Social Media Expert & Founder of Snack Toronto.
One major thing that happened as a result of the pandemic was that many brands dramatically increased their spending on social media ads. This, paired with a captive audience of users who were forced to stay home all day with nothing but the internet to keep them occupied, allowed new social media networks to successfully break into the mainstream for the first time in over a decade, the last one being Instagram in 2010.
Last year, TikTok caught a massive break and filled in a gap created by uncertainty and fear about the future. It was easy to zone out on TikTok for a few hours or spend time learning a new dance or trend. We also saw the launch of the invitation-only platform Clubhouse. By keeping it exclusive, this audio-based platform generated huge buzz and now has more than 10 million weekly active users.
The big question I think you should be asking yourself now is, “Where do I invest my time, energy and marketing dollars?” Here’s a simple breakdown of which platforms you should be using for what.
Although incredibly oversaturated with content, users and ads, I’ve found that this space is still working the best for brands. Large percentages of people with higher incomes use Instagram, and the Shop feature, paired with Instagram ads, makes it very easy to move an Instagram follower to a purchase.
While your current marketing strategy might be 80% Instagram-focused, I recommend scaling this back a bit to 40%-65%. Keep it fresh, keep it interesting and keep it active, but know that you’re not likely to gain 10,000 followers overnight anymore. There’s too much competition in this space now. Keep your content light and not too sales-heavy (leave that for your ad strategy), and try to be as authentic and real as possible. Post behind-the-scenes photos and videos, and talk about your vision, your members and your bad ideas. Try to unpolish this space a bit to make it more appealing.
This is the big winner of 2021 so far. I recommend moving at least 25%-60% of your strategy to this space for a short period of time — just long enough to go viral and rack up a substantial following. This could mean a month, or this could mean half a year. You may be able to easily gain 10,000 followers overnight in this space because it is still so new and not overpopulated. This window is closing quickly, though, so if you want to grow a big audience quickly, do it now. In a previous article, I shared some tips on how to grow your TikTok account fast.
That being said, TikTok has only recently made its Ads Manager globally available, and there are (understandably) things that need to be improved. Wait a little while before sinking significant ad spending here.
If you are branding yourself as a thought leader for a specific niche, consider being active on Clubhouse. It might mean being a part of a discussion once a day. This could mean 10%-20% of your strategy. Once you’ve contributed enough to other discussions, you can create your own Club, which can position you as a leader for a specific niche. The kinds of discussions you can participate in or lead could be specific to your location, but you also could host Q&As or even give some free advice to entice customers.
If your company is product-based and you are not the face of your brand, this platform likely is not for you.
So What About The Rest Of The Major Platforms?
Facebook has had a solid run. You can still dump a small amount of your budget into increasing organic Facebook likes each month, but in my view, the platform has become so complicated and unappealing for many brands and users alike. Feel free to keep your pages active — sharing to Facebook from Instagram is a key feature — but I don’t recommend making content specifically for this platform first anymore.
I’ve found that Twitter tends to be more about the replies than it is about the content you put out, so I wouldn’t make it a major part of your social media strategy in 2021. I recommend staying active but not focusing heavily on it. Stay up to date on world events (if it’s part of your PR strategy), and engage with other accounts that engage with you.
YouTube is the second-largest search engine (behind Google, of course), but I find it to be cumbersome from a mobile user standpoint. Why can’t you listen to a video without having the app open on your phone screen?
If you have an existing YouTube audience, this is the only reason I would recommend you continue to use it. Otherwise, make the switch to TikTok.
I don’t know many smaller brands that use Snapchat as part of their normal marketing strategy, but this is an active space to watch if you have the resources to invest in it.
Video is the future. From what I’ve seen, both Facebook and Instagram have been pushing this message. But TikTok beat them to the punch with a better app. Don’t miss this window to grow your TikTok account. Instagram and Clubhouse are the other major platforms where I recommend spending the biggest chunks of your time.
Instagram Is Rolling Out Reels Replies, And Will Be Testing A New Feature Which Informs …
Instagram has added a few more social features to the platform, with Reels Replies being rolled out. Along with the Replies, anew feature is being tested that shows when two users are active together in the same chat.
Reels has been performing much better than perhaps even Instagram ever anticipated. The TikTok-inspired new video format (which officially claims to have absolutely no relation to the former) had some trouble really finding its footing initially. However, Reels has grown massively and while it may not be a source of the most direct competition to TikTok, it is indeed a worthy alternative.
