A lot of interesting social platform updates have made the rounds recently, so we decided to give you a run-down of what they are and what they mean for brands and users.
INSTAGRAM MAKES SOME MAJOR CHANGES
First off, Instagram announced that they were updating their algorithm. From now on, feeds will no longer show posts in chronological order but instead, the order of posts’ appearance will depend on the individual user’s preferences and the content they engage with the most (similar to the algorithm used by their parent company, Facebook, for its newsfeed). For big brands, this means that they will have to work harder to create highly engaging and creative content in order to maintain a spot at the top of users’ feeds. However, we also hope that this new change will still give niche brands, influencers and brilliant content creators with smaller marketing budgets, the chance to make their way to our feeds. On top of the algorithm update, Instagram also now allows users to post 60-second videos, up from the previous length of just 15 seconds. This is a perfect opportunity for users to be more creative with their videos and not have to cut things out, while brands have the chance to tell better and richer stories. However, given the shortened attention span of users today, both parties will be faced with the challenge of keeping the content compelling enough to keep viewers engaged throughout and thereby minimize drop-off rates.
SNAPCHAT INTRODUCES A NEW SUITE OF FEATURES
Snapchat’s new update now offers users many more features, including over 200 stickers (thanks to their recent acquisition of Bitstrips) and new in-app video and calling options, among others. Dubbed Chat 2.0, the update allows you to transition between texting, video chatting or sending photos easily, thereby improving its user experience by bringing every form of mobile communication into one platform. This is just one of the many improvements that Snapchat has made to their app experience over the years, all of which have crystalized their offering and positioned them as a stronger competitor to the likes of Facebook and Instagram. When they launched the Discover feature last January, we spoke at length on why that was important for brands. The new update giving them greater opportunities to interact with their customers and even have live interactions with them.
WHATSAPP ADDING BOLD AND ITALICS OPTIONS
The latest WhatsApp update includes the option to edit the style of your text with bold, italics or strikethrough formats. Inserting asterix on each side of the sentence will make it bold, using underscores on each side will make it italic and using tildes (~) on each side will give you the strike-through option. This update has been long awaited, especially by the business sector. It also demonstrates how WhatsApp is trying to differentiate and market itself as more than just a chat app.
FACEBOOK MESSENGER CAN NOW BE YOUR BOARDING PASS
Speaking of positioning yourself as more than just a chat app, Facebook has just partnered with KLM to make travel stress-free. According to David Marcus, the head of the Messenger team at Facebook, the partnership allows KLM flyers to “automatically receive their itinerary, flight updates, check-in notifications, get their boarding passes, even re-book flights when needed, and communicate with the airline all from one contextual, canonical thread”. KLM has already proven themselves to be one of the most digitally savvy brands out there, so the partnership seems like a natural progression to their customer service offering. Marcus claimed that this would be the first of many partnerships, so you can expect Messenger to continue expanding their services and eventually become the ‘everything app’. For users, this allows for more streamlined communications with brands, eliminating the need to download and command multiple apps to voice complaints or make inquiries. Integrating customer service into Messenger is logical, but it will be interesting to see what brands do further with this service.
There you have it, you are now up-to-speed with all the latest happenings in the world of social media. Stay tuned to this space for more news on developments and what they mean to you and your business.