2020 the year for change, but how has it changed social media?

By Samantha Eastburn, Senior Digital PR and Social Media Executive

This year has been filled with a lot of change for everyone, from working from home becoming the new normal, to staycations becoming the new holiday. This year really has been filled with the unexpected.

Social channels have been no different —  from the way people have used them, to new updates that have taken audiences by storm. Looking at LinkedIn, for example; it is less business as usual, and more personal with people sharing their experiences from work and their lives. The prim and proper façade that was once everywhere on LinkedIn, has become more chilled as people give a glimpse of life at home and are talking about the struggles everyone is currently facing with job losses and furlough.

LinkedIn isn’t alone – so how have the other channels changed to reflect these user changes?

Instagram introduced reels, which has kept many entertained and become a new way to help share creative content. They also added the new shopping tab at the bottom of their app, making it easier to buy and see products. With  shops shut in lockdown, it seems people have been turning to social media to help fill the void. It has been good to see social media looking to help in times of crisis with the donation tabs for charities,  showing how the platforms are growing.

But does this show that social is becoming the new Highstreet for 2021 as the pandemic changes our shopping habits?

Instagram has also launched the ability to upload guides, showing that they want to be more than just pictures, but a place to share knowledge, especially as the audience has shown a shift towards wanting more substance.

There was also the closer connection made between Instagram and Facebook as they merged the chats, showing how they could see these platforms being used as a way for people to remain connected and made this seamless for everyone to remain connected no matter the platform.

Facebook also saw a gap in the market as physical events become impossible, so they set up the new paid online events for creators and businesses, helping to share knowledge on the platform. Facebook’s new educational hub was another update they added which shows that these channels are becoming more of a place to share knowledge and news that is meaningful to people, rather than filling feeds with pictures from holidays, kids and pets.

LinkedIn has also seen a large number of updates with the introduction of stories, live, reactions, polls, events and the ability to see new followers, this shows where the social channel is growing to allow people to be more interactive with each other, while remaining a professional platform. It is becoming a place for people to share their feelings, insights, opinions and life. These new updates reflect exactly what people have done on the platform in lockdown, as they have become more reactive to one another and have shared more personally on the platform than before and these updates have only made it easier for people to do that. LinkedIn has become more than a place to just share your career updates and company progress, it has become a knowledge-sharing platform professionally and personally as the pandemic has merged the two.

Another platform that has also introduced similar updates is Twitter. The company implemented stories and placed a strong focus on the legitimacy of posts on the platform. They have been seen to put new features in places linking to neutral content to help provide insight and background on some posts and prove the legitimacy of content that is being shared and help users have a greater understanding of what they are reading or sharing. This has been driven by the Black Lives Matter movement and also the US presidential election to help prove the legitimacy of claims on the platform but also make sure that what is shared isn’t offensive to audiences.

All these platform updates show a strong shift to content that is trustworthy. Since March this year, they have evolved into a community to share advice and coping mechanisms for the world we now live in. They have also moved with the times and become more personable, helping people to more easily share updates through stories, voice recording and videos, the channels show growth with the new consumer growth.

Listed below are the key updates on platforms for 2020 to truly reflect the growth these channels have seen since the beginning of the year which is incredible and something we now as audiences see as normal and given when using them:

LinkedIn updates

Reactions

Seeing who new followers are

Inviting people to join the page

LinkedIn Live

LinkedIn Pages Posts

LinkedIn Polls

LinkedIn Stories

LinkedIn Events

 

Twitter updates

Transparency centre

Stories

Audio tweets

Tougher on regulating posts

New ad type –  Promoted Trend Spotlight

Conversation settings

Reply limitation

Read it before you tweet

Mention permissions from users

 

Facebook updates

Ad limits per page

Business suite

Sponsored posts for groups

Educational hub

Paid online events

Messenger rooms- joint call feature

Enhanced privacy settings

Improved post policies

Messengers for Facebook and Instagram merge

 

Instagram updates

Reels

Instagram Shop

Equity update adds transparency to Instagram’s algorithm

Product tags

New app released for businesses

Pin content

Guides

Gift card, food order, and donation tools added for small businesses

Live fundraisers launch with donation button

Improved transparency of high-reach accounts