Instagram

Instagram Scheduling with Facebook's Creator Studio

Instagram scheduling has been a pain point for social media managers for years – leaving marketers dependent on clunky and expensive third-party apps. This week, there’s a collective jump for joy within the industry as Facebook rolled out native Instagram scheduling capabilities via Creator Studio.

The new scheduling feature is only available for Instagram business accounts that are linked to a Facebook brand page. It’s worth making the connection as doing so unlocks other benefits.

Instagram Content Library

Users can see all content that has been published on Instagram (including videos, photos, carousel posts, stories, and IGTV videos) through the content library. Here, posts can be drafted, scheduled, viewed, archived, and sorted by date or within a specific timeframe. Note: Instagram Stories cannot be scheduled yet.

Post Insights

All of Instagram post and story insights available via the mobile app are accessible through Creator Studio as well. This is the first time Instagram analytic data is available from desktop. Users can track the number of interactions, profile visits, accounts reached, follows, impressions, website clicks, likes, comments, shares, bookmarks, and (for stories) how users navigated while interacting with or replied to content.

Page & Audience Insights

Instagram insights from the last seven days are also available through Creator Studio. These include the number of posts made, totals for each interaction taken on the account, the number of accounts reached, and total impressions. Followers can be measured via age or gender breakdowns and the top five countries and cities where an account’s followers live is also displayed.

Unlike Facebook post, page and audience insights, Instagram analytics cannot be exported at this time.

Facebook Implements a Problematic Content Plan: Remove, Reduce, Inform

Scammers, fake news creators, and suggestive content creators will have a range of new Facebook features to deal with in the coming weeks. With attempts to remove contentious content from the site, reduce the reach of those that aren’t taken down, and inform audiences when they’ve encountered such material all in the works, we’re breaking the action items below.

Holding Groups Accountable

As Facebook users and brands shift their conversations away from the news feed and into niche groups, the company is attempting to thwart the spread of offensive, divisive, and inaccurate content that may get shared – even privately. In a blog post, Facebook claims that an unnamed technology allows them to, “proactively detect many types of violating content posted in groups before anyone reports them and sometimes before few people, if any, even see them.”

What group administrators and moderators should know is that they will now be held accountable for posts that violate the platform’s Community Standards. When member posts contain violations, Facebook will look at who approved the content for Group visibility and could remove the entire group if they believe the admins have acted recklessly.

To help keep track of these violations, a new Group Quality feature for admins (similar to the Page Quality tab that was introduced earlier this year) will provide an overview of flagged content and false news found in the group. A group with multiple violations, or one that shares links to malicious or false news websites, will have their reach downgraded.

In addition to these new features, members will soon be able to remove all of their posts and comments from a group should they choose to leave it.

Penalizing Fringe Link Sharing

For years, fringe publishers have been using shocking, divisive, and partisan headlines to provoke engagement on Facebook. Now, articles from those sites will begin to see a decrease in reach as the platform stifles their influence on the news feed.

The new ranking signal, known as Click-Gap, “looks for domains with a disproportionate number of outbound Facebook clicks compared to their place in the web graph. This can be a sign that the domain is succeeding on news feed in a way that doesn’t reflect the authority they’ve built outside it and is producing low-quality content.” In short, the algorithm will now cross-check the performance of links both on and off Facebook in order to determine if its hosting website is reputable.

Moderating Risky Instagram Content

Even if your photo and video content doesn’t unequivocally violate Instagram’s Community Guidelines, that doesn’t mean it’s safe. Posts that the platform finds inappropriate (including sexually or violently suggestive content) will now be excluded from Explore and hashtag search pages.  

Bringing Verification to Messenger

As Messenger use increases, Facebook will begin displaying Verified Badges on conversations with brand pages that have earned the checkmark. The move hopes to help users avoid scammers that use fake accounts to pretend to be someone they are not.

Once those fake accounts are identified, users will be able to easily block them through an updated block option and list of settings that will help them control whether people “such as friends of your friends, people with your phone number or people who follow you on Instagram” can reach users via Messenger at all.

Don’t Break the Internet: How Content Creators Can Fix It Instead

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2018 was a tumultuous year for social media. The Facebook algorithm shook up publishing habits for brand pages; Mark Zuckerburg, Jack Dorsey, and other social network executives faced congressional hearings; Twitter cracked down on millions of fake accounts; GDPR compliance rolled out across Europe; and we were all left wondering how to survive yet another breach of privacy or personal data hack.

The tech world is in a tailspin trying to figure out how global social media platforms can operate on a singular set of rules that will protect users, stop the spread of misinformation, and, you know, safeguard the legitimacy of democratic elections.

As new practices and policies pop up, the results rarely favor brands or businesses from a marketing perspective. Social publishers have noted significant decreases in organic reach, lower financial returns on their ad investments, and stagnated follower growth.

Many marketing agencies (Deph Digital Media included) are offering practical solutions: Focus on engagement! Increase your niche audience ad spend! Collaborate with influencers! But if we’re being totally transparent, these are temporary fixes to a much bigger problem.

In a recent episode of the podcast Recode Decode with Kara Swisher, Nicole Wong, who is a former legal director of products at Twitter and former senior compliance officer at Google, made an interesting observation about the shift in our online values. When Google began assembling the structure of the Internet as we know it today, they had three pillars of search:

Comprehensiveness – Users should have access to all of the information they could possibly want.

