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Andy's Round-Up: Instagram introduces 'Guides' while Facebook launches 'Shops'

Blog Post Author – Andy
26th May 2020

Twitter tests a new way to restrict who takes part in your conversations

🤔 What happened?

Twitter is testing a new feature that lets you limit who can reply in public conversations, allowing everyone else to just follow and like.

💡 My take

Twitter has announced a way that you can refine who can interact with your content whether that's people you mention in your tweet, people that you follow, or just everyone in general. This is a very similar update to what we saw with Instagram last week. I think this is going to have a really positive impact on people interacting on the platform without fear of negative consequences and will encourage more people to get active.

Instagram introduces Guides

🤔 What happened?

Instagram has announced Guides, a new way to quickly discover recommendations, tips, and other content from creators, public figures, organizations, and publishers.

💡 My take

Instagram has announced a new content format called 'Guides'. Currently, it's only in testing at the moment with certain creators. However, the way I would contextualize this is quite similar to how 'Threads' work on Twitter where one post isn't enough to tell a story. Guides work in just the same way and are currently being tested out using creators in the mental health and wellness space which I love because it really lends itself to this type of content format. These Guides are a way of stitching together lots of different posts, but to tell a deeper narrative. For the whole experience of Instagram, I think this is a massively positive step.

Rather than mindlessly scrolling the feed with lots of different posts and stories, a Guide allows you to go deeper and create something more meaningful around a certain subject matter. It's going to raise the bar for creativity but will also be a content format that's replicated and copied across the whole of social media.

Introducing Facebook Shops

🤔 What happened?

Facebook wants to give people a place to experience the joy of shopping versus the chore of buying. And they want to help small businesses adapt and make it easier for people to discover and shop for things they love.

💡 My take

Facebook have announced 'Shops' which essentially allows small businesses to start an e-commerce shop directly within Facebook. All of the infrastructure is there for you; the product inventory, the way you can transact, etc. I must add that it is quite incredible what Facebook have built in such a short space of time.

Like we're seeing with so many updates over the last nine or ten weeks, social networks have moved a development roadmap forward to encourage all of this recent innovation. From a small business perspective, if you're not active on social media already, this should be the compelling reason to get started now because it really has never been easier to transact and buy from a small business.

Facebook is announcing some further integrations with existing e-commerce providers such as Shopify and WooCommerce, but if you don't have anything right now then Facebook Shop will give you everything you need.

This new update positions Facebook as a direct competitor to Amazon so it's going to be very interesting to see how this plays out. However, it does get even better because this new feature is not going to be limited to just Facebook but is going to be rolling out on Instagram too. This means you'll be able to have a shop on your Instagram profile or page so that is going to be another significant update.

The final point to mention is that they're going to be bringing shopping to live broadcasts too. Let me give you an example; imagine that you're a small business where you make handmade cakes. You might be filming your production process on a live stream, but while people tune in to take a look at your process, they can also be buying your content directly through that live stream. This is the most perfect implementation of content and commerce that I've seen yet.

This is the most perfect way to think about social media; where you're creating meaningful content that creates a community, creates real value, but also creates value for you as a business owner to drive revenues and make sales ostensibly. Social media is no longer this nice thing that sits on the side. It's is now central to how small businesses or even larger businesses can build their companies.

Andy does a round-up of social media news every week. Connect with Andy on LinkedIn to get it first.

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