The fleeting nature of social media: the updates brands need to know about

Amy Houston

The Drum Social is a weekly column from The Drum’s reporter, and former social media executive, Amy Houston covering the latest social media trends, strategies and insights. Follow Amy @AmyCLHouston and join in the conversation #TheDrumSocial

The Drum’s social media executive Amy Houston rounds up the latest social media updates from Twitter, TikTok, Facebook and Instagram, and assesses what brands really need to know.

Working in social can sometimes feel a little overwhelming. Every day there are new trends, features and apps to contend with, but on the other hand, the sheer pace of it is what keeps it exciting and creative. Lately there have been a lot of new updates – some fresh aspects, a lot of copycat elements, and one that completely failed to resonate at all. Let’s dive right in.

RIP Fleets

It was short, but was it sweet? Twitter announced that as of this week ‘Fleets’ will disappear forever after concluding that users just weren’t that interested. The original premise for Fleets was to start new conversations, but most users ended up utilizing them to amplify Tweets that were already out there.

Fleets may have been a bit of a dud, but Twitter’s foray into audio has been a little more effective. The rise of the audio social trend has been one of the most talked-about social media advances in the last year, and a lot of the big players are battling to be heard. As of yesterday, Twitter has launched its new co-hosting option for Spaces – which opens up new avenues for brand partnerships, collaborations and ultimately managing the discussions.

Another trend that’s constantly being developed on many different platforms is social commerce, and Twitter is the latest platform to lean into it. Last week it began rolling out its new Shop Module in the US where users can discover, view and shop for products within the Twitter app. This new feature gives brands a big opportunity to build awareness, engage with consumers and sell products.

Capturing creativity

To keep up with TikTok and YouTube Shorts, Instagram has introduced 60-second reels. Many social platforms have been heading toward a video-first model, and brands that take this as a moment to harness creative strategies will benefit. Videos can bring that much-needed personal element to your social media campaign, which adds a relatable touch.

In a further bid to rival TikTok, Instagram is currently testing out a new vertical feed layout for the explore sections, which essentially means you’ll be able to swipe through and easily move on to the next post on the feed.

Discoverability is a massive issue for brands on IG as users are mostly confined by who they are ‘following’. In a June Q&A session during Creator Week, Instagram head Adam Mosseri acknowledged this: “From a creative perspective TikTok does a much better job at breaking new talent.

“You know that you can tap on TikTok and you’re going to immediately smile and be entertained.”

We don’t need stories on every app

This then leads me to my next point (please refer to the column image). TikTok is the latest platform to trial stories. Have we learned anything from Fleets, guys? The functionality bears a little more than a passing resemblance to Snapchat, as selected users who are presented with a new slide-over sidebar can view stories posted by followed accounts for a 24-hour window before automatic deletion.

For social media teams, all these very similar updates can become a little mind-boggling when trying to decipher what to post where and when. Research is always the first step in considering new features – figure out your target audience, and assess if it lines up with what the app has to offer.

Establishing a notable presence on any platform takes planning and resources. Knowing when to say yes or no to a trend, and having the information to back your judgment, is an amazing skill to have.

Facebook films

According to Facebook chief exec Mark Zuckerberg, “video now accounts for almost half of all time spent on Facebook,” and August 19 will see the launch of the first-ever film premiere on the app. The documentary The Outsider can be viewed by any Facebook user in countries where paid online events are available.

A foray into the video on demand (VOD) world is an interesting step for Facebook, and could potentially present huge advertising opportunities for brands to connect with specific audiences on social media.

Watch this space

Social media is always progressing and it’s important to take stock of the trends, channels and updates that will work for your audience. Which update are you embracing and which ones are you glad to see the back of? Join in the conversation using #TheDrumSocial