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Instagram’s Efforts to Win Back Young Users Will See Video Become the Focus of the Main Feed Display

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Soon, your main Instagram feed will be a combined display of relevant image posts, Stories, Reels and Video content, all displayed in a full-screen, swipeable UI, ala TikTok, as the platform works to keep up with evolving usage trends, and stop to flow of users migrating to the short-form video app.

Instagram hasn’t confirmed this in any official capacity, but that’s increasingly where the app is headed, with its most recent experiment with longer videos in Stories essentially bringing all of its video formats into line, which will facilitate the next stage of its content merger.

Instagram longer videos in Stories

Why would Instagram do this?

As noted, the rise and rise of TikTok has Instagram, and parent company Meta, entirely freaked out, especially as it eyes the next big shift, and utilizing its massive reach to usher in the ‘metaverse’, a new digital platform of immersive experiences that will ideally help Meta become an even more critical utility, in regards to eCommerce, entertainment, social tools, etc.

But if Meta continues to lose favor with younger users, which statistics show is happening, then it won’t be able to maximize this new push, because it’ll harder to gain widespread adoption of, say, it’s new AR glasses or its advanced VR headsets, as all of these new elements become a harder sell if young people would prefer not to spend their time in Meta’s apps, because they’re simply not the cool place to be anymore.

Sure, Meta could still win them over with advanced tools and features that could become the next key trend. But right now, the migration away from Facebook and Instagram is significant, and as TikTok continues to rise, that poses various growth problems for Meta, both for its immediate and longer term plans.

Which is why Instagram, Meta’s key connector to youth culture, is now looking to fight back.

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So how will that look in practice?

In short, I’d expect the traditional Instagram news feed of static posts and videos to be on the way out very soon.

Instagram chief Adam Mosseri has already flagged various changes in this respect. Back in January, Mosseri noted that IG was looking to merge its current video tools to better facilitate creation, and reduce confusion in the app. 

As Mosseri explained to Decoder:

We’re looking about how we can – not just with IGTV, but across all of Instagram – simplify and consolidate ideas, because last year we placed a lot of new bets. I think this year we have to go back to our focus on simplicity and craft.”

Instagram announced the merger of its video feed posts into a single format last month, along with the retirement of the IGTV brand, while the latest test of 60-second videos in Stories essentially now means that feed posts, Stories and Reels all now have the same video post length.

That means that you’ll soon be able to post full Reels in Stories, share regular video posts as Reels, etc. Essentially, all of Instagram’s video options are being brought into line, step-by-step, as the platform works to make it easier to post video content into a single stream.

Which is where this new test comes in.

Instagram Reels label

As you can see in this new notification, shared by user Hammod Oh on Twitter, now, when you record a short video in the app, Instagram will automatically post it as a Reel, while there’s also this new note on the composer screen:

“Your video may appear in Reels, it can also be seen on your profile and in your followers’ feeds.”

So all of your videos can be displayed in the same places – while again, some users can also share the same in Stories, bringing everything into a larger pool of Instagram video posts.

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Which is the key aim. TikTok’s able to highlight the best content to each user because it can pull from a massive array of publicly posted clips, which it can then display in your ‘For You’ feed, in alignment with your preferences. Instagram can’t do this, because it’s confined by the people you follow in the main feed, while it also doesn’t open to the full-screen view, like TikTok.

But that could be the next big step.

Late last month, as part of Meta’s Q3 earnings announcement, CEO Mark Zuckerberg said that re-establishing connection with younger audiences will be a key focus for the company moving forward.

As explained by Zuckerberg:

Historically, young adults have been a strong base, and that’s important because they are the future. But over the last decade, as the audience that uses our apps has expanded so much and we’ve focused on serving everyone, our services have gotten dialed to be best for the most people who use them rather than specifically for young adults. And during this period, competition has also gotten more intense, especially with Apple’s iMessage growing in popularity and more recently the rise of TikTok, which is one of the most effective competitors that we have ever faced.

As a result, Zuckerberg says that Meta’s teams will “make serving young adults their north star”, which will see them looking to align with younger user trends, as opposed to sticking with more traditional processes.

