Our Best Tips for Social Media in 2018
We’re well into 2018 and so far, it’s been a wild ride in the world of social media marketing! Even before #Facebookgate, Mark Zuckerberg had us panicking with the changes to Facebook and Instagram algorithms. There was also a change in Twitter’s policy; in February, the platform announced it would no longer accept recycled tweets. In both of these instances, it meant businesses would have to adjust their online marketing strategies in order to keep their content in front of as many eyeballs as possible.
There’s no doubt about it, in order to see a return on investment in social media marketing, it’s important to keep up with all of the changes and understand the best practices of online marketing. The social media landscape is never done evolving, so it’s important to adopt the mindset that nothing is permanent and to always be ready to adapt to changes when they inevitably occur.
As the captain here at Barker Social, I thought I’d whip up some of my best tips and considerations for social media marketing so far in 2018.
Facebook Is NOT Dead
Sure, a lot of people were justifiably ticked off about Facebook’s privacy breach, aka the Cambridge Analytica scandal. Some people even left Facebook as a result—but not many. Most people are still using Facebook, even if some are using it as a platform to complain about Facebook (it’s actually kind of amusing).
As a business, you still need Facebook. Until another platform comes along and manages to win over that dominant market share, you would be crazy to give up using Facebook as part of your marketing strategy. Almost everyone is still on Facebook, and if someone looks for your business page and you either don’t have one or your content is out of date, it’s going to reflect poorly on your brand. If your content isn’t fresh, the perception will be that your business isn’t active and that you’re behind the times.
The moral of the story here is don’t give up on Facebook; it’s still the most popular social media platform. Even if you decide to scale back your personal usage of the platform, your business page should be kept alive and consistently updated as part of your social media best practices.
Boosting Is a MUST
While boosting posts was important in previous years, it has become even more important in 2018 with Facebook’s most recent changes to its algorithms. Organic reach (that is, the number of people who will see your posts on their newsfeeds when you haven’t paid to boost) has become almost non-existent on Facebook. Even though business owners may resent the platform’s new algorithms and ever-changing policies, it’s still important to maintain a presence on Facebook (as well as post original, high-quality content on your website).
You must have a boosting budget for Facebook in particular, but also for Instagram—even if that budget is very small. We always advise that small businesses start with a small budget (as low as $25 a month) to drive at least a little bit of traffic to their associated accounts. A little boosting can go a long way to ensure that you get your content in front of your customers. It’s an important way of making sure that your content actually reaches your followers or new potential customers.
Once you have a budget of $100 or more, we advise buying Facebook ads using the Facebook Business Manager. You have a lot more control over your post targeting when you use the advertising tool than you do when you just use the boosting option.
Note: Graphics on either Facebook or Instagram can only be boosted if they contain less than 20% text.
Building Your Brand vs. Maintaining Your Brand
It’s up to you to decide if you want to a) use Facebook more aggressively to build your brand and expand your reach or b) use Facebook to simply maintain your brand for people who actively visit your page. If the latter, maintaining your brand’s page with updates of at least once a week is a necessity if you’re a contemporary business. For a more aggressive approach that’s geared towards building your brand, daily posting to Facebook plus a budget to boost your posts and run cost-per-click ads to extend your visibility are worthwhile investments.
Watch Out for the Instagram Shadowban
Shadowbanning is the practice of blocking a user or their content from a social media platform’s community, but doing so in a way in which the user does not know they have been blocked or banned. Instagram has called its shadowban a glitch, not an intended ban, but it’s still an active challenge for brands and something you need to watch out for.
In order to avoid being shadowbanned, or to come back from it, businesses need to remember to NOT ACT LIKE A ROBOT. Turn off any automation you may have set up, don’t spam your followers, and don’t engage in frequent repetitive behaviours (such as “liking” every image you come across). Basically, if a bot would do it, don’t do it. This is my #1 tip and it’s huge for Instagram, but keep it in mind for all the other social media platforms too!
It’s also important to mix up your hashtags and consider cutting down on how many you’re using. You’re allowed to use up to 30 hashtags on Instagram but that doesn’t mean you should. Change up your list regularly. Also, never play games for attention—don’t over-post, over-follow, or over-unfollow other accounts! This all comes back to not acting like a robot; behave like a normal human and you should be a-okay.
Use Appropriate Content for Each Platform
Another thing to watch out for is the difference in culture from platform to platform—and yes, each social media platform does have its own culture! The way that you post something on Facebook should be different than how you post something on Instagram or Twitter. For example, while allowed, putting hashtags in the middle of sentences on Facebook or LinkedIn is seen as annoying, but doing so on Twitter is common practice.
Another example? Watch out when you post content from Instagram directly to Facebook! When sharing a post from Instagram, always adjust the text for optimal Facebook viewing so your post won’t say things like “link in bio!” and contain way too many hashtags when it’s posted to Facebook. Don’t be in such a hurry! Consider how content is experienced by users on each individual social platform you are using, and take the time to tailor it accordingly.
And, as a side-note, don’t ever include a link in your Instagram post’s text. Instagram is not able to hyperlink, so no one can click on your written links. Including links with your posts makes it look like you copy/pasted from elsewhere without thought, or that a bot did it for you. You get one hyperlink only on Instagram—in your bio at the top of your profile—so you have to update that link and use your post’s text to drive people there (“link in bio!”) if you want to drive a specific call to action.
Choose at Least TWO Platforms
I really believe that almost every business needs to be active on Facebook and that most businesses should be on at least one—if not two—other platforms as well. Depending on your industry, these are the most likely combinations:
- LinkedIn (including your personal LinkedIn)
Consumer services and products:
- And *maybe* Pinterest
Okay, so everything I’ve mentioned so far is important to consider when marketing on social media in 2018. But I thought I’d wrap up this article by sharing my top tips for social media in 2018 in very digestible form. Voila:
My Top Three Tips for Social Media:
1. DON’T ACT LIKE A ROBOT
Don’t act like a robot and definitely don’t use bots! This rule applies more to the use of Instagram than to Facebook, but it’s true when it comes to any social platform. Don’t use services that automatically follow people and don’t buy followers. (Yes, you are able to buy followers, but they’re fake and post inappropriate content. Just don’t do it!) Today’s savvy social media users can smell robot-like behaviour from a mile away, and it’s a huge turn off. The algorithms will get you for this behaviour every time.
2. IT’S NOT ABOUT YOU
Share content that’s relevant and interesting to your target customers. Recognize other people—from giving shout outs to your customers to giving credit to other leaders in your industry, share the love! When you tag other people in your posts you can stimulate additional interest and comments, and the more comments you get, the more your content will gain visibility through the algorithms.
3. ASK QUESTIONS TO STIMULATE CONVERSATION
This is an extension of tip #2. Get people talking! You want to throw the ball back in other people’s courts. This means not only asking questions in your original post but when people reply, asking them additional questions so that the conversation doesn’t die. The more engagement you get, the more visibility you get, and that’s the best way to perpetuate ongoing responses that will boost you in the algorithms.
So there you have it! I hope you can dive into your social marketing without feeling fearful or resentful of the changes that these platforms have implemented so far this year. However, if you do need help with your Facebook ads, Instagram content, or reaching a wider audience on any of the social media platforms, get in touch! We’re always happy to help!