Let's face it … social media platforms can get overwhelming at times as there are regular changes to your favourite pages. But as a social media manager, you need to be aware of any new features that you can use to promote your brand. 

Making use of these new features helps you to establish your brand as innovativeand they also allow you to get the most out of the respective platform.

We all know that the era of only using social media to stalk your ex is long gone! With the rise of digital marketing and social commerce, the social media sphere is becoming a space where businesses can grow and expand their consumer base.

media update's Jana van der Westhuizen takes a look at the latest updates that social media managers can't dare to miss!

Here are five trends buzzing within the social media industry:

1. Tik Tok increases its video length 

With more than one billion users, Tik Tok is a platform where a variety of short-form videos are hosted. The success of this platform is due to the nature of the content, as well as the length of its videos. YouTube and Facebook allow for longer videos, whereas Tik Tok has shorter, bite-size videos that — let's be honest — can be addictive!

But with the overall video medium being so successful, Tik Tok has decided to increase the three-minute video length to 10 minutes. This enables Tik Tok to keep up with competitors and allows its content creators to have more freedom with their time when creating their videos. The question is … how will your brand benefit from the increase in video length? Well, you can share more information by only creating one original video and increase the amount of 'in-feed' ads (embedded video ads) that you publish.

2. LinkedIn introduces a newsletter function

As a social media manager, it is important to sell your brand to potential clients or businesses on LinkedIn as the platform provides a niche way of professional networking. A useful new feature that you can apply here is LinkedIn's newsletter function. 

Your audience can subscribe to your page and receive a tailored newsletter accordingly. You can decide on the frequency and content of your newsletter. With this function, you can also:
  • give more information to potential clients or employees, faster
  • increase page reach — share your newsletter outside of your follower base, and
  • establish personal communication with your followers for free.
A newsletter tool allows you to communicate important and time-sensitive campaigns or events with your followers — so start publishing!

3. Facebook removes podcast feature

Only a year after Facebook introduced its podcast feature, the platform is pulling the plug on content creators using podcasts as a means to establish and build communities. In June 2021, Meta introduced a range of podcast features, like direct connection options, which allow a Facebook user to directly tune into a podcast. 

This allowed brands to engage with billions of users and rapidly grow a trusted community. Alas, this feature will be unavailable from Friday, 3 June

Social media developers have the power to change the rules of the game, but you can still outsmart them on your own turf. How? Well, if you used this podcast feature as a means to promote your brand, then try to use options like these instead in the future:
  • paid media
  • live video feed, and
  • pre-created longer video content posted on your news feed.
By planning ahead, exploring other social features and being proactive, you can improve the growth and engagement of your platform, unhindered. Knowing what changes will happen when can benefit you as it enables you to put certain strategies in place — so, beat those social media developers at their own game!

4. Pinterest joins the x-commerce trend

Every person's worst nightmare came true … you no longer just get to look at pretty things, but you can now also buy them with Pinterest's new 'Your Shop' feature. This makes Pinterest part of the x-commerce trend. The term refers to Pinterest now being a commerce platform that enables purchases whenever a customer has an urge to buy something they really want, which they have seen on the platform. 

Brands can categorise their goods in the catalogue section on Pinterest and then just add the items to their cart. The checkout function allows users to pay on the platform using Shopify … and voila, your order is in the mail!

Being part of the x-commerce realm expands your marketing strategy as you have an array of options available to you. Depending on their advantages, you can choose which tools fit your brand image and complements your offering best.

5. Instagram launches its chronological feed option

Instagram users now have more options as to how they want to view their feed. The chronological viewing feature was introduced after much speculation about social algorithms and what users actually see on their feed. 

Interestingly enough, algorithms have an influence on the way users — and especially younger children — view themselves and the world around them … and it may not always be beneficial for the mental health of users.

This led to Instagram creating the option of viewing your feed according to 'following' or 'favourites'. When you choose 'favourites', you can only see what your selected circle is posting.

Alternatively,  when choosing 'following', you will see the feed of everyone you have chosen to follow. This option can, however, not be set as a default and your Instagram will not launch in a favourite or following mode.

The new feature will impact your brand, as paid media advertisements can no longer just be automatically pushed onto someone's feed unless they select the default option. This may lead to a decrease in reach and, therefore, downscale your online community. 

But at the same time, if you manage to have good content and you slide into your consumer's 'favourite' list, then you have nothing to worry about. Just be aware that making your brand unique is better than being part of an algorithm. 

Going forward, you can make your brand stand out and become a favourite by:
  • using strong visuals
  • giving your brand a continuous tonality and voice
  • focusing on your main offering, and
  • being humane in your actions by actively participating in your community.
This way, you will be prepared for the change that this update will bring to your fold!

As a social media manager, what is your user experience with your platforms and the recent changes? Share your thoughts about it in the comments section.

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Want to learn more about Tumblr and what it can do for your social media presence? Then check out our article, The comeback of Tumblr: Everything you need to know.
*Image courtesy of Unsplash