An insight into…social media

The number of active social media users has grown 10% since January 2015, taking the number to 2.31bn*.

Whether you’re a digital native or a digital immigrant (or don’t even know what those terms mean), you simply can’t ignore social media – especially as the conversations are taking place, whether you’re part of them or not.

I’d say the most difficult thing with social media is keeping up – with constant developments and new platforms popping up every now and again, it’s certainly hard to keep track.

Much like any channel, you should only focus activity on those where your audiences are and invest time and effort into making sure the content is bang on.

With plenty out there to choose from, this handy round up of recent developments with the most popular platforms will help you decide which to look at next.

Facebook
Organic post reach has been declining over the years due to growth in content volume (which makes the news feed increasingly competitive) and Facebook is trying to show content that is most relevant to the user (algorithms that prioritise those you interact with the most).

Cynics among you will argue that it’s just Facebook trying to get more revenue from advertising spend, but in a nutshell, you won’t get much traction on the platform unless you put some budget behind it.

Facebook Live, launched last year, has been bolstered with some new features which enables users to post within groups and events. It’ll be interesting to see if these developments with further affect the demise of live video streaming app Periscope.

And finally you can now ‘react’ to posts – enabling users to add an emotion by holding down the like button.

Twitter
Whilst the platform has 320m active users worldwide, it’s lacking any growth in user numbers. As discussions regarding extending the 140-character limit to 10,000 rumble on, developers have launched features including ‘while you were away’, a highlight of tweets missed since the user’s last login and ‘moments’ which collects top tweets around specific subject matter.

Most notable, though, is the introduction of the algorithm-based timeline which every platform seems to be adopting – prioritising content that meets and reflects engagement preferences, instead of displaying posts in chronological order.

LinkedIn
Aside from the launch of a new app, LinkedIn hasn’t changed much at all. Developers ‘streamlined the app into five core areas – Your Feed, Me, My Network, Messaging, and Search – yet opinions seem to be split regarding its useability.

Instagram
As with Twitter, Instagram’s move to an algorithm-based timeline has really set the cat amongst the pigeons, angering any people – most notably my colleague, Jenny, who’s had to find other ways to fuel her Kardashian obsession!

Users now have to ‘opt in’ to receive updates from the accounts they are following, rather than them be shown in chronological order, so technology is deciding what you should see.

Jenny’s blog tells you everything you need to know about this one. 

Periscope
Aside from the furore that surrounded #DrummondPuddleWatch back in January (if you missed this one, a creative agency in Newcastle streamed live footage of a puddle?!) Periscope has done little to impress.

Multiple news stories about the channel being used to live stream criminal activity will no doubt cause damage, so it’ll be interesting to see how this one pans out over the coming months.

To round up this social media digest, I just wanted to leave you with some parting advice:

1) Don’t be on a channel just for the sake of it. Make sure it’s right for your audience(s)
2) Social media success isn’t about followers, it’s about engagement. Interactions are much more powerful and never, ever ignore anybody!
3) Be consistent. I don’t mean post the same thing on each channel, just make sure you’re tailoring language and content to suit the channel and its audiences
4) Be honest. Costa has recently found itself in hot water after being dishonest regarding the size and value of its drinks, yet many seem more bothered about the fact that they lied about it before coming clean
5) Time is money. Social media will only work if you have a proper plan and dedicate time to getting things right.

* Source: www.smartinsights.com

 

 

April 14, 2016 - This article was written by Jenny Woolley

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