Sep 18 Social Media Moving Towards Private Messaging
There’s an indication that a big shift is happening across social channels and it involves moving everything into private messaging. Recently Instagram added the poll feature to direct messaging and last month Facebook tested removing the share button on posts and replacing it with sending a direct message.
In August, we saw large decreases in engagements on Facebook. With fewer engagements happening on Pages, it’s a natural progression that the social channels are looking for ways to keep conversations happening, but potentially behind the protective walls of inboxes.
It’s hard to know if Facebook will roll out the removal of the share button to everyone but if it does, that could really limit the number of people seeing brand’s posts. Tracking shares of a brand’s post was a good indication that a piece of content was resonating with fans enough that they wanted to advocate for the brand on their own networks. It’s not to say that users won’t be sharing content just as often in direct messages, but it might be impossible to track that, and the elusive organic reach may certainly be gone for good.
Sharing posts to friends’ inboxes is common practice on Instagram, so their addition of the poll feature in direct messages is to be expected, but it certainly contributes to the greater trend of social not being very social. Polls are a quick and easy way for brands to receive feedback and opinions from their fans, but it didn’t take long for people to realize that their reactions to polls were not anonymous and that made some people uncomfortable in this climate. We could certainly see a decrease of answers to polls in the upcoming months.
It’s hard to say how this shift will affect brand metrics but it’s certainly something that marketers need to keep a pulse on as these shifts could take away the conversations brands are having with their fans, something that social media has been able to do so much better than all other marketing avenues.
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