What’s New in Social Media: Q1 2019

It can be damned near impossible to keep up with what is trending, changing and falling by the social media wayside. So, our social team has compiled this nifty summary for you to nibble on. Have a read and you may find something you can slyly mention at a party to make you seem oh so very informed. Enjoy, social butterflies.



Seamless Instagram Shopping? We’re Sold.

Instagram has announced a new in-app checkout feature that will allow consumers to purchase items from brands they follow from within the app. When you tap to view a product from a brand’s shopping post, you’ll see a “Checkout on Instagram” button on the product page. Tap it to select from various options, such as size and color, then proceed to payment without leaving Instagram. You’ll need only to enter your name, email, billing information and shipping address the first time you check out. Instagram is clearly putting a large emphasis on eCommerce and attempting to make the consumer experience as seamless as possible. Checkout on Instagram is currently in closed beta for businesses and available to members in the US.

IGTV, Meet Main Feed.
For the percentage of the population still wondering what IGTV is and does, here’s the low down: IGTV is a standalone app that allows users to upload long-form, vertical video content that takes up the full screen. Basically, it was Instagram’s way of saying, “We know we only let you upload 60-second videos, and that’s not always enough, so here’s an entirely new leg of Instagram that allows you to upload videos the way people enjoy digesting them on mobile: vertically and long format.”

IGTV has been partially integrated into the main platform for some time, and now, that integration has been taken a step further. In what’s likely an effort to drive more traffic to IGTV, the app now allows users to share previews of their IGTV videos to the main Instagram news feed. So, while this is an exciting step towards raising IGTV’s popularity, we’re still waiting (somewhat impatiently) for this leg of Instagram to introduce ad capabilities.

In Testing: It Goes Down in The (Desktop) DMs.
To date, we’ve never had the ability to view Instagram DMs on desktop—only in app. Frankly, it’s pretty difficult to utilize many of Instagram’s business features on desktop. Thankfully that may be changing soon as Instagram tests bringing direct messages to web browsers. Social media managers, rejoice: this may also mean private messaging features will be available on third-party dashboards. So, the days of having to break out your cell phone to respond to a customer engagement may be coming to an end. Happy dance, initiated.

In Testing: Donation Stickers
Facebook has had a big fundraising push in the past year, and it looks like Instagram might be following suit. This aligns with the social-oriented awareness they’ve shown with a few other updates, and it’s taking the form of the currently-in-testing donation stickers for Stories. It will seemingly allow users to search for non-profits or select from one they already follow on Instagram, and then use the donation sticker to encourage other users to contribute. Ideally, this would happen on-platform, which can increase user trust and the effectiveness of campaigns. Brands involved in charity work should take note of this one, as should non-profits.



Twitter is Getting with the Times
Twitter, which is often a bit late to the party, is taking some cues from competitors like Instagram and Snapchat: The company has added a dedicated camera feature to its mobile apps, making it easier for its users to share photos, videos and live streams. The company announced the new feature with a tweet, showing off its functionality with a short video. Photos and video footage captured this way are being shared via the Twitter feed. Twitter is utilized primarily for text-based communication, so we’re quite eager to see if this new functionality makes Twitter lean more toward a visual direction.

New Prototype Layout, Who This?
On Tuesday, the company offered its first look at a new prototype for the Twitter app, which the company is calling “twttr” in a nod to CEO and co-founder Jack Dorsey’s first tweet. The sneak peek showcases a variety of changes to how Twitter looks and operates, centered on a new format for conversations and color-coded replies. The app is in public beta test, and the changes may never be integrated into Twitter’s core experience. However, updated features like this — even if they are primarily visual — could be the revival the app so desperately needs to attract a younger audience base.



New Features for Members Looking for New Positions
LinkedIn is enabling members who’ve indicated in their career interests dashboards that they’re actively looking for jobs to sign up for instant job notifications, which they will receive as soon as positions are posted. It’s clear the emphasis LinkedIn is putting on recruitment is ever increasing, and we’re betting the platform will soon be the leader in online job postings.



I’m Not Crying, You’re Crying
Facebook is rolling out a feature for memorialized accounts that will allow users to leave messages in a “Tributes” section separate from the rest of the profile’s timeline. Many studies point to the fact that the number of deceased users will soon outnumber the amount of users that are alive, and Facebook is clearly planning for this shift. Now that you’re probably wondering what in the world will happen to your Facebook account when you’re no longer around, learn how to set up a legacy contact here.

The Virtual Watch Party
People already go to Facebook to talk about exciting events and TV moments — now they’ll have a better way to do this together, in real time. Facebook is introducing a new Watch Party experience that will enable people to host Watch Parties around what’s happening on live TV. Here’s how it works: When you start a Watch Party, you’ll see a new option called “on TV,” where you can select the live game. From there, the Watch Party will feature the live game score as you discuss and react in real time alongside other fans. They’ll also be testing interactive tools within these Watch Parties to make the experience even more dynamic — like the ability for hosts to add trivia questions about player stats or fun facts, and live polls around which team will win. What does this mean for brands that put an emphasis on their live strategy? Adapt, adapt, adapt.



While staying up to speed on social media functionality is a key focus of this blog, so is keeping tabs on the social content being pushed out into the universe every millisecond. This includes the good and the questionable. This month, we take a look at the Mr. Peanut Twitter account that’s making us feel cringy about trail mix and the “absolute unit” tweet that inspired us.

Mr. Peanut and the Birds and the Bees
Immediately following their star-studded SuperBowl commercial, Planters did what any traditionally positioned brand would do to gear up for Valentines Day — consult Dr. Ruth (P.S.: that was meant to be read in a sarcastic tone). Mr. Peanut took to Twitter to allude to the special guest star, and then posted a two-and-a-half-minute video with the always-raunchy Dr. Ruth.

While this tactic raised eyebrows and increased engagement as they asked folks to tweet their questions to Dr. Ruth, it lacked in the follow-through department. We kept an eye on Mr. Peanut’s twitter to see how his personality would evolve following the video release, mostly expecting to see a Wendys-esque shift in tone and personality. Instead, you can head on over to visit Mr. Peanut’s twitter here and find a mostly bland and expected account covering hot topics like trail-mix bracket battles. Our takeaway: if you’re going to attempt to disrupt your traditional route, you have to lean into it long term. If you make us, as consumers, hear the word “orgasm” 10 times while we’re looking at an animated childhood icon, we’re going to expect a monumental shift from there on out.

Make your Path and Stick to it
On the opposite side of the spectrum, a brand we admire and admittedly stalk has found their niche and are sticking to it: The Museum of English Rural Life. You may have skimmed through their Twitter account when the infamous “absolute unit” tweet went viral. Unlike our pal Mr. Peanut, they have continued trailblazing the often-dull museum path. Another one of our favorite aspects of TMERL’s social presence is that their content is unique to each platform; so while their tone on Twitter is full of niche sass, Facebook is a tad more informative and focused on sharing news, proving they truly understand the space. Kudos to English Rural Life and all of the absolute units they continue to memorialize through their social content.