Social Media Quarterly: Q4 2017 Recap

Hey, folks! It feels like it’s been forever since we had last our quarterly chat about the latest happenings in the social media world. That’s because it has been! I’m writing a month later than usual, but don’t worry; I plan on making it up to you.

Today, I’m not only going to be covering the latest and greatest news from Q4, but I’ve also got some spicy updates from January, too. It’s been a doozy of a quarter, so — without further ado — let’s dive into the Social Media Quarterly: Q4 2017 (Plus January 2018) edition!

Our Social Media Quarterly image.

Twitter Doubles Character Limit: If you’re a fan of the re:group blog, you’re probably already aware that Twitter expanded the tweet character limit from 140 to 280 characters. This was huge news in November and we — like many other social media aficionados — were asking the question, “Are 280 characters too many?”

It’s looking to be a brilliant move by Twitter. It turns out that having users utilize the full 280 characters was never the expectation. This expanded character limit allows people to easily complete tweets that may have inconveniently been stunted by the limit before the change. Following the change, Twitter reports that the overall tweet size has normalized to be relatively the same as it was before, but with fewer abandoned tweets.

Facebook’s Massive Algorithm Change: In January, Facebook announced a huge adjustment to the News Feed algorithm. At the expense of brand and publisher content, Facebook will now prioritize interaction between friends and family. This has big implications for marketers.

Since organic reach has dwindled to next to nothing and brands are now taking another hit, it’s more important than ever for companies to purchase Facebook ads if they would like the opportunity to be featured on the platform. There has been a lot of speculation related to how this change will play out, but only time will tell what the true impact will be. Something tells me that we’ll have a follow-up on this in a future Social Media Quarterly.

Facebook Cracks Down on Engagement Baiting: If you’re like me, you’ve grown tired of images and videos blowing up your Facebook News Feed with captions like “LIKE IF YOU AGREE, SHARE IF YOU DISAGREE.” This is called engagement baiting, and using this tactic causes an artificial inflation in engagement, which results in increased reach for the post.

An example of Facebook engagement baiting.

Other examples of engagement baiting would be calling for different reactions (see above image) or asking viewers to comment or tag friends. Facebook is cracking down in multiple ways. First, posts that use engagement baiting will have their reach reduced. Secondly, if a page routinely continues to use engagement baiting, the page itself could be penalized.

You Can Now Follow Hashtags on Instagram: Since Instagram is so visual, you can imagine that there is a ton of niche content on the network. Instagram is making it easier for interested viewers to find these posts by allowing users to follow hashtags! Following one works just like following a friend. Just click on a post or search for the topic, select the hashtag and tap the follow button.

Snapchat Launches Redesign With a Focus on Friends: In late November, Snapchat underwent a renovation that aims to refocus the platform on friendships. In the past, stories from friends were intermixed with sponsored articles. This new redesign separates content from friends and publishers completely, with all content from friends now on the left side and all content from publishers, creators and the community on the right.

Both the friends and the publisher sections are designed to learn your preferences over time, and will prioritize the friends you value the most and the publisher content that you’ll find the most interesting.

Instagram Allows Third-Party Tools to Schedule Posts: For ages, the inability to schedule Instagram posts ahead of time was uniquely frustrating. So much so that we found a workaround: Latergramme allowed us to enter our copy and multimedia, and then have the platform send us a reminder when it was time to publish the post. Clunky, yes, but at least it eliminated some of the manual publishing pain.

But — get ready for this — Instagram is finally allowing publishers to schedule posts using third-party tools! This is huge. It might our “Later!” to Latergramme because it equals a whole lot more efficiency for us!

There you have it. Not one, not two, not three, not five but FOUR month’s worth of social media news, and boy was it ever big this time around. If you enjoyed this article, please share it with your friends and the social media fanatics that you know. You can subscribe to our RSS feed, too! It’s only a matter of time before even more exciting changes take place, so stay tuned for our next edition of the Social Media Quarterly!

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