Oh does it ever end? Social media changes, I mean... No, it doesn't. I know for most business owners and marketers this is frustrating, but the constant updates and upgrades of how social media works help the best and most innovative shine.
That being said, you've probably seen some of the recent cosmetic changes on most big social media channels. But have you analysed what this really means for your business and marketing strategy? And more so, are social media changes in 2020, just a few new tweaks on the appearance or do they change the game entirely?
Let's start with the giant. The changes Facebook has been planning since the beginning of 2019 are finally being rolled out to most users. The menu got a complete makeover and instead of a list of options and shortcuts you now have buttons. In a way this makes navigation easier, but it does require a couple of days to get used to the new look.
Now, the more important change relates to the new feature of deleting your browsing history. You are probably aware that Facebook uses the data website cookies collect for retargeting ads. This was a great help for marketers and increased conversion rates for many paid ads on both Facebook and Instagram.
What does that really mean to you if you heavily rely on Facebook ads for retargeting? Well, it is unlikely that the effect will be massive in the near future, because the feature was globally released only recently. However, in the long run, if the majority of Facebook users decide to clear their browsing history, your Facebook pixel practically becomes irrelevant.
Change of strategy? Oh, yes! A good Facebook funnel so far was traffic ads, followed by conversion ads. Now, that may no longer work if a large number of Facebook users decide to use the new feature. What's your option then?
Instead of sending people to your website and getting the data from there, focus on building custom audience and warming it up by getting them to perform actions on Facebook. These could be video views, engagements on your posts, page likes, event responses, sending messages and so on. You've got to know Facebook was always going to try to keep everyone on the platform and penalise in some way every attempt to send people elsewhere.
Messenger also got a revamp. At the bottom of the app you only have two buttons - chats and people. Your filtered messages are stored in a spam folder and when you receive a message request from a person who is not connected with you on Facebook it now appears as a notification on your profile picture on Messenger. That's a good change because it decreases a chance of you missing an important message from a potential new client.
Big news! You can now add more than one account on Messenger and easily switch between the two. This is such a great feature and very helpful for consultants and other service providers who use their Facebook profile for work. Yes, we know we are not supposed to use personal Facebook accounts for business. But when your brand is based on your personality you are bound to get messages from people who are interested in your services and not just being your friends. In that sense, it is nice to be able to separate personal from business conversations.
The first thing we need to talk about on Instagram is the hashtag reach. Many marketers reported they've seen a significant drop in hashtag reach in February. Some said it got back to normal in a couple of days, others confirmed it remained low. Accounts that previously got 60%-80% reach from hashtags now only get 5%-10%. This is incredibly low and a big problem for many businesses as this is the main avenue you get exposure to new accounts on Instagram. What's the solution?
The most popular hashtags definitely don't work. Don't aim for tags with several million publications on because your post will get lost in the volume within seconds. In fact, according to the recommendations of a lot of experienced social media managers, you should aim for hashtags around but under 300k publications.
Another issue with hashtags that may be hurting your post and account visibility is the use of custom hashtags. They are good for building brand recognition and a loyal community, however, according to Instagram, that has to come a little later. Apparently, custom hashtags are safe to use only on verified accounts (you know, the ones with the blue tick). So, if you are a newbie with less than 10,000 followers on your account, it would be best not to use custom hashtags.
Instagram has also introduced a new feature, which helps you analyse your followers. When you tap on your followers count you can now see they are split into two groups - least interacted with and most shown in feed. Why is this important? Well, Facebook and Instagram said repeatedly they are now all about forming meaningful relationships. Interaction between accounts will be one of the main deciders on how big your account reach will be. Also, by seeing the accounts you follow but interact the least with may help you get rid of the content you don't like or is not relevant to your brand. Follow only accounts that you would genuinely interact with as this will boost your reach.
It's taken them a while, but they are getting on the same boat as everyone else! Twitter is testing a new feature, which will allow users to post tweets, which disappear in 24 hours. Another temporary content craze. In the case of Twitter this would work really well for most accounts, but as with other platforms it builds up a lot of questions about accountability and safety.
Temporary tweets will be called "fleets" and can't be liked or retweeted. Public replies will also not be an option, but users can reply to a fleet in a direct message. All in line with the narrative of encouraging private interaction and conversations on social media.
One way this is great for business, it builds anticipation and urges people to act, especially when you post about a time limited offer or a competition.
Social Media Channels to Watch
Pinterest is now the second largest social media in the USA and it rapidly growing in the UK. Since Instagram is now full of brands and it is very difficult to establish a strong consumer brand relationship on there (people are just sick of seeing promo content from businesses) a lot of marketers are moving to Pinterest. The platform now has many exciting features, which fill in previous gaps and make it totally competitive with the other well-known social media giants.
Tik-tok is the other social media platform you should definitely get your hands on. If you remember Instagram was once a gold mine for businesses who were smart enough to get on there in its early stages. That power and glory is now almost over, but TikTok is the next success train you certainly don't want to miss.
Best advice I'd give you - research how Pinterest and TikTok work and build a strategy for your business. Not only you won't regret the time you spend doing that, but you'll also thank me in the near future.
You are welcome!