From a shoppable 3D home and exclusive audio rooms to cultivating a community of kindness online, March was filled with marketing madness. Twitter launched a ‘Brand Bracket’ for a social media marketing spin on March Madness, Instagram increased the number of people who can partake in a Live stream, and TikTok took on new efforts to diminish cyberbullying. Continue reading for the latest news in social media platforms and the marketing industry!
On March 1st, Instagram introduced Live Rooms, a feature that gives app users the ability to go live on Instagram with up to three people. Before the introduction of this feature, Instagram users could go live with only one other person in a stream, but now users can “double-up” on their live broadcasts. This offers new creative opportunities, such as starting talk shows, hosting jam sessions, co-creating with other artists, hosting more engaging Q&As or tutorials, or just hanging out with more friends. Since the beginning of COVID-19, Instagram users have embraced new features to shop, fundraise, and hold interviews to build their businesses and bring people together in creative ways.
Twitter recently launched its own variation of March Madness by designing a ‘Brand Bracket’, meant to determine the best tweeting business on the platform. This competition is pitting businesses against each other, asking users to vote on the winners of each match-up. Twitter explains,
“We know the conversational nature of Twitter makes it a place where brands can be their most human-sounding selves. Brands can have two-way conversations with their audience that are real and unfiltered, and can’t be replicated anywhere else. With this bracket, we aim to celebrate those that do this the best – as selected by the people of Twitter.”
As more buzz is generated around the initiative, more people are looking at the brand’s tweets, offering extra promotion, traffic, and potential sales to the featured businesses. As for marketers, this is a great opportunity to discover new Twitter tips and what kinds of tweets are effective for brands. The Brand Bracket will run for the rest of March, and winners will be announced on April 2nd!
TikTok is helping to foster a community of kindness and support this month by rolling out two new features: one to give creators more control over their video comments, and another to prompt people to reconsider posting unkind or inappropriate comments. To control which comments appear on their videos, creators can now apply the “Filter All Comments” feature which, when enabled, allows users to pick which comments are posted based on the creator’s approval.
This feature builds on TikTok’s existing collection of comment controls that allow creators to filter and spam offensive comments, and block comments that contain specific keywords. This new feature gives creators more power over the types of conversations held in the comments section, allowing TikTok community members to connect with creators and hold respectful discussions.
A new comment prompt now asks people to reconsider posting a comment that may be inappropriate or unkind, with a message asking, “would you like to reconsider posting this?”, and a reminder that the commenter can edit their comment before posting. These efforts come as TikTok partners with the Cyberbullying Research Center (CRC) to develop a safer, more positive app environment that allows creative expression to thrive.
With the rise of audio social, Facebook is looking into working on its own live audio meeting rooms feature, which would enable Facebook users to create and tune into audio broadcasts within the app. This comes as a surprise to many users, as Facebook created a video Rooms feature in May 2020, which enabled users to create a private video chat that others can drop into, and an audio-only offering seems unnecessary.
However, audio-only rooms and platforms are growing in popularity, with Twitter’s Spaces and the Clubhouse app, and reduce some of the pressure of video rooms. As social media users search for more and newer ways to gather virtually, Facebook’s audio rooms could be a great option for brands looking to build and maximize community and in-app engagement.
It’s clear that brands are incorporating more virtual options this year. Walmart, tech companies, and other retailers continue to heavily invest in seamless ways to shop online. For instance, South by South West went virtual this year. Mashable decided to create an all-virtual experience in which a 3D home offering a variety of shoppable content from Walmart. The home has six core rooms, including over 50 products for users to discover in the kitchen, living room, and outdoor space which will be rolled out from March 8 to March 12. All of the content will be accessible for purchasing through the virtual home until April 8th.
This serves as an inspiration for other retailers or homeware companies looking to create an interactive immersive way to shop online, and for shoppers to make the most of their home space. It will be exciting to see how other brands get creative with their virtual shopping experiences, like Target’s virtual 360-degree rooms and Machine-A’s augmented store environment, in the coming months!