It’s been an exciting, but turbulent, year in social media. Tesla owner Elon Musk appears set to buy Twitter for $44bn, Meta's share price is down over 50% after its first ever quarterly decline in daily active users, and all networks have been united in issuing sanctions against Russia after its Ukraine invasion.
Despite the upheaval, every platform has released new tools to help brands and creators devise thumb-stopping content. We’ve rounded up ‘six of the best’ new social media features for 2022.
1. Meta rolls out new Reels tools
Reels is Meta’s fastest-growing content format and its answer to TikTok. In a bid to stay competitive, Meta released a new suite of creative tools across Facebook and Instagram in June.
The most notable is an extended 90-second video option for Instagram, which enables creators and brands to create lengthier videos for users.
Businesses can now also create and schedule Reels on desktop, and import their own audio for any videos on Instagram. Well worth experimenting with this increasingly popular format.
2. Metaverse everywhere, all at once
The metaverse has been 2022's hot topic, fuelled by Meta and Mark Zuckerberg’s vision of a virtual social world. In June, the company expanded consumer access to the metaverse by opening Horizon Worlds VR creation platform to UK users.
Horizon Worlds enables users to create virtual spaces and build interactive environments using a range of tools, including 3D objects.
This expansion is reflective of widening consumer interest in the metaverse. In the next five years, US consumers expect to spend nearly four hours per day in a digital environment. It's estimated that the metaverse could generate up to $5 trillion for businesses by 2030.
Brands are responding to this trend, with companies including Coke, Nike and Gucci among those who’ve activated metaverse-based experiences on platforms such as Decentraland and Roblox.
3. Instagram brings back chronological feed
In March, Instagram answered many users’ prayers by bringing back the chronological feed to the app.
Previously, users could only view content ordered by the app’s algorithm, an approach that potentially served up repetitive content to users.
The change means users can now select from three feeds in the main Instagram app: the default algorithmic feed, the chronological feed, and the favourites feed (which consists of up to 50 accounts users can choose specifically).
Instagram also announced in June that all users can now pin up three posts to the top of their profiles. This new feature grants businesses greater flexibility over how their profile appears to users. It's now possible, for instance, to pin content to the top of a profile for a specific period, such as Pride Month.
4. TikTok launches subscription service
TikTok has also been boosting its capabilities in the first half of 2022, with the launch of TikTok LIVE subscriptions. The new feature puts the short-form video app in direct competition with other streaming sites such as YouTube and Twitch.
The new TikTok service offers creators a way to generate revenue via payments from their top fans. In return, subscribers get access to several perks, including subscriber-only chat, badges and custom emotes.
5. YouTube goes long on Shorts
YouTube Shorts, the video-sharing platform’s short-form feature, has surged in popularity in the first half of this year. In April, YouTube announced Shorts videos were racking up 30 billion views per day, and it’s estimated that 1.5 billion YouTube account holders are now regularly watching Shorts.
YouTube is laser-focused on this newer format. Last year, the company launched a $100 billion Shorts fund to encourage Creators to use Shorts at the expense of their social media rivals.
Alongside this, YouTube is exploring new ways for creators to make money via Shorts – including branded content and in-video shopping. In May, it began rolling out ads on Shorts globally, which is opening up new opportunities for brands and businesses.
6. LinkedIn expands creator engagement tools
LinkedIn usage has surged this year, with the platform reporting record levels of engagement and $3.44 billion in revenue in April.
To help improve the quality of content, the platform has introduced a range of new tools, including analytics for any posts uploaded in its Groups feature, audio events and profile customisation tools.
Also included in these new tools is an updated display for any user's newsletter. LinkedIn creators can now boost the discoverability of their newsletters by permanently featuring a link to their newsletter in the featured section of their profile. There are also options to include a video on your profile to bring some personality to your business and people.
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