Recently Facebook and Instagram have rolled out several new changes. Some of them are awesome and some will leave you scratching your head wondering what they’re thinking. Here are the latest changes for Facebook and Instagram.
Facebook AI TextStyleBrush
One of the more exciting updates is the launch of Facebook AI’s TextStyleBrush. With this tool you can copy a font from an image. It only needs a single word to recreate the font. This is great for branding as it allows you to adopt your own style on the platform. Very cool.
Cracking Down on Deep Fakes
A deep fake is the equivalent of photoshop but to videos. You see these news articles that you know are wrong. Maybe it’s a video of Obama calling Trump a ridiculously silly name or of Prince William cuddling with Meghan Markle. Chances are it’s a deep fake and Facebook AI technology is getting better at recognizing these deep fakes and cracking down on them. Love this.
Bulletin is a new platform for independent writers and audio creators, including podcasters and live audio room hosts. Once again Facebook proves that they feel the need to be all things to all people. Why is Facebook suddenly interested in social audio? Our take is that Clubhouse launched and Facebook can’t stand any competition at all so they had to create their own social audio platform. We aren’t super excited about this update.
Facebook Pay is their answer to Venmo and Cash App. It allows users to send money across Facebook, Messenger, WhatsApp, and Instagram. It will streamline payments to Facebook and Instagram shops as well as in-app fundraisers like the ones some users hold on their birthdays.
Quick Reply to Media Files
This is a cool new feature that allows you view media from within Messenger or Stories without being taken to the original post so that you can stay engaged in the conversation and reply directly while the media plays. It includes a reply bar at the bottom of the screen.
New Tools for Group Admins
This will include a dashboard for tools, settings, and features. Admin Assist is a customizable tool for moderating spam and creating restrictions for some users. Conflict Alerts will allow you to be notified immediately of any escalating conversations within your group. This can help prevent trolling and fighting within groups. There will be an option to slow down conversations by temporarily restricting heated threads. Again, this will help to de-escalate conflict within your group.
Another useful tool for admins is Member Summaries, which is basically a track record of each group member’s activity, visible only to the admin. How is this useful to you? If someone posts something and you want to see if they are a legitimate member you can go back and look at all their activity. If Sally posts a complaint and I go back and see that all of her other posts have been appropriate interactions, I know her complaint is most likely valid.
As usual, the algorithm changes will help determine what posts a user does and doesn’t see. It will include friends and pages you select to follow along with pages it thinks you might be interested in. Part of the new functionality allows users who are not currently your followers to possibly see your posts. This is an awesome update for small businesses.
The new algorithm will also allow users to see businesses that are close to them in real time. For instance, if I follow The Lili Pad and I am driving near their location, it may show me their latest sale. Retailers, get excited about that.
You will be able to see why your posts are appearing in these feeds. That way if it’s an audience that is good for you, you can start targeting the audience that looks like that so more people see your content.
They’ve had so much pushback about followers not seeing posts, that they are working to improve the organic reach and visibility for pages. You shouldn’t have to pay to play on a social media platform like Facebook. It’s free and it should stay free. If someone is following your page they should be able to see your posts.
Besides the admin changes, there are more big changes coming to Groups relating to suggestions, removals, and post reach. We may end up doing an entire blog on group changes alone.
RIP Facebook Analytics
We are not excited about the fact that Facebook Analytics are officially gone. The last day to access them was June 30th. What does this mean? You still have insights available to your Facebook page however they really want you to convert to Business Suite so that you have a Business Manager page that allows you to manage both your Facebook and Instagram business accounts and have detailed information about your insights.
My only pushback on this is that if you are a smaller business, Business Suite is a lot of process to inflict on a smaller page. For larger brands or those with over 1,000 followers, Business Suite is the way to go. It’s just not a great fit for everybody.
Instagram is No Longer Primarily a Photo-Sharing App
Yep, you read that right. The CEO of Instagram has announced that the platform is no longer primarily a photo-sharing app. They are now focusing on video, creators, shopping, and messaging. This is based on research that they say shows people mainly come to Instagram to be entertained. Because of this they are experimenting with more full-screen recommended videos in the feed making it more like TikTok.
You can now respond to DMs on a third-party app. That’s huge. If you want to monitor messages through Hootsuite for instance, now you can. Previously they would not allow this.
Ads on Reels
If you haven’t already embraced Reels, you need to because Instagram is making that shift to video and you don’t want to be left behind. You can now place ads in reels up to 30 seconds long. Also, like with posts you can have a caption, hashtags, and the whole thing.
Instagram now allows affiliate selling. So if you really love Canva, and we do, you can be an affiliate for them and use your business account to promote them as a paid partnership. You have to have their permission first, of course, but you can now make money on affiliate sales.
We talked about this coming a year ago and now it’s here. You are able to hide likes. They are rolling it out slowly but many brands now have the ability to hide how many people like or view their posts. This update applies to Facebook as well. This is an anti-bullying technique. It allows younger users to not feel so pressured to compete with all the likes and views. It’s a good thing. How does that translate to brands? We aren’t sure we will turn it off for our business page just yet but we will see what happens.
That’s it for now but we wouldn’t be surprised if even more changes roll out over the summer.