If 2016 has taught social media managers anything, it’s that we need to be ready for change—pivoting and molding social media strategy and execution as quickly as social media channels update their algorithms. With tweaks and updates from major social media platforms regularly, staying abreast of industry updates and trends is critical. Here’s a rundown of the biggest updates we saw in 2016.
Facebook continues its reign as the most popular social media channel garnering 80 percent of online adults as opposed to the 20 percent that all other channels reach. This year, Facebook incorporated more social and e-commerce hybrid functions for businesses, and an even more robust ad management platform — making the advertising cross-functionality between Instagram and Facebook as seamless as ever. This has left organic visibility to drop on Facebook significantly and consistently over the past few years. Lower organic reach means more pressure for businesses to use paid advertising options.
Instagram took a swing at Snapchat and added fire to the competition with Instagram Stories, allowing users to leverage their following in new and creative ways. Instagram also rolled out more robust features for businesses, like in-depth analytics and the ability to promote content within the app. Get ready to see more users go “live”—as Instagram added a live video feature to compete with Facebook Live and Snapchat’s real-time feel.
With 150 million daily users Pinterest created more tools for businesses, too. Pinterest’s analytics became more granular by allowing users to add a meta tag to one’s website and track what users are pinning directly from the site. This has allowed users, specifically e-commerce businesses and influencers, to shape their content based on what their followers want to see or purchase. Pinterest also added a new feature that allows users to highlight their best content with a carousel of handpicked boards.
Twitter had a major update that allows users to do more with the 140-character limit. Photos, “@” conventions, and links no longer count towards the character count. Rumor has it that Twitter will continue to add similar features that allow users to extend the bandwidth of the 140-character limit.
On Snapchat, you’re now able to upload photos that weren’t taken in real-time with Memories, which helps make planning out a digital editorial calendar that much easier. Adding a new level of engagement to Snapchat Chat, you can live chat with friends directly within the app. Or, you can try out Spectacles, Snapchat’s own version of a camera (creep level is up for debate).
If some of these updates are news to you, familiarize yourself quickly and get ready for the new year. Will Facebook continue to engage the most users? Snapchat vs. Instagram: who will win? With more robust ad platforms and “boosting” options, count on seeing even greater decreases in organic visibility across all channels in 2017. Focusing on engaging, relevant content and high-quality images will be more important than ever. Stay in touch, and you won’t miss a beat. Bring it on, 2017.