How Twitter, TikTok and Instagram are perfecting the user experience

How have social media updates affected CX? / Rami Al-zayat/ Unsplash

As part of The Drum’s Deep Dive into The New Customer Experience Economy, we take a look at how the major social media platforms are attempting to enhance the user experience (UX), and how these updates will impact brands.

Twitter

Subcommunities have long been an integral part of the social media UX, providing spaces for people with shared interests to have open discussions and even make friends.

Somewhat late to the party, however, was Twitter, which only began rolling out its version of a community platform in September 2021. The aptly named Twitter Communities allows users to post messages within a subgroup that will only be visible to others in the community.

For users, this new feature is a positive way to connect with like-minded people without having to publicly post to every single one of their followers. For brands, it’s a brilliant way to engage and connect with target audiences.

Google, Xbox and Nintendo are popular community topics, with thousands of members, and provide excellent spaces for brands to decipher what their customers are interested in, the challenges they might be facing and the topics that are of particular interest to them.

Twitter has also shifted its content strategy to promote both longer-format and video-first posts by acquiring the newsletter company Revue and penning a deal with ViacomCBS.

As Mediaocean’s chief marketing officer Aaron Goldman explains: “Twitter likes to proclaim that the platform is what’s happening in the world, and that what’s happening in the world is on the platform. This makes Twitter an indispensable place for brands to engage consumers. Twitter is also at the nexus of multi-screen interaction as the companion app to live sports and scripted programming alike.“

Instagram

Meta-owned social networking site Instagram has meanwhile announced a couple of updates that users had long been requesting – a chronological news feed and customizable story link stickers.

“It took so long for Instagram to stop navel-gazing and provide a way for others to jump out of its platform based on what they have seen there,” says Nicky Palamarczuk, head of social and influence at VCCP Innovation.

“It is refreshing to see it is finally approaching things with less narcissism and accepting how much it is intrinsic to individuals, brands and organizations growing their presences and ultimately their businesses.”

Facebook also teased a handful of ‘coming soon’ features for its Groups section, which will apparently include community awards, chats and recurring events.

TikTok

TikTok has recently increased its video length to 10 minutes, which many are speculating is a monetization move. Joe Saw, who is director of operations at Fanbytes, asks: “How would users respond to a YouTube-style banner/in-stream ad on TikTok? And, even more crucially from a UX perspective, how will this affect engagement on a macro level?“

He says: “Users who come – and stay – for the short-format quick hits may dip out because they are now being served a very different kind of experience. This shift could lead to a decrease in measured engagement and challenge TikTok’s position as a platform built on its unique community feel.“

What next?

So, how can brands continue to improve their social media output while keeping up with the various updates and create the best experience for users? For starters, they need to continue to improve the content and ad creative that they are using in social media channels to make sure that it is fit for the environments that they are placed in, says Ben Sheppard, production director for optimization and tech at Jellyfish.

“These need to be tailored and optimized to the experiences people are used to and want to see in these channels,“ he says.

Reacting quicker to what audiences are embracing is key, but this doesn’t just mean reactive posting. “It’s about consistently pushing forward, revising, optimizing, responding and having a fresh take on what’s happening in the world,“ adds Palamarczuk, who concludes with a final plea: “Please, please, please can brands stop using social media as their corporate catch-all dumping ground?“

For more on The New Customer Experience Economy, check out The Drum’s latest Deep Dive.