With Facebook’s annual F8 conference ringing in the month, we picked the biggest news from the Facebook family of apps. From AR to stronger communities, the social media network is trying to give users a higher quality of connection online.

No likes on Instagram?

A long-rumored feature was officially confirmed. Instagram will pilot its program to eliminate like counts from the newsfeed. This move is in league with their overall initiatives to improve mental health on social media by eliminating opportunities for negative comparisons. We’re happy to see the focus back on content, rather than the number of people reacting to it.

Instagram post hiding the number of likes

What Should You Do?

Business owners and influencers need not fear the loss of data. All metrics are still available to account owners. Since so many people and brands rely on metrics to report ROI, Instagram will never remove its reporting capabilities. In the meantime, enjoy the new update! All too often the quest for vanity metrics drives the content created when people should focus on delivering the best value to their audiences.

Custom filters, the spark your Instagram needs

One of the most exciting announcements from Instagram was Spark AR becoming widely available to the public. This summer, users will have the ability to create and upload custom Instagram filters, a perk formerly reserved for the biggest brands on the platform. Once uploaded to your profile, your followers will be able to access your creations in their filters queue. A well-crafted filter can boost followers and turn your audience into brand ambassadors by simply sharing selfies.

Example of 90's styled custom filters by gk3

Custom filters by gk3

What Should You Do?

Waste no time by downloading the beta version of Spark AR. Brainstorm ways that you can use this technology by checking out some pioneers of the space for inspiration (we love gk3 and johwska). Creating branded Instagram filters will be an essential part of a well-rounded social media strategy moving forward. After all, who doesn’t dream of creating something as ubiquitous as the notorious dog filter?

A greater focus on both groups, and events in the newsfeed

With the new update, Facebook has given a stronger newsfeed preference to some of their most popular features: Events and Groups. With features such as anonymous questions and subthreads, Facebook aims to bring genuine connection and discussion back to the platform.

What Should You Do?

It’s no secret that when Facebook makes a change to their algorithm, the best course of action is to cater to those changes. We saw video begin to take precedence in the newsfeed and content creators followed suit. We saw stories on Instagram become an integral part of an effective content strategy. Creating a space on your page where your audience can interact with each other and your brand will be the next big trend on Facebook.

Missed out on the last social updates? Find them here!