and trolling.

Twitter is also updating the way retweets with comments, or quote tweets work, making them easier to find and interact with. The new features being tested are a quote tweet button or number in the bar where you’d find the reply and retweet buttons and clicking on the retweets button to view both with and without comments.

More from Twitter

If you use Twitter video ads, it’s worth having a look at the data they have published about the effectiveness of different types and quantities of video marketing used. The data shows that while brand awareness and response rates went up when multiple video formats are used, the reach went down. Depending on what your goals are with videos on Twitter, the graphs they’ve shared have some interesting insight and are helpful for future video planning.

Something to keep an eye out for in the coming months is a paid subscription to premium features on Twitter. Some of these might be an undo send button for typos, font and colour choices, longer, higher-quality videos, and other tools to make a message stand out in the crowd. Would you subscribe?

Snapchat

Snapchat is updating to make it easier to share content from the app across your other social platforms by allowing viewing of content outside of the app. This means that Snapchat original content and publisher content can be made public, making it easier to share and view online without having the app downloaded. Having your content available to viewers outside of the app will also see you achieve a higher reach.

Pinterest

Pinterest has updated its shopping feature by testing out labels on selected product pins. These labels, like “Popular” and “Best Seller” aim to drive traffic for the businesses sharing their product pins, and to make finding the best products to match your inspiration easier.

Whatsapp

Throughout the pandemic, there have been a lot of viral messages and fake news stories circulating, and over here at Naturally Social, we are all about fact-checking and combating false information. Forwarding Whatsapp messages has been the cause of a lot of fake news circulating, and in addition to limiting the number of people a message can be forwarded to, Whatsapp has now also introduced a search engine feature to make it as easy as possible to fact check the messages you receive.

Zoom

Finally, to wrap up this months round-up we’re talking about Zoom!

Even though many of us are returning to the workplace following the easing of lockdown restrictions, chances are we will still be meeting remotely and utilizing Zoom. We all know the distractions that can be caused by kids, pets and background noise while you’re in a meeting or taking part in online networking! But worry not!  Zoom has introduced a noise cancellation feature, better late than never!

 

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