In a flash of heat, sand and sunburn, summer has officially come to an end. With the chilly, pumpkin-scented promise of fall ahead, what better way to shift seasons than with a digital marketing update? Facebook, Instagram and Google have all released exciting announcements and technological advancements that business owners should keep in mind as we move into September. To help you out, we’ve put together a summary of the industry’s latest updates so that you can prepare and refresh your business’s digital marketing strategy accordingly.
Time Management Tool
How often do you find yourself snapping out of a social media trance because you’ve accidentally spent an hour or two mindlessly scrolling through your feed? Recently, Facebook and Instagram have been working with leading mental health experts to help users monitor how much time they spend on social media apps. The resulting tools include an activity dashboard, a daily reminder and an option to restrict notifications.
The purpose of these tools is to help people use Facebook and Instagram with clear intentions and foster positive social media habits. To access these tools, users simply navigate the settings pages on their apps. In Instagram, the tools are under “Your Activity,” while on Facebook, they’re under “Your Time on Facebook.” From there, users can see how much time they’re spending on each app, decide how much time they’d like to spend and set alerts that notify them when they’ve spent too much time on either app. As users become more mindful of how much time they spend on Instagram and Facebook, you may need to adjust your social media marketing strategy should you notice a decrease in engagement. This might mean reevaluating who your audience is and what kinds of content they like best.
Instagram is constantly looking for new ways to customize and optimize feeds for their users. In fact, they’ve begun to test a feature that recommends posts to users who have run out of fresh content in their feeds. Recommendations are made based on user account history and information, like who they follow and what kinds of content they’ve previously engaged with. This will make it easier for your brand to expand your reach to targeted audiences, since Instagram could be recommending your content to interested parties. Moving forward, continue to publish highly targeted content so as to increase the likelihood that your brand will be recommended to potential customers.
About This Account
Soon, Instagram’s “About this Account” tool will allow users to learn more about accounts with large followings. By simply selecting the profile in question and tapping on the “About this Account” option, users will have access to the account’s basic history: when and where the account originated, shared followers, running advertisements and more. The feature will even allow users to view an account’s previous usernames (including the embarrassing ones). Instagram wants to give users the opportunity to verify authenticity for themselves. Likewise, the social media platform encourages members of the Instagram community to report accounts that appear to violate the company’s Community Guidelines. This tool will promote transparency between influencers, brands, public figures and followers, and as a result, spur authentic and meaningful content.
Facebook Watch Goes Global
Facebook recently announced that their in-platform video streaming service Watch is now available globally. The service features original content from popular creators, fans and members of the Facebook community, similar to Instagram’s recent IGTV update. This new tool will allow brands like yours to secure ad placements in videos and engage with consumers in a fun, interactive medium. As social media platforms continue to roll out new features that promote video content, make sure you leave room in your digital marketing strategy for video.
Link Sharing in Stories
Though Facebook Stories hasn’t quite kicked off like Instagram Stories has, a recent piece of news could mean big changes on the horizon for the social media platform. A French Facebook user discovered that the company is allowing users to test links in their Stories – something not yet widely available in Instagram Stories. Facebook made the following comment regarding the discovery: “Many people come to Facebook to share and have conversations about articles that interest them. So, we’re testing the ability to share links in Stories, just like you can on News Feed.” This development could spike engagement within Facebook Stories and make it a more popular avenue for businesses and brands to reach consumers.
Core Algorithm Update
Another month has gone by and with it brings yet another core algorithm update from Google. On August 1st, Google released what is being called the Medic Update. They have nicknamed it this because even though it affected many websites throughout various industries; the focus seemed to be on health/medical and YMYL (Your Money Your Life) sites. The advice from Google is the same it has been for the past core algorithm updates: keep working to enhance the overall experience of your site by improving your content and making small changes that can lead to a positive impact on your rankings. No matter what industry your business is in, it is imperative you are always taking steps to improve the overall user experience on your site by providing valuable and relevant information.
Google My Business: Veteran-Led Identifier
As new way to support veterans through technology, Google has added a “Veteran-led” attribute to Google My Business. Just how Google has an attribute on GMB listings for identifying when a business is led by a woman, it now has the same attribute for businesses led by a veteran. This gives veteran business owners the ability to identify, support, and make connections with other veteran owned businesses in their industry. Here’s how to enable this new feature:
- Sign in to your Google My Business profile and select the location you wish to edit
- On the side menu, Click “Info”
- Scroll down until you see the “Add Attributes” section and click on the pencil icon
- Select “Veteran-Led” (as seen in the image below) and then click “Apply”
Google Maps API Key
Another change that has become clear over the past month and a half is the need for a Google Maps API key to display a map with your business’s location on your website. On July 16th, website owners without an API key saw the Google Maps on their sites were no longer working. In a recent article, we explained the new requirements for a Google Maps API key, how they will affect your website, and what site owners need to get their Google Maps API key. If your website uses a Google Map on its contact page, follow the instructions provided by Google to acquire your API key.
With October right around the corner, it is crucial that website owners get an SSL certificate and implement it on their site as soon as possible. These SSL certificates can bring many SEO benefits as well as enhanced security for your website and the users interacting with the site. A few months ago, Google Chrome announced that they will display a prominent “Not Secure” label in the address bar of websites that do not have an SSL certificate starting in October 2018.
This is Google Chrome’s final warning and not having an HTTPS website could scare visitors away from your site so it is crucial that you acquire your SSL before they implement this change.
Is It Time For An Update?
Just as the seasons shift, so should your digital marketing strategy. Now that you have all the details on this month’s industry news, it’s time to change up your marketing campaign. At Creative Click Media, our team of SEO and social media specialists have the tools, skills and industry know-how to get you and your business on the right foot for September and beyond.