October 24, 2018 · 9:10 pm

Major Social Media Updates Small Businesses Need to Know About

Here's a fresh batch of updates you need to know about today.

By Kelly Johnson

Instagram, YouTube, Twitter, and Facebook all rolled out significant updates and new features. Each update is designed to help businesses and creators reach more fans and potential customers, and some changes will help boost the bottom line for businesses.

The updates came in fast and furious, so we’ve identified the biggest changes that you need to know about for your business.

You can also use these updates to adapt and improve your social media marketing strategy so you can attract more fans and followers.

Instagram: Shopping Made Easy, Video Tagging, and Hashtag Limits

Last June, Instagram released shopping in Stories, but they’ve now expanded the feature to 46 countries.

Shopping in Stories is an ideal way to make new visitors new customers. A large majority of Instagram users follow their favorite brands and watch Stories on the app. Now, they can easily learn more about a product by tapping on it in a Story.

People will be taken to the brand’s landing page for the product where they can then decide if they want to purchase the item.

Additionally, Instagram rolled out the Shopping Topic channel. The channel has the same look and user interaction as the other Topic channels — such as Sports, TV & Movies, and Fitness. However, the channel will be populated with posts that have shoppable content.

Instagram also released a new video tagging functionality — great news for businesses and creators who want to broaden their reach. The ability to tag other accounts in an Instagram video can help aid with discovery and show content to a new audience.

The photo-sharing app is also reportedly testing implementing a hashtag selector, according to TechCrunch. This is not yet available and Instagram has not commented on this purported update. But implementing this change makes sense.

Some people over-hashtag their content, which is not helpful for discovery and doesn’t surface helpful content to users. A selector would limit the number hashtags that can be included in a caption.

Even if this feature never sees the light of day, it’s a best practice to use only relevant hashtags in an Instagram post. Using more than three broad hashtags to a post doesn’t make your content more valuable or attract your ideal audience.

Facebook Watch and Creator Studio Now Available Globally

In September, Facebook announced that Watch and the Creator Studio will be available globally.

Facebook Watch is their video discovery and viewing service that had a limited release last year, but it’s an effective tool for engaging followers with video content that can be watched in a group with other followers.

Additionally, the Creator Studio will allow a video creator to manage, monitor and track all of their pages and Watch videos in a central location, as well as publish content.

Fans and followers will be notified when new content is published by creators that they follow — prompting them to go back and visit the page, video or any other content that’s live.

The Creator Studio is a boon for creators who may have multiple pages on the social network and need one place to manage content and notifications, as well as drive people back to their pages and videos.

YouTube Getting In On the Watch Game

YouTube is also trying to duplicate Facebook Watch’s success by rolling out the Premieres feature globally.

Premieres had a limited release last June and this tool allows YouTube Creators to upload and schedule video content, promote it, and watch along with their subscribers on Premieres Watch page.

Also, subscribers will be notified when new Premieres is content is going to post. When the video is posted, the creator and subscribers can watch the content together and comment on the video in the chat function.

The video will live on the feed and can be watched again at a later date.

Twitter Makes Timely Updates

You may have noticed that Twitter is abuzz about updates to the feed lately. The chronological timeline is back and you can choose to remove the curated timeline.

Many people reportedly didn’t enjoy the curated timeline. Twitter’s algorithm surfaced tweets that were popular or were deemed to be of interest to the user. The algorithm didn’t always get it right and showed content that wasn’t interesting or was out of date.

The micro-blogging network acted on the influx of feedback about this feature and has given people the power to see the tweets they want to see. If you want the chronological timeline back, go to Setting and Privacy, then select or unselect “Show the best Tweets first.”

Twitter also released embedded timelines — a new advertising option for businesses.

This new feature embeds your Twitter timelines on your website, allowing you to show your latest tweets and real-time content to broaden your reach to potential customers or new followers.

What’s more, you can also place ads in your embedded timeline — helping you to diversify your revenue stream by placing ads across social and website properties.

We’ll have more updates for you next month. Stay Tuned!