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Welcome back to another Spark Social Report by Spark Growth! U.S. users are now able to access YouTube’s short-form video experience called “Shorts,” TikTok continues to support small businesses, and more. Scroll to read about the latest social media trends and updates!


Social Media Trends

For marketers looking to keep track of the top social media trends in 2021 so far, here’s a quick breakdown by Business 2 Community. First, live streams continue to increase in popularity when it comes to showcasing new products, connecting with audiences, and sharing an experience (such as tutorials or announcements). 

Second, 500 million users engage with Instagram Stories on a daily basis, showing that Stories continue to be a highly engaging content format. Third, audience engagement is high when it comes to interactive photo filters produced with augmented Reality (AR) technology

Lastly, human-focused marketing campaigns and inclusive content are a huge driving factor for audiences. Many want to see brands focus on acts of kindness, positive customer engagement, and other forms of leadership during challenging times. 


Social Media App Updates 


TikTok has introduced the new Sound and Login Kits. These developer kits will help third-party apps with creating more accessible sharing and authentication experiences for users. Through the Sound Kit, users can bring original sounds and music from third-party apps into the TikTok ecosystem. With the Login Kit, users can sign into third-party apps securely with their TikTok login credentials, and add their TikTok videos more easily to other platforms. 

Throughout May, TikTok is celebrating small businesses by encouraging users to use the #SupportSmallBusiness and #TikTokMadeMeBuyIt hashtags. In partnership with Nielsen, TikTok is also giving business owners the opportunity to tailor their paid ad campaigns to specific “Designated Market Areas.” This means that small business owners can localize their advertising to better target their primary audiences. 



Facebook is rolling out new features to Messenger, which will allow users to be more expressive when they communicate. New chat themes include Star Wars and Selena: The Series, as well as stickers to celebrate Asian Pacific American Heritage Month. Other Messenger features include a chat archive to clean up inactive threads from inboxes and a hands-free “tap-to-record” option for audio notes

Facebook has also confirmed that it is building its own in-app podcast player. The new feature will allow podcast creators to share their content directly on their Facebook page. This addition may help creators reach new audiences by leveraging their existing Facebook presence. 



Adjacent to the new Facebook Messenger updates, there are also some Instagram DM updates: new “visual replies” allow iOS users to respond to a message with a photo or video, and more comprehensive read receipts are also now available on DMs. 



Instagram has also launched its new captions sticker for Stories, providing users with a way to make their Stories more accessible to hearing-impaired viewers. Users can add the “Captions” sticker to their captured video, which will auto-generate the text based on the audio input. This simple process easily allows Instagram users to create more accessible content and may help brands and users reach wider audiences. 

Instagram has also added a new “Pronouns” option, allowing users to select up to four pronouns to let people know how they should be referred to. Users can easily edit or remove their chosen pronouns at any time, and can also choose if they want their pronouns to be shown to all users or only their followers. This new addition makes way for more diversity and inclusion on the platform, as users can more accurately represent themselves via their profile. 



YouTube is finally expanding its short-form video experience, “Shorts,” to all users in the U.S.! Shorts is the platform’s answer to TikTok videos and Instagram Reels. YouTube has been testing Shorts in other countries since September 2020, and while its initial version only allowed for videos with a maximum of 15-seconds, the platform has now increased the duration to 60 seconds. New filters are also being added to Shorts which are available in the recording and editing screens. All of these updates will provide a larger range of creative capabilities to users when creating their Shorts.



Twitter is rolling out its new image display format for Tweets, which now allows for images to have a full-sized preview on a user’s timeline. This is in contrast to the platform previously cropping the image to fit into a specific frame. For brands, this update may mean improved user response to their image content, as this content will be larger and more comprehensive at a glance. This may also allow for more creative experimentation with image dimensions. However, this update will not change the way multiple images are displayed in a single Tweet.



After noticing a trend of users sharing their PayPal, Cash App, or Venmo handles in their Twitter content, the platform has launched “Tip Jar,” a new way for users to send and receive tips. The aim of this feature is to allow users to more easily support each other on the platform. Users will know if an account’s Tip Jar is enabled by seeing the associated icon next to the Follow button on their profile page. They can tap the icon to see a list of payment services that the account has enabled, including Bandcamp, Cash App, Patreon, PayPal, and Venmo. Twitter has also emphasized that it will take no cut of these tips. Users with Android devices can also send tips within Spaces. 





LinkedIn claims that “B2B Marketing isn’t boring” in its new infographic pocket guide. This guide may help B2B brands understand how to create more engaging marketing content for their audience. For example, users can learn about gamifying products, or how to grab attention using humor, art direction, and concise copywriting. For more tips, access the full guide here

The platform has also shared a new infographic overview of its ad targeting options, as well as tips on how brands can maximize their campaign performance. Businesses can look at this overview to educate themselves on the benefits of LinkedIn advertising. 



Snapchat has finally introduced dark mode for iOS devices. This new option allows users to view their photos and layout using a dark color scheme. Users can apply dark mode through Settings>App Appearance>Always Dark. Though the feature is only available on most iOS devices at the moment, dark mode will soon be coming to Android as well.

Snapchat has also launched Creator Marketplace, which will help businesses collaborate with creators across the Snap Lens Network to boost their presence on the platform. In its early stages, brands will be given the opportunity to work with creators to build AR experiences. Eventually, it will also offer brands the ability to reach Snapchat’s Creators and Snap Stars to partner with them on advertising campaigns and brand activations. Creator Marketplace will open later this month for all businesses to partner with a select group of AR creators in 2021, and will expand its options in 2022. 



Pinterest has shared a new guide on how to utilize promoted Pins, aimed at helping brands maximize their marketing efforts on the platform. The guide provides an overview of the main elements of a Pin promotion, and offers additional campaign tips which touch on points like budget, planning, and maximizing campaign reach. 




The relatively new audio-only app has recently gone through a series of changes to refine its branding. First, it has rebranded to include softer and more refreshing colors after receiving feedback that its initial bright purple color was too powerful. Second, its illustration style has changed, switching to a “sketchy style” to better fit the app’s personality, with a design strategy that only uses the brand’s primary color, new opacities-only fills, lined-effect shading, and a “light-hearted and fun overall concept.” Its mascot has also been redesigned, as seen below! 



And last but not least, the much anticipated Android version of Clubhouse is now available, albeit in limited beta at the moment. This helps to increase accessibility and widens the app’s reach.

That wraps up the latest social media updates! For more digital marketing news, be sure to follow us on Facebook

While we were talking about the benefits of advertising on social media, were you wondering if your brand has a strong enough presence online? If you’re not too sure, we can help you get on the right track. Book a consultation with our social media experts by clicking the button below!

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