Social media has been around for quite a while now - we're over the 'buzz' and 'hype' of it all, and it's really become part of most people's daily lives. I'm slightly relieved that we're almost at a stage where I don't have to convince businesses that they should be on social media, and our conversations have shifted more to the golden question of, "What should I post?". And what a great question it is.
I've been a little more on the observing side of social media of late, sitting back to have a look at all that's going on, rather than contributing to a huge extent. This is part because we've had a random holiday/overseas trip phase of the business which has meant we haven't been in full on work mode, and partly because I've been taking a good, hard look at my social media usage.
Something that's been really noticeable of late, is the amount of conversations around how we use social media, and how that's affecting users on a personal level. People are becoming much more conscious of their habits surrounding social media use, and many are putting measures in place to stop social media taking over their lives - removing phones from the bedroom, utilising apps to tell them how long they're spending on what platforms, limiting social media time, and going on 'unfollowing sprees.
I'm a big fan of these conversations and have been implementing all of the above myself after realising just how much time I was spending looking at other people's lives, rather than really using that time to live my own life. Through consciously thinking about what I'm interacting with an when, I've also gained a lot of insights into what content is really grabbing attention and is working for brands online, and what's not going down a treat.
Since people are adopting these behaviour changes on a larger scale, they're having an effect on the content on social media.
What this means for businesses:
Be social, and human.
Social media shook up the media game when it came about because the concept of 'user generated content' was so revolutionary. Suddenly people and businesses had control over the media they released, rather than being at the mercy of larger media companies. Then BOOM, everyone got on social media, the algorithm came into full effect, and suddenly we were a lot less in control of what we both put out ourselves, and what showed up in our news feeds. Combine that with the fact that many businesses simply saw social media as a place to 'advertise' and suddenly things got a lot less social. Long story short, thankfully we're returning to this idea that social media should be more social, and less 'marketing' media. Businesses who post engaging, interesting and thought provoking content are now being well rewarded with engagement from fans and followers, and conversely those who haven't grasped the 'social' side of social media are on a very expensive train out of social land and back to print media and TV.
Users want to see far more of your office antics and things that make your business human, rather than what sales you have on at the moment. We want to form connections with businesses on social media, and in order to do that we need to engage in 'conversations' with them online. This requires us to resonate with a business, and also have some kind of access to them so we can have that conversation. Think about how you can show your companies personality online, and how you can actually engage with fans and followers. Tone of voice used in posts, replying to comments in a fun and engaging way, and use of video content to show human faces + give context and personality.
This is why social media is really rewarding content that's creative, eye catching, and a little left field, as opposed to boring old posts. We really want to make people to stop and think about what they're scrolling past, because if they do that then they're far more likely to comment or engage with our content. The great thing is that the powers that be behind the social media algorithm are ALL FOR this great engagement. They're kinda at a stage of being like "Yea likes are cool, but have you heard about comments??". Posts with lengthy, engaging comments are being pushed much further at the moment, rather than posts that are just getting likes.
Social media is the perfect place to share and tell stories to build connection. Instead of just putting out content telling people WHAT you're doing, tell them both WHY and HOW you're doing it. Even better, get them involved in the process by allowing them some kind of influence or hearing their suggestions, and you'll build a super powerful connection. With so many amazing platforms and features available, storytelling is so achievable and is well rewarded with loyal fans and followers.
Remember that while you can measure likes and comments online, you can't measure the effects that your social media is having offline. We've had a whole lot of conversations with people lately that have started with "I see you've been to London", just because we posted one post about it on Facebook - people are having thoughts and conversations about you even when they're not showing up in your stats online.
Keep at it, carve out your unique social media style, and get social!