Latest Social Media Updates to Be Aware of 2018

social media updates
social media updates

2018 saw some big changes to our favourite social media platforms. Being aware of such updates helps to ensure our strategy remains agile, relevant and competitive. More easily said than done, right? We know it’s difficult to constantly stay in the know around social media updates and how to use them effectively, which is why we curated the top social network releases and updates of 2018 in this article.

Instagram close friends feature

Instagrams latest feature allows users to share stories with only specific people. You can create a ‘close friends list’ for posts you want to be less public. Instagram comments:

With Close Friends, you’ll have the flexibility to share your personal moments with exactly who you want — whether that’s inside jokes with your team or showing off your new relationship to your inner circle.

2018 Social Media Updates

How does this affect you? 

Whilst this is more of an update for users, one way as a brand you may be able to utilise this feature is through creating groups/communities for specific or exclusive content. Perhaps you could encourage users to request to be part of the list, and offer behind the scenes access, or exclusive interviews with influencers.

Twitter Chronological Feed

Twitter announced early today (18th Sept), that they will be allowing users to switch to a chronological timeline. This means no algorithm! Users will have access to both a ‘best tweets first’ algorithm based timeline, or tweets in a reverse chronological order.

Once this comes into play, we’ll update this further!

Twitter Live Video Priority

Twitter has joined the likes of Facebook by prioritising live video on peoples feeds. As of September 2018, Twitter is now displaying live streams at the top of your timelines.

Over the last couple of years, our favourite social media platforms have been busy adding video capabilities to their platforms. Facebook, Linkedin, Twitter & Instagram, have all been pushing video in some form. If you want your brand to be visible on social media, live video is one of the best ways to do it.

How to use? 

It’s so easy to go live with Twitter. Simply click the compose a tweet button, and you’ll see a little symbol with ‘live’

2018 Social Media Updates

Instagram Verified

Instagram now lets you apply for a verification badge within the app! Previously, the elusive blue tick was not something you could apply for. Want the blue checkmark? Follow our guide about how to get verified on Instagram.

How does this affect you? 

Unfortunately, getting verified on Instagram is really difficult. Unless you’re a huge celebrity or brand, chances are you won’t get granted a blue tick.

Instagram Questions

Instagram added an interactive questions sticker within the Stories section of the platform. This lets audiences submit questions for you to answer. This feature is a fun way to encourage engagement from your Insta audience!

2018 Social Media Updates

How to use Instagram Questions? 

  1. Go to Story Camera
  2. Take a photo/video or select the picture or video you want to upload.
  3. Press the sticker icon on the top right (it looks like this–> ).
  4. Add the questions sticker, customise the text and background.
  5. Click ‘add to story’
  6. Await questions & respond to them

How to utilise Instagram Questions?

Not only could you have a general ‘ask us a question’, why not profile an employee or have an influencer come in and have a live ‘Q&A’ story session!

Remember you can ask your audience questions too, this will help you to create a two-way conversation!

Instagram Music Stickers

July 2018 also saw the introduction of Instagram music stickers! We’ll only cover this feature briefly, as it’s pretty self-explanatory. But, you can now add music stickers to your stories. This means you can add a soundtrack to your post! This is just another feature to use to make your videos more fun and engaging.

Facebook Video Updates

In a recent blog post, Facebook announced new ways for people to create interactive videos.

Videos become more meaningful when people are active participants in the stories, and as viewing habits evolve, we want to enable content that’s two-way.

To encourage community engagement, brands can now use polls on both live and regular video. They’ve also added ‘gamification’ for live video. Facebook is challenging brands to get creative with this new feature ‘we can’t wait to see how they innovate‘.

2018 Social Media Updates

Brands such as Insider, Buzzfeed & Fresno are already lined up to use these new features. Each will host live game shows over the next few weeks (June 2018).

Chances are video, specifically interactive video content will be prioritised by Facebook’s algorithm. This new feature could completely shake up how Facebook is used. 

We’ll be updating this post with more information once this feature is rolled out more widely. If you’d like to get ahead of the game, start thinking about how you could utilise this feature and sign up for Facebook’s creator page.

Instagram 1 hour Video

This is hot off the press! Instagram has launched a new feature enabling users to upload videos up to one hour in length. These videos will be hosted in ‘IGTV’.

