Words: Belinda Connolly
The big social media players love dropping updates and new features to improve the user experience. That’s great for users, but for businesses it can mean scrambling to learn all about these new features and adjusting strategies.
Meta’s dropped a whole bag of newbies for Instagram and Facebook recently, and some may drastically shake up your social marketing strategy. Read on to find out what these changes are, and how you can make sure you’re optimising your content
1. Still image posts are back in favour
It wasn’t that long ago when the IG algorithm favoured Reels instead of photos. Creators and businesses duly started hitting record and video production became an even more important part of social media strategy. Just when everyone finessed their strategy to be Reels-heavy, Instagram has now reverted back to favouring still images, so if you’re finding your Reels reach dropping, know you’re not alone.
Earlier this year the head of IG admitted that they went too far with video at the expense of good quality photos – the very medium that made Instagram what it is – and are now trying to correct the bias.
“I think we were overfocused on video in 2022 and pushed ranking too far, and basically showed too many videos and not enough photos,” he said.
That said, audiences still favour short-form video content. Mixing up your content to showcase a mix of photos and videos is the best way to go to ensure your followers – and the algorithm – are happy.
2. Instagram’s broadcast channels
Businesses and selected creators are now able to create a broadcast channel on Instagram to share announcements with followers. The channel lives in DMs: creators can send messages to everyone who has opted in, and followers can react to messages but can’t send replies. Broadcast channels are public and can be discovered by anyone on Instagram, but only followers can join in.
Other functionality includes voice notes and polls. Influencers who know their stuff are using the channels to ask for feedback from fans and share upcoming events, launches and collabs.
3. Verification for sale
Meta has brought paid verification to the masses. For the monthly fee of ($11.99 to $14.99), you can get yourself a verified badge on your profile, as well as access to increased reach in search and comments, and dedicated live chat support. Verification is available for businesses accounts on Twitter, while Instagram is a bit vague on verification for businesses – “brands” can apply, but there are no guarantees of nabbing the coveted ‘tick’.
4. Fans can pay creators on Facebook
Following on from the above, Facebook has announced wider rollout of its Stars monetisation feature. This feature already allows followers to buy and send Stars to creators if they like what they see, and more creators will soon receive this functionality. Stars currently exists in Reels, live and video-on-demand, and will soon expand to photos and text posts. Facebook will pay USD$0.01 for each Star sent, and new creators who come over to Facebook will find this feature set up as default, so they don’t have to do anything except sit back and wait for their one-cent payments to roll in.