We all say this every year but… can you believe it’s almost the end of this year?!!?!?!! Well we hope December is treating you okay and you’ve got lots of plans for this festive season.
November was a month full of interesting thoughts and updates coming from the world of social media so there’s a lot to get through! BUT we’ve distilled the news down to only the top updates we think you’ll find most useful.
This month we’re kicking off with Instagram…
It’s quickly become the most engaging place for most, and Instagram are doing all they can to make it even more engaging and accessible for all – in November they added the option to add ‘alt text’ to images, what does that mean? It means you can now describe your photo for visually impaired people! Amazing!
It’s long been a feature of Twitter and it makes absolute sense for Instagram to want to become more inclusive. So, if you have visually impaired followers, want to reach them or simply want to be more accessible all you have to do is click ‘Advanced settings’ on the screen where you write your caption and there you’ll be given the option to add alt text. Like the image below from Instagram.
Describe your photo and anyone using a screen reader will hear your description. How awesome is that?
P.S. You should give it a go in Twitter too.
Some other interesting news you may have missed…
- Instagram adds ‘close friends’ to let you share stories to a more limited group: This sounds pretty snapchatty to us but welcome nonetheless. It’s more useful for individuals but as a business you could think of using it for sending specific stories to an exclusive group for special offers or sharing certain pieces of news.
- Instagram will now let users shop items from video posts: Sell online? This is great news for you!
- Instagram starts rolling out dashboard that shows how much time you spend on it: We’ve mentioned this before but it’s worth mentioning again. A potentially useful tool for those who want to limit their time on social media and look after their mental health. Could also be useful for business owners wanting to make sure they spend a certain amount of time engaging each day (not the original purpose but could get you into good habits rather than bad)!
There’s a few interesting updates for those running Facebook Ads (and to those not doing so, why aren’t you?).
Firstly, you can now use square images in link image ads! Previously you were restricted to only landscape, but we all know most of those clicking on ads come from mobile so having the ability to use a square format is incredibly welcome – a square takes up around 70% of a mobile phone screen therefore capturing more attention in a busy news feed.
Secondly, dynamic creative, the tool that automates manual A/B testing through machine learning helping you find the best combination of text, headline and imagery so your target audience will respond to your ad, now supports Facebook and Instagram Stories, the return on ad spend metric, and branded content. It’s a really useful tool and one we love using to better understand our audiences and test what they will respond to most.
Also, Facebook recently sent an email to all those managing Facebook pages. In which they let us know that in an effort to continue to become more transparent they will begin revealing the locations (don’t panic, it won’t be your actual addresses) of those managing pages, presumably to expose those being run for nefarious reasons outside of the country they’re targeting.
Some other things…
- Americans are changing their relationship with Facebook: This is an interesting read for those wishing to reach and understand US audiences but it is also a good insight into how global audience could be changing their behaviours too – the UK tend to follow similar patterns to the US when it comes to social, albeit slightly later than the US.
- Facebook rolls out time spent dashboard: Almost identical to Instagram’s similar feature (well it would be wouldn’t it – Facebook own Instagram) this dashboard helps users manage their time spent on the platform.
- Facebook REALLY wants you to use Stories: As reported by The Verge (you may have guessed we love them for social media news) Facebook continues putting Stories everywhere, and now it’s coming to all Groups, they really want you to use Stories in the same way normal users and businesses use them in Instagram, but they are strugling with traction – still worth testing if it works for engaging your audiences though!
They’re probably one of the better platforms for giving out seasonal advice, that makes sense due to the very trend heavy nature of Twitter, and this year is no different! They’ve thrown out a load of best practice and hints and tips to help you make the most of the end of 2018 and go into 2019 strong!
Firstly, their December line-up is worth a look, it’s full of some US dates (good for some of you) but also some global trends to keep an eye on.
And secondly, Christmas on Twitter is upon us, and apparently it’s the most talked about topic on Twitter, so here’s some ideas, resources and tools to help you tap into the trend and get engaging with your audience, including some useful stats and a nice little blog with 6 ways to reach last-minute Christmas shoppers on Twitter.
Other Twitter stories for your faces…
- Twitter Shares the Most Tweeted Topics and Celebrities of 2018: Their annual round-up of the most tweeted about topics, celebrities, politicians and more!
- #ThisHappened – revealing the most liked UK Tweets of 2018: A reflection of the year, from the Royal Wedding to the saddest news of Chuckle Brother Barry’s passing.
Right! We’re going to stop there! Hopefully you found something interesting, useful or at least intriguing in this month’s update.
All there is to say now is – Happy Holidays, Merry Christmas, and we hope you have the most incredible New Year.
See you in 2019,
Mel and James