Eight New and Upcoming Social Media Updates

Social media platforms are constantly updating their sites to improve user experience and help businesses to better connect with their customers. It’s important to keep on top of social media updates to make sure you’re maximising every feature in your digital marketing strategy. Here are some important social media updates to think about in March 2021. In this article, we will cover:

  1. Facebook
  2. Instagram
  3. Twitter
  4. TikTok

Facebook Updates

Improved Audio Descriptions

Last month, Facebook updated its AI audio description generator tool, improving accessibility for blind and visually impaired users.

In 2016 Facebook launched automatic alternative text that generated photo descriptions by recognising objects within images. This new update has expanded on the number of objects that the AI can recognise, so the generated descriptions are much more detailed. 

This is a massive step forward in the platform’s accessibility. However, it is still advisable to input alternative text manually on your Facebook posts. Your own descriptions will always be more detailed and accurate than the AI’s

Shopping Tools

Facebook has expanded its eCommerce features to the UK, giving users the option to browse virtual shopfronts. Several new business features have been added, such as real-time previews of their collections, and the option for new businesses to have an eShop automatically created for them. 

This new Facebook update should make it much easier for businesses to generate sales through the platform. So, it is worth considering working this update into your social media strategy.

Instagram Updates

Instagram Live Rooms

Launched last week, Live Rooms give users the ability to go Live on Instagram with up to three other people. Previously you could only go live with one other person.

Instagram hopes that this new feature will create new opportunities for businesses and artists, such as Q&A’s, talk shows, and more. Live Rooms also includes interactive, business-friendly features like Shopping and Live Fundraisers. Further interactive tools, like moderator controls and audio features, will be introduced in the next few months.

How to use Live Rooms

  1. Swipe left from your home screen and select the Live camera option.
  2. Add a title and tap on the Rooms icon to add your guests. You’ll be able to see who has already requested to go live with you and you can search for other guests to add.

Tip: remember that you are live as soon as you select ‘Live camera’ so make sure you are ready to go and appear professional.

Hiding Instagram Like Counts

Last week, Instagram confused thousands of its users by accidentally expanding its tests of hidden like counts on posts. This is a feature that Instagram has been testing for some time.

The company’s chief, Adam Mosseri, revealed via Twitter that the idea has been ‘polarising’. Because of this, he says, they are looking at how they can make the new feature entirely optional. Instagram has also tested a feature where users can hide the like counts on other people’s posts.

This new feature will likely have a minimal impact on businesses marketing via the platform, as Instagram Insights and other metrics of success, like comments, are here to stay. However, this might be a step in the right direction for changing Instagram’s culture of validation through ‘likes’. 

Twitter Updates

Twitter Spaces

Twitter’s Clubhouse-esque audio chat function is still in beta, so only a small number of users have the authority to make a ‘Space’, as they continue to test out new features. Spaces allows users to host live audio conversations, with the team calling it an ‘experiment focused on the intimacy of the human voice’.

This week, there have been some big developments including scheduling, which will help users to better manage their audio Space. Scheduling will help increase exposure, as followers can sign-up for reminders for upcoming Spaces.

Once this feature is rolled out to everyone, it could become another useful method for businesses to interact with their customers more creatively.

Twitter eCommerce

eCommerce is becoming an increasingly popular social media feature, with Instagram rolling out an entire section dedicated to shopping in its recent overhaul. Twitter is the latest platform looking to jump on the bandwagon, and has several new commerce features under development. One option they are developing is a ‘Shop’ call-to-action button that would appear under tweets.

This move would increase Twitter’s potential for B2C marketing, by allowing businesses to more easily convert interactions into sales. While Twitter’s eCommerce features are still in testing, it is likely they will be rolled out in the near future.

Screenshot showing a beta Twitter update of a 'shop' button added to the bottom of a tweet.

TikTok Updates

Creator Q&A

Last week, TikTok rolled out their new question-and-answer feature to all creators. Users can now designate their comments as Q&A questions. This way, a creator can quickly identify and answer questions in their videos’ comments. The option will be available on live streams as well as regular video posts.

This new feature should help to increase connectivity between creators and their audiences, potentially improving the potential for influencer marketing deals on the platform.

Video Scheduling

Scheduling content is a crucial part of any digital marketing plan. Recently, TikTok social media consultant Matt Navarra revealed on Twitter that the platform is testing a video scheduling feature. The feature’s beta version is available to a select few users, and only on desktop.

This TikTok update will allow users to pre-upload a video, write a caption and set a time at which the video will be published. Doubtlessly, this new feature will be welcomed by influencers and content creators with business brand deals.

As the feature is still under development, it has not been confirmed whether it will gain a permanent place on the app.

Screenshot showing TikTok social media update. Desktop browser with a button that allows users to schedule videos.
Screenshot of TikTok update. Shows desktop 'upload video' page, with the option to schedule the video under settings.

Keeping these social media updates in mind should help your business to stay on top of new trends and ways to reach your audience. Need help masterminding your social media strategy? Get in touch with us to talk about our social media management services.