Social media was pretty quiet during February. Most platforms were occupied with testing out new features, although not much was actually implemented. Here’s what happened in February.
Releasing new updates and features isn’t just keeping our engagement flowing. It’s ensuring Instagram stays current and up to date with other social media platforms.
Donate with Instagram
Over the month, Instagram worked on yet another feature for their Stories. The image and video sharing platform has been playing around with a ‘Donations’ sticker, for users who wish to raise funds for non-profit organisations. How cool is that!
Facebook continue to develop new innovative ways to help users support causes they care about, so this Instagram donations feature comes as no surprise. Facebook’s own donation button and other fundraising tools have been incredibly successful over the last few years. Birthday fundraisers (who are asking friends and family for charity donations for their birthdays) raised over $300 million for non-profit organisations during its first year. Last November, Facebook announced that combined user donations had surpassed $1 billion, due to the easy access of its peer-to-peer fundraising tools.
When made public, the new Donations sticker can be found alongside other Stories features, such as Location, Hashtag and Mentions. Meaning you can add this to your story before you share.
Direct Web Messaging
In January, an announcement was made highlighting the possible merge of WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger and Instagram Direct Messaging into one integrated system, allowing the possibility of cross platform connection. If this does happen it won’t be until the end of the year, but we may be one step closer very soon!
Instagrammers may be given the ability to chat outside of the app, a feature that’s currently only available through the mobile app. Whether you use direct messaging to reply to customers or schedule appointments, direct messages are a great form of communication. They play an important part in the company and customer relationship, and that’s why Instagram seeks to introduce new features to improve direct messages for all.
Instagram told TechCrunch that internal testing of a web based version of direct messaging that lets users chat without the app, much like Facebook Messenger, is currently underway. Over the year, Instagram has slowly been shifting towards a more desktop-friendly experience, and the possibility of a web based chat creates one more direct interface.
If made public, laptop and desktop users have the ability to privately message other Instagrammers via a mobile web browser.
As of yet, there is no work for wider testing or a release date.
Zuckerberg has big plans for Facebook this year!
In a public Facebook post, he declared that 2019 will focus on improving user experience, safety, and increasing authenticity. The social media giant released its Q4 2018 earnings report at the end of Jan. Here’s our top 3 takeaways:
- More than 2 billion people use at least one of Facebook’s services a day. This includes WhatsApp, Instagram and Facebook Messenger. Monthly user count also reach 2.7 billion
- From Q3, revenue increased by $3 billion, now totalling $16.6 billion
- More than $2 billion of revenue growth came from Stories Ads, across Facebook and Instagram
Improvements to Groups
There are continuous improvements being implemented to Facebook Groups. By adding several tools, Facebook hopes these will help admins to create more meaningful posts and informative content.
This month saw new guidelines when adding members to a group. Members are no longer automatically added to a group. Instead, they are placed into an “invited” tab until they choose to accept and join themselves. Groups can no longer artificially inflate their numbers. This new feature also helps groups to ensure prospective members actually want to engage with their content.
Accused of exposing users phone numbers
With over 1.5 billion daily users, Facebook holds a lot of personal data, and as the leading social network, they take account security very seriously. Facebook’s two-step verification process (consisting of your email address followed by a verification text message sent to your phone) may seem very safe to users in ensuring their personal data is protected. But what they are unaware of, is that you can look up any personal Facebook profile with a phone number.
This is a default setting which allows everyone, even those with or without an account, to search for a user profile based off the same phone number linked to the account at the time of set up.
Unfortunately, there is no way to completely hide your phone number. The only options include everyone (the default option) friends of friends or your friends.
Facebook haven’t commented on future plans of the possibility of opting out of the settings, and when asked why “everyone” is the default, they said the feature makes it easier to find people who you know, but are not friends with yet.
With 126 million daily active users, what were Twitter up to last month? Well, they were busy testing out a range of new additions to their functionality and UI.
Quote Tweeting with GIFs
For a while now Twitter has been testing out the ability to add GIFs to quote tweets, and adding multimedia to your retweets may be available to all users very soon.
Pop-up profiles on the timeline
Twitter threads make it much harder to follow the conversation and process all the information and opinions you see. Twitter has been working on different ways to navigate through threads, such as colour coding and highlighting. However, last month they announced a feature which allows you to check others profiles without leaving the thread.
Currently, this feature is only available for iOS but is planned for android users very soon. The purpose of this feature is to make it easier to know who is saying what, and to follow those whose opinions you find interesting without leaving the thread.
Compared to other social networking sites, LinkedIn is a late bloomer when it comes to videos. In the 17 months since launching video features for its 600 million global users, LinkedIn has seen a boost in traffic from non-live videos on the platform. With videos being the fastest-growing format on the platform (alongside original written content and shared news) they have taken on another social innovation with its own live-streaming feature.
Currently in the testing phase with invited beta users, users and companies will have the ability to broadcast live videos to a selected group of people, or all LinkedIn users.
With the typical LinkedIn user in mind, LinkedIn hopes these live streams can cover conferences, product announcements, events led by influencers and mentors and Q&As.
In the coming weeks, LinkedIn may open the pilot program to interested users, but when and if this feature will be made public to all has not been announced. LinkedIn are keen to evaluate user experience before it’s made available to broader audiences.
Recruiting and Job Hunting Features
This month, LinkedIn introduced two new features with aims to ease the hiring and job hunting processes for companies and job seekers. These new features also allow users to learn more about their potential new employers, and track what they are interested in.
This new ‘Intelligent Hiring Experience’ dashboard combines the existing hiring suite, comprised of LinkedIn Recruiter, LinkedIn Jobs and Pipeline Builder, into a “streamlined, built-from-the-ground-up interface”. LinkedIn hopes this will make recruitment and applying for jobs through LinkedIn simpler.
So that’s what happened during February. Are you ok with Facebook displaying your phone number? Have you advertised a job through LinkedIn? Leave us a comment below!