It’s not unusual to read about the launch of a new social media app and how it will change the landscape of how people will communicate with each other. Some platforms, like Periscope and Meerkat, find an instant audience and become popular. Other sites just fade away into obscurity. The sites that are established and popular are that way because they are constantly upgrading and improving on their service. Two social media sites announced big news last week about platform updates and increased engagement.
First, Facebook announced that, in one day, 1 billion people had used their site. According to Mark Zuckerberg’s press release that is essentially, “1 in 7 people on the Earth.” These users used Facebook to connect with their family, their friends and their community and helped bolster Facebook’s mission to connect everyone on Earth.
It’s quite the milestone for Facebook, because they have been reporting a monthly average of a billion users for the last few years, but to have a billion users in a day is almost unprecedented for any social media site. This one day mark helps the social media giant in their goal to create an online network for everyone to use.
The other piece of news is also from a Facebook, but through one of their acquisitions, Instagram. They announced that their platform will now allow photos and videos of any size to be posted through their photo/video sharing service, instead of forcing all images to be cropped to fit inside of a square image.
It’s an interesting move because, essentially, Instagram is scrapping their original brand. The “Insta” part of their name refers to the old instant cameras (think those boxy Polaroid cameras). The filters that a user can use to highlight their photos are based on old instant camera films - and how instant cameras processed the image onto the film. That’s why the app forced you to crop an image to fit in a square, to give it that retro instant camera feel. The app will still feature all of the filters for uploaded photos and videos, but just won’t be limited to a square.
It’s an intriguing announcement, but it’s not entirely surprising. It’s also the right move for them to make. Mobile devices all come with standard photo editing software that mimics the Instagram filters. Plus, Twitter and Facebook have both included filters on their mobile apps to upload uncropped photos with color and lighting filters. By expanding their photo canvas, Instagram is catching up with competitors and it will only help build their user base.
They also included a tool that many Instagram users have been asking for, a collage builder. They are now letting users combine multiple photos into one single photo. This is a great move by Instagram because now users don’t have to turn to other photo editing apps to create collages. Instagram becomes the only photo sharing app that people need to download.
So what do these new developments mean for you, the small business owner?
Well, where Facebook is concerned, it means that your content strategy should continue on the path it’s on. People like to mumble that Facebook usage is on the decline, but if a billion people in one day are using the site, then it’s hard to take that claim seriously. Use your account to engage with current fans and try to recruit new followers with in-store promotions and online ads.
You should really be excited about the lack of restrictions on Instagram. You don’t have to worry about framing the image in a certain way. You don’t have to be concerned about crowding a picture with too much material. You can upload commercials and promotional videos and not worry about cropping out important information. You can share newspaper ads in their entirety. You can even use the collage option and show before and after product shots.
Social media sharing offers businesses the unique ability to give a community business an instant voice. Use the new tools that Instagram offers to expand what type of visual content you can create and attract fans. Use the confidence that a billion people are active on Facebook and that you have access to those users through the digital community. Find ways to attract and engage with them. Use the tools social media offers you to make your community business global.
Nick Pizzolato is the Marketing Content Manager at Wicked Local Media Solutions. For questions, topics for future blogs, or to share your favorite moment from the film “Back to the Future,” email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
4 Must-Have Smartphone Apps
The Basics to Advertising on Facebook