What’s hot in social media and how your business can benefit

It might only be the beginning of 2019, but things are already heating up in the social media space.

With the launch of new features by some of the biggest social media platforms, it’s turning out to be an exciting year for digital marketers.

According to the “Digital in 2018” report, Singapore has 4.8 million active social media users (83% of the total population) who spend an average of 2 hours 6 minutes on social media daily.

The same report recorded the total number of monthly active Facebook and Instagram users at 4.8 million and 2.2 million respectively.

More importantly, Mary Meeker’s highly anticipated Internet Trends Report 2018 found that 55% of respondents who discovered a product via social media proceeded to make a purchase later on.

It’s abundantly clear that businesses must beef up their social media marketing efforts or risk falling behind. With that, here are some of the hottest new features in social media that every brand needs to know.

Social Stories

It’s official. Social media is pivoting from text-based posts to impermanent video and image slideshows that enable users to capture in-the-moment experiences. 

According to an article by TechCrunch, Stories are growing 15x faster than news feeds, with 450 million daily users on WhatsApp, 400 million on Instagram, 70 million on Facebook Messenger and 150 million on Snapchat (the platform that started it all).

Facebook’s own chief product officer Chris Cox shared a chart showing that Stories are set to surpass feeds as the primary way people share things with their friends in 2019.

Stories Product Daily Active Users

What this means is brands should start experimenting with Stories to unlock the potential this social media phenomenon has to offer.

  • Start by creating story-specific content to highlight or showcase new products or features.
  • Use the Stories Highlight feature to retain selected Stories for longer periods of time for special promotions or campaigns.
  • Add the “swipe up” feature to your Stories to drive traffic to your website or landing page.

 

On-platform shopping

In 2017, messaging app Telegram announced an update that would allow its bots to accept payments from Telegram users.

Last year, Facebook filed a payments patent that hinted at plans to establish Messenger for ecommerce, allowing users to browse and pay for products.

More recently, Instagram released a slew of updates aimed at making on-platform shopping easier, including the introduction of shopping collections, product tags in videos and a ‘shop’ tab for business profiles.

On-platform shopping

As social media platforms move towards becoming transactional ones, consumers will find it increasingly easy to save and buy via social.

For brands, this translates to greater opportunities. With these new developments, the two-way communication between businesses and customers is heightened, enabling brands to connect with their target audience on a far deeper and personal level.

Allowing consumers to purchase directly through the platform also simplifies the checkout process for a seamless shopping and enhanced customer experience.

IGTV

In June 2018, Instagram debuted IGTV, its long-form video hub, which allows users to share content up to 10 minutes long (or an hour for selected accounts). And for good reason.

The “Digital in 2018” report found that 68% of Singaporeans watch online videos every day, of which 69% consume video content on mobile.

It’s no surprise then that since the launch of IGTV, some of the biggest brands, including Netflix, Bacardi and Louis Vuitton, have jumped on this new feature. Locally, Resorts World Sentosa, Miss Tam Chiak and Seth Lui have also started using IGTV for various promotions.

IGTV

The best part about IGTV is that it allows brands to get creative with nothing more than a mobile phone. That means no hefty investments on video equipment. And with the rough and natural style of mobile video creation and fewer restrictions, brands can experiment with different types of content to see what works best for their audience.

Instagram has also dropped hints that it might be implementing ads on IGTV to monetise the platform, presenting a revolutionary way for businesses to make money on social media.

For now, here’s how business can use IGTV (for free) to boost their branding:

  • Documentaries – Provide viewers with a behind-the-scenes, inside look at what your business is like
  • Tutorials – Create how-to videos that showcase and highlight the benefits of your products or services
  • Commentary – Put a face to your brand and provide viewers with interesting, relevant facts or entertainment

 

Facebook Watch Party

In early 2018, Facebook launched Watch Party to “enable people, creators, and publishers to watch, discuss and react to playlists of videos together in real time, in a shared space”.

Facebook Watch Party

The first phase of the launch saw more than 12 million watch parties in groups, with watch parties garnering eight times as many comments as non-live videos in groups.

This success led to Facebook extending Watch Party to every page and profile on the social media platform, opening the feature to all its users, worldwide. And that’s good news for brands.

Offering features such as scheduling, invites and notifications, Watch Party provides brands with the ability to get large numbers of users to view a video and interact with one another and the business in real-time. It’s also a great tool for showcasing or releasing new products and services to specific audiences.

The result: higher levels of engagement for enhanced brand loyalty and trust.

With Facebook continuing to build on the capabilities of Facebook Watch Party, it’s definitely a feature that businesses should keep a close watch on.


With these new features, 2019 is set to be a big year for social networks. By making an effort to provide high-quality, interactive content on social media, brands can look forward to connecting with and converting potential customers to real ones, in real time.