In this week's 'Skim: Facebook and Instagram aim for higher engagement with future redesign; everything your brand needs to know about Amazon's foray into social media with its Spark platform; LinkedIn's smart new share options, plus the big court battle it just lost; Apple doubles down on original shows in light of Facebook announcement; how to use LinkedIn Native Video; why your brand's paid social strategy is failing, and how to fix it; and much more...

Skim for the best tips, tricks, and important bits!

1. Facebook and Instagram improve readability with redesign

Facebook wants to improve the legibility and engagement in its app, and to do so it is rolling out an updated look that strips down the noise, adds more white to the background, makes profile pictures circular instead of square, and makes it easier for users to see where to click and comment.

Like Facebook, Instagram will also receive a facelift, including threaded comment reels that allow users to have sub conversations.

Facebook comments will take on Messenger's look, with bubbles replacing the existing thread look, and the platform's feedback and navigation buttons will be bigger and easier to recognize.

Check out the entire redesign to see what to expect, and what you might need to update!

2. Five things brands need to know about Amazon's Spark

As Amazon ventures into social media space with Spark, its Instagram-like feed of user-generated images and stories, there are several constraints and opportunities on that platform that brands and marketers should be aware of before diving in head first.

First, though anyone can review content on Spark, only Prime members can comment and post—a feature that keeps the feed product-focused. Users interact and share the love with smiles instead of other platforms' likes or hearts, and influencers are referred to as "enthusiasts.".

The most important bits to know? For now, brands can't create public profiles and post on their own, but they can indeed promote their products and services via enthusiasts, and products can be tagged and purchased by consumers all within Amazon's mobile app.

Need inspiration for how your company could join in on the fun? We've got you covered.

3. LinkedIn introduces new, smarter share options

Three new features have arrived on LinkedIn that make sharing on the social network a much more comprehensive experience.

Users or brands that publish articles as part of their strategy on the professional network are now able to share drafts with specific connections prior to publishing, and all users now have the ability to disable comments on their posts or articles.

Driving engagement and conversation on the platform also became easier via a new public option that makes users' posts, videos, and articles now visible—via a URLs shared online—to guests and members who aren't logged into their accounts.

4. Social media have a new competitor to watch in 2018: Apple

Apple's prepared to take a $1 billion stab at original content (as is Facebook), hoping to eat up some of Netflix and Amazon's market share. An Apple rep says its goal is to produce content on par with HBO's Game of Thrones.

Although the consumer-technology giant has already launched forays into original programming on Apple Music, it could add as many as 10 new TV shows in 2018.

Apple's sum isn't unheard of. Facebook is also making a significant investment in original shows, and Amazon plans to invest $4.5 billion in 2017. Netflix? $6 billion.

We'll see whether Facebook's seemingly unparalleled reach can translate into a piece of the original-content pie, and whether Apple's sleek reputation can raise it to the top of the charts.

5. How to use LinkedIn native video

LinkedIn finally began rolling out a native video feature on its platform this summer, but how can your company use the new tool to increase video views and engagement on the platform?

There's a handy guide takes you step by step through the process of uploading and sharing native video via the LinkedIn mobile app, from why your brand should without a doubt opt for LinkedIn native video over YouTube or Vimeo links, to pro tips of content ideas and best practices and tools to help make your videos as appealing and engaging as possible.

Social Media Examiner's got just what you need!

6. Snap Inc. acquires location-measurement company

With its acquisition of data firm Placed, Snapchat's parent company is betting big—to the tune of $135 million—on location measurement. Placed helps companies correlate online activity with real-world purchases and store visits.

Evidently, Snapchat's main interest lies in helping brands buy into its advertising offer, which the company says can help marketers understand how ads on the platform lead to conversions.

The all cash acquisition comes after Snap Inc. reported a loss of $443 million in the second quarter, and disappointing results that showed the addition of "only" 7 million daily active users in the same timeframe.

7. LinkedIn loses court ruling, ability to stop scrapers from using public data

LinkedIn lost a big court battle that pitted the professional social network against third-party scraper hiQ Labs, a company that specializes in predicting when employees will leave their jobs and providing that information to employers.

hiQ uses publicly available information on users' LinkedIn profiles to make such predictions, and last week's US court ruling sided with the data organization, which argued that public data should be equally accessible to all members of the public.

Users can still protect themselves, however, by hiding public access to their profile within the platform's privacy settings.

8. Why your paid social is failing, and how to fix it

Thinking of pursuing a paid social strategy? Already have one, but wondering why it's not working out? Social's different from your PPC advertising because your customers talk back immediately (not necessarily in a good way), and that means your brand's approach should differ as well.

A MarketingProfs article shows how social media's ability to curate incredibly specific custom audiences, paired with tracking sentiment across social platforms with the right tools, can give your brand the boost it needs and help its paid social strategy succeed.

With a breakdown of what steps to take before, during, and after a campaign—from understanding your audience demographics to optimizing ads on the fly mid-campaign—these best-practices are sure to give you a leg up.

9. Twitter has a new king of likes, and it's a former president

Following the Charlottesville white-supremacist rally and attack last week, Barack Obama made Twitter history with a post in which he cited Nelson Mandela. The post garnered more than 3.3 million likes—the most for a single post in the social media network's history—with its accompanying photo of the former president beside babies of different races.

Obama's tweet garnered more likes than pop star Ariana Grande's tweet following the deadly terrorist attack at her concert in the United Kingdom. Grande's tweet, in which she expressed her shock, had more than 1.7 million likes at the time of this writing.

10. We'll wrap with social media's power to unite in the wake of Charlottesville

Last week's horrific protests and subsequent car attack on a crowd of counter protesters during the Charlottesville Unite the Right rally by white nationalists, supremacists, and neo-Nazis, resulted in a show of camaraderie and resilience for violence victim Heather Heyer on social media.

Heyer was killed when a car rammed into the crowd of counter-protesters, and a GoFundMe campaign subsequently spread like wildfire across social networks, leading to over $200 million being raised for Heyer's family in the attack's aftermath.

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#SocialSkim: Facebook and Instagram Redesign, Amazon's Spark vs. Instagram and Pinterest: 10 Stories This Week

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image of Christian Neri

Christian Neri is a digital marketing professional in the film & television industry, and a contributor to MarketingProfs. An American expat in Paris, he recently completed his MS in digital marketing at IÉSEG School of Management.

Instagram: @christianneri

Twitter: @christianneri