Social Media marketing - Are you controlling it or is it controlling you?

Kim Morrison

Social media marketing is a good way to get the word out about your business, products and/or services. But, there are times when you have to be cognisant of the fact that social media marketing has the potential to draw you in and become a major time absorber.

If you want to ensure that social media is not controlling you, follow these tips.

HAVE A PLAN OR ACTION

Don’t do anything without a plan. You need a satnav to get to your destination; you also need a plan to guide your social media marketing to ensure that it will work well for your business.

CREATE A SOCIAL MEDIA CONTENT CALENDAR

Plan ahead according to the products and services you want to promote to craft posts and updates that have a purpose. If you have a calendar with pre-written posts, you can easily schedule them to work with your product launches and other events.

AVOID TIME-SUCKING ACTIVITIES

You know it is simple to get sucked into yet another personality quiz or discussions about that delicious plate of pasta your friend just made, not to mention all the games – but don’t do it. It’s fine to have fun, but do it after your work is complete.

OUTSOURCE SCHEDULING

Once you create a content calendar that matches your promotions you can give the list of updates to someone else to schedule and monitor. However, don’t make that an excuse not to engage personally.

TAKE TIME TO COMMENT AND ENGAGE

Even if you outsource parts of your social media marketing, be sure to personally comment and engage your followers so that they realise you are a real person they can get to know, like and trust.

DO MORE OF WHAT WORKS

If you do something that works, do more of it and less of what doesn’t. Monitor the metrics of everything that you do so that you are positive about what is working and what is not.

EACH POST NEEDS A REASON FOR BEING

Don’t post something without a purpose. If you don’t know why you are posting it, don’t bother.

DON’T FORGET YOUR CALL TO ACTION

Everything you do should have a CTA. Whether it is to share, follow, or click, ensure clarity about what you want your audience members to do. If they know what you want them to do, they’re more likely to do it.

Using social media correctly to market your business is an essential element today in the world of advertising and marketing. Social media marketing can be very effective and inexpensive if you are careful not to waste time and effort on messing around, becoming distracted and doing things that have no purpose.

BREAKING NEWS

Facebook

Facebook Starts Training Consumers on News Feed Changes: This past week, Facebook users were greeted with a card at the top of the news feed notifying them Facebook is “making some updates so you see more from [friends and family]” and a link to a Help Center page that explains “what kinds of posts [they] will see in News Feed.” The post notes that the content users are seeing first in their news feed is influenced by their connections and activity on Facebook. It also notes that the number of comments, likes, and reactions on a post influences how high it will appear in the news feed.

Facebook Announces Upcoming Changes to Messenger: Facebook shared its 2018 plans for Messenger, which include “massively simplifying and streamlining Messenger.” According to the company announcement, this entails shaping the platform to become “a true Customer Care channel” and driving richer messaging experiences for all types of businesses and brands. Facebook will also continue to encourage more real-time communication, roll out more features and tools, and invest in more visual features on Messenger this year.

Facebook Tests New Stories Features for the Desktop: Facebook is testing the option to create and share stories from Facebook on the desktop, as well as moving them to a much more prominent placement at the top of the news feed instead of in the sidebar. Previously, Facebook users on the web could only consume stories that had to be created on mobile.

Facebook “Quiet Mode” Feature for Videos Rolls Out to Mobile: Last month, Facebook added a Quiet Mode button that allows videos to continue playing without the disruption of the comments and reactions to the video on the desktop. It appears that this button has now been expanded to the mobile app.

Facebook Launches a New List Post Feature: It appears that Facebook introduced a new post feature called List that allows users to create a numbered list with a title. Facebook also offers suggestions on types of lists to create such as “My goals for 2018” and “My lifetime bucket list.”

Facebook Business Manager Rolls Out a New Test and Learn Tool: Under the Measure and Report section of Facebook’s Business Manager, there’s a new Test and Learn tool that allows admins “to easily create advertising tests that help [them] find the strategies that work best for [their] business.”

Facebook Now Asks Your Goals When Boosting Posts: Facebook now asks what marketers’ goals are when they boost a post. They can select from two options, either “get likes, comments, and shares” or “engage and chat with potential customers.” Facebook will automatically show the posts to people who are most likely to engage with it.

Instagram

Instagram Introduces GIF Stickers and Ability to Upload Photos and Videos of Any Size to Stories: Instagram announced that users can now “add fun, expressive GIF stickers to any photo or video” in their story. There are now “hundreds of thousands of moving stickers powered by GIPHY” to select from when you add a sticker to Instagram stories. This feature will also highlight what’s currently trending on GIPHY and is available for iOS and Android as part of Instagram version 29.

Instagram also announced that in the “coming weeks,” users will be able to upload photos and videos of any size to their Instagram stories. According to Instagram, photos and videos can now be shown as a square, portrait, or landscape and any extra room will be filled with a custom colour gradient that matches the content that has been shared.

Instagram Tests Recording and Screenshot Alert Feature for Stories: Instagram is reportedly testing a new feature that notifies users when another user has taken a screenshot or a screen recording of their Instagram stories.

LinkedIn

LinkedIn Starts Rolling Out Changes to Groups: Last week, LinkedIn announced plans to reintegrate LinkedIn Groups back into the core LinkedIn experience and sunset its stand-alone iOS app for Groups as of February 15, 2018. In a follow-up email, LinkedIn notified group admins and moderators that they’ll start real-time alerts for social activities on group posts including likes, comments, and @mentions, and for membership activities like group invitations within the Notifications tab on the LinkedIn website and mobile apps.

Snapchat

Snapchat Adds Ability to Share Select Stories Beyond the App: Snapchat added the ability to share three types of Stories with other people who don’t have the app. These include Official Stories from verified accounts; Our Stories, which are hand-curated stories from specific events; and Search Stories, which are public, user-generated stories that are found by searching keywords and they can now be viewed through a new web player on Snapchat.com.

Twitter

Twitter Uses Machine Learning to Crop Photo Previews: Twitter rolled out a new tool powered by machine learning that crops thumbnails within tweets to feature the more interesting parts of the images. Twitter initially began using facial recognition to crop images to faces but found this method doesn’t work with photos of scenery, objects, text, and animals. Their solution is “cropping using saliency,” which means identifying the most interesting thing in a picture based on eye-tracking studies and other research. This update is currently being rolled out to everyone on twitter.com, iOS, and Android.

WhatsApp

WhatsApp Officially Launches WhatsApp Business App in Select Markets: WhatsApp rolled out WhatsApp Business, a new app that “will make it easier for companies to connect with customers and more convenient for [its] 1.3 billion users to chat with businesses that matter to them.” The app is currently only available for Android devices in Indonesia, Italy, Mexico, the UK, and the U.S. but is rolling out more broadly around the world “in the coming weeks.”

YouTube

YouTube Announces Tougher Policies Around Monetization and Partnerships: In light of offensive content, scandals, and community issues involving YouTube this past year, the platform announced a “new approach” to monetization and partnerships in an effort to regain advertisers’ and creators’ trust.

YouTube Expands Official Artist Channels to Include All Subscribers: Last year, YouTube launched official artist channels to make it easier for fans to find official videos, live performances, albums, and more from their favourite artists under one channel. This week, YouTube is “simplifying things even more” by bringing together all of an artist’s subscribers under their official artist channel.

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