Instagram’s Adam Mosseri has also flagged its bigger focus on video, specifically, explaining back in July that:

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“We’re also going to be experimenting with how do we embrace video more broadly – full-screen, immersive, entertaining, mobile-first video.”

Instagram, Mosseri also noted, is ‘no longer a photo-sharing app’, saying that people come to Instagram to be entertained, not to look at a digital photo album, as such.

In combination, these statements and experiments point to a major shift for Instagram, which will likely, as noted, see the platform move more towards a TikTok-like feed of all content, all in full-screen, which will give Instagram more insight into what each users’ interest are, and enable it to then refine the user experience specifically in-line with younger user behaviors.

Which will also mean major shifts in process for social media marketers – but really, given the various experiments and changes already in place, that’s happening either way.

Really, it seems obvious, even logical that this is where Instagram is headed. But it will be a big change for the app, and it won’t please everyone.

But again, as Zuckerberg explained in his reasoning for its strategic shift:

…this will involve tradeoffs in our products and it will likely mean that the rest of our community will grow more slowly than it otherwise would have. But it should also mean that our services become stronger for young adults.”

Some older users won’t like it, but Meta’s willing to take that risk to win over the critical younger user cohort.

All of this points to major change, and as Instagram’s video tools all come into line, you can likely expect it sooner rather than later.

Prepare to shift your IG strategy in 2022.

Socialmediatoday.com

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Instagram Adds Scheduled Live Display on User Profiles to Improve Discovery of Upcoming Streams

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Instagram Adds Scheduled Live Display on User Profiles to Improve Discovery of Upcoming Streams


After previewing it as a coming feature within its announcement of the expansion of remixable videos on the platform last week, Instagram has now outlined its new display of scheduled live streams on creator profiles, providing another way to raise awareness of upcoming live broadcasts in the app.

As you can see in these screenshots, shared by Instagram chief Adam Mosseri, the new display option will enable you to list your upcoming IG live streams on your profile, which, when tapped, will provide additional info in a pop-up prompt, where people can also sign-up for a reminder of when the stream is set to begin.

As explained by Mosseri:

“Creators have been able to schedule lives for a while now, but now, you can separate scheduling a live from creating a feed post, or even now a Story post, about that Live. You also get a little badge on your profile that’s lets followers know, or anybody know that goes to your profile, that there’s a Live coming up and they can subscribe to be reminded.”

Mosseri further notes that users can create as many scheduled lives as they like, with a side-scrolling list then added to your profile display.

It could be a handy addition for those who broadcast via IG Live, which could prompt more people to tune in, by raising more awareness about your broadcasts. Up till now, the only way to notify people about your upcoming streams in the app has been, as Mosseri notes, through posts and Stories, which limits the reach of those notifications to, generally, your existing followers. Now, anyone who comes by your profile will be able to see that you have a live broadcast coming up, which could bring in more viewers.

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IG Live has become a key connection surface in the app, particularly throughout the pandemic, and as Instagram looks to expand the option into eCommerce, facilitating more direct engagement between brands and fans, the capacity to map out a more effective IG Live strategy could be a big help in maximizing your on-platform efforts.

It may seem like a relatively small addition in the broader scheme, but it could be a big help in raising awareness, and getting more viewers to your upcoming broadcasts.





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LinkedIn Publishes New Report into Workplace Culture Shifts, and What They Mean for Employer Branding

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LinkedIn Publishes New Report into Workplace Culture Shifts, and What They Mean for Employer Branding


LinkedIn has published a new report into the latest shifts in company and work culture, largely as a result of the pandemic, with many people’s approach to their career and professional development changing amid the ongoing re-shaping of the workforce and place.

As outlined by LinkedIn:

Because of the pandemic, employees are rethinking their priorities and their relationships with employers. They’re seeking flexible work arrangements and more work-life balance. They want to work for employers who value their physical and emotional well-being. And they’re ready to walk away from those who don’t.

LinkedIn’s 67-page ‘Reinvention of Company Culture’ report provides a detailed analysis of these changing attitudes and approaches, and how businesses can look to cater to employee needs, in order to build a better work environment.

