If you work in marketing, public relations or social media, you know that the social media landscape is in a constant state of flux. With changes happening at what seems like a daily rate, staying on top of these trends can be a daunting task, and sifting through the clutter can be time consuming.
To help you stay up to date, we’ve sifted through the news ourselves and compiled a list of recent changes, and rumors of possible changes to come that are worth paying attention to:
- Facebook is betting big on video content. According to Facebook’s last earnings report, Facebook users now watch 100 million hours of video daily on the service. In addition to placing more of an emphasis on video in their ads platform, access to live video broadcasting (think Periscope but in your news feed) is also being rolled out to users beyond public figures and news publishers.
- The like button will never be the same. [UPDATE: This feature was launched on 2/24/16.] All indications show that a total revamp of the Like function on Facebook is imminent. Soon users will be able to express a variety of reactions and emotions through emoji-like buttons. Brace yourself brands – this could be a game changer in that the possibilities for misinterpretation between social media managers and customers could be endless. On the flipside, could it be a mechanism for fans to give brands a more accurate portrait of fan sentiment with more nuanced feedback than a simple like button.
- In some ways Facebook’s Sports Stadium is trying to be more like Twitter. Facebook’s first big test of their real-time sports commentary feed was a resounding failure during the Super Bowl. The platform only has a few weeks to make necessary tweaks and changes ahead of March Madness.
- The algorithm continues to change. Facebook is now relying on qualitative feedback to ensure that relevant content is being served up to users.
- And that’s just a small piece of what’s happening on Facebook. The platform also is preparing for the future of virtual reality. New tools to help nonprofits raise money on platform are coming. And Messenger will see some changes in 2016.
TL;DR: If you’re not producing any video content that’s optimized for Facebook (re: brief), you should at least be considering it. Stay tuned to see how changes to the Like button will affect brands and users alike.
- The ads are here, the ads are here!
If you’re an active Instagram user, you’ve probably noticed the number of sponsored posts in your feed have skyrocketed. Thanks to Facebook’s purchase of the platform, brands can now advertise on Instagram to meet three objectives: website clicks, video views and app installs. If you know how to set up a Facebook ad, good news – you don’t have to learn an entirely new ad platform. Instagram ads can be set up through Facebook ads manager or power editor.
- Brand managers rejoice. Multi-user sign is available. You can now add up to five accounts without having to log out and log back in.
- Boomerang. Late last year, Instagram debuted this video app that creates a one-second video that loops.
- Like counts are so 2015. [UPDATE: This feature was launched on 2/24/15.] Another metric will soon be available to Instagram users – video view counts. Over the next few weeks, look for view counts to be added to videos shared on the app. Wondering what a counts as a view? A whole three seconds.
TL;DR: Marketers familiar with Facebook advertising and brands with compelling photo/video content should be excited about the opportunities Instagram advertising presents. The ability to manage brand accounts more seamlessly is also a welcome change.
- Run for cover, the algorithm-based timeline is here. Will this be the change that gives Twitter new life or the nail in the coffin? We’ll know more soon. In a major shift from its traditional timeline, Twitter has introduced a new timeline, where the most popular tweets trump the most recent ones. Currently, users can opt-in but all signs point to this being platform wide in the near future.
- The next change also could be big. Rumors are hinting at the removal of the 140 character limit for Tweets. This might be looked at as a welcome change for social media managers struggling to convey their brand’s message succinctly. The design of this feature will play a major role in whether or not users see this change as a success.
- Will GIFs be the next emoji? In partnership with Gify and Riffsy, Twitter is currently rolling out native support for GIFs in tweets. Soon everyone will be able to react to tweets with more than just letters and hashtags.
TL;DR: Twitter is trying to balance its desperate need to grow its user base, many of whom find the platform confusing and hard to use, with keeping their current users happy. #RIPTwitter?
- LinkedIn doubles down on mobile. LinkedIn has been pretty mum on whether or not there are any major changes in the works for 2016. But they kicked off the year with a new app design for iOS and Android. The design focuses on simple design that in theory makes it easier for users to find content that’s relevant to them. The platform also has made its search function faster and made the messaging feature more prevalent.
- Share your account with a link.
Ease of use is one of the major complaints I hear from new users of the platform. And more specifically, finding people on Snapchat isn’t exactly as intuitive as Twitter or Facebook. Now, in addition to being able to add new friends by location, username or Snapcode, users can share their username with a URL.
- Leaked screen shots show new video messaging is coming soon. Users are viewing 6 billion videos per day on the platform. And you can video message with users on Snapchat – it just isn’t easy to do. Reports have surfaced that they are working on a major redesign of this feature. You might be asking yourself, why this matters and the answer is predictable: money. While advertising has given the platform a way to monetize, Snapchat is still looking for other ways to bring in revenue.
- ICYMI: WSJ joined discover. Wait, what? Yes, you read that correctly. The Wall Street Journal has joined 19 other publishers who share content on Snapchat on a daily basis. The Wall Street Journal is the first newspaper to take this leap of faith, and you have to wonder if others aren’t too far behind. Could this mean that in the future PR professionals will need to be thinking about how their pitch would translate to a story on Snapchat?
- New to Snapchat? Three snapchat accounts you should be following:
TL;DR: Yes, we should all start treating Snapchat as a legitimate social network now. It’s not just for teenagers anymore.
We’ll continue to keep an eye on social media trends. In a few months I’m sure there will be enough changes to do another round up post. Be sure to subscribe to our blog or follow us on Twitter so you don’t miss any updates.