Updates and changes to our favorite social media platforms seem to barrel down at us like a speeding train sometimes. We'll be calmly creating a video or designing some graphics, humming to ourselves and following our social media strategy, when, suddenly...
What can we do when a platform like Facebook decides to change all the rules for what works and what doesn't? We social media marketers can either stand back and do nothing, or we can channel our inner James Bond and show those algorithm updates who's in charge.
Put down the martini, agent; it's time to prepare you for your next mission. Here are the latest updates that can impact your social media strategy, and what you can do about it.
What’s “on fleek” with the kids these days? What types of platforms are your key demographics using? Is Snapchat still a thing? The Pew Research Center just released their latest Social Media Use in 2018 report, examining how the social media landscape has changed this past year. The short version:
- Where my people at? Pretty much all Americans use Facebook (68%) and YouTube (73%). And while older Americans may be rolling their eyes at those youths Snapchatting away, Snapchat and Instagram are still very popular among younger demographics.
- Younger adults use a lot of social media. 88% of 18- to 29-year-olds use some sort of social media, compared to only 37% of those 65 and older.
- It’s a niche market. Other than Facebook, different social platforms cater to different subsets of the population, with college grads heavily using LinkedIn and the ladies of the Internet gathering around Pinterest. Pay attention to this if you're using social to reach a specific target audience (and if you're subscribed to this weekly email, y'are!).
- People use social every. single. day. About 75% of Facebook users and 60% of Snapchat and Instagram users visit the sites daily, and probably more than once.
- Not everyone is on everything. In fact, the average American is only on 3 out of 8 platforms.
Why should you care? If you haven't defined your target audience in terms of their ages, behaviors, income ranges, hobbies... it's time. Social channels like Instagram can be supes useful for reaching millennials, but it’s hard to find older demographics on platforms other than Facebook and Youtube. Social isn’t a ready-made magic way to reach everyone; you should understand how your audience actively uses a channel and design your strategy around that. Also, we know we get preachy about the power of video, but YouTube isn’t going anywhere! As more people prefer viewing to reading, and as Facebook shifts away from prioritizing video as much as they have been for the past year or two, make this the year you finally get around to doing more video. (Psst.. Setting up your YouTube channel for greatness will be a future Slice!)
Twitter’s Secret Save
Twitter has launched a much anticipated “bookmark” feature. Now you can easily hit the share icon under a Tweet and “Add Tweet to Bookmarks" to save that hot take on the latest White House gossip in a private way. You can view these Saved for Later posts under Bookmarks, from your profile icon menu. And the best part? They’re just for you.
Why should you care? Not sure why this matters for your business? Using this tool you can do amazing things for your company, like bookmarking customer tweets, keeping a very secret eye on your competitors, and researching new ideas. Try it out!
One Facebook Experiment Down, Another to Go
Remember the all out panic when Facebook was experimenting with an “Explore” tab, which would essentially separate all stories from Company Pages away from your newsfeed? Companies were freaked at the possibility that their Facebook reach would tank. Well, Facebook axed it due to low customer satisfaction, so you exhale. But stay alert, as more experiments on content from brands are likely to come.
On a lighter note, Facebook is experimenting in a different way, to mimic how people tend to speak to their devices now (even if they creepily laugh at you) instead of typing. Start practicing your best podcast-ready voice because soon voice clips might be an option for a status update. (It's also worth acknowledging that as voice-activated devices becomes even more of a thing, there are still problems for anyone with an accent.)
Why should you care? Even though Facebook shut down the Explore experiment, with things like the recent Newsfeed algorithm change, never forget that Facebook can and will suddenly make changes that can upend your strategy. Don’t rely too heavily on Facebook (or any one channel for that matter) and try to diversify your digital marketing efforts, so one little change won’t tank your entire business.
New Kid on the Block
Have you heard of Vero? It’s been around since 2015, but in the last week alone a million people signed up for this new social media app. It’s similar to Instagram; you can share photos, videos, music, etc. onto a chronological feed, but the company super-duper promises to remain ad-free. Instead, they are planning to charge a small annual fee so that they're not beholden to advertisers. Only time will tell if this is going anywhere, but if you're intrigued or want to stick it to Facebook a little bit, go ahead and sign up for the beta.
Why should you care? Social media platforms can go from relatively obscure to huge in a week, and Vero's getting a lot of attention. (This happened with Snapchat too!) Always keep your eyes out to see how the social media tides are turning and don’t be afraid to give a new app a quick download to try it out. You might get a great preview of a new feature that will be everywhere in a few months, or you might find an awesome new customer base on a platform that's small but full of engaged users.
Always be willing to try something new, and don't worry -- we'll always be the Q to your 007.