21 New Social Media Tools for Merchants in 2021
New and updated social media tools can enhance an ecommerce business.
Here is a list of new social media tools and platform updates in 2021. There are tools for shopping, influencer marketing, live streaming, payments, dynamic advertising, and more.
Facebook introduces Horizon Workrooms. To help people work remotely, Facebook has launched an open beta of Horizon Workrooms, available for free to download on Oculus Quest 2. Workrooms is a virtual meeting space where you and your colleagues can collaborate from anywhere. Join a meeting in virtual reality as an avatar or dial into the virtual room from your computer by video call. Use a huge virtual whiteboard to sketch out ideas, bring your computer and keyboard into VR to work together with others, or have expressive conversations as if you are in person.
Facebook Pay expands to additional platforms. U.S. businesses that use participating platforms can now enable Facebook Pay as a payment option directly on their websites, giving their customers the ability to check out without re-entering their payment information. Facebook Pay uses encryption to safely and securely store payment card numbers, removing the need for merchants to manage that data. Facebook started the rollout with Shopify merchants and will be expanding to other platforms.
Facebook expands Shops. Facebook has made it easier for people to discover and buy from Shops. In the U.S., businesses can bring Shops products into Marketplace. Facebook has also expanded ratings and reviews to products in Shops on Instagram, including photos and videos from the community. Also, Facebook has introduced Shops ads based on people’s shopping preferences.
Facebook introduces Bulletin newsletter app. Facebook has launched Bulletin, a standalone newsletter platform for free and paid articles and podcasts. To launch the platform, Facebook has recruited prominent writers, including Malcolm Gladwell, Erin Andrews, and Mitch Albom.
Messenger API for Instagram opens to all developers and businesses. Facebook has opened the Messenger API for Instagram to all developers and businesses to integrate Instagram messaging with their preferred applications and workflows.
Instagram introduces ads in its Shop tab. Instagram has launched ads in its Shop tab globally, making it easier for people to discover and shop from brands. These ads appear as tiles on the Instagram Shop tab home page. Clicking on an ad takes users to the product details page.
Instagram introduces affiliate and shop features. Instagram has launched new ways to help creators monetize their digital efforts. Creators can now tag products from the brands they work with or use Shops for their own product line. Instagram is also testing a native affiliate tool to allow creators to discover new products available on checkout, share them with their followers, and earn commissions for the purchases, all within the Instagram app.
Instagram launches Live Rooms. Instagram’s Live Rooms gives users the ability to go live with up to three people. With Live Rooms, viewers can buy badges for the hosts and use other interactive features such as Shopping and Live Fundraisers.
Instagram introduces Content Publishing API. Facebook has launched Content Publishing API, a feature on the Instagram Graph API platform to make it easier for businesses to publish content. Instagram Business accounts can now schedule and publish posts to their Instagram feeds from third-party platforms. With the Content Publishing API, businesses can easily plan campaigns and build internal processes around publishing content using the platform of their choice. Content Publishing API will support scheduling and publishing single-photo or video posts to Instagram feed for Instagram Business accounts.
Pinterest launches Shopping List and expands shopping features and merchant tools. Pinterest has launched Shopping List, a method for pinners to have their product pins automatically saved in one place. Pinners are also informed of compelling deals on products they’ve saved with price drop notifications. Pinterest has also expanded its suite of merchant tools with the launch of (i) the verified merchant program in the U.K., Australia, Canada, France, and Germany, (ii) a shop tab on profile, and (iii) product tagging in Australia, Canada, France, and Germany.
Pinterest introduces Idea Pins. Pinterest has released Idea Pins, a multi-page format to help users engage and explore videos directly. Idea Pins make it easy for creators to publish quality, long-lasting, saveable content directly to Pinterest via a suite of publishing tools, including video recording and editing, voiceover recording, ghost mode transition tools, detail pages for instructions or ingredients, and interactive elements such as people tagging and stickers.
Pinterest introduces new ways for creators to earn money and partner with brands. Pinterest has launched new ways for creators to build their business and earn money with the ability to make their Idea Pins shoppable, earn commissions through affiliate links, and partner with brands on sponsored content. Creators can tag their Idea Pins with any Product Pins. Creators producing branded content have an easier way to disclose paid relationships with a new tool to add a “paid partnerships” label.
Twitter launches Shop Module to let users shop from profiles. Twitter is testing Shop Module, a new ecommerce feature that lets brands, businesses, and merchants showcase products directly on a business profile. Followers can scroll through a carousel of product images and tap on a product they’re interested in purchasing. That tap opens the business’s website inside Twitter for additional product info or to make a purchase.
Twitter tests new ecommerce card and Shop button. Twitter is testing a new card format that links to ecommerce product pages. The experimental new tweets include a prominent Shop button and details, such as product name, shop name, and price.
TikTok launches AR development platform, Effect Studio. Joining Facebook and Snap to support third-party developers via augmented reality, TikTok has launched Effect Studio, currently in private beta. The experimental resource seeks new ways for creators to bring their ideas to life for the TikTok community.
TikTok releases Creator Marketplace API. TikTok is helping brands and agencies work with influencers by rolling out a new Creator Marketplace API. Marketing companies can now integrate more directly with the application’s influencer platform. The new API allows partnered marketing companies to access TikTok’s first-party data about audience demographics, growth trends, best-performing videos, and real-time campaign reporting for the first time.
Shopify introduces in-app shopping on TikTok. Shopify has announced a new way for entrepreneurs to reach consumers on TikTok. Shopify merchants with a TikTok For Business account can soon add a shopping tab to their TikTok profiles and sync their product catalogs to create a mini-storefront that links to the ecommerce store for checkout. Shopify and TikTok have also partnered to tag and link products in organic TikTok posts. TikTok users can shop directly from a merchant’s mini-storefront or click a tagged product in a merchant’s TikTok video to shop directly on the merchant’s Shopify store.
YouTube unveils brand extensions. At its Brandcast Delivered event, YouTube previewed a new interactive feature for advertisers called brand extensions, designed to make the platform more shoppable. Brand extensions, available globally later this year, invite viewers to learn more about a product with one click, without interrupting their viewing experience. Brands can measure conversions in Google Ads.
YouTube introduces Super Thanks, letting creators monetize video content. As its fourth Paid Digital Good function, YouTube launched Super Thanks, allowing viewers to pay for pre-recorded or uploaded content. Similar to Super Chats, a monetization tool for YouTubers who live stream, Super Thanks lets a fan contribute to any uploaded video, as long as the creator is a YouTube Partner and has monetization enabled. There are four price points for viewers to purchase a single Super Thanks: $2, $5, $10, and $50.
Snap expands Dynamic Ads. Snap has announced the global rollout of Dynamic Ads. The product lets advertisers automatically create ads in real-time, using a product catalog. Snap provides various mobile-ready templates for advertisers to choose from, then serves the ads to the platform’s 229 million daily active users based on their interests.
Snap launches Creator Marketplace. Snap has launched a Creator Marketplace to help businesses discover and partner with Snap’s creator community. Snapchat’s Creator Marketplace is available via Business Manager to users with a Business Account. It will initially focus on helping businesses discover and partner with AR Lens creators. The marketplace will gradually extend to different types of creators (e.g., video creators and Snap Stars) and launch additional features to make it easier for brands and creators to work together.
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