In the past few months, Instagram has taken centre stage in our top 5 updates. It hasn’t been uncommon for Instagram to release more than one big change to their platform at once, most recently we discussed the introduction of IGTV as well as the roll out of real time activity status indicators and ability to add music to stories – you can read about it all here. However, this month it’s Facebook’s turn to shine, with 4 of our updates this month about the social media giant.
First off, Facebook is taking a page out of Instagram’s book and implementing their own version of Story Highlights. This update is still in the rollout stage with select users seeing the new highlight options that allow users to turn their temporary stories into long term content that can be viewed on their personal Facebook profile. This update has been expected for quite some time as social media users are starting to favour temporary content styles as they allow people to post content that is less polished, more in line with ‘real life’ and generally posted on a whim instead of being more curated and planned, which is often the case with a lot of social media content. By introducing new temporary content updates like this, Facebook is on the path to making story creation of Facebook a bit more enticing to users, and with more users comes more advertisers.
Facebook Events will soon be getting a makeover as Facebook adds more options for event organisers and more context for attendees. The added options include the addition of a schedule, where organisers can highlight the times of specific acts or segments within an event. Previously, you had to put all the information in the main description. Another addition allows further details on admission to be provided, such as whether the event is free or a paid event and where to get tickets. This update comes in the wake of Facebook trying to minimise the promotion of fake news and global events most notably by promoting more local, relevant events for users and developing genuine ways to connect them – online and offline.
Facebook has also realised that their 2.23 billion monthly active users all use their app for different things and has started rolling out personalised function bars. If you use the marketplace or watch shortcut most frequently, it will appear in your function bar. However, if you never use them, it will preference other shortcuts and those won’t be on your main page.
In Facebook business related news, Facebook is redesigning the business pages layout. You’ve probably had a notification about your page changing – the reason behind this? By positioning small businesses as destinations, rather than auxiliary to users Facebook experience, this will help to boost engagement for the businesses that put a bunch of money into the platform. Business pages will now have a service-related button at the top of their page, such as a “start order” button for a café or restaurant, and a “call now” or “book appointment” for real estate agents. They’ve also added a function that could be a potential point of contention – there will be a related pages section on your business page. This means that inadvertent advertising for competing businesses may appear. The idea is to enable users to connect with businesses they may not have discovered yet, and this function is very much consumer-minded rather than business-minded. Page admins may feel that customers specifically looking at their business page could be led elsewhere, which is not something that would happen on their own website.
In our fifth – but non-Facebook related – update, LinkedIn is trying to get you to use their ‘groups’ function now more than ever before. They’re integrating the ‘LinkedIn Groups’ standalone app into their main app. Originally, LinkedIn Groups was considered helpful and quite valuable in terms of educating and connecting, however it experienced a huge surge of spam that occurred, putting users off the app. This is how they’re integrating ‘groups’ back into the main LinkedIn app: posts from groups, and notifications about group activity will now appear in the main LinkedIn feed. Plus, you can also now @mention group members which previously wasn’t available, due to the standalone app situation. One big change, designed to make the LinkedIn Groups experience more pleasurable, is the retirement of the group email blast function, which was one of the most annoying features of LinkedIn Groups. Time will tell whether this will be effective at reviving the previously spam-filled function for them.