According to TechCrunch, IGTV will also let creators develop Instagram Channels full of their different videos that people can subscribe to. Creators will be able to put links in the description of their videos to drive traffic elsewhere.

Is Instagram looking to compete with YouTube?

Why use Instagram 1 hour Video?

We’ve said this on our blog time and time again, video content is the perfect way to boost engagement on social media. Previously we could only upload videos of a minute to Instagram. Longer videos will allow brands to share entire campaigns on Instagram, share events & tutorials and more! Think about involving influencers in your Instagram video strategy.

Additionally, being a new feature, many brands won’t have caught on yet. This means there will be fewer posts to compete with. Get ahead of the competition, with this opportunity to expand your brands reach now.

Instagram Algorithm

The second major social media algorithm change of 2018 is from Instagram.

Rewind to 2016, Instagram announced they were ditching the chronological timeline in favour of an algorithm. This caused outrage online. In May 2018 Instagram they announced they’re changing the algorithm once again. Newer posts would now be prioritised. However, Instagram won’t be reverting back to a chronological timeline.

As of June 2018, we have more details for you. There are three ways Instagram is determining what order posts are shown on users feeds.

  • Interest: Instagram predicts how much a user is likely to care about a post based on past behaviour. For example, if a user regularly engages with makeup tutorials, these kinds of posts may be shown higher.
  • Recency: Newer posts are shown first.
  • Relationship: Like Facebook, Instagram wants to prioritise content from our close friends and family. Those who users interact with a lot through comments & image tags will be shown first.

What does this mean for you?  

Choosing the right time to post is more important than before. Older posts may now not show up at the top of a users feed. Therefore, thinking about when your audience is most active is important.

Additionally, the ‘relationship’ aspect of the Instagram algorithm, means that we should work hard to build relationships with our social media community to encourage engagement. If our audience isn’t interacting with our content, they won’t be seeing it first on their feeds.

Instagram Shopping

Instagram has launched an in-app Shopping feature for businesses in Australia, the UK, Canada, Brazil, Germany, France, Italy and Spain. Brands can now direct shoppers to their e-commerce storefronts without compromising on the time users spend on the app itself.

According to Instagram, when someone taps a tag on your post, they’ll see:

  • An image of the product from your post
  • A description of the product
  • How much the product costs
  • A link that takes them directly to your website, where they can purchase the product

How to use Instagram Shopping? 

  1. Choose a photo of your product(s)
  2. Tag up to 5 products an image
  3. Add any filters and captions

Simple! (Although your account will need to be approved for shopping to use this feature)

Facebook Breaking News Feature

There have been a couple of changes across Facebook in recent months. The first is Facebook’s commitment to prioritising friends and family (which you can read about below). The second is their commitment to show higher quality news. In recent years, Facebook has often been mentioned alongside ‘fake news’. 

On the 19th January 2018, Zuckerburg stated “There’s too much sensationalism, misinformation and polarization in the world today. Social media enables people to spread information faster than ever before, and if we don’t specifically tackle these problems, then we end up amplifying them.”

From this week (5th March 2018), Facebook are rolling out a test feature where trusted publishers can add a ‘breaking news’ label to their stories.

According to Facebook, users were engaging more with ‘breaking news’ labelled posts. From Dec 8th – Jan 14th there was:

  • 4% lift in clickthrough rate
  • 7% lift in Likes
  • 4% lift in Comments
  • 11% lift in Shares

We’ve seen Instagram bring out loads of new features over the few years or so – including features specifically for businesses. Instagram is now allowing brands to utilise the carousel feature within Insta story ads.

The new look gives brands the ability to better blend into the rest of the stories rather than just looking like a commercial interruption.

Why use?

Carousel Ads are said to be one of the most engaging ad formats. According to the ‘AdRoll group‘, AdRoll advertisers running carousel ads on Facebook saw an average of 20 percent increase in click-through conversion (CTC) rates and a 40 percent decrease in cost per acquisition (CPA) compared to those who ran single image ads on Facebook. 250 million users now engage with Instagram stories every day.

Carousel Ads + Instagram Stories … you could be on to a winner!

