The Weekly Christmas Special

Merry Christmas! 2021 was another whirlwind of a year, from the impact of IOS14 to Facebook rebranding to ‘Meta’ to the rise of short-form media and everything inbetween. 

With such a jampacked year, we thought we’d give you a handy round-up of everything that mattered in 2021…

Facebook

It’s been another crazy year for Facebook, with the company rebranding to ‘Meta’ back in October to bring together all of their apps and technologies under one new company brand. The platform has been super busy on the innovations front bringing regular updates to the platform from privacy updates implemented due to IOS14 to ramping up its support for creators on the platform and so much more. 

Facebook Reels

Short videos are widely popular so it’s no surprise that this year Facebook introduced Reels on the platform. The new video-sharing feature allows users to upload short videos with text annotations in the Facebook app. Facebook Reels gives creators more ways to express themselves, grow their communities and reach new audiences on Facebook.

At the moment Reels on Facebook is only available to iOS and Android users in the US, but given the popularity of Instagram Reels in 2021, we suspect this feature will be rolled out worldwide soon.

Facebook Hide Like Count

After years of testing, this year Facebook finally rolled out the option to hide Likes on posts across both Facebook and Instagram. 

Facebook and Instagram could have chosen to remove Likes entirely, After mixed reviews from initial testing and the understanding that the metric was too deeply integrated into the product experience of both platforms, the platform has decided to give users the best of both worlds.

On Facebook, users access the new setting from the “Settings & Privacy” area under News Feed Settings users will find the option to “Hide number of reactions” and can turn this setting off for both their own posts and for posts from others in News Feed, groups and Pages.

Instagram

Instagram has certainly been busy this year making changes to the platform. The head of Instagram, Adam Mosseri, announced back in June that Instagram is ‘no longer a photo sharing app’. Since then, Instagram has introduced lots of new features to lean into entertainment and video after seeing the success of competitors like TikTok and YouTube. Including the ‘Add Yours’ sticker, Instagram Collabs, and waving goodbye to IGTVs.

Story Links For Everyone 

Hoorah! The update we’d all been waiting for! This year Instagram finally rolled out link stickers to everyone on the platform globally. 

Previously sharing links in stories was restricted to accounts that were verified or had over 10k followers, but the new Instagram link sticker will let everyone include hyperlinks in Stories in the form of stickers. 

This link sticker is a game-changer, especially for small businesses with less than 10k followers on the platform, opening up more opportunities for them to drive users directly to their website.

‘Add Yours’ Sticker

Instagram rolled out the ‘Add yours’ sticker in stories to users globally.

The feature is a lot like TikTok’s Duet feature as it allows creators to turn their Stories posts into threads where other users can respond with their own content that matches a particular prompt.

Although Instagram has introduced the feature as a way to encourage more collaboration on the platform, it can also be seen as a great way for users to reach new accounts and to discover more people to follow – we love it! Definitely one to test in the new year if you haven’t already. 

TikTok

2021 showed that TikTok is truly unstoppable! TikTok received more traffic than Google in 2021, making it the most popular website in the world! TikTok also surpassed the 1 billion user mark this year, making it the 4th most popular social network in the world. With all its success this year its no surprise TikTok was busy introducing several helpful business tools, including business profiles, ads, and a creator marketplace.

TikTok Creator Marketplace

This year TikTok launched ‘Creator Marketplace’ a platform where brands can connect with some of their favorite TikTokers for business collaboration. The platform allows brands to hire the services of top tier TikTok creators, the basic tools to construct a TikTok influencer marketing campaign, and offers influencers direct access to brand deals and partnerships.

To connect with their potential ambassadors, brands have the option to explore various profiles using the smart search feature. Brands can find content creators based on the type of content they produce, their location, and their average views per post, amongst others.

The platform is a key element in TikTok’s broader monetisation push, which is critical to its ongoing growth strategy. 

Longer Videos on TikTok

This year TikTok moved away from 60-second videos and rolled out the ability for everyone to publish three minutes videos, three times the existing one-minute limit. 

The extension was introduced to give creators more flexibility while filming and limit the need for multi-part posts — though we have continued to see creators breaking up their stories into parts as a way to keep users hooked. 

Twitter

It’s been a strange year for Twitter. The platform tested a lot of different features in 2021 to enhance user experience, let users monetise on the platform and keep Twitter safe. But the platform also removed several features including Fleets and Periscope. 

