SPARKS

September 2021

September 2021 Roundup

It’s been a busy month in the world of social media, particularly for Instagram and TikTok. Some very exciting updates have been announced, along with some new features that may just make the digital world a kinder and more positive place to be! We’ll be covering it all in this month’s Sparks round up.

TikTok Stories

TikTok Stories:

TikTok this month joined its social media counterparts by announcing the launch of ‘TikTok Stories’. Much like the stories feature on all other platforms, TikTok stories will only be viewable for 24 hours before they disappear, with TikTok describing it as a way to “share your daily highlights that will disappear after 24 hours” (sound familiar to anyone else?!). As of right now, and as usual (!), TikTok stories are only available to a select number of larger creators on the platform in the US to test it out, but it is only a matter of time before the feature is launched on a global scale for all users.

TikTok Shopping

TikTok Shopping:

Not only did TikTok launch stories this month, they also started beta testing TikTok Shopping, in collaboration with Shopify, with a select number of businesses in Ireland, the UK and the USA that were already Shopify and TikTok users. Some of the businesses selected for the beta testing include beauty business giant Kylie Cosmetics and Irish business Gym+Coffee.

This new feature allows Shopify merchants with a TikTok business account to use their TikTok profile as a sort of social media storefront that links directly with the checkout on their website. As of the end of August TikTok shopping is available to all TikTok business pages in the UK and the USA.

This latest move is the biggest sign yet that TikTok isn’t planning on just being a fad, but in fact plans on being around for a very, very long time to come. After all they have just been awarded the title of Fastest Growing Platform in the World, a title they don’t seem to want to let go of any time soon!

Instagram Audio

Instagram Audio:

Never one to be outdone, Instagram also launched a new feature this month that you may have spotted on your explore page recently, Instagram Audio! This new tab on the explore page enables users to search songs and sounds that they want to use in their Reels within the platform, to coincide with this Instagram has also begun to reward users who use this feature when creating their Reels by pushing out their content more and hiding Reels that have been made elsewhere, i.e., on TikTok. You can even earn extra brownie points with Instagram if you ensure that your Reel is shareable on Facebook too! This is all part of Instagram’s overall goal to keep its users on the platform for any and every type of content that they could possibly want to consume or create.

Instagram’s decision to house audio on their platform, not only puts them in competition with the likes of Spotify and Apple Music, but it also steps up their growing rivalry with TikTok. Should we be preparing for a battle of the platforms? Only time will tell!

#BeKind

#BeKind:

Instagram also took steps towards making the platform a kinder and safer place to be for its users this month with the introduction of their new ‘Hidden Words’ feature to limit the amount of hate and abusive comments that users receive. This new feature means that if a user goes viral, they can start limiting their comments, along with the DM requests that they receive. This new feature also means that creators can prohibit certain words or phrases being used in the comments on their posts.

This step towards a more positive user experience by Instagram shows that the platform is listening to its creators, with the head of Instagram, Adam Mosseri, recently stating; “Creators also tell us they don’t want to turn off comments and messages completely. They still want to hear from their community and build relationships. Limits allows you to hear from your long-standing followers, while limiting contact from people who might only be coming to your account to target you”.

This newest feature is definitely a welcome step in the right direction towards making the world of social media a more positive and happier place to be, while also showing that the #BeKind movement is really having an impact.

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