This month in social media (March 2020)

Mar 26th, 2020

March has been a difficult month for many, with businesses and offices having to adapt and reshape due to the COVID-19 pandemic. What we have seen though, is an increase in usage of social media, both from a business point of view and from a consumer

77% of UK marketers predicted an increase in social media activity, meaning new opportunities for brands to adapt their strategy on social platforms, with an understanding of where their target audience might be consuming content (at home), and creating engaging content from a brand awareness point of view, rather than for sales. 

We’re also seeing the channels themselves adapt at this time, with the likes of YouTube lowering its default video quality to handle the increase in usage. Below we take a look at some new updates across social media from the month of March.

Instagram’s “Stay at Home” sticker

With the UK Government urging people to stay at home during this time, Instagram introduced a new sticker to their Stories feature, which people can simply add to their posts whilst in self-isolation. 

What this means is that every post featuring this sticker will be added to a new story, at the forefront of everyone’s timelines as a ‘stay at home’ story, giving a new opportunity to have your content be seen by your followers who may not usually engage with your story content, whilst giving people a new reason to stay at home. Nice move Instagram!

Facebook turns 2D pictures into 3D with the use of AI

It’s been almost two years since Facebook originally introduced 3D photos to it’s platform, but it has now started using AI to turn any 2D picture into 3D. Originally, it was only those with high-end dual camera devices that could create these images, but this new update brings new opportunities for businesses to be even more creative with the content they are posting out. 

So how does it work? Researchers from Facebook Artificial Intelligence explain, the “system infers the 3D structure of any image.” Hence, it presented a variety of challenges, “such as training a model that correctly infers 3D positions of an extensive variety of subject matter and optimizing the system so that it works on-device on typical mobile processors in a fraction of a second”. Be sure to give this one a go in the near future.

Whatsapp dark mode, finally!

It seems like the last app to finally make the switch over to dark mode for those that want it, but Facebook has now made that move with their Whatsapp, and are also trialling it with Facebook itself!

Dark mode is something that has completely split consumers on social media, with many people preferring it to the original, but it isn’t for everyone. There is more to it though than just design, it has actually been created to reduce eye strain, and with more and more of us switching to social media at this time, it seems like a good idea to introduce it. That’s not all though, it is designed to help make important information stand out, and also helps avoid those awkward situations where your phone lights up too bright in a dark room, so has privacy in mind.

Find new content with YouTube’s “Explore” tab

YouTube originally tested out the ‘Explore’ tab on mobile devices, and due to the popularity of the feature, have now replaced their ‘trending’ tab with it on desktop, along with adding a whole load of features to improve it for users. According to YouTube’s announcement, users get easy access to destination pages by tapping on the buttons found at the top of the Explore tab.

There they can find “new videos to watch from our existing destination pages – Music, Gaming, News, Movies & Shows, Fashion & Beauty, and Learning.” YouTube also plans to “continue adding more destination pages over time.”

Twitter is testing its own version of Stories, called Fleets

Twitter has now joined the party when it comes to “Stories”, or pieces of content people can upload in real-time that only last 24 hours. They have named them Fleets. They are currently beginning the testing for this in Brazil, but depending on feedback, we might well see it in other countries including the UK pretty soon.

Fleets will sit at the top of a user’s profile, with people being able to view them even if you are not following a user. They are meant to address a concern many Twitter users have, which is feeling uncomfortable when tweeting due to the platform’s public nature. This is why “Fleets” won’t appear in the Twitter feed,as well as in Search or Moments, and cannot be embedded on external websites.

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