As we end September with the first presidential debate of 2020, social media giants continue to jump on the voter bandwagon. Presidential elections have always been a hot topic on social media, but it’s safe to say these platforms have upped the ante this year.
Election aside, this month offers many exciting new features as platforms take advantage of the holiday shopping season and pandemic.
Read on to learn about the biggest updates in social media, and make a plan to vote if you haven’t already.
Spending Made Easier: As more people turn to online shopping, Facebook has taken charge of making spending easier with its new Accounts Center. While the feature makes posting and logging in across Facebook and Instagram a more seamless experience, these are hardly new capabilities. The biggest leap is the ability to manage payments across Facebook, Messenger and Instagram – all in one place. This means less time spent tediously entering payment information, giving a boost to Instagram’s new shopping features.
Protecting Content: This past month, Facebook updated its Right Manager with image matching technology across all of its platforms. This means creators and publishers can now prevent others from using or stealing their visual content without permission.
Cracking Down on Groups: While Facebook has always claimed to monitor hate speech and misinformation per its community standards, groups have been a place where these types of conversations could take place with ease. After several incidents, including the recent QAnon dilemma, Facebook has stated that they’ll be cracking down on private groups. This will look like stricter monitoring through AI as repeat offenders experience limited exposure or get removed.
All-in-One Management: While any user can take advantage of the Accounts Center, the new Facebook Business Suite centers around platform integration for businesses. Within the tool, businesses will be able to post, receive and manage notifications, create ads and see results for Instagram and Facebook all in one place.
Down to Earth: After the release of its voting information center last month, Facebook has now released a Climate Science Information Center. The center includes accurate and up-to-date information on topics like global warming and how to help. It also includes a list of recognized organizations that users can turn to for trusted information. We like the effort but wonder if it’s enough to counter the false information perpetuated on the platform elsewhere.
Facebook and Chill: September brought a new Watch Together feature where users can watch any video from Facebook Watch together while in a video chat or messenger room. The feature is neat in that up to 50 people can join in on a messenger room and up to eight people can join in on a video chat. The limitation, of course, is in the sparse content accessible from Facebook Watch.
Blast from the Past: If you’re familiar with Facebook’s history, then you know it started out as a platform for college students. Now, with the rapid growth of distance learning due to COVID-19, Facebook will be releasing Facebook Campus to keep the college experience alive. It’s a feature limited to college students where they can find others by class and major, browse a college only feed, and host study groups and events.
Inclusivity Boost: September welcomed automatic captions to IGTV. Automatic captions save creators valuable time while allowing them to be inclusive of the deaf and hard of hearing. Currently, the captions cover 16 languages. To activate automatic captions on your content, turn auto-generated captions on in your Instagram account settings and IGTV settings.
Updates to Reels: In an attempt to make Reels more competitive against TikTok, Instagram has included updates that make creating your ideal content easier. As of this month, you can make Reels up to 30 seconds long. You can also trim and delete any of the clips in a reel while editing, not just the most recent one.
Joining the Voter Train: Following a mass of efforts by every other social media giant, TikTok is releasing its own Elections Guide. The goal, much like the others, is to provide accurate information on the voting process in each state. We wonder how much this will accomplish considering that more than a third of their audience is 14 or younger.
TikTok for Brands: Perhaps you’ve wondered whether you should be advertising on TikTok. The platform aims to get more businesses doing just that with its new Business Marketing Partner Program. The program consists of 20 expert partners that can help your business create successful campaigns. It focuses on the four main areas of campaign management, creative development, branded effects and measurement.
Shift Towards Audio: Twitter first released the Audio Tweet earlier this year, and the platform is now looking to include audio in its DM functions. The idea is that sending audio messages will give users a more convenient and creative option for communicating with other users.
Embracing Ecommerce: In efforts to embrace the new age of online shopping, Pinterest has begun to roll out new features for online businesses. The first will be new opportunities for advertising and reaching potential customers. These will include placements in the Pinterest Lens matches and Shop tab. Pinterest is also making it easier for businesses to monitor their campaigns with new Pin Insights that make differentiating between organic and paid metrics painless.
New Story Pins: As stories have taken over the social realm, Pinterest has officially released Story Pins. Story Pins provide creators with an opportunity to get more in-depth with their pins and keep viewers’ attention for longer with combinations of image, text and video. Unlike stories on other platforms, these are located within their own pin and don’t disappear after 24 hours.
Marketing Safe: Despite a large user base, most businesses haven’t considered advertising with Reddit. One reason for this is the range of discussions held on the platform and risking ad placement next to questionable content. To combat this concern, Reddit has released three new options for advertisers. Now, businesses can choose between an expanded, standard or limited approach that integrates varying levels of brand safety.
Stories Get Professional: Pinterest isn’t the only platform hopping on stories. LinkedIn just rolled out its own stories feature to all users. Stories on LinkedIn look and function similarly to the Stories feature on Facebook and Instagram, but we’re curious to see the angle they take when used in a professional space.
Uniting the Workplace: As companies have shifted their operations to a remote workplace, employees have become disconnected from each other. In an attempt to make the online work environment more connected and efficient, LinkedIn has added a My Company tab to company pages. In this area, employees can set and celebrate milestones and even see trending content from coworkers.
New Watch Parties: Facebook wasn’t the only platform to offer a new watch together feature this month. With the launch of Watch Parties, streamers can stream Amazon Prime content to viewers who also have Amazon Prime. The feature offers a great way for streamers to provide more interactive and reactionary content while undoubtedly boosting Amazon Prime subscriptions. It will be important for streamers to keep in mind what Prime content is available in varying locations internationally.
We will continue to update this list as we learn about new updates in social media. Keep an eye out for our monthly roundups, and check out recent months in case you missed something.