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News: Social Media in April

Social media is always bringing new opportunities to incorporate into digital marketing strategies. If you don’t remain reactive, and agile in your approach then these updates can pass you by. We’ve collated the important social media updates, announcements and news stories that occurred in April to ensure you stay up to date.

A huge announcement

The month began with Lush Cosmetics, ‘inventors of the bath bomb’, causing quite a splash when they announced they would be closing their UK social media accounts. They are hoping that in doing so they will be able to connect better with their customers without having to pay Facebook for the privilege.

The reason is an improvement on that of JD Wetherspoon who claimed that social platforms were simply a ‘waste of time’ when shutting down the pub chain’s accounts last year. Does this signify the start of brands standing up against social media platforms and their algorithms that force companies to pay for their content to be seen?

Lush will still allocate a significant budget towards influencer marketing across social and, as they are such a well-known brand, I believe this almost ‘ghost-like’ presence on social will work well. It could, however, be a costly change. They’re quitting at an exciting time for Instagram in particular, who have just announced their checkout function.

Another concern is that customers will resent using email or telephone to contact their customer services team, rather than simply sending a Tweet in today’s social-first world.

Twitter

Speaking of Twitter, they’ve been busy with Twttr their sideline beta app used internally to test out future updates.

Thanks to Twttr we will soon have:

  • New ‘author’ and ‘mentioned’ labels helping to add a level of clarification to otherwise unruly threads
  • A swipe feature to replace ‘liking’ a tweet by tapping the heart. This is part of Twitter’s larger plan to declutter the platform.

LinkedIn

Not only was there a fresh new look to LinkedIn’s login page in April, they have continued with their newfound consistency of releasing new features.

The first of these will improve ways of working, as well as connecting with and sharing your colleagues news. Users can now upload documents and presentations online, while the new ‘Teammates’ feature allows members to add co-workers to a list, which will then be used to prioritise updates within their feeds. This comes after the platform revealed that ‘60% of its members were more likely to like, comment, share, or message coworkers vs their other connections.’

Engagement options for reacting to a post have also changed. LinkedIn have followed in Facebook’s steps by introducing five options for reacting to content. You can now ‘like’, ‘love’ or ‘celebrate’ content, or find it ‘insightful’ or be ‘curious’ about it.

It’s positive to see LinkedIn encouraging a wider variety of conversations on the platform and building it into a real professional community.

Facebook

Another privacy breach occurred last month, this time when millions of records were found on Amazon cloud servers. Could this be linked to the news that Amazon Prime Video is coming to Facebook’s portal device?

The platform has been actively trying to focus on banishing fake news for good, with talks of employing human editors to hand-pick news stories and articles that they deem to be the most trustworthy.

The annual F8 conference took place at the end of the month and comprised a multitude of update announcements:

  • A dating feature will soon be available. It’s been named Secret Crush as if you choose to ‘crush’ on your friend, they will only be notified if the ‘crush’ is reciprocated
  • You can now share 3-D photos to stories. The feature took pride of place in the latest newsfeed update – part of Facebook’s mission to highlight groups and events
  • There’s also a new-look ads interface, which will soon include the ability to copy campaigns, saving brands valuable time in the campaign set-up process.

Instagram

Instagram caused quite a stir in April when they floated the possibility of hiding likes and follower counts from public view. Although this seems drastic, it would encourage individuals to focus on the quality of the content they’re sharing, rather than simply posting what they deem will receive the highest quantity of likes. The trial is currently active in Canada and will roll-out to other countries depending on its success.

Stories

April saw the addition of a quiz sticker in stories, allowing users and brands to ask questions while also providing possible answers for their followers to choose from. This is a mixture of their existing poll option combined with their question sticker and will encourage engagement and interaction from page followers.

Monetisation

  • According to AdAge, Instagram are toying with the idea of adding ads to the IGTV section of the platform, in order to compensate creators akin to Youtube
  • Instagram will start to let select creators and influencers sell the products featured in their posts and stories directly from the app. The change will be the next step for influencer marketing, allowing brands to better demonstrate ROI
  • This is Instagram’s first direct involvement in e-commerce, but does it signify the end of third-party affiliate apps such as LikeToKnowIt and 21buttons?
  • Deutsche Bank predicts that ‘Checkout’ could make Facebook $10 billion by 2021.

In other news…

  • Snapchat saw a drop in user rates of 2.3% since last year, the number of users predicted to fall to 14.5 million in the U.K within 2019
  • Pinterest went public, debuting on the New York Stock Exchange at $23.75 per share
  • The business app for Whatsapp is now available worldwide to both Android and iOS users and provides a channel for SMBs to connect more directly with their customers
  • TikTok – the rapidly growing video-sharing platform – is now working with ‘Internet Matters’, a non-profit organisation that aim is to increase the online safety of young people and improve ‘digital wellbeing‘
  • Vine – the video looping app launched in 2013 – has returned under the new name ‘Byte’. It’s still in the beta testing stage but keep your eyes peeled for an increase in short-form content.

Still feel out of the loop? Make sure you’re up to date with our March monthly round-up here and check back next month to stay ahead of the changes that can affect your marketing strategy.

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