The second installment of our Social Media Marketing Updates series, we’ll highlight the big changes at leading social platforms that social media marketing professionals need to know about.
As highlighted in our last article summarizing its H1 2019 updates, Facebook has put a large (and public) focus on transparency and personal privacy. This prioritization was embodied by Facebook’s feature updates earlier this year, but it has recently announced new business tools in Messenger which will likely be rolled out in a limited testing capacity later this year.
Messenger will soon have key capabilities that every marketing professional will be eager to try out. The first, and potentially most game changing, are Messenger’s Lead generation tools, which have started rolling out already on the back of beta-testing, as an option in Messenger’s Template tool, under Facebook Ads Manager. This tool allows brands to set up automated experiences – basically a bot conversation – to qualify leads, essentially working as an AI driven Business Development Rep, setting up a pipeline of warm leads that can be picked up by a sales team member. This tool can also be integrated with CRM tools to upload, onboard, and track leads.
Additionally, Facebook is addressing its organic reach limitations by testing new means of introducing brands and influencers to their target audiences based on activity, likes, interests, etc. More on this is expected soon.
The second update is an appointment booking tool. Announced earlier this year, this feature is currently open to beta testing (there’s a waiting list), which lets businesses sync their existing calendar management and meeting scheduling tools with Facebook, and then accept appointments through Facebook Messenger. The purpose of this integration is to convert conversations into appointments without needing to leave the platform.
Speaking of in-app transactions, Instagram has added more functionality to its Stories feature. The new monetization and selling features allow select brands or influencers to tag products that promoting and sell directly with an in-app checkout process.
It’s rolled out collaborative features, which allow pre-selected accounts to share their own content to your story. This allows for a more engaging and dynamic view experience, allowing collaborators, partners, event speakers, guest features, etc. share content and experiences on your own page, facilitating more brand awareness for everyone and allowing you to benefit from diverse content from outside sources.
Another unique update from Instagram is turning shopping posts into ads. Those clickable posts tagging products and brands will soon be able to be treated as ad campaigns, to expose users and audiences more products and drive in-app purchases and transactions. This feature currently reaches 130 million accounts and stands now as an organic-only tool. The viewers of these ads will have virtually the same experience while scrolling their feed; the only difference being a “sponsored” tag at the top of the post under the account name.
Outside of these updates, Instagram has recently tested the removal of public likes in some markets. No word yet on if, or when, this will be rolled out globally. Instagram has been considering some big changes, and the relatively slow pace of update announcements is probably an indicator of big 2020 changes to come.
Another platform slow with new updates, Twitter’s most notable announcement is its simplified replies and media attachments.
It has begun “scaffolding” tweets into display elements, so they no longer count towards a text character count within the tweet. This makes outreach to and from brands and their audience more organic, easier to do and easier to read.
Additionally, in the instance of retweets, a small but impactful update as of July was to allow users to add media – a photo, video, or GIF – to a retweet instead of text only. This makes media in retweets/conversation threads more impactful. Twitter has also been testing a prototyped interface for threaded replies in a separate app called twttr. These changes overall point to a move away from text status updates – Twitter’s original goal offering of an SMS-style update platform, to a more engaging user experience rich in multimedia. This shift has historically, for platforms who have been ahead of this curve like Instagram and Facebook, boosted traffic and ad revenues.
Twitter also revamped it’s desktop website in July, making the interface faster, easier to navigate, and more personalized.