24 Jun 2020 Updates to Instagram, Facebook and Pinterest
2020 has already been an unprecedented year and it isn’t even half over. The current conditions caused by the coronavirus epidemic have us laser-focused on social media and online commerce as they are the best ways crafty businesses can engage with their customers and generate sales. Today, we spotlight the latest changes we have seen on the three major social media platforms we make use of: Instagram, Facebook and Pinterest.
Whether or not you like Facebook, there’s no denying that it is a favorite platform, particularly among an older demographic. According to Pew Research, 69% of US adults use Facebook and around three-quarters (74%) of those adults visit the site at least once a day. If you don’t already have a Facebook Group, you should consider starting one, as notifications from groups get priority in the algorithms that determine what your customers see. Here are a few more changes to Facebook that you may be able to take advantage of.
- New shopping experience: Facebook’s commerce manager has been around for a while, particularly the one that integrates with Shopify. But now Facebook is upgrading that experience, allowing you to customize the look of your virtual storefront with customizable fonts and coloring. Even better, users can convert and check out without ever having to leave the app. Fewer clicks and redirects means that customers are more likely to complete a purchase!
- In light of the devastating impact coronavirus has had on small businesses, Facebook has started the #SupportSmallBusiness hashtag, allowing new ways for customers to discover small businesses that meet their needs. The hashtag also has components that work on Instagram, which Facebook owns.
- Facebook recently started rolling out “Quiet Mode,” which allows users to silence all notifications. The idea behind this is to encourage folks to actually walk away from their screens. What does this mean for you? Be prepared for some users to take longer to respond to you both publicly and privately if they’re using this feature.
- In April, Facebook launched Messenger Rooms. Messenger Rooms is a videoconferencing platform that allows up to 50 users to chat at a time. There are no time limits, and people can participate even if they don’t have a Facebook account. We found this article helpful for learning how to navigate this new app.
- Facebook has some amazing advertising opportunities if you’ve got some room in the budget. If you’re looking to build your newsletter list, why not target your desired audience with a Facebook Lead Ad campaign? This allows users to fill out a form, called an “Instant Form,” with their contact information all without having to leave the Facebook platform. Read more here!
- Facebook has removed some detailed targeting options as of the beginning of the year. These are the options available in the “Audience” section of ad set creation that allows you to refine the group of people we show your ads to. You can do this with information such as additional demographics, interests and behaviors. Facebook has also removed a variety of niche craft categories like Hand knitting and warp (weaving). The big categories of knitting and crochet are still available, but this is a good opportunity to review and refresh your go-to keywords.
- Video continues to be an eye-catching way to stop a scroll. If you don’t have the equipment and time to film a video, you may want to try a slideshow ad. In this type of ad, you can use 3-10 high quality images to create a simple slideshow. There are options for adding music, stickers, and text. Facebook shares tips and a webinar to get started here.
Instagram turns 10 this year and it’s not showing any signs of slowing down! In 2019, the percentage of US adults using Instagram rose to 37% and the active reported users are around 1 billion people. Compared to Facebook, Instagram is a favorite among younger users, with more than half of the global Instagram user population younger than 34 years old (Statista). Here are a few of the Instagram changes in 2020 that we thought you might want to know about.
- Instagram now allows for direct messaging on the desktop. If you’re not a fan of trying to communicate by typing on your phone, take advantage of this new feature to engage with your customers from a device with a full keyboard!
- If you’ve been following us for a while, you know we’re bullish on video, and Instagram Live is where it’s at. While a huge percentage of users browse Instagram on their mobile devices, staying at home more means more customers are surfing Instagram from their desktops. We think this is why Instagram has now allowed users to watch Instagram Live on their desktops. Another change to Instagram Live videos is that they are now stored in IGTV, meaning your videos don’t disappear in 24 hours and are always available for your followers to watch. Instagram has added new stickers to Stories, particularly those that highlight small businesses, which means your followers can add the “Support Small Business” sticker to their Stories and mention your brand directly. Finally, we hear that a way to simulcast IG Live to Facebook Live is in the works – stay tuned to hear more!
- Recently, Instagram announced its own shopping system. However, you will need to set this up using your Facebook commerce manager, even though your products will then feed into the Instagram system.
- In addition to adding CTAs (Calls To Action) to your Stories, you can also add CTAs for “Gift Cards,” “Order Food,” and “Donate” in the form of clickable buttons on your profile. They appear in the “Highlights” section on your profile and allow users to shop with you easily and directly.
- Earlier this year, Instagram rolled out two new categories within the “Following” tab on your accounts. This means you are now able to see which accounts they’ve interacted with during the past 90 days, and which have shown up most frequently thanks to Instagram’s algorithms.
Last, but definitely not least is Pinterest, our favorite electronic bulletin board system that can become one of your top referrers! And Pinterest has been having a banner year, thanks to folks staying home and dreaming about what they’ll do next. According to Tech Crunch, Pinterest has seen more than 50% increase in people using the site to plan virtual events (like virtual birthday parties, baby showers or virtual educational activities), an overall 60% increase in the number of boards created versus the same time last year, and a 75% increase in engagement with boards a year-over-year basis. If you’re not spending time creating content and pinning, you’re missing out! Recent changes to Pinterest include:
- By far the most important changes that Pinterest is making are in the algorithms that determine what a user sees. Pinterest’s goal is improving the user experience by emphasizing both recency and relevancy in pins. What does this mean for you? There is an increasing focus on NEW content. This means creating new images and new content, and less repinning and pin looping. You can still share content in multiple ways, but be sure you have new and engaging images, and that you’re also adding new content in as often as possible. The algorithms also prioritize content that comes from your site (be sure to connect your website to your Pinterest account), so focus on pinning your own content rather than repinning or curating others’ content. Think quality over quantity.
- In the last week or two, Pinterest has made Story Pins available to some users. Story Pins allow you to combine multiple media elements (graphics, videos, text, etc.) to create a pin that tells a story. The purpose is to create step by step guides that lead users through a project from beginning to end. If they’re available to you, why not start experimenting?
- Pinterest is now allowing users add dates to a board (i.e. set the dates the board should display). Is your board seasonal? Are offers valid for a limited time only? Dates allow the board to be public for a certain amount of time and then hidden in your archives as you wish.
- Pinterest has also started allowing Board Notes. These notes are personal to the user and don’t display publicly, but allow users to make notes to reference later.
- Finally, Pinterest is… you guessed it… developing their own shopping experience! Pinterest Catalogs do integrate with Shopify, thought getting them connected has been a challenge. Pinterest has also introduced a Verified Merchant program, though exactly what that means is a little nebulous. If you’re interested in pursuing these options, try listening to this episode of the Simple Pin Podcast for a little more information.
We hope this update has given you some information you can use in promoting your crafty business through social media platforms. If you’d like help navigating your social media, contact us today to get started crafting a better business!