With the US considering banning TikTok and Instagram releasing its new ‘Reels’ video functionality, it seems that keeping up with the latest social media changes is becoming increasingly difficult.
To save you hours of trolling through wordy news articles that are often filled with propaganda and unnecessary information, we’ve compiled a list of the latest changes and what they mean for Australian businesses and consumers.
Understanding consumer habits is an essential part of effectively marketing your brand. You wouldn’t spend thousands on Facebook ads if you knew your target audience was primarily using Instagram instead would you?
These changes in the world of social media have a bigger impact on your business than you know. And although it isn’t essential to stay up to date with every change as it happens, being aware of the landscape in which your business operates is key.
The latest social platform to hit the scene, Chinese owned TikTok allows users to create short-form video content with a wide range of special effects and music. Primarily used by the younger generation, TikTok is also becoming increasingly popular with brands.
Due to concerns about TikTok sharing users’ information with the Chinese government, some governments are working towards banning the platform with India announcing a ban in June 2020. TikTok officials claim that Australians shouldn’t worry about their personal details as the app operates separately from its Chinese origins however consumers are still speculating.
What a TikTok ban could mean for Australian businesses
TikTok now has more than 1.6 million active users in Australia, meaning the platform offers businesses a great opportunity to share content and increase their brand awareness with a large audience. A ban of the platform could have a negative impact on influencers who use the platform as a source of income. This would also therefore negatively affect brands that utilise influencer marketing through TikTok as a way of promoting themselves and/or products and may impact overall sales.
In the current climate where the unemployment rate in Australia is more than 7 per cent, the loss of TikTok would only further add to the stress put on many industries.
Update: On 5 August 2020, Prime Minister Scott Morrison announced that after an investigation by security agencies, the Australian government has decided not to ban TikTok. The investigation identified no serious security concerns with the app although raised they will be keeping a close watch over social media apps.
This is a great win for industry, brands and consumers!
In early August 2020 Facebook owned platform, Instagram, introduced a new feature that consumers are calling “their version of TikTok”. The new video functionality, Reels, allows users to curate short-form videos with effects and music. There’s no denying it’s very similar to TikTok and was likely developed in an attempt to draw users back to the platform.
Although Instagram already had video functionality, stories and IGTV for longer-format content, the addition of Reels only further solidifies the fact that short-form video content is the preferred format for consumers.
What Instagram Reels means for Australian businesses
When a platform releases a new feature, such as Instagram Reels, you often find that content created in that format will be prioritised for some time. What we mean by this is the Instagram algorithm will prioritise content shared as Reels, showing them to a wider audience in order to spread the word about the new feature.
Brands can utilise this by acting quickly and devising a strategy that incorporates Instagram Reels. Similar to TikTok, brands should look to influencers and trending topics that their audience will find relatable. It is a social platform after all so users want to be entertained, informed and inspired.
Since TikTok launched, the spotlight seems to have moved away from Facebook although the platform is still the most popular in the world. Users of all age demographics and almost every business you can think of uses Facebook, which brings both opportunities and challenges.
Facebook has recently added new features for business such as the ability for consumers to directly message a brand using their Facebook Messenger platform without having to first log into their Facebook account.
It has also been reported that Facebook is once again trying to promote the use of hashtags in content. Although hashtags have existed on the platform since 2013, their functionality was almost pointless and in fact led to less reach and engagement when used. New claims from Facebook promote that using hashtags will improve content reach.
What these Facebook changes mean for Australian businesses
With the recent scrutiny over Facebook’s use of personal information, this feature may see more consumers opting to connect with brands without the worry of their personal information being stored. This may not seem like an added benefit for brands but any feature that improves the chances of a consumer connecting with a brand will have the potential for improved conversion.
As for hashtags on Facebook, the jury is still out.