Social Media Shakeup: The Biggest Updates You Missed This Week

Instagram treats Hashtags like humans; lets you follow them:

Instagram this week took an unexpected step in a welcome direction – users are now able to follow their favorite hashtags as if they were users. Now, rather than being required to search for hashtags or follow someone to see their posts, users can follow the hashtags directly. Combined with Instagram’s post-relevancy algorithm, this will put the top posts from hashtags into users’ main news feed, allow them to view ‘hashtag stories’ and see what hashtags other users are following.

Why does it matter? Hashtags have become a lot more relevant, moving from something that required active engagement to utilize, to now being another piece of the user’s news feed as well. We anticipate this change will lead to higher engagement among those who seek out and follow their #FavoriteHashtags while providing new opportunities for both users and advertisers.

Apple enters the business-messaging game with Company Chat:

Apple’s next update to their iPhone operating system, iOS 11.3, will begin integration of ‘Company Chat.’ Similar to Facebook Messenger’s business tools and Google My Business’ offerings, Apple’s Company Chat will allow businesses to communicate directly with customers straight from the iPhone’s native messenger app. With 3 of every 4 iPhone users consistently updating to the latest software, and with the company selling at least 2-300 million iPhones ever year, this puts quick customer service in the hands of nearly 1 billion estimated users.

Initially, only Discover, Lowes, Wells Fargo and Hilton will be partnered with the service, allowing them to chat with customers, make appointments, and accept payments via ApplePay. One day soon, customer service for all may be as easy as opening up your messaging app and sending a text.

Facebook rolls out Stories for desktop:

Story content began with the vision Snapchat had in mind for it: in the know, right now, live updates. As the concept of ‘stories’ has grown, that mantra has slowly faded, leading us to where we are. Facebook has announced that you’ll now be able to publish Stories content straight from your desktop. This will remove the ‘mobile-only’ aspect of Stories content and hopefully raise Facebook’s Stories daily user numbers to something more marketable than the comparatively paltry 30 million daily users.

With Facebook clearly trying to ramp up its Stories content, now is the perfect time for your business or organization to get in early and make a splash – before the pool fills up.

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