Spaces

2021 saw the introduction of Twitter Spaces — where users can hold live audio conversations, very similar to Clubhouse.

Twitter Spaces are public chat rooms that any users can create and join. Similar to Clubhouse, hosts are able to control who has speaking privileges and can have up to ten speakers, but anyone can tune in. The conversations are then automatically transcribed by Twitter and can be downloaded up to 30 days later.

Twitter has definitely made a good start with its audio-only feature, however, we will have to keep an eye on how it develops in 2022. 

Goodbye Fleets

After less than a year of being available to all users, Twitter removed Fleets, the platform’s answer to Snapchat and Instagram’s wildly popular stories, saying the feature hadn’t proved as popular with users as they had hoped.

Twitter commented: “We’ll continue to build new ways to participate in conversations, listening to feedback and changing direction when there may be a better way to serve people using Twitter.”

It will be interesting what updates Twitter brings in 2022. 

Pinterest

Pinterest launched over a decade ago, and it is an established and thriving platform that offers incredible opportunities for brands. This year Pinterest has massively shifted its focus to video content, no surprise after seeing the growing popularity of the likes of TikTok. Pinterest has introduced lots of new features this year to encourage users to post more video content and to also help creators earn money on the platform.

Idea Pins

This year Pinterest launched a new video-first feature called ‘Idea Pins’.

Idea Pins are aimed at creators who want to tell their stories using video, music, creative editing tools and more, and are essentially Pinterest’s own version of TikTok or Instagram Reels.

Creators are able to record and edit creative videos up to 60 seconds long with up to 20 pages of content while using tools like voiceover recording, background music, transitions and other interactive elements.

A great addition from Pinterest here that allows creators to showcase their ideas in a new way and really bring out their creativity.

Pinterest Monetisation

Pinterest introduced a host of new monetisation tools for Creators on the platform.

Creators are now able to tag products within their idea pins to make their content shoppable as well as be able to earn commission through any affiliate links and partner with brands on sponsored content.

Pinterest also added a brand partnership tool where creators can produce branded content on the Platform and add the brands to their idea pin who will then be able to approve the tag and show a ‘Paid Partnership’ label.

Pinterest has always been a big platform for eCommerce with many users having high purchase intent so the move makes complete sense and we’re surprised the platform hasn’t jumped on the opportunities quicker!

WhatsApp

Owned by Meta, WhatsApp has over 2 billion monthly active users and is key for so many people and businesses for staying connected and now more increasingly, for business uses. The WhatsApp updates have come thick and fast this year as it remains the world’s most popular chat app. 

Disappearing Messages

WhatsApp added a new disappearing photo and video option.

The option deletes any attachment – image, video or animated Gif sent to a contact after the recipient has opened it.

Unlike other platforms, such as Snapchat, users do not get notified if their disappearing message has been screenshot or screen recorded.

An interesting addition and one that we’re not too sure of the benefit of apart from sharing private information, it’ll be interesting to see whether we start to see many users make use of disappearing messages. Have you tried out this feature yet? 

Desktop Calls

This year WhatsApp rolled out voice and video calling to its desktop app.

Like the existing video calling feature, the new desktop calling promises the same end-to-end encryption — meaning that WhatsApp and Facebook can’t see or hear your calls.

For now, WhatsApp said its desktop app for Mac and Windows will only support one-to-one calls, but that it will be expanding this feature to include group voice and video calls “in the future.”

LinkedIn

Another big year for LinkedIn! With over 740 million members and over 57 million registered companies, the platform is the most popular social network for professionals and remains massively B2B focused.

Creator Mode

LinkedIn launched ‘Creator Mode’, a profile setting on your dashboard that can help you grow your reach and influence on LinkedIn.

The feature puts your content and activity front and centre. The mode alters the presentation of profiles to emphasise the topics that users discuss most on the platform. Once creator mode is selected, a user can post hashtags on their interests, which will appear underneath their job title atop the profile. 

Creator mode also gives users access to additional tools and features that help users create content and grow their audience base on LinkedIn, including live videos and newsletters.

That’s a wrap – so long 2021! All that leaves us is to wish you all a very safe & happy Christmas. We look forward to keeping you up to date with all that 2022 has to bring…

SHC Digital 😁🎄

 

 

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