Reels has grown to the point that it has a massive creator program attached to it, and the video format has even been migrated to Facebook with the goal of generating further user interest there. Naturally, with such a successful virtual goldmine on its hands, Instagram has been hard at work developing new features and interface updates for Reels, integrating it more and more seamlessly into the rest of the social media platform. Features such as Reels Replies are a major part of such attempts at integration.
Reels Visual Replies are essentially just what they sound like: A Reel that is being used to reply to someone. It’s a feature that’s been seen frequently across TikTok as well. Reel Replies essentially take a user’s comments, and reply to them in video format. The comment will then show up within the Reel itself as a text-box, taking up some amount of space, and showing both the user who issued said comment along with the text. The text-box is apparently adjustable, with users having the ability to move it around and change its size depending on where it obstructs one’s Reel the least.
Overall, it’s a fun addition to the Reels format, even if the credit should be going to TikTok first. At any rate, it’s an example of Instagram really utilizing Reels’ social media capabilities, outside of just serving it up as a form of entertainment.
Speaking of social media capabilities, a new feature might help alleviate one of the most common frustrations encountered across all such platforms. Isn’t it annoying when you see that a friend’s online, but isn’t replying to your chat? Sure, they’ve probably just put their phone down to run a quick errand, but there’s no way for you to know, right? Well, there sort of is now! Instagram is beta testing a new feature via which if both users are active within a chat, the platform will display that accordingly. It’s a work-around, sure, and one that’s currently being tested for usefulness, but it’s still a very nice, and even fresh, addition to the social media game.
— Yash Joshi (@MeYashjoshi) December 10, 2021
5 apps for scheduling Instagram posts on iPhone and Android
Alright, we get it. You’re an Instagram Nostradamus.
You know exactly what you want to post and when you’re gonna want to post it. Maybe there’s a meme or comment you want to make that you know will be totally relevant for a future moment or event. Or it could be that you’re an influencer and you want to make sure you keep a steady stream of content coming, so you want to schedule posts for times when you know you won’t be active (or won’t have internet access).
You’ll be happy to know there are apps that are specialized for just such situations. So listen up, InstaNostradamuses…Instagrostra…Instadam…Insta…uh…you guys (we’ll workshop it. No we won’t. We’ll probably just abandon that effort completely. You’re welcome) — these are the Instagram-post-scheduling apps for you.
While all of the iPhone apps below are free to download, they all have some in-app purchases.
We’ll start with “official partner” of Instagram, itself, Planoly — an Instaplanner that uses a grid to let you plan, schedule, and publish posts (as well as Reels) on Instagram. The app also lets you see post metrics and analytics so you can make sure your post didn’t flop.
Credit: buffer / app store
Buffer is another Instagram post scheduler that helps you plan your posts and analyze feedback once they’re published. Use a calendar view to drag and drop posts into days/time slots for easy scheduling.
Credit: preview / app store
Preview offers typical post-scheduling tools and analytics along with a few helpful extras. Get caption ideas, recommendations for hashtags, and more.
Credit: content office / app store
An Instagram post scheduler with a visual boost, Content Office allows users to plan and schedule Instagram posts while learning “marketing and visual guides to grow your brand on Instagram.” Like aesthetics and using visuals to create cohesive themes? Maybe this is the Instaplanner for you.
Content Office is available for iOS on the Apple App Store.
Credit: plann / apple store
You’ll never guess what “Plann” lets you do…
Aside from scheduling posts, get content ideas and recommendations, as well as strategy tips to ensure you’re maximizing your Instagram engagement. Ever wonder when the best time to post something is? Plann can offer you some help with that.
Social networking websites launch features to encourage users to get boosters
From Friday, users will be able to update their profiles with frames or stickers to show that they have had their top-up jab or aim to when they become eligible.
It follows on from people previously being able to show they have had their first and second jabs on certain social networking websites and apps.
TikTok also held a “grab a jab” event in London earlier this year.
I urge everyone who is eligible – don’t delay, get your vaccine or top up jab today to protect yourself and your loved ones
More than 16 million booster vaccines have now been given across the UK.
People who are aged 40 and above and received their second dose of their vaccine at least six months ago are currently eligible to have their booster.
A new campaign advert is also being launched on Friday, which shows how Covid-19 can build up in enclosed spaces and how to prevent that from happening.
Vaccines minister Maggie Throup said: “Getting your booster is one of the most important things you can do to protect yourself and your family this winter.
“It is fantastic to see some of the biggest household names further back the phenomenal vaccine rollout, allowing their users to proudly display that they have played their part in helping us build a wall of defence across the country.
“I urge everyone who is eligible – don’t delay, get your vaccine or top-up jab today to protect yourself and your loved ones.”