The past year has been a blur in many respects. To say social media is a fast-moving space is a little like saying the line at Starbucks at 8am is long and winding. Ok, so what else is new? Here are a few predictions and some advice for the year ahead if you want to grow your social audience – and who doesn’t?
Lean in to Twitter (It’s not dying, folks)
It amazes me every time I read or hear that Twitter is at death’s door, with constant handwringing on how to grow the audience, when Twitter already has a giant-sized impact on our politics and culture. Twitter is our modern day global newspaper. Not everyone pays attention, but 99% of the people who matter (i.e. thought leaders) do. Some things are just important to have and support — and Twitter long ago proved its relevance (hello, 2016 election?). 2017 will be the year that investors wake up to the treasure that it is and start thinking differently about its mission (not just to make money). In the meantime, if Twitter really wants to become more welcoming to new users, it should allow you do do things like edit your work, something Facebook and Instagram handle pretty well. Twitter boss Jack Dorsey has asked for ideas on new features:
Following in the footsteps of Brian Chesky: what's the most important thing you want to see Twitter improve or create in 2017? #Twitter2017
— jack (@jack) December 29, 2016
And it’s impressive that he summarized it all in a tweet:
Thanks for all the feedback yesterday! 4 clear themes you want us to work on: abuse, edit, topics & interests, and conversations. https://t.co/hMJMZ3P0Rz
— jack (@jack) December 30, 2016
So don’t count Twitter out – and if anything, double down on the time you invest in the platform. It is far more meaningful to personal brands because of the ability (still) to reach all followers and connect with other influencers. Let’s hope that’s one thing @jack doesn’t change.
Commenting is the new share
It takes zero effort to touch a screen or click a mouse to like or share someone’s post. It takes a lot more than that to compose a reply or comment. Show me a Facebook fan page where the commenting runs on and on — and I’ll show you a page that is destined for greatness. Social has always been about conversation, but being able to generate conversation is the gift that separates the best from the rest. It’s like being a talk show host. You know exactly the right questions to ask about that top-of-mind subject. Usually short and to the point. Exposing a personal vulnerability, asking for help or taking a stand requires courage, and the social audience respects that. If you do one thing in the way of a social media resolution for 2017, put much thought into what you will say to spark conversation.
Being silly is now cool (regardless of age)
Geofilters, lenses and stickers are our tools now for making someone smile. They’re the new emojis. Snapchat led the way in giving users more ways to express their creativity in posts. Sometimes an emoji is just not enough (as great as emojis are at sharing emotion). Stickers are Twitter’s version of a photo label. And anyone with an iPhone has surely noticed all of the new creative functionality baked into text messaging with the latest update. Of course, all of this eye candy obscures the photograph – and something serious photographers will never embrace. When you show you can let down your hair every once in awhile, it’s an instant bond with the majority of people on social media who are there because we are all looking for a diversion from the real work that is our lives.
Update your profile pictures now and often
A funny thing happens when you update your profile photo on Facebook. Your fans are notified. Not sure why Facebook does that, but you can work it to your advantage. We work with a variety of clients at TheSocReports who inevitably see an uptick in engagement and fan growth when they change either the headshot, profile header or both. People love it. It’s the little things – and I’m sure I would not have offered this advice a year or so ago since keeping a consistent ‘look’ across all of your social channels is generally the best way to go. But the truth is in the data. And the data says, “Swap those profile pics!”
You don’t have anything important to show live, you say? Live video is spontaneous and raw – and if you make a habit of turning on your Facebook Live or Periscope every now and then, you’ll be prepared when something truly important happens in front of you. Instagram just got into the live business too. So it’s a big party. Make 2017 your year to step out. Happy New Year, everyone!
TheSocReports believes social media isn’t an art. It’s science. Like a meteorologist tracks the weather, we monitor trends and data in social media. TheSocReports analyzes performance and metrics, compares users to their defined competitors, provides tips, education and suggestions based on activity and inspiration. TheSocReports empowers customers through a blend of personal training and data science to help them succeed in social media by seeing what they’re doing and avoid the risk of a marginal online presence.
Interested in trying TheSocReports? Subscribers get their first month free. Learn more here >