2018 Social Media Updates

Twitter Share Feature

Twitter has just launched a new feature, allowing users to ‘bookmark’ tweets they want to save for later. They’ve also rolled out a new share function which allows users to DM tweets to others and share tweets by email or text. Get creating shareable and engaging content to benefit from this new feature.

Instagram GIF Stickers

2018 Social Media Updates

Instagram stories surpassed Snapchat in 2018 with 250 million daily users in comparison to Snapchats 166 million. The likely reason for this is that Instagram keeps rolling out new features for Story users.

Instagrams latest addition to Instagram stories is the ability to add GIF stickers to any photo or video in your Instagram story. For those of you who don’t know, GIFs are moving images.  Instagram has teamed up with Giphy to bring users transparent GIF stickers. The feature was rolled out in the last week of January 2018.

Why use Instagram GIFs?

GIFs are a great way to engage with our communities as they’re fun and expressive. The novelty factor of this latest update is likely to increase the engagement of our posts in the short run. In the long run, GIFs are part of the internet culture and are likely to appeal to millennials and Generation Z. Similar to emojis, we expect you’ll be seeing many brands using GIFs in the near future, best to lead the way then join this trend once people are over it – eh?

How to use Instagram GIFs

  1. Go to Story Camera
  2. Take a photo/video or select the picture or video you want to upload.
  3. Press the sticker icon on the top right (it looks like this–> ).
  4. Select the GIF icon. You’ll see the full GIF directory from GIPHY.  
  5. Select the GIF and it will appear in your Instagram Story
  6. Move, rotate and resize the GIF
  7. Pin GIF stickers by adding a sticker then tapping it and holding. This will pin the sticker to a fixed space in a video

Facebook Algorithm Change

One of the biggest social media updates to hit in January 2018, was when Facebook announced that they would be prioritising content from friends and family. It will, therefore, be harder than ever for brands to be seen by Facebook audiences.

Research from Social@Ogilvy found that for Facebook business pages with more than 500,000 Likes, organic reach was as low as 2% – and this was before the most recent update rolled out. Organic reach is likely to decrease even more over the coming months.

We’ve gone into more detail on the recent Facebook algorithm change in our last blog.

How to overcome the Facebook organic visibility challenge?

There are two main ways to overcome the organic reach issue.

  1. Create great content: In the past we may have churned out lots of content, hoping some of it would stick and resonate. Now, we need to create content that people want to see. If our audience is engaged with our brand, they will still see our posts. So, start using a social media monitoring tool like Meltwater to research your industry, trends, and your audience. Analyse content that’s starting conversations and generated shares, likes and comments in the past so you can begin to explore ways to recreate something similar. Google Trends and Google Console are fab tools to uncover how traffic has made its way to your site. If you know certain keywords are generating more interest, use them! Start creating content with SEO in mind and be sure to include social share buttons on your post.
  2. Utilise paid media: If we’re not able to reach our audience organically, it may be worth using Facebook ads to expand our brands reach. Facebook offers users the ability to drill down into target demographics and define very specific objectives. We’d say Facebook ads are up there with the most advanced social advertising, so it may be worth giving a go!

Instagram Hashtag Following

Ok, so this technically happened in 2017, however, all Instagram users can now follow hashtags. This means that content of a followed hashtag will now appear on the users feed. This makes it easier for users to stay connected with interests, hobbies and communities.

Why adopt Instagram hashtag following?

Instagram pitched this update as a way to discover and be inspired by the Instagram community. Utilising hashtags in our posts is, therefore, more important than ever.

We’d recommend using a mixture of a branded hashtag (e.g. #OutsideInsight for Meltwater) as well as other relevant community hashtags for your post (e.g. #ThrowbackThursday).

Below you will see a post where we’ve used a branded hashtag alongside wider community hashtags relevant to our business, for example, #mediamonitoring. Instagram users may follow the hashtag #mediamonitoring and discover our posts without following us.  So whilst Facebook has decreased organic reach, it looks as though Instagram is working on improving the reach and discovering method!

2018 Social Media Updates

Previously users would actively search for hashtags, whereas now if they’re following a hashtag, the top posts will be fed through their feed.

Bonus tip: Follow your brands’ hashtag to discover potential brand advocates and user-generated content.

How to use Instagram hashtag following

  1. Click the search button
  2. Type in the hashtag you wish to follow
  3. Click the ‘follow’ button at the top of the screen