With September upon us, it feels like summer went as quickly as it arrived; now it’s time to bring out the winter duvet, and so might argue it’s even time to start counting down to Christmas!

Despite this, social media platforms are continuing to push the envelope and boundaries of what’s possible. New features are launched, some are even retired, but in any case, platforms continue to evolve.

With that in mind, we’ve got a summary of events, trends, changes and announcements from the biggest social media players. Read on to find out what’s new!

It’s never too early to plan for Christmas!

When do you start planning your Christmas shopping? Are you a last-minute shopper or one who likes to plan ahead?

Whilst shoppers' Christmas buying habits have stayed relatively buoyant, the ever-changing COVID-19 situation has meant business owners, particularly shop owners, have had to rapidly adapt. In the wake of storefront closures, the rapid shift to eCommerce shopping behaviour has boomed.

When you couple that with the fact that there are just over 100 days (at the time of writing this) until Christmas, there is a strong case for planning your holiday or Christmas marketing campaigns now.

At least, that’s what all social media platforms (and we) believe! Not every festive shopper is the same, and research by Pinterest shows there are at least 6 types of online Christmas shoppers. If you want to know who they are, and how you can teach them, check out this article by Pinterest.

Both Reddit and Facebook are publishing a myriad of content designed to help shop owners with campaign planning, supported by recent statistics on buyer habits and shopper behaviour. You can download the full Reddit guide here. Facebook has also published a Christmas document available here.

New Tik-Tok features

TikTok is a rising star in the social media world, with a forecasted reach of over 13  million people in the UK by the end of 2021, more than double the number of users in 2019.

It’s no wonder that they’re working hard to release new features to rival competitor platforms, and we’ve got news on two big ones.

The first is a new Shopify Shop tab for approved merchant profiles. This integration builds on TikTok’s relationship with Shopify, and will allow merchants to promote their products directly to their audience from within the TikTok app. In summary, as explained by Shopify:

"Shopify merchants with a TikTok For Business account will soon be able to add a shopping tab to their TikTok profiles and sync their product catalogues to create a mini-storefront that links directly to their online store for checkout."

A second feature on the horizon with TikTok is their own native AR (Augmented Reality) effects. The feature, similar to the likes created by Facebook and Snapchat, would enable AR creators to build their own effects on the platform.

The feature is currently in beta format, being tested by selected developers. As we learn more about this upcoming feature, we’ll keep you in the loop.

LinkedIn’s brand building push

Everyone loves a new LinkedIn guide, right? LinkedIn is the latest platform to recognise the power of brand building, and establishing connection with your target audience.

In light of that, they’ve published another guide: Growing your brand on LinkedIn, which you can view and download here.

The guide covers an array of strategies, highlighting the value of reaching your audience and establishing your brand through ads, community building and more.

Facebook and the power of local news (and emojis)

The shift to online buyer behaviour has impacted multiple sectors over the years, not least of which is media and news outlets. Since 2005, at least 250 newspaper titles have closed, with at least 30 since 2019, although the pace of decline seems to be slowing.

That’s why we were surprised to read that Facebook is attempting to revive its Bulletin newsletter platform, announcing that it will add 25 new local journalists to its roster of writers, in the hopes that this expansion will provide a new outlet for local journalism that has been so severely impacted in recent years. 

How this will turn out remains to be seen, and as it develops, we’ll provide you with updates.

Facebook has also rolled out its latest emoji update, available for the majority of users across the globe. This update includes over 200 brand new emojis, plenty of choice for everyone!

Instagram’s new focus, and revised features

Similar to TikTok, Instagram is working on features to allow merchants to better promote their products on the platform.

Following some testing, Instagram is now rolling out a new feature allowing merchants to set “promoted products” within the shop tab in the app. This will make it easier for users to discover and shop from brands when they’re already browsing. There’ll also be a “Sponsored” disclaimer marking any paid posts for full transparency.

Instagram has also announced the removal of the “swipe up” features. From 30th August, users instead will only link stickers, and the feature will continue to only be available for accounts with over 10,000 followers.

Finally, Instagram has also discussed their vision for moving their focus towards video content, creators and influencer marketing. As part of this, they’re looking to improve features such as reels and AR filters. In their own words:

“We want Instagram and Facebook to serve as a home base for creators to tell their story, grow and make a living. Whether they are just starting out or are further along in building their business – we want to support creators and give them ways to accomplish their goals.”

Back from the dead: Snapchat lives and breathes!

You’d be forgiven if you thought Snapchat was dead… but it’s very much alive and kicking! In fact, they recently launched a new “trends” feature to highlight key topics, similar to the likes of Pinterest Trends and Google Trends.

The feature is designed to help marketers looking to tap into the platform by giving them tools to conduct research around keywords, volume mentions and more.

Which new feature are you most excited about?

Social media continues to grow, and we love analysing new features and seeing what each platform is bringing to an ever-growing table.

Got a question about a new feature, or need a little help with your social media strategy? Selesti is primed to help with driving traffic and building a community, and we’d love to hear from you.