What’s new in social media // April 2018

Hello and welcome to your monthly digest of social media related goodness. The snow has melted and the people of Britain are slowly emerging from their homes, blinking in the unfamiliar sunlight. It’s a beautiful time. Anyway, we hope you enjoy reading about how to revamp your bio and make sales through Instagram; how to make use of LinkedIn’s video tools; and how to make fat stacks from your Facebook video content.

Instagram shopping comes to the UK

In November 2016 Instagram started testing the ability for businesses to post ‘Shoppable media’. After a successful roll out in the US it has now announced that 8 more countries, including the UK, will benefit from this feature.

Shoppable media allows brands to tag products in photos, supply information on those products and direct consumers to their websites via ‘Shop Now’ buttons. People can tap on the product picture to go to another post which gives more information, or hit the Shop Now button to visit a website where they can purchase the item. Brands with visually rich content, such as travel or fashion, are already benefitting from this feature, with Lulus reporting some 1200 additional purchases gained from social media Instagram shoppable posts.

Sounds great. How do I get involved?

Image: techcrunch.com

Firstly you have to be approved for ‘shopping on Instagram’, which involves selling goods that comply with Facebook’s (who own Instagram) merchant agreement and commerce policies. You also have to have a business profile on Instagram and be connected to a Facebook catalogue. Find out how to do all of this here.

Once this is done here’s how to create a shoppable media post. As Instagram doesn’t allow clickable links in image text descriptions this is a great way of driving people to your product pages.

Facebook pilots new features for content creators to monetise their work

Last summer saw the launch of Facebook Creator, a mobile app for iOS (coming soon to Android) and website designed to help people to create better media content to share across their networks. This service was aimed squarely at those who make engaging videos and build communities around their content. Facebook’s on-going battle with YouTube sees them working on a range of new features to help content creators build communities and, ultimately, make a living from their work.

Engaging and growing creator’s communities – new features currently being tested will allow followers to gain badges indicating their level of fandom. These will be awarded based on their level of engagement and will feed into a publicly viewable leaderboard of ‘Most Engaged Fans’. Everyone will have the option of turning this feature off. (Just in case, like me, you’re worried about your colleagues finding out about your unhealthy obsession with Right Said Fred. You know what I mean?)

A new content rights management tool will make it easier for creators to track where their content is shared and gain recognition for their work.

Monetisation – If you’re spending hours crafting and honing the perfect videos you’ll probably want to get paid, right? You can currently use branded content to extend any existing brand deals you have across the Facebook network. Some creators are able to incorporate short video adverts if they produce shows for Facebook Watch.

A new feature being considered offers a way for creators to make portfolios on Facebook which can then be searched by brands looking for content makers to partner with. Another monetisation option would also allow fans who are deeply dippy about your content to donate using a kind of crowd funding scheme. In return they’ll benefit from perks such as badge recognition or access to exclusive content.

Facebook trials new tools for Creators

What does this mean for me and my business?

Well, that depends on which side you’re coming from. If your business already creates popular and interesting video content then these new features could allow you to start making money through Facebook. Take a look at your content strategy and consider whether you’re getting as much value from it as you could be.

If you’re a brand in need of great content and keen to align yourself Facebook influencers then it will be easier to find and partner with them. Brands can benefit massively from buying into the social capital of those native to social media platforms. When the new tools roll out it might be an idea to spend some time looking for content makers whose style and following might be a good fit for your brand.

Instagram revamps bio text

In a move that will have Instagrammers the world over jumping for joy, the platform has now lifted restrictions on what can appear in your bio. Goodbye to text (and emoji) only biographies containing a single URL link. Hello to hashtags and links to other folk on Instagram.

When you type a hashtag symbol the platform will suggest suitable and popular tags for you to include. When you tag another person using @, they will have the ability to disconnect the link (if they don’t know you, or simply hate you).

Other than that, this is all good news. It’ll help you forge closer relationships with your online connections, share traffic and benefit from increased discoverability.

Social Media: Revamp your Instagram Bio

What should I do about this?

  1. Write a brand new biog, think about the text that best describes you… it’s your calling card and the first thing people will see when they hit your page
  2. Add a sprinkling of emojis for colour… this is a visual platform after all
  3. Research some relevant hashtags which help align your business with your target market
  4. Tag a few contacts or brands you have good relationships with
  5. Ask for reciprocal tags from those loyal to your business

Pro tip: Entering the text directly into Instagram doesn’t allow line breaks. Get around this by writing your text in another app (such as notes) and then pasting it directly into the biog edit box.

The LinkedIn revolution will be televised

Since being bought out by Microsoft in 2016, the LinkedIn platform has been undergoing a quiet revolution. Having given people the ability to shoot and share videos directly within its mobile app, it has now launched a limited range of Snapchat-style video filters and text effects. Although there are currently only three filters (On the air, Side Hustle and Work High Five – yeah, I know… a little cheesy, right?!) more are likely to follow shortly.

LinkedIn recently stated that video content is being shared 20 times more than other content types on its platform. Sounds familiar, right? This echoes a trend seen across other social media networks. Although just an early step there are signs that LinkedIn is likely to be rolling out features that have proven successful on other social media networks.

 Social Media LinkedIn video filters  

What does this mean for my business?

LinkedIn is ideally suited for those looking for Business-to-Business sales, but can also be used to find contacts, build relationships and strike partnership deals. So, if you’re an artist looking for a new gallery, a fashion designer looking for new commissions, or a publisher looking for new stockists, LinkedIn could help you connect with your next prospect.

To have a play around with the new feature, make sure you’ve got the latest version of the app downloaded. Just tap the video icon in the top right of the screen and create or upload your video content. You can then use the icons in the top right to add a filter and text to the video.

Filters or not, using video to give potential partners an insight into your business could be a well-rewarded exercise. Some ideas you might try are:

  • Show some behind the scenes clips from your business, perhaps a production process or a unique way you conduct meetings.
  • Talk to camera and explain your motivations for starting the business, or what you most like about working there.
  • Put a video call out for partners – articulate exactly what you’re looking for in a partner company and how you can benefit each other.
  • Post a video job advert – rather than simply issuing a dry job spec, why not make a short video explaining exactly what you’re looking for in your next hire?

In all these examples, interacting with people on a personal (yet professional) level will give them a better sense of who you are and a view of what it’s like from within your organisation. LinkedIn will open you up to a world of highly talented professionals who can help you grow your business.

Anyway, that’s your lot for this month, thanks for reading.

Gotta go now.

To the catwalk.


The catwalk.