Tuesday, 14 June 2016

Social Media Strategy: What's New with Platforms

The whole marketing landscape has changed with the introduction of social media. No matter what type of business you own, what size that business is, or who you're selling to, social media is a must for any company. And because we find social media so important, we have updated our recent blog post about the topic to reflect changes with certain platforms.

Social media allows us, as marketers, to have an easy-to-use and powerful tool at our finger tips that shares a single piece of content all over the world in seconds. So, not only knowing where your audience is, but also keeping up-to-date with platform changes is key to your business' success on social media. Let's review some of the most popular social media platforms, and what you need to know about their recent updates:

Instagram

Gender: More Women than Men
Most Popular with Ages: 18-29
Number of Active Users: 400 Million

Since we wrote the original version of this blog, Instagram has surpassed both Twitter and LinkedIn for the number of active users. This platform is centered around images and short videos lasting no more than 60 seconds, which increased from 15 seconds in April 2016. Brands are participating through hashtags and posting images, image series, or short engaging videos that users can relate to. Make sure your imagery is visually appealing and mimics your brand’s personality. If you don’t have a tangible product to push, this is a great platform to give your consumers a behind-the-scenes look at how your business functions.

In May 2016, Instagram launched a new Facebook-like algorithm that shows users what the app believes the users want to see, instead of posts appearing chronologically. After the update, posts from less popular accounts will likely get buried in users' timelines. For small businesses, this will most likely result not only in a drop in engagement, but also a potential drop in customers and sales. Educating your customers on this change, and how they can customize their profile and actions in the app to trick the algorithm, is key. You have two options as a small business owner. First, encourage your followers to seek your business’ posts out and engage with them. Alternatively, encourage your followers to click on the triple dots at the top right of your business’ photo or profile and select ‘Turn On Post Notifications’.

Twitter

Gender: Slightly more Men than Women
Most Popular with Ages: 18-50
Number of Active Users: 320 Million

Twitter is described as a “microblogging site”, which really just means the short content typically consists of informational updates that followers can subscribe to, just like blogs. Very short in fact, less than 140 characters per post. This platform is ideal for companies who are trying to market to and engage with a younger audience. Twitter is utilizes 2-way communication, so brands typically use this platform as a way to increase dialogue with their followers. However, be warned, your content MUST be engaging and memorable. Competition on this platform is high, with over 6,000 tweets being sent every minute. If your content is not engaging, you will be scrolled past.

In the coming months, Twitter plans to make changes to simplify tweets and decrease what counts toward your 140 characters. So for example, @names in replies, links and media attachments, like photos, GIFs, videos, and polls, will no longer count toward your valuable characters. Twitter has not announced the official release date for these updates, so stay tuned!

Snapchat 

Gender: Equally Men and Women
Most Popular with Ages: 13-17 and Millennials
Number of Active Users: 200 million

Snapchat is a mobile app that allows you to send videos and pictures, both of which will self-destruct, unless the recipient saves that image, after a few seconds of a person viewing them. One con to this platform is that the demographic is very specific. Also, all content has to be created natively on the app, so no professional photos or videos allowed, unless you’re paying to advertise on the platform.

However, if it fits your brand’s goals, you have the potential to see real engagement with a younger demographic. Snapchat is a great app to show real-time, behind-the-scenes content to your followers. You can also leverage your ‘My Story’ to promote a contest, or reward your followers in other ways. But be aware, your visual content must be meaningful to your followers in order to receive engagement.

So, what social media platforms do you use for your business? What do you think about the most recent updates to these social media platforms? Share your thoughts in the comment section below or tweet @Swagger_Media! We’ll continue to update this blog as the forever-changing world of social media continues to evolve, as well as cover other topics through our Social Media Strategy blog series. Stay tuned! And if you’re ready for marketing professionals to take over, give us a call at 832.831.7592.



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