Let's just get straight to the point.
It's time for social media news!
Facebook Stories are getting more popular: Officially 300 million people are using Stories in Facebook and Facebook Messenger daily. While there are still more Instagram Story users (400M), the fact that users are watching Stories in Facebook as well as other channels shows that they're getting used to receiving information (meaning advertising) in this format: through vertical videos and photos overlaid with text and gifs.
And if 300M doesn't convince you, check this: Google is getting into the Story game too. They're planning to redesign search results to be more visual, so that you'll view results in an "immersive, full-screen" highlight reel.
What this means for you: If you haven't started trying out Stories yet on any platform, now is the time to give it a whirl. We're serious. Look into your cell phone camera and start yapping about your business, because this train is moving and telling your story visually is more and more important. Whip out our Handy Guide to Instagram Stories to get started; you can try out these new superzoom features while you're at it.
Facebook (again): You might be able to join groups with your Facebook Pagesoon, and interact with people from your Business Page instead of your personal profile. Sounds... weird?
What this means for you: It's a chance to represent yourself in a group professionally, which, if you're in a service-based business like we are, can be helpful (if impersonal). It might also be nice if you're a non-profit, helping direct people to your cause. But if you're selling products, jumping into a Facebook Group to make sales in the comments this way sounds smarmy to us.
Twitter: You guys! Twitter is chronological again! Or will be... soon... kind of. See, recently (as in a year or two ago), Twitter switched from showing you the most recent Tweets in your timeline to the "most relevant" Tweets for you, based on your behavior and interests and a bunch of other magical secrets. But turns out that this is a social media platform that a lot of people rely on for up-to-the-minute news, so there's been some blowback to this change. Twitter's plan is to let you choose what kind of timeline you want to see.
What this means for you: If you're running one of those Twitter accounts that people rely on for breaking news, this is even more incentive to be timely with your posts. (No scheduling things out one week in advance!)
If that's not the way you use Twitter, however, think about how "timeliness" can help you connect with your audience at, yes, the right times. Twitter-only discounts when your customers are browsing Twitter over breakfast, perhaps?
Instagram: Instagram is going to make some changes soon, and it's in part because the founders just left the company. After several happy years, Instagram's founders are frustrated with Facebook becoming the Pac-Man to their Blinky: for example, photos shared to Facebook from Instagram are no longer labeled as such, making it look like users are uploading directly to Facebook when they aren't. This sounds minor, but tweaks like this can drastically affect traffic to Instagram's app, and spell danger for long-term growth.
What this means for you: Not a ton right now, unless you're marketing only on Instagram and not on Facebook at all. A lot of our clients ask us why they should bother with Facebook since it's so hard to organically grow an audience there; the answer, as usual, is "Keep your Facebook page up but diversify your audience." Don't rely on just one platform to market to and connect with customers, because you never know when that platform might change or go under.
Instagram (again): They're also testing a way for us to be able to add hashtags without typing them in our captions; check this out.
What this means for you: We don't know yet if this will actually roll out to everyone, but it's neat. Many people stuff their captions with hashtags to try and game the system, so they can reach more people and get those sweet likes. If it works for you, cool, but you won't get very far if your content isn't good, so focus on that first!
Pinterest: Are you selling products online? Get your Pinterest muscles ready, because very soon all businesses will be able to make their pins shoppable! Just in time for the holidays, too.
What this means for you: Don't sleep on Pinterest ads, people. This isn't the biggest social network, but is IS a go-to resource for people who are looking for outfit ideas, planning big trips and life events, curating decorating ideas for their kitchens and offices, and just generally trying to improve their lives. Not to mention that Pinterest's users are mostly women, and women are spending over $150 billion annually.
Extra bonus Twitter inspo for any of you trying to appeal to the young folk:
Millennials & Gen Z these days are nihilistic types -- grim absurdists who love Rick and Morty and scroll through lists of "Hilarious Tweets that Perfectly Capture Your Existential Despair." With all that in mind, the marketing team behind Steak-Umms stepped up their Twitter game just for this new generation, who will no doubt jump into an Uber and spend their hard-earned money on frozen beef as a result:
We're being sarcastic, but if you're wondering why any company would sanction this, the answer is (ta da!) brand awareness. These Tweets are getting featured on Buzzfeed and passed around on Instagram, and we're more likely to remember the name "Steak-umm" than we were before because of that. Next time you're in the frozen food aisle, try not to think of frozen beef strips and the vain belief in the promise of immortality.