A lot has changed in the past month, especially our interaction with social platforms. Content consumption has drastically changed due to COVID-19. With more users online, connecting with friends and family, consumers are spending 50% more time on their phones and 35% more time on their laptops. Facebook and Instagram usage increased by 40%, with Instagram and Facebook Live views doubling in one week.

In the midst of a global pandemic, social media platforms are faced with a critical question – how can we make our audiences feel safe and connected? From Pinterest’s new shopping tools to LinkedIn Events, we share all the recent updates and feature releases from each social media platform.

Social Media Updates


New Shopping Tools

Pinterest continues to boost its eCommerce ambitions with the launch of the Verified Merchant Program to enhance the availability of Shoppable Pins, helping shoppers find trustworthy products. A verified merchant can access a variety of features, including an exclusive badge, new Conversion Insights tool, a special shop tab and an appearance in shopping experiences.

Social media updates in April
Verified Merchant perks on Pinterest

It’s free to join, however, users must apply to the program in order to be considered. For more information, read more about application requirements here. It’s also worth noting that the program is now only available to U.S-based merchants with plans to expand to other countries later this year.

In addition to the program, a few more additions are in the works to make Pinterest your go-to hub for finding products online. Just a few days ago, Pinterest announced a new way for Pinners to shop “from Pins, on boards, from search, and through new browsable recommendations for home decor.” These improvements will help users explore new products and allow for businesses of all sizes to be discovered.

Pinterest's new shopping options - Social media updates
Pinterest’s new shopping options


Launch of Messenger Desktop App

With people spending more time online now than ever before, it’s no surprise that demand for video consumption is rapidly increasing. To help people stay connected, Facebook launched its Messenger desktop app for group video calls and chats, available for both MacOS and Windows users.

Facebook's Messenger Desktop App - Social media updates
Example of Facebook’s Messenger Desktop App

According to Facebook,

“Now more than ever, people are using technology to stay in touch with the people they care about, even when physically apart. Over the past month, we saw more than a 100% increase in people using their desktop browser for audio and video calling on Messenger. Now with apps for MacOS and Windows, the best of Messenger is coming to desktop, including unlimited and free group video calls.”

While you can already access Messenger on the web and conduct calls from your computer, the new app will enable users to multi-task by popping in and out of the app while doing other things on the computer. Other app highlights include a new notification system, as well as other Messenger staples including Dark Mode and GIFs.

Add this app to your growing list of video connection tools!


LinkedIn Events

With the cancellation of industry events all around the world, the professional networking platform launched LinkedIn Events in an effort to promote an alternative option for meet-ups, live-streams and webinars.

LinkedIn Events - Social media updates
Example of LinkedIn Events

You can now create your event under admin tools on your company page. For an added bonus, organizers and attendees can both promote the event once it’s live by issuing invites to their network. Organizers will also be able to participate in the event feed.

To help spark some ideas, some event examples include a happy hour for your college alumni, a meetup with fellow business owners, best practices-based event, a workshop, training or a product demo/launch.

While it could be challenging to replicate the depth of in-person meetings, online events could be a great way to create extra promotion and engagement. 


New ads policy for COVID-19

After much discussion around what advertisers can and cannot say in ads as it relates to COVID-19, Twitter is now allowing some advertisers to mention the virus in selected promotions, based on specific cases.  

As explained by Twitter:

In response to the shifting advertising landscape, and in order to support helpful causes during this time, we’re now allowing managed clients and partners to advertise content containing implicit or explicit reference to COVID-19 in certain use cases, with restrictions.”

Twitter is allowing advertisers to implicitly or explicitly reference the virus in the following use cases:

  • Adjustments to business practices and/or models in response to COVID-19
  • Support for customers and employees related to COVID-19

Restrictions to these use cases are as follows:

  • Distasteful references to COVID-19 (or variations)
  • Content that may be sensational or likely to incite panic
  • Inflated prices on COVID-19-related products

Twitter’s ease of restrictions will enable businesses to better communicate changes during COVID-19 lockdowns. It will also benefit advertisers looking to keep their customers up-to-date with new offerings.


New Co-Watching feature

If you have an Instagram account, you’ve likely seen more people go live than usual. From fitness classes to Q&A conversations, people are looking to connect on social media in a more intimate way. As video content consumption continues to rise, Instagram leveraged the opportunity and recently announced a new way for users to connect in the form of ‘Co-Watching‘.

The new feature enables users to scroll through Instagram and share content with the group, enabling users to participate and engage with said content.

Instagram's new Co-watching feature
Instagram’s new Co-watching feature

As per Instagram:

To help people stay connected, we’ve launched media sharing, a new feature that allows you to view Instagram posts together with your friends over video chat. You can start a video chat by tapping the video chat icon in the Direct inbox or in an existing Direct thread, then view saved, liked and suggested photos/videos by tapping the photo icon in the bottom left corner in an ongoing video chat.”

This feature also shows a trend in bringing a group of people together on a video chat (vs. 1-on- 1s) to make it as fun and engaging as possible. From a marketing perspective, this feature could also provide new means for engagement with smaller groups by saving a collection of posts from your company and discussing it with top fans through this video option.  


Lens Web Builder

In non-COVID-19 news, Snapchat launched Lens Web Builder enabling brands to build their own branded Lenses from scratch or through Snapchat’s repository of 3D assets. Snapchat’s AR Lenses ads drive high engagement and as such, the platform is now opening up the option for brands to create their lens campaign.

Snapchat's Lens Web Builder
Snapchat’s Lens Web Builder

According to Snapchat, more than 70 million people use the platform’s AR Lenses every day, which shows the potential impact of AR advertising for businesses looking to reach a higher number of people.    

Learn more about how you can use Snapchat’s Lens Web Builder here

Quick Recap:

Tune in next month for another round of social media updates!

If you are looking to improve your social media results or have questions regarding the latest platform updates, we’d love to chat!