Social Media Summer Update! What’s New & How it Impacts your Brand

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Jessika Parry
August 10, 2023
Social Media Summer Update! What’s New & How it Impacts your Brand

With an estimated4.8 billion users worldwide, social media platforms fill our screens and consume our lifestyles. This summer, new apps and updates have been flying onto phones. From the long-awaited Threads launch to Twitter’s rebrand as X, and the elimination of three key creator-based tools on LinkedIn, read more to learn how these changes may affect you and your brand.

Instagram’s latest update helps brands stay trendy!

Back in 2020, Instagram rolled out its Reels feature to better compete with TikTok. Now, they have launched a “Trends Hub,” enabling brands to have more detailed insights and allowing creators to better connect with their audiences and publish engaging content. Within the hub, creators can browse trending songs, hashtags, and topics, allowing users to check usage statistics prior to uploading content.

Furthermore, Instagram changed its video editing capabilities, mimicking the TikTok cap cut partnership where creators can edit the video, audio, stickers, and add text. In the insights tab, Instagram users can now check total and average watch time based on each Reel, keeping viewers engaged with stronger hooks.

What does this mean for your brand? There’s nothing worse than jumping on the latest trend – only to find out you’re about a month behind its peak. Trend hub provides brands the ability to create more audience-pleasing content. Brands now have the insights-backed data to stay ahead of the curve…and, as a result, the platform may also stay ahead.

LinkedIn’s changes up the communication game

It’s too late to say your goodbyes to carousels, profile videos, and link stickers – all officially removed on June 26th.Posts with these features are still accessible, but creators will no longer be able to use these capabilities in the future. Did you like the longer visual format? Too bad. PDFs are still available for upload, but they won’t have the same click-through features as before.

In more exciting news, LinkedIn has created a direct messaging inbox for company pages. These inboxes allow businesses to manage their conversations and prioritize inquiries that matter most to them. Businesses also have the option to turn off messaging entirely via settings.

What does this mean for your brand? While the removal of creator-based features may force brands to rethink the type of content they’re sharing, direct messaging is the real news here. The ability for consumers or customers to message companies directly on LinkedIn opens new channels of communication, especially for B2B brands.

While DTC brands have likely already devised strategies to quickly triage and respond to user comments or messages on social platforms like Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook – where company inboxes have been open for some time – the introduction of this feature on LinkedIn creates new expectations for brands that may have stuck to this more traditional, corporate platform. Companies with a LinkedIn presence that intend to leave their direct messages open should quickly develop a response strategy, assigning ownership for who will be tasked with monitoring this inbox and how responses will be developed and approved. [NFO1] 

Threads: Latest internet takeover, or epic flop?

Meta’s Project 92 officially launched as Threads, a text-based version of Instagram for sharing text updates and joining public conversations. Users log in using their Instagram account, which can automatically sync the accounts you follow (or have blocked) and transfer the mover to Threads. However, you can control who can mention and reply to you, as well as have the hidden words filter.

Unlike other text-based platforms, creators have more flexibility – posts up to 500 characters long, with links, photos, and videos up to five minutes in length. The app gained over one hundred million users within the first week but in the month since its launch, its engagement metric dropped by 70%. The question now becomes whether Threads is at risk of suffering the same fate as MySpace or Vine? We miss you, Tom! 😉

What does this mean for your brand? Given that the Threads hysteria is over, it’s hard to tell which brands will be most successful on the platform long-term. While some brands were quick to jump on the bandwagon, if you don’t already have a robust Instagram presence, it’s wise to spend a little more time evaluating if this platform will have legs or if it’s simply going to unwind. We’re already bored with it if that gives you any indication of its longevity.

Twitter: The X you left behind for threads

Within a few weeks of Threads dominating headlines with claims to be stealing users (and attention) from Twitter, Twitter users were shocked when a black and white "X" replaced the signature blue and white bird logo. The platform is now being rebranded as X, and instead of tweets, they are now simply being called X’s. (At least that’s what they’re trying to get us to call it. But it’s still a Tweet.) Prior to the platform’s flight from the bird, they rolled out Twitter Blue earlier this summer. Now known as X Blue, with three different levels of verification as well as additional labels and badges, Twitter Blue offers subscribers many benefits, but the question remains if its price outweighs its benefits. Spoiler alert: Not yet.

What does this mean for your brand? While we still wait to determine if X/Twitter Blue is truly worth the bang for your buck, what we can say is Musk, and newly appointed CEO Linda Yaccarino, show no signs of slowing down in rolling out changes on the platform, with the transformation to X seeming to be only phase I of its Twitter 2.0 campaign.  

What now?

We know it’s a lot to take in! Especially as many social media strategies are already well-baked and off and running for the year. What we can say is despite all these changes, the one truth of social media rings true: Understand and stay true to your audience!

While Threads may be the hottest new platform out there, users complain about the ability to find new accounts or create the same interest-based networks they had on Twitter. And while Twitter/X seems like a landmine, academics, KOLs, and creators have spent years cultivating their followers and communities, so are reluctant to abandon the platform altogether. Amid all this change, LinkedIn is also fighting for the headlines with its own updates to make the platform more community-centric.

While we’re not saying brands shouldn’t be taking advantage of these new features and platforms, it’s important to remember it’s all new. Any exploration should be just that – a time to learn how each change impacts your engagement with your audience. By keeping an eye on these changes and how users on each platform receive them, we’re working closely with our clients to recommend where we can test to learn if a new strategy will work long-term and where we should sit back and watch how the features play out.

We want to know, what questions do you have about your social strategy? Do you plan to take advantage of these new features? As always, we welcome the opportunity to discuss if Greenough can help elevate your social program or fully integrated digital presence! Start a conversation with us at nfesta@greenoughagency.com.

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