Phew! We’ve made it to the end of the first month of the year; how in the world are we going to get through eleven more? January always hits us marketers like a sledgehammer; half because we spend the first week or two shaking off holiday fatigue, and half because it’s a brand-new year with brand-new rules, trends, and technologies.
As we do every month, we’ve collected every major piece of social media news and update from the most popular social media platforms, in hopes that it will help you get a head start on your plans for February (and maybe wrap up January with a little more zing). After all, there is no better time to prepare than right now.
Giphy Partners With Instagram Stories
You’re probably familiar with Instagram Stories, but perhaps less acquainted with Giphy. Giphy is the Internet’s top resource for animated GIFs. Any time you see a great reaction GIF online, there’s a very high chance it was sourced from Giphy.
And now those GIFs are coming to Instagram Stories in efforts to increase user interaction. The feature will now let users place GIFs from Giphy on their published Instagram Stories. Many expect this to get Instagram Stories out of Snapchat’s shadow (which doesn’t currently support animated GIFs).
So what does this mean for marketers? Another area to be creative. Want a little more personality in your Instagram Stories? Maybe try a clapping animated GIF, or a thumbs up.
Instagram Stories Is Testing a “Type” Feature
While scrolling through your Facebook Feed, you may have seen text-based posts with mono-colored background in the past. On Instagram Stories, you may soon start to see the same thing.
This month, users around Japan and Europe have reported seeing a “Type” feature on Instagram Stories. This feature allows users to create images made up of a colored background and text, with their choice of font. While this is something that users could already do with the pen tool, this feature is definitely a relief for some.
How does this affect online marketing? Like everything else, that’s up to your imagination. It’s another avenue to explore with your next Instagram Stories.
Facebook’s ‘Watch Party’ Lets Groups Watch Videos Together
In Facebook’s continued push to transition from passive content consumption to active content consumption, they began testing the “Watch Party” feature. The feature is simple: any Group admin can select publicly posted videos on Facebook and broadcast it to all the Group’s members simultaneously.
Similar to live Facebook videos, the Watch Party will create a real-time comment and reaction reel, creating the “community” feeling. The ultimate goal of this feature is to turn the lonely act of watching videos into a fun social activity that users can get excited about.
While this may not directly benefit smaller groups, in which you may not have enough members to create a live viewing audience on a whim, it does have some practical application for larger groups that can immediately attract a large enough audience to create the “social experience”.
Sponsored Twitter ‘Moments’
Twitter Moments were all the hype in 2016 and with Facebook’s new approach which will ultimately decrease organic reach by brands, Twitter has announced a new way to advertise with sponsored Twitter Moments.
Moments posted by select publishers such as TV networks, sports leagues, and digital publishers will be open to sponsorships, allowing advertisers to contribute their own tweets or add branded cover images in association to that Moment.
And similar to existing In-Stream Sponsorships, Moments can also be promoted and customized to target specific audiences with Twitter’s advertising tools.
This update opens new opportunities for brands to directly be part of the conversation and associate themselves with specific events and popular topics on Twitter.
LinkedIn Will Revive Its Groups
One of the core features that used to define LinkedIn was its Groups, but over the last few years as a result of developmental neglect, LinkedIn’s Groups have slightly died off, and group admins have been quick to let them know about it.
This may be a response to Facebook’s recent change to their algorithm which will force organic reach to go down. While LinkedIn is removing support for the Groups iOS app in February, they are still planning to add more features and flexibility to the groups.
This includes new navigation and notification tools, smoothing the path between the home page and group activity; and the ability to post videos in groups and mention various members on the videos.
While we don’t expect either of these features to revolutionize LinkedIn’s social media interaction culture, there is nothing to be said about LinkedIn’s direction. There might be something here, so keep your eyes open.
What changes do you like the most?
The first month of the year always has a lot to live up to, and January certainly hasn’t missed the mark. How do these updates change the way you feel about your 2018 social media strategy? Excited, bored, confused, or something else? Share your thoughts with us!