Social Media Updates: The April Roundup

Are you on top of the latest social media tools and features?! You should be! Here’s the roundup…

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Instagram- Influencer Opportunities

Creator Shops

In a bid to support the creator economy, Instagram recently announced plans for new features to incentivise creators by helping them make money on the platform. 

One of the proposed features is Creator Shops, which will allow creators to sell products directly to users through their profiles and help them to generate more money from content. In the live streamed announcement, Mark Zuckerberg explained how “we see a lot of creators setting up shops too, and one part of being a content creator business model is you create great content, and then you can sell stuff, and so having creator shops is awesome”.

Influencer Marketplace

To accompany this, it was announced that an influencer marketplace would be created in a bid to help match brands with influencers whose content is aligned with their vision and target audiences. Furthermore, in the future we could even see an “affiliate recommendation marketplace”, whereby creators could get a cut of the sales for products that they’re recommending and promoting. Zuckerberg hopes that the features will encourage a “creator middle class”, making it easier for brands to discover emerging talent and for creators to take advantage of monetisation opportunities.

Of course, creators already get paid to post and promote sponsored content, but these partnerships typically originate through other means- the goal is that these features would allow Instagram to have a more direct involvement in forging these partnerships on the platform.

There isn’t a structure to these proposed plans just yet, but we should expect some exciting changes to emerge on the platform in the future.

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Facebook’s New Audio Tools

Facebook has announced that it will be ‘bringing social audio experiences’ to the platform, in the form of new audio tools and formats.

Soundbites

One of the proposed offerings is ‘Soundbites’, short-form audio clips that will allow users to share anecdotes, stories, jokes, and other sound snapshots. Facebook has shared plans to test Soundbites over the coming months, in collaboration with a range of creators; from comedians and entrepreneurs, to authors and motivational speakers.

Podcasts

Taking Soundbites a step further into long-form audio, Facebook is tapping into the power of the podcast by bringing podcasts directly onto the platform, so that users can listen and engage in conversations at the same time and all in one place. As well as in-app listening, Facebook has explained that it “will help you easily find new podcasts and episodes based on your interests, comment on them and recommend them to your friends. And podcast creators will be able to reach and connect with new listeners — all directly within the Facebook app”. Expect to see- and hear- podcasts on the platform in the next few months. 

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Audio Rooms

Inevitably, the new audio tools will include Facebook’s answer to Clubhouse. The platform hopes that its Live Audio Rooms will be available to all users by the summer, giving them the chance to host and listen in on audio-only Rooms; both private and public. Initial testing will see Live Audio Rooms available to Facebook Groups, allowing greater connection between the millions of communities on the app- and fuelling topic-specific conversations between like-minded people- before rolling the tool out to public figures. Audio Rooms will allow public figures to connect with their fans and with one another, to spark important conversations, share ideas, and reach new audiences globally.

The feature will pose a direct challenge to Clubhouse, which remains fairly exclusive with its invite-only access and its IOS-only availability. Other platforms have already joined the club, with Twitter’s Spaces tool- available on both IOS and Android- gaining more and more traction through its testing phases. 

Unlike Clubhouse, what happens in Audio Rooms needn’t stay there. As Facebook explained, “with live audio, creators will be able to turn a live conversation into a podcast for everyone to listen to later. We also want to give creators and fans tools to share the best excerpts from a live audio or podcast and publish them as Soundbites to encourage more discussion.” It appears that these audio tools will compliment one another nicely, meaning everyone can be a part of the conversation in some way or another.

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Monetisation Potential

 The addition of new tools brings a welcome array of possibilities for creators, with monetisation opportunities being no exception. With Audio Rooms, fans can support creators and public figures through the Facebook Stars system or by donating to charitable causes, with more monetisation models in the pipeline. Further plans include “the ability to charge for access to a Live Audio Room through a single purchase or a subscription”. As part of the Soundbites rollout, Facebook have announced the creation of an ‘Audio Creator Fund’, “to support emerging audio creators and get early feedback on the new product experience”.

By uniting new, audio-only tools with its visual content capabilities, Facebook is re-establishing itself as the hub for global connection, through an immersive and sensory social experience

‘Professional Profiles’ on Twitter

Twitter is testing a new profile format that will enable brands, businesses, charities and creators to create professional profiles like those on Facebook and Instagram. The layout will allow people that use Twitter for work, to display their business info more clearly and make use of dedicated tools and features that are in the pipeline for these profiles. Twitter has said that the initial test phases will include a small number of brands, with the feature rolling out to more and more if successful.

Professional profiles would allow for brands to maximise their reach and exposure on Twitter, with the potential for a greater shift in eCommerce capabilities and ad opportunities on the app. With apps like Facebook, Instagram and TikTok fast becoming social commerce hubs, it’s no wonder that Twitter is verging in the same direction.

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Ads Are Coming To Instagram Reels

Ads have become commonplace on Instagram, appearing just about everywhere on the app. Recently it was announced that ads would soon be making an appearance on Reels; an unsurprising addition considering the steps Instagram has taken to improve its eCommerce features, in response to the pandemic-fuelled online shopping revolution.

They will look much like the ads you see in Stories but, in keeping with the TikTok-esque format of Reels, the videos could be up to 30 seconds long and users will be able to save, share, like, and comment on the ads. It was only a matter of time before ads would make their way onto Reels, especially following the homepage redesign in 2020 that placed the Shopping and Reels tabs front and centre. For now though, we’ll have to wait a little longer.

We’ll be back next month with more updates you should be aware of!

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