The Times, They Are A Changin’

We've said it before, but one more time for you newbies to The Slice: Social media is unpredictable! As Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn experiment with your Newsfeeds, test out new features, and tweak the rules for posting every few months (or weeks), you, the intrepid Marketing Expert, must keep up.

If you're not up on the latest updates, you will be left behind. It's like when Taylor Swift releases a new album, and your job is to interpret her lyrics and tell everyone else which ex or celebrity she's singing about. Unless you're up on the latest drama, how will you do your job?

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Here are some of the newest updates across Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat, and Instagram. Keep up!

Let's go exploring on Facebook

Facebook decided to shake things up again with a new Newsfeed, and those of us running Company Pages are not feeling it. Facebook is testing a new (and allegedly very challenging to find) feed called “Explore” in Sri Lanka, Slovakia, Serbia, Guatemala, and Cambodia. What this means is once you log into Facebook you’re presented with a Newsfeed devoid of the Company Pages you follow. Instead, you just see posts from friends and family, as well as sponsored content (because we couldn't possibly miss out on those ads, now could we?). In order to find the content from companies you follow, you have to navigate to a completely different feed called “Explore." And even then, this feed contains content Facebook thinks you might like, but don’t necessarily follow.

Justifiably so, companies are freaking out with reports of dramatic drops in organic reach. This could completely upend your business strategy on Facebook if this were to get rolled out worldwide.

  • Why does it matter? Facebook pinky-promises that this is just a test, but don’t let out a sigh of relief quite yet. Even if Facebook doesn’t end up rolling out this update across the globe, it’s a warning sign to Company Pages. As Facebook is under increased pressure to battle fake news and keep everybody happy, as well as make those dollar dollar bills, the company is continuing to place limits on what companies can (and cannot) post organically. Stay on your toes when it comes to your Facebook strategy because things can change unexpectedly, and start putting some advertising money aside now if you want to continue using Facebook as a marketing channel. We predict that it's only going to get more pay-to-play.

Character limits holding you back?

This may be old news to the most social media savvy of you Slicers, but Twitter is testing increasing its iconic 140 character limit to 280. Wowza! According to Twitter, when people don’t have to shove their thoughts into just 140 characters they will tweet more often and more freely (and maybe with more... nuance?).

This is one of the biggest changes in Twitter’s 11-year history and people have pretty mixed feelings about it. The test is rolling out in small groups around the world and to those with verified accounts; no word on if it’ll soon be worldwide.

  • Why does it matter? The times are a-changing! Twitter has slowly been removing constraints on its users, including its decision to stop counting images against character limits. Even if this doesn’t end up spreading throughout the platform, expect Twitter to continue changing its rules to encourage users to Tweet more and spend more time on the platform, because they need us. Judging by the fact that they were "accidentally" over-estimating how many users were on Twitter... for three years... they are really trying everything to stay in the game.

Snapchat adds context...

in the form of Context Cards. If you've ever spent all five seconds of a Snap wishing that you had more information, Context Cards are here to save the day. They work by supplying additional information like reviews, directions, hours, phone numbers, and websites to Snaps. When you see the next Snap of a delicious meal or awesome store, you’ll be able to swipe up for Context Cards and unlock this information. 

Let’s go live!

Your favorite photo-sharing platform Instagram wants to be your favorite video-sharing platform too. You can now go Live on Instagram with a friend, who appears in a separate window on the same screen! Fun!

Instagram is launching the new feature in hopes it’ll bring out more users who might be a little too camera-shy on their own for Live and to increase engagement, with the potential for a more dynamic discussion between two users.

  • Why does it matter? Think about all the possibilities! You can now have a live chat with one of your most loyal fans, discussions with your business bestie, or an interview with a colleague no matter where she is in the world. You just both need Instagram accounts. You also have the potential to reach double the audiences since both your audience AND your guest’s audience are notified that you’re live. We're not going to lie; this one's supes cool.

We hope these updates got you in the right mindset to tackle these (and future) social media challenges. Remember the rules of social media are always changing, but we’re here to help.

And for those of you celebrating with candy and costumes in the next few days, Happy Halloween! Go get spooky!

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