Facebook, Instagram Roll Out New Features Bringing People Closer Together
While the social network as grown and changed over the years, Facebook began as tool for allowing people to reconnect. It light of recent events, Facebook (and its child company Instagram) are returning to their roots with some new tech updates designed to promote interconnectedness between those in social isolation.
Guest post by Meredith Nadeau of The Orchard’s The Daily Rind
Facebook started as a means to bring people together from afar. Uniting high school graduates 10 years later, keeping families in touch even if they’re miles apart, and now with life on pause and tucked indoors, Facebook is quickly rolling out features to, yet again, bring people together. Read on to learn more.
Rolling out on desktop and within the Messenger app, users can host virtual gatherings on Facebook with Rooms. Simply create a link and share it with friends and family, regardless of whether or not they have a Facebook account.
Content Suggestion: Similar to Zoom or Houseparty, this is a great new way to host a listening session, an exclusive hangout with fans or even to brainstorm new ideas with songwriters. Users can lock and unlock their room to make the event as open or intimate as needed, with no time limit and at no cost.
Share a Fundraiser
Use the new ‘Donation’ Sticker in Instagram Stories to help raise awareness and funds for a nonprofit organization of your choice. #GivingTuesdayNow was celebrated on May 5th but it’s never too late to give back! Organizations can pre-set donation amounts beginning at $5 and up to $2,500. You can swipe up on your story to see who has donated and how much has been raised. You will also receive a notification on how much you raised once your story expires.
Additionally, when going Live there is the option to add a fundraiser where 100% of the donations go straight to the nonprofit of your choice. When going Live, tap ‘Fundraiser’ at the bottom of the screen, and choose which fundraiser to support. During the Live, you can tap ‘View’ to see how many people have donated, along with how much money overall has been donated. For those donating, you can thank them in real time with a wave, and they will also have a special “I Donated” sticker available to them in their Instagram Stories.
Content Suggestion: If there is a cause you are passionate about, or a nonprofit you’ve teamed up with, consider creating a story with a donation sticker to let fans know if you raise X amount that you will host a live concert/Q&A celebration on IG Live, and that you’ll be donating yourself. Given that you reach your goal, you can also add the Fundraise option to your Live and discuss why this cause is important to you.
Post IG Lives Directly To IGTV
Now, your followers can watch your IG Live anytime! With the latest Instagram update, live videos can be published to IGTV instead of Stories. When the Live session is complete you will have options to Download, Share to IGTV or Delete your video, allowing you to keep the content flowing.
Content Suggestion: Host a live series and share these to IGTV so that fans can watch anytime. Don’t forget to brand your series so followers can easily find what they’re looking for. Finally, consider posting to your feed to promote the episode once it’s ready to view! Determine a theme and title to tie all the episodes together whether that be interviewing a new guest each episode, playing a new song, or cooking a fan submitted recipe!
Challenges in Stories
If you haven’t participated in a Challenge yet, think of it as a hashtag that is paired with an action. Instagram introduced Challenges in their Stickers. For the time being, this feature is still being tested so few artists can create a Challenge, but anyone can participate!
To start a Challenge, choose the Challenges Sticker to add to your story, name your challenge and nominate friends to participate. If you can’t create Challenges yet, search from one of the options listed. You can click on a Challenge in another person’s story to participate, participate in a Challenge if you’re nominated by a friend, or search for a Challenge and try it out for yourself!
Content Suggestion: Participate in Challenges to get more eyes on your content and interact with your fans. Nominate your top fans to continue the challenge or pass it along to similar artists. Highlight your personality, music or spread awareness for a cause that’s important to you and remember to make it your own.
Accurate Information Access
First and foremost, Facebook and Instagram are working to help users access accurate information and updates on COVID-19 by adding a notice to the top of user’s feeds who are in affected areas leading them to reliable sources and expert health organizations. Additionally, they are highlighting resources from these organizations on related hashtags. If users are looking up information or hashtags related to COVID-19, they will see a message at the top of their page directing them to the World Health Organization, along with the Instagram account for the World Health Organization. Stay informed and on message when communicating with your fans.
‘Stay Home’ Collection In Instagram Effect Gallery
To spread awareness and encourage solidarity, Instagram has launched a new ‘Stay Home’ Collection within Instagram filters. To access, open your Instagram camera as you would to create a Story, navigate to the far right of the filter options and click “Browse Effects.” The category highlights Stories made by various creators to keep you entertained while social distancing. Try them out and show your fans a goofy side they might not have seen before.
When creating your Instagram Stories, if you swipe up to add a sticker you’ll see a few new faces Instagram has added during this time. With all of the stickers, if you use these, your story will be added to the shared story for the sticker:
‘Stay Home’ Sticker
Relate to your fans and encourage them to stay home as well by using the ‘Stay Home’ sticker. This is a great opportunity to fill fans in on what you’re up to personally, give them some behind-the-scenes footage of at home recording or writing sessions, and use the music sticker to relate back to your new release or catalog.
‘Thank You’ Sticker
Now’s the time to spread positivity and appreciation for your loved ones and those on the front lines, working to keep us safe. That’s why Instagram introduces the ‘Thank You’ sticker.Clapping or dedicating a song to healthcare workers? Use this sticker to show thanks to those helping your community, and those people or things in your life helping you get through this time.
‘Support Small Business’ Sticker & Resources
If you have an Instagram Business account you may notice another link at the top of your profile for resources to support your business. The options include information on government loans, Facebook Small Business Grants, as well as the ability to Offer Food Orders and Provide Gift Cards. Food Orders and Gift Cards can also be added in Sticker form to Instagram Stories to encourage purchases from these small businesses.
Have a favorite record store or venue? Let your followers know! Spread the word and help support your favorite spots. If you’re in need of financial support, take a look at the different grant and loan offerings that could help.
All we can do is spread the word, and look out for one another. With these new features, Facebook and Instagram make staying connected with your followers easier than ever.