The report looks at how people’s approach to their work is changing, particularly in regards to who they work for, and what they both represent and provide.

As you can see in this graphic, company culture is becoming a much bigger consideration, which is arguably because we now have more insight than ever into what each company represents, via social media posts and profiles. That underlines the importance of brands managing their external perception, and building a strong employer brand, which could also include empowering their employees to share relevant updates, reinforcing culture and ethos.

The report also looks at the changing approach to workplace flexibility, which is fast becoming a must-have for many organizations.

LinkedIn workplace trends report

The pandemic has shown that many companies can, in fact, operate remotely, and many employees have found that the freedom that can bring affords them many lifestyle benefits, which they’re not so willing to give up by returning to the office full-time.

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Of course, that varies. Some people like the structure and organization of the office environment, along with the social benefits, and there are strong arguments to be made for both approaches. But the stats here, and included in the report, point to the potential value of incorporating more flexible working arrangements.

Employee well-being is another point of focus, with interest in the topic on the rise:

LinkedIn workplace trends report

Which is another valuable element to this report – in addition to the overall notes on workplace shifts, LinkedIn has also incorporated data on key platform posting trends, which could help to inform your own strategy.

LinkedIn workplace trends report

Clearly, there is significant, and rising interest in these elements, and it’s worth considering how you can integrate such, both in terms of how you evolve your own workplace models to cater to such demand, and how you represent the same in your external posts and updates.

There are some valuable notes here, and some interesting points to consider in the coming post-pandemic shift. Because we’re not there just yet, with newer COVID variants still parking new waves of concern, and subsequent mitigation efforts. But as we progress towards the next stage, it is worth noting the broader impacts that the COVID shift has had on work, and how prospective employees are now looking at job postings and companies in their job search efforts.

Your social media presence can play a big role in this, and your LinkedIn presence in particular, and it’s worth taking in the various trends and considering what they could mean for your brand.

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You can read LinkedIn’s full ‘Reinvention of Company Culture’ report here.



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Meta Announces Participants in New Training Program for Black-Owned SMBs, New Support Events Throughout Black History Month

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Meta Announces Participants in New Training Program for Black-Owned SMBs, New Support Events Throughout Black History Month


Throughout the pandemic, Black-owned businesses in the US have been significantly impacted, with closure and revenue rates far worse than non-minority organizations in most regions.

According to Meta’s ‘State of Small Business Report’, more than half of minority-led businesses have reported a drop in sales within the period, which is 6 percentage points higher than other SMBs, while almost two-thirds of Black-led businesses, specifically, have reported a drop in sales of more than 50%.

With these sobering stats in mind, Meta has been working to provide more support for Black-owned brands, in order to lift their performance, where possible, and eliminate ongoing social inequality as a result of this shift.

Meta’s latest effort on this front is a new series of events to provide insights for Black-owned businesses, while it’s also announced the participants in a new training and support program for impacted SMBs.

As explained by Meta:

“Throughout Black History Month, Meta Elevate will be kicking off weekly events with industry experts, small business owners and influencers to inspire and educate Black-owned small businesses with a new theme “Black365.” These events, which will start during Black History Month, will continue beyond February to support this community and provide new ways to help their businesses thrive.”

As noted, the events are the latest in Meta’s efforts to provide more support and training for Black-owned SMBs, with both Facebook and Instagram running a range of initiatives over the last year to highlight and support these brands.

In addition to this, Meta has also announced a group of 10 Black-owned businesses that have been chosen to take part in a new training program, as nominated by singer and philanthropist Ciara.

These business owners will take part in a 6-week marketing mentorship, facilitated by Meta Elevate, while Meta will also provide $100,000 in ad credits and creative support so that each business can put their learnings into action following the mentorship.

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This is a key area of focus for Meta, in allocating business support where it’s needed most, and lessening the compounding impacts of social inequality. Meta, through Facebook and Instagram, has made a strong commitment to providing more support for minority-owned businesses, and this latest initiative is another step in working to address rising concerns, and empower all business owners to maximize their opportunities equally.

Meta’s ‘Black365’ events will be held throughout February.



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