Whether it be personal or business, there is an overwhelming amount of options for social media platforms to sign up for. Like our constantly expanding universe, social is an ever changing and developing space. With that being said, it can be a little daunting trying to decide what platforms to engage in, and what platforms should be used for personal life vs. business.
You have; Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, Snapchat, WhatsApp, Twitter, Pinterest, and (to my bewilderment) TikTok, just to rattle off a few. Yesterday, I watched in horror on the train as a toddler in a pram navigated mums iPhone, clicked on Snapchat and started using the cat filter on her face. Can someone please explain how it took me 3 days to understand how to “loop” a snapchat video, but this 2-year-old understands how to use filters already?
So how do we keep up?
My 3 top ways to help keep in touch with the latest social media wave:
Follow the social media experts
Jay Baer, Sean Gardner, and Ann Handley come to mind. Regardless of whether you consider yourself an expert or a beginner, following the guru’s is an easy way to stay on top of the latest trends, apps, tips or tricks. Do your research and pick a few key social geeks to keep an eye on. My tip - don’t go crazy, less is more in this instance, be careful not to overload the senses with a constant bombardment of opinions and data on your feed.
Follow the aggregators
This one is as easy as reading the morning news. Add some aggregators to your bookmark bar and away you go! Some good examples are Mumbrella and Mashable. Basically, you can keep on top of “What’s Hot” and “What’s rising”, and most importantly you can see the cute trending Baby Yoda memes for this week. Some of this info can be super helpful.
Follow the kids!
Saying this makes me feel a lot older than it should… but see what the kids are up to at the moment! Ask them what’s the latest “cool” app is (do kids even say the word cool anymore?). But really, the millennials are by far in the lead for not only their technology use but specifically for their social media use – no shock there.
What should businesses have as a basic social media presence?
This is a question I hear a lot – what social platforms are best for my business? I think it is important to understand that each business and industry is different, therefore certain platforms may work better for your business than for others. Let’s compare a finance business to a creative agency, we could probably agree that TikTok and snapchat aren’t as necessary for the finance business but could be useful for a creative agency.
It can also be seen that each platform has a specific demographic of users, some examples below:
Facebook - Men and women, ages 18-65 or older
LinkedIn - Men and women, ages 25-64
Instagram - Men and women, ages 18-64
Twitter - Men and women, ages 18-49
If we are talking bare minimum, I would say your business needs; Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram and Twitter. Companies can use surveys or other methods to target the correct audiences and demographics.
While we are on the topic, I would like to stress the importance of personal LinkedIn profiles - and not just having them, but actually keeping them up to date! As a recruiter myself, there is nothing more frustrating than finding someone’s LinkedIn, but it hasn’t been updated since the dark ages. A lot of recruiters will probably dismiss “Janet” if her profile hasn’t been updated for 3 years and it looks like she is still in a junior role as opposed to her current position. It will also benefit businesses to have their staff update their LinkedIn profiles, showing staff progression within the company etc.
Upcoming social media trends for 2020
Video content – staying strong
Video content has been on the rise for a while and will continue to rise and likely almost overtake Image and written content. We have already seen this trend and rise in the development of more video-based social media applications like Vine and then more recently TikTok (I still have no idea how to use TikTok by the way).
Stories are in and posts are out (well not completely out, but you know what I mean)
Stories are exactly how they sound – they give the user an opportunity to tell a story. If you use Instagram, Facebook or snapchat you would likely have already discovered that there has been an increase in people posting images and videos directly to their “story” for all of their followers to view, this will usually expire within 24 hours.
Influencers are also out (also not completely out, but half out at least!)
Influencers are out – some influencers even use “fake” or “bought” likes sometimes making them seem untrustworthy. A lot of influencers are also being deemed entitled – that is they are getting “freebies” from companies such as paid trips and free products, in exchange for posting up a snap advertising the product.
Now we will see an increase in companies using influencers that are more focused on smaller target groups (this loops us back to my point earlier about businesses targeting their audience), sometimes referred to as “communities”, with only a few thousand followers rather than in the millions. Sorry, Kylie.
So, to hammer my point home; follow the experts, follow the aggregators, and follow the new generation. Get yourself or your business onto the relevant platforms and you will start seeing the impact in no time. As my friend Picasso once said - “Only put off until tomorrow what you are willing to die having left undone”.