How have social media platforms changed recently?
Every social media platform/app is the same in one key way: they’re all built on the relationships we have with each other. It’s right there in the name, after all. Sharing, liking, and viewing (or listening) are the verbs that drive social media – and all of them are about interacting with someone else’s content. Another important verb is posting, and every platform relies on it.
When you look at how many people are using social media apps to interact, you start to get an idea of how our lives have all merged and begun affecting each other in new ways. We’re more connected than ever and new ways to communicate seem to pop up monthly (sometimes weekly) on these apps.
Some Social Deets
Even if you know that one person – or heck, even those 10 people – who swore off all social media – trust us, basically everyone is using social media. Not literally everyone, but a lot of them.
For instance, TikTok has been downloaded over three billion times. Yep, with a B. Not even just one billion times, but over three. Also, here’s a little more perspective for you: TikTok is only the sixth most-used social media platform on the planet. Facebook is number one and YouTube is number two as of January 2022.
In 2020, there were almost 330 million people in the United States alone. That means if literally, every single person in the U.S. downloaded TikTok (the sixth most-used social media platform) there would still be 2,670,000,000 more people who’d need to download it to meet the current amount of times it’s been downloaded.
Those downloads don’t equate to active users on the platform, but they give you a good idea of how much social media plays a part in our lives now. That’s why everyone wants to know what’s happening when new app and platform updates are rolled out. Think of it like knowing about the weather – you want to be prepared for what’s coming your way tomorrow!
Here are some weather updates, so to speak, for social media platforms/apps that are helping us connect with people.
Social Media Platform Updates
Facebook is the number one social media platform in the world and one of the most powerful tools for marketing and advertising. Obviously, one of the bigger updates came in 2021 when the Facebook parent company’s name was changed to Meta, but that isn’t relevant to how the platform operates.
More recently, Meta announced the creation of Meta Advantage, a suite of automated ad tools for use on Facebook and Instagram. What’s that mean, exactly? From a Meta blog by Goksu Nebol-Perlman, VP of Product Marketing, Ads & Business Products at Meta:
“Automated ad products help to improve the performance of your ads by relying more on machine learning, such as automatically finding the most relevant audiences or ad placements. They also allow you to further simplify optimizing campaigns, so you can worry less about managing campaigns and get back to running your business.”
And getting back to running your business is why you’re utilizing these tools in the first place, so this update is a great one. Nebol-Perlman explained further, “In fact, 77% of advertisers testing these automated products said they saved several hours a week using them.”
Time saved + improved ad performance = good business decision.
As of March 2022, Instagram updated users’ choices for seeing their feed in two different ways, one familiar to long-time users and one brand-new. The first is something many Instagram users have been calling for since Meta bought the app: a chronological feed.
Instagrammers can now choose between Following and Favorites for how they’ll see posts appear in their feeds. According to Adam Mosseri, the head of Instagram, the Following feed is a “deterministic feed of posts from accounts you followed in chronological order.”
Mosseri was careful to not specify this was a return to the chronological feed of old and to also point out the “main feed on Instagram is going to continue to be ranked,” meaning it will continue on with the algorithm they utilize for personalizing your feed.
Similar to the Following feed, Favorites will showcase chronological posts from accounts you’ve Favorited. This will be a great tool for keeping up with brands or influencers and give marketers another way to organize data.
Other than these new feeds, Instagram also rolled out Enhanced Tags. It’s a new, easier way to tag creators on posts. Instagram explained the function by saying, “Enhanced tags allow a creator's self-designated profile category on their professional accounts to be displayed in their People Tag, so that people can share and view a creator's specific contribution to a photo or video post.”
This means credit can be showcased quicker and discovering new and diverse creators is easier.
A lot has changed since Parag Agrawal became Twitter’s CEO. He’s been very public about how quickly he’d like to move the company in new directions and has already introduced several features showcasing that approach.
Along with creating Spaces, which are communal rooms for audio, Twitter has also added Communities. Both function as new ways to interact with fellow Tweeters, the latter being more akin to a kind of live chat room via Twitter’s 280-character updates.
The two biggest changes to Twitter, however, are undoubtedly Super Follows and Twitter Blue. These of course can affect all Tweeters but can particularly drive engagement for marketing purposes. A Super Follow means a Twitter user will sign on to support a creator they love through monthly charges.
Recently, Twitter upgraded its system to allow all Twitter users the ability to compose tweets specifically for their Super Followers. Think of this as a subscription service where public Tweets are visible to all, but Super Tweets are only visible to those who have Super Followed your account.
Introduce yourself and your company quickly and efficiently with LinkedIn’s Cover Story, which rolled out in March 2021. It’s a 30-second video featured at the top of the profile as a way to greet people with more than simple text on a screen.
After a Cover Story is uploaded, profile photos will have an orange ring around them and a preview of the Cover Story will silently autoplay within the profile photo. Not only will this put a face and voice to your services, but add one more layer of interaction for anyone visiting your profile. Humans pick up so much information from nonverbal cues like facial expressions and hand motions, so this is a massive tool for all.
Along with this update, LinkedIn announced creator mode, a new way to showcase the topics you’re most interested in and often talking about. It adds hashtags to the top of your profile (up to five) for visibility, and:
“It will move your Featured and Activity sections to the top of your Profile to more prominently display your content, and change the ‘Connect’ button to ‘Follow,’ to help you engage your community and build a following.”
Tiktok continues to take the social media world by storm with its recent updates. Let’s take a look at what’s new on the platform and what that means for businesses and marketing professionals alike.
Perhaps the most controversial update is the new long-form video option: you can now post videos up to 10 minutes long. The app has limited video length in the past to 15, 30, and 60-second clips, and only recently expanded up to 3 minutes.
Some users have expressed concern for how this move will affect creators and how it blurs the distinctions between TikTok and other video-sharing social apps. However, since many viewers prefer short clips, the TikTok algorithm still reflects that. Shorter videos (<1 minute) are more likely to make the FYP.
The other major platform change being tested is a separate feed for friends where the Discover tab used to be. Videos posted by accounts that you follow and follow you back will go straight to this tab.
This tab will have a search window for finding new friends and content, and will even automatically begin showing other random videos once a user has seen all their friends’ content, much like the FYP.
Frequently Asked Questions
There's a lot happening on social media in 2022, so if you need a little extra help with the highlights and with your questions, we've made a little section just for you!
What is the Latest Instagram Reel / Facebook Reel Update?
Reels are taking over as the potential sole video format for select users on Instagram - and this might very well be an app-wide update in the coming months. In addition, API might also open for developers, so we'll be keeping a close eye on the changes.
What is the Latest on Longer Twitter Captions?
Twitter Notes is bringing longer-form copy to the platform giving social media managers a greater opportunity to bring brand knowledge to their audience.
And while more length doesn't necessarily mean people will linger on the content longer, the right attention-grabbing copy can keep consumers eyes on the prize - and your team on the sale.
What Can I Expect for Social Media Platform Updates in 2022?
When it comes to social media platform updates, there's always something new in the pipeline. From giving creators and managers more versatile data tools to giving users more privacy, the team at Sociallyin works hard to ensure you're kept in the loop. Subscribe to our newsletter for more info!