I sat through a rather tedious series of webinar’s this week, just so I could bring you this lovely concise round-up of the latest news on social media for 2021 (you’re welcome!) If you thought you knew Facebook and Instagram – the main platforms and what we will be focusing on in this blog – then think again. The platforms we are using today bear little resemblance to the platforms we were using even 5 years ago. That’s why it’s crucial to understand how they’ve changed and what it means for your marketing.
This blog is by no means an exhaustive list of the latest news on social media for 2021. That would take many, many hours and a wordcount over 10k! Instead it it aims to give you the key factors which will impact you as a small business owner. So, get your notepad out (really) and start taking notes for how to use these tips to improve the efficacy of your social media!
Changes to What Drives Visibility
Visibility – how many followers are shown your posts in their feed, and how often they see them – has been gradually declining in the past few years. The latest updates do not reverse this trend, but they have clarified the ways in which you can ‘earn’ more visibility with your free posts
What drives ‘organic’ (free) post visibility in 2021 is;
- Inventory (i.e. your posts, how many of them they are and what’s in them)
- Regularity and frequency of posting (posting at the same time each day is preferred)
- Ranking signals (including how long you’ve had your account for, how many followers you have and how engaged they are, how consistent you are with posting, how actively you engage with followers via messages and comments and finally, the amount of time people spend on your stories).
There are numerous ways you can improve your reach (how many people your posts get shown to). In fact, I wrote a whole other blog on that topic HERE. The key themes are creating quality content, timing your posts well, and using ads in conjunction with free posting to keep bringing fresh blood to your page.
This year, Facebook are rolling out a few new toys for us all to play with. They’re beginning with the so-called ‘New Campaign Idea Generator’ (catchy name, right?). It “provides campaign ideas, pre-made assets and resources that are specific to your small business needs.” 1. In short, it supplies templates, insights, recommendations (including seasonal suggestions) and ideas to improve your Facebook content, by industry category.
You can choose the niches or interest topics relevant to you, and it serves up ideas related to those. I am personally yet to use it, but once I do, I will be sure to share with you how useful or otherwise it is for small business owners.
Another new ‘toy’ is the Small Business Badge, which they’re starting to roll out now. These will be displayed on the ads of verified small businesses. The idea is to encourage people who like to ‘shop small’ to make more informed choices. There is very little information available online yet as to how you can get one of these badges, but stay tuned! Once this information is available, I’ll share it on our own Facebook page.
Moving forward, Facebook is also adding some new controls and tools to your Admin Dashboard for your Facebook page. These especially aim to help those whose pages can attract potentially negative comments, with a function that enables more moderation and control over this (including a ‘conflict alert’ and a ‘slow down’ mechanism!).
What about Instagram?
I’m glad you asked! Many of our clients are much more reliant on Instagram than Facebook, yet as it’s a simpler platform overall, there are always less changes from the Social Overlords. This year proves no different.
The key changes to Instagram this year (some of which you’ll have spotted already) are:
- No more swiping up on Stories! You now need to add a ‘tap to link’ badge in Stories. This lives on the same menu where the GIF’s, stickers, countdowns/polls/other mechanisms live.
- Swiping on Stories MAY be enabled for accounts with less than 10k followers, which is great news. It’s not confirmed yet if this will be all, or a test group initially.
- IG Search. An algorithm based on the popularity of the account, the searcher’s past browsing history, how active you are (etc) will now control this.
- The IG Shop Tab is new, and cool. It will allow users to save items to a wishlist, and also share them with friends. This will ultimately be another space we can advertise in, which could be cool for fashion and beauty brands.
For some of you, perusing the latest news on social media for 2021 is the stuff of nightmares. I get it. If that’s you, please get in touch with us and find out how we can take some or all of your Facebook and Instagram management off your hands. OR suggest alternative ways you can funnel customers to your business and stay top of mind!