Our lives are changing and so are our social media platforms

hand holding phone

If the past three months have taught me anything, it’s that our social media normal is rapidly evolving. More than ever, we are all obsessed with consuming as much information as possible through video and sound—even on our social platforms.

While this trend in media consumption takes over, marketers are having to quickly adapt to stay relevant and a part of the conversation. With new social media features comes opportunities for creative expression and putting a voice to a brand.

To make navigating the new media normal a little easier, I thought I’d share some of the newest features from your favorite platforms.


Audio Tweets

Sometimes you need more than 280 characters to compose the perfect tweet. That’s why Twitter is introducing audio tweets—the new way to express yourself through sound. As the name suggests, an audio tweet allows users to record their thoughts in 140 seconds. This new feature will roll out to all accounts, starting with select iOS users.

To record an audio tweet, you simply select the new wavelength icon while creating your tweet. If you go past the allotted 140 seconds, Twitter will simply start a tweet thread and assign numbers at the top (e.g. “1/2”) to make following along easier. Once published, audio tweets will appear like embedded videos on your timeline.

What does this new feature mean for brands? In Twitter’s own words, “you can Tweet a Tweet. But now you can Tweet your voice!” Like putting a face to a brand, marketers will now be able to amplify the voice of their brand.


TikTok for Business

Get ready to renegade, brands and agencies! TikTok for Business has officially launched, bringing large-scale advertising to the app. The platform will now provide a space for brands to unleash their creative side through short-form video ad campaigns.

Although this concept previously existed on the app, this new feature will provide a single ad portal for marketers. The types of ads under the TikTok for Business umbrella include:

  • TopView – These are the ads shown to users right when they open the TikTok app. These sound-enabled ads can go up to 60 seconds but will appear only on full-screen for 3 seconds.
  • Brand Takeovers – These are like TopView ads, only shorter. Brand Takeovers can be shown as 3-second static images or 5-second videos.
  • In-Feed Videos – You can find these full-screen ads in the “For You” section on the app. Like TopView, these ads automatically feature sound and can last up to 60 seconds. The spots allow users the opportunity to comment, share, follow and re-use the music, just like a normal TikTok post.
  • Hashtag Challenges – To push a product or cause, brands can create hashtags to encourage user contribution. If other creators use the hashtag, users can search the hashtag to find all the tagged videos. These ads can run from 3 to 6 days with the ability to include Hashtag Plus, TikTok’s ad unit with shoppable features.
  • Branded Effects – Similar to Snapchat’s Lenses, marketers can create branded effects, stickers and filters.

For as little as $20 per day, this new offering from TikTok will allow marketers not just the chance to create, but the ability to build their brands and achieve their goals through 15-second videos.


Instagram “Reels”

Instagram is notorious for “copying” other social media platform features (think Stories to replace Snapchat, IGTV to replace YouTube.) Now, according to Tech Crunch, Instagram is expanding its TikTok-like short-form video concept, Reels, across France and Germany.

When Reels first launched in Brazil, it was meant to be an extension of Instagram Stories. But after community feedback, Reels will now post to users’ feeds and will be stored in a dedicated Reels space, similar to IGTV.

Although this feature is merely in its test phase, this concept could give brands the opportunity to market themselves through multiple mediums on one social platform. If all goes well for the app, Instagram could become the ultimate one-stop social shop.

Julia Surber

Julia loves promoting brands she believes in and flexes her media relations muscles on accounts like Virginia Distillery Company and Colonial Williamsburg. Prior to joining Hodges, she worked for Golden Word helping beverage and lifestyle clients achieve their PR goals.

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