Relevance – When looking for specific information, or answers to questions, users should be delivered a pertinent response.

Speed – Responses should be generated quickly.

In the years since, Wong claims that social media has changed the way digital companies interact with their users. Their new principles consist of:

Personalization – As opposed to showing all available content, social algorithms provide users with information they believe the user wants to see, based off their interests and activity history.

Engagement – Rather than giving direct responses to queries or providing baseline data, social networks deliver content that is meant to keep users on their platform for longer periods of time.

Speed – Users still expect content and information to be delivered quickly.

If the past year has taught us anything, it’s what happens when social platforms are committed to these values. The consequences include woefully uninformed users, manipulative digital activities, and disastrous user experiences.

Somewhat naïvely, marketers have aided tech giants in building the crisis situation by not holding their content to higher standards.

Advertisers have, through overly broad interest-targeting, pushed promotional messaging under the guise of personalization. However, it is to the extent where users can’t pinpoint why they’re being shown certain ads, making the blind consumption of such media vulnerable to manipulation.

In order to expand their reach, publishers have flooded timelines with content that’s focused on virality with hopes of being re-shared and increasing engagements. Often, we’ve been guilty of trying to satisfy user cravings for instant communication by jumping into social conversations before having complete and accurate information, thus amplifying partial or inaccurate news.

Taking cues from Wong’s brainstorming session during the Recode podcast, here are three social content pillars that publishers should consider for 2019:

Accuracy – Content or information should be truthful, cited, and appropriate for the page’s audience.

Authenticity – Publishers should place quality over quantity and create content that users will resonate with, not simply react to.

Context – Due to the non-chronological nature of social, delivered content should be comprehensive and complete at all times.

Applying these values would not only impact a brand’s social output, but completely transformation typical marketing objectives. Companies would have to create super specific target audiences with the intention of building community, as opposed to increasing ROI. Link clicks would have to be earned by distributing wide-ranging and thought-provoking articles instead of late-breaking headlines that trickle out information in waves.

That may not sound like something content curators would want to get behind but, although monthly marketing reports may take a hit, studies show that 91% of customers value authentic social activity from brands they follow, with 63% of those customers likely to make purchases. If speed and virality has to take a backseat in order to reach those numbers, publishers are bound to concede.

Until that happens, or until social network executives take meaningful actions to fix their platforms, it’s up to the users and publishers. If all of the content online adhered to these standards, then perhaps fake news wouldn’t be an issue.

Optimizing Instagram Stories

This week, Instagram unveiled a new Countdown Sticker for stories that displays a customized timer for events. The feature is an exciting addition for brands, so this seems like the perfect time to review other innovative ways you can implement story features to optimize your business profile.

Increase Participation 

The Countdown Sticker includes a Remind Me option that will alert followers once your custom countdown ends. You can take advantage of this alert by offering your following notices about upcoming sales, physical events, or even as a reminder of when you’re going to broadcast live.

Increase Your Discoverability 

The Location and Hashtag Stickers have a purpose far beyond letting your followers know where you are. Both features have the ability to expand your Instagram reach outside of your own following. When used, your content will appear in a location-based story of the destination you’ve entered, or within a hashtag story that’s visible within search. If your particular story gets enough engagement, it might earn you a spot on the coveted Explore page.

Increase Your Mailing List

The Questions Sticker is most commonly used to hold Q&A sessions via stories. An alternative use is to ask viewers to opt in to your mailing list by submitting their email address in the question field.

Similarly, you can ask Poll questions like: “Can we add you to our newsletter list?” Once the poll has concluded, view the results for those who answered Yes and send them a direct message asking for their email.

Increase Your Web Traffic

Surpassing 10,000 followers on Instagram unlocks the powerful ability for accounts to include links with their story posts. Since clickable links aren’t supported on ordinary grid posts, the feature in which users can swipe up to visit your landing page or blog is more than valuable.

Increase Engagement

Interactive story capabilities though Polls and Emoji Sliders provide businesses a unique and easy way to communicate with their Instagram audience. Consider using these features to crowdsource ideas or collect feedback on your products.

Increase Your Following

When partnering with other Instagram users or influencers, include a requirement that, for the duration of your collaboration, each user should tag the other’s profile in their stories by applying the Mention Sticker. This is an easy way to have someone recommend your profile to their following.

Increase Your Streams

If you’re in the music industry, apply the Music Sticker to your story and search for your own track to encourage streams from your viewers.

Instagram Puts Focus on Shopping

Just in time for Black Friday, Cyber Monday and the holiday shopping season, Instagram has unwrapped new options aimed at solidifying the platform’s position as a point of purchase.

Shop on business profiles: A new Shop tab for Instagram business pages will feature available item details, such as name and price, in addition to posts featuring those tagged products. 

Shop in feed videos: Users can now tag their products in video posts. These product tags will be featured in the bottom left corner of the video, similar to tagged users in videos which was unveiled a few months ago.

Shopping collections: A new built-in collection to help Instagram users organize their saved items, called Shopping, can serve as a wish-list of sorts. When users tap a product tag they’ll be given the option to save the item to their Shopping collection so they can easily access the product at a later date – when they’re ready to purchase. 

Don’t miss the opportunity to showcase your products online during the year’s most intense shopping season. Let Deph Digital Media connect with your merchant provider to make your items stand out.