Who remembers when Instagram said goodbye to chronologically ordered posts in 2016 and tweaked its algorithm to reflect the photos they thought we’d appreciate most? Or how about when Facebook adopted a similar practice last year, prioritizing personal rather than promotional content on our feeds? If you were a small business or influencer who relied heavily on social media for sales, you know exactly what I’m talking about—and chances are, you weren’t thrilled about the new “improvements.”
But that’s the thing about social media: It’s always evolving, which is arguably either the best or worst thing about it. On the one hand, the platforms that are constantly undergoing updates are also the ones that we as business owners and consumers use the most, and will probably use long into the future—at least, as long as the benefit outweighs the burden. On the other hand, changing algorithms and features can mean an unpredictable—and potentially negative—impact on your business if you’re not willing to adapt and flow with the times. But you can’t adapt to something you’re not aware of, which is why we’re taking a look at the latest updates in social media and what they mean for businesses.
Facebook launches Automated Ads platform, video editing features, and appointment booking capabilities. With over 90 million small businesses on Facebook, the platform says they’re proud to assist businesses of all sizes to grow and create jobs. What this looks like: You fill out a simple questionnaire about your company’s mission and goals, and based on your answers, the platform automatically generates up to six different versions of the same ad for publication across Facebook, Instagram, Messenger, and Audience Network. Advertisers can also add their own call-to-action buttons, additional text, and creative details—as well as budget preferences. Once it’s active, Automated Ads will optimize the ad campaign to showcase the best-performing option, and routinely provide performance notifications plus suggestions for improvement.
On top of the Automated Ads offering, Facebook has also added automatic cropping, video trimming and image and text overlays to its video editing options, as well as appointment managing tools that allow customers and clients to book appointments through Facebook and Instagram.
Why you should care: Thankfully, you don’t have to have a crazy advertising budget, mad tech skills, or in-depth marketing knowledge to create an effective ad campaign on the world’s largest social media platform. And with the extra video editing capabilities, small businesses can now compete with big brands for a shot in the spotlight. In our opinion, you’d be mistaken not to take advantage of Facebook’s newest feature.
Instagram tests hiding photo like-count from followers. In a bold move to promote mental health and mindful scrolling, Instagram recently announced the new “private like-count” update, which removes the number of likes your photos get from your followers (but not you). Canadians are the first to experience the test, but if met with positive reactions, the rest of us won’t be far behind.
Why you should care: While most people can agree that this is a good thing—comparison is the thief of joy, after all—it does make us wonder what this will mean for the content creators, marketers, and influencers who rely on public like-counts to grow their biz. Here’s our advice: Focus on your content. Quality content and community management is a growing brand’s bread and butter, proving time and time again to be the #1 way to reach your target audience and drive customers to your site via Instagram. Bragging rights aside, you don’t need to shout your like-count from the (digital) rooftops to be heard or make an impact, especially if you’re consistently rolling out captivating content for your already devoted followers—the number of which will remain public on your profile, and can be used as one metric to measure the effectiveness of your campaign. Who knows? In eliminating performance pressure, the lack of like-counts might even drive deeper engagement among all users, benefiting brands and individuals alike.
Pinterest announces new campaign type for Promoted Pins. If you’re not already taking advantage of Pinterest’s Promoted Pins feature, now’s the time to start. The platform recently announced their conversion optimization campaign, which optimizes Promoted Pins for specific consumer actions—such as online checkouts, increased signups to a mailing list, or filling lead generation forms—instead of just clicks. To get the ball rolling, advertisers simply choose conversions as a campaign objective and watch as impressions turn into sales.
Why you should care: Ever heard of the common piece of marketing wisdom, make it easy for people to buy from you? Well, with Pinterest’s new feature, buying/opting in has never been easier. As a business, this should be music to your ears—by utilizing Promoted Pins, you’re now more likely to connect with Pinners who are not only interested in your product, but ready to take action.
According to Pinterest, companies that have experimented with the campaign have seen drastic improvements in sales. Take Gravity Blankets, for example, who achieved a 2x increase in sales and a 58% lower cost per acquisition. Flaviar, a club for spirits enthusiasts, saw 409% more traffic and an 8x increase in leads from October 2018 compared to the month before.
Social media can be an invaluable tool for small businesses to market products and services, build trust, and increase conversion rates—but only if used to its full advantage. One thing’s for certain: As long as social platforms are evolving to keep up with our tech and data-driven world, so too should your marketing strategy.