September can be a weird month for some. It brings the start of Autumn, it sees the launch of new tech products (here’s looking at you Apple!), and for some, it’s even time to start Christmas shopping!

In the world of social media, September brings another month of announcements, new features and evolutions. Some have been expected, others have had people scratching their heads in confusion.

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

Facebook and Instagram: Keeping it… reel?!

Facebook and Instagram have joined the list of companies creating “reels” features to rival the ever-growing TikTok. 

Currently launching via Facebook in the US, this feature would function in a similar manner to TikTok, allowing the user to create short form, entertaining video experiences consisting of music, audio, effects and more. There’s also the potential to connect with new audiences, and earn money with bonuses. You can read more about how it works in this article on Facebook’s website.

Sticking with reels, Instagram also announced that you can now search by reels. When performing a hashtag search, a new tab will appear alongside “Top” and “Latest”.

Further updates in the world of Facebook

September also saw a raft of announcements and updates from Facebook; let’s start with Facebook’s focus on news content. Last month we shared that Facebook was reviving it’s Bulletin newsletter platform to provide a news outlet for local journalism.

Data suggests that this is beginning to pay off for Facebook, with a recent report by Pew Research Centre demonstrating that Facebook and YouTube are leading the way as key sources of news content. In fact, nearly a third of Americans get news directly from Facebook, followed by 22% on YouTube.

Facebook is also doubling down on it’s community focus, with a new feature called “Community Awards” currently in testing. This would enable admins of Facebook groups to give awards to “outstanding group comments” and reward more engaging or beneficial interactions. This would function similarly to the “Top fan” badge of the past.

Another feature being added is further updates to its organic post testing option in Creator Studio. These new features bring a new layout, expanded post options, including text, link and image posts, to give users more opportunities for experimentation. Each test will also allow you to choose a key metric to measure, such as comments, shares or link clicks.

And finally, Facebook is also updating their cookie controls in Europe. In their newsroom article, the changes will give people greater control over their privacy and will see a new settings menu on Facebook and Instagram created where people can revisit and manage their cookie consent decisions at any time.

Instagram updates: Hashtags, verification and future plans

Like Facebook, Instagram has announced a series of new features and revealed some future plans. 

The first relates to how hashtags are used in posts. Instagram has suggested that posts should contain no more than 3 to 5 hashtags, in an effort (we think) to limit the use of spam hashtags by content creators. We’ll report more on this as it develops.

Instagram also announced some updates to the verification application process, providing a set criteria or list of eligibility for users to become verified, as well as answering some frequently asked questions about how the process works.

The big news from Instagram came when they announced the launch of a new global brand platform: “Yours to make”. The platform will allow users to explore who they are and their identity, connect with likeminded people and discover new interests. Not much more is known about the platform, so we’ll update you as more info is released. In the meantime, you can read the announcement here.

Pinterest’s renewed focus on creators and trends

Pinterest is another platform going all in with a focus on content creators. This is further evidenced by the launch of their Creator Code

This provides a code of ethics and commitment for all creators to adhere to. It’s nice to see another platform pledging to build a positive space for all involved.

Pinterest also announced a new overview of the key trends gaining track on its platform, with their latest data showing that 80% of the trends identified are gaining more traction throughout the year. You can read more about their predictions here.

LinkedIn’s new and improved lead generation and events features

LinkedIn has been working behind the scenes on improving their lead generation features, and we’re excited to see them in action.

The first big change was improvements to their Lead Generation Forms integration with Zapier. There’s now a much deeper library of integrations with a myriad of different tools, allowing you to build processes around your LinkedIn forms. You can learn more about how to do that here.

LinkedIn is also making a much broader push on hosting virtual events, and will soon begin testing paid events, creating an opportunity for monetisation on the social platform. In their own words:

“Amid the changing world of work and transition to a nearly all-remote workforce, LinkedIn Events has seen a surge in growth, with 21 million people attending an Event on LinkedIn in 2020. We continue to learn from member and customer feedback and test new ways to improve the experience. As part of this, we are exploring options for payment in the Events product based on feedback from event organizers.”

As more is announced on this hotly anticipated feature, we’ll continue to update you.

TikTok continues to be the rising star

TikTok has been dominating social media news in the last month, as it recently announced it had reached 1 billion users. 

That makes it the second fastest to hit the 1 billion mark, second to Facebook Messenger and lightyears ahead of the competition (it took Facebook 8.7 years!)

Last month we shared the holiday marketing guides published by Reddit and Facebook. TikTok has become the latest to jump on the Christmas bandwagon, as they have published part one of their 2021 holiday marketing guide, which you can view here.

But that’s not the only report that TikTok has published recently. In September, they also published a research report in conjunction with MediaScience uncovering how users respond to ads on the TikTok platform. There’s a lot of interesting information in there, and we definitely recommend giving it a read here.

And finally, TikTok continues to push the envelope when it comes to their feature set. They’re increasingly leaning into eCommerce, called “Community Commerce” and they’ve also announced new options for advertising and brand content partnerships. 

This saw the launch of an updated version of their “Creator Marketplace”, which provides a space for brands to find influencers in their niche to forge partnerships with. Another feature is “Open Application Campaigns”, where brands can list their campaigns for creators to self-apply. You can read more about the new features here.

Twitter: Late to the game, but still alive and well!

And finally, let’s talk about Twitter, who you could argue is late to the game with new features, but is still a social platform that is alive and kicking!

The first new feature is with “Twitter Spaces”. After development and testing, Twitter has launched a test of topic tags in “Spaces”, allowing users to highlight relevant chats to interested users as they happen, allowing for users to expand the reach of their audio broadcasts.

The second new feature coming soon is “Professional Profiles”, and applications are now open for brands and creators to submit. These new professional profiles will display business information on the profile page, such as the address, open hours or even a shop and newsletter module.

Yes, you read that right, a shop module. The final new feature being tested by Twitter is social commerce, with the shop module allowing brands to display products in a carousel format at the top of their profile. We’re excited to see how this feature develops!

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.