Welcome to Major Tom’s monthly update on social media.

We know that it can be challenging to keep up with the constant pace of change, that’s why we scour the web for the most noteworthy news from the social media sector so that you can keep track of the developments that will impact your organization.

From Instagram’s introduction of Countdown Stickers to Alt text in photos, these are the social media stories that caught our eye this past month.

Instagram adds Countdown Stickers

To further compete with Snapchat, Instagram announced the introduction of Countdown Stickers for its Stories. Appropriately launched in time for the holidays, Countdown Stickers allow you to display a timer over top of your story. You can easily set the days, hours, minutes and end date in the build-up to your event.

Instagram Countdown Sticker

What should you do?

Despite the appropriate timing of this update, Countdown stickers can serve brands well beyond the New Year’s Eve hype. When you look at your 2019 plan and content strategy, think of which events, product launches, or updates could benefit from the extra promotion. Countdowns are a great way to create urgency and awareness for a brand message, and build buzz ahead of a particular event or product launch.

Facebook’s new inspiration section

You’ll want to unlock your creative potential after seeing Facebook Business’ new inspiration section. The section shares tips on how to create authentic and strategic stories across Facebook and Instagram, as well as showcasing the different resources/tools that are available for businesses. It also includes feature ads from different brands, including a leaderboard that showcases the top performing content across different verticals.

Facebook inspiration section

What should you do?

Inspiration can come from anywhere. Instead of looking to what your immediate competitors are doing, this new addition enables you to see how other industries approach their content and ads. Viewing the top performing content pieces and best-in-class examples is also a great way to get inspiration for your next project.

Instagram adds Alt text descriptions for photos

Inclusivity and accessibility are key considerations in this day and age. That’s why it’s exciting that Instagram recently announced its plan to include Alt text in their photos, in order to help the visually impaired experience the popular social network. Photos will receive Alt text using two methods. The first will use object recognition to generate descriptions for screen readers. The second method relies on user input through a custom text box that appears after you upload a photo.

Instagram photo Alt text feature

What should you do?

At the moment, it’s unclear when this new feature will be implemented. But that shouldn’t stop forward-thinking companies from preparing for its introduction all the same. Once launched, we anticipate major scheduling platforms will add an Alt text customization box in their post schedulers. In addition, we can also see this feature helping to improve the searchability of content across the platform.

For now, however, you can start to get ready by adding an Alt text section to your content calendar. This will help to make Alt text part of your existing social media routine so that you’re ready to hit the ground running when the feature is finally implemented on Instagram.

The abundance of features now available for each social network is enough to have people second-guessing their social media strategy. If you want to find the clarity in the chaos and want to know the right course of action to take, contact our social media experts who will be happy to help.