2020 has been quite the year. Yes, there were actually some good things to come from this year and one of those things is the lessons we’ve learned.
You Have to Listen
This is so incredibly important, not just in social media but in marketing in general. Now more than ever it’s important to listen to your audience before moving forward with any plan you may have. It allows you to be empathetic and relatable. It also helps build your community. Listen to your audience. They will tell you what they want.
You Must Be Flexible
Covid knocked a lot of people down. Businesses that were flexible did much better than those who decided to just “wait it out”. For instance, restaurants that quickly moved to curb service, businesses who went remote and utilized virtual meetings on platforms like Zoom, and brick and mortar businesses who made the switch to online fared better than their counterparts who remained devoted to business as usual. There’s no way you could’ve planned for this. How do you plan for a pandemic? Sure, everyone has a plan now but no one had one moving into 2020. However, you can be flexible and that flexibility is key.
This one was one of our predictions for 2020. It’s important to grow your community on social media. It’s better for a business to have 1,000 followers who love them than to have 10,000 followers who don’t care and don’t interact. For starters, it’s terrible for your statistics to have a bunch of followers who don’t engage with you. It can really come back to bite you. Facebook and Instagram are cracking down on what they consider bad content so if you have a ton of followers but your posts get no engagement that is considered bad content. They’re going to let fewer people see it. You need those brand warriors who love you and will talk about you and say wonderful things about your company. Build that community.
Be your genuine self. Now, ideally, your genuine self has empathy and transparency, but you don’t have to be perfect. Nobody expects you to be perfect. If you compare yourself to a company that has a team of photographers on staff or a staff of 20 and you’re a solopreneur, that’s not fair to you. The only comparison you need to be making is to yourself a year ago. Had growth? Yay. If you haven’t had growth you need to examine why so you can correct it and move forward. You don’t have to be perfect. You just have to be you, your imperfect self with all of your flaws and amazing abilities.
Meme communication is growing by leaps and bounds. Younger males (13-35) have really brought memes to the forefront. Visual communication is growing. Nowadays, instead of sending a text to a friend that says good morning, people are more likely to send a snap. Instead of instructions for how to do something, you are more likely to see a video. You have to lean into that. If you aren’t comfortable making graphics you need to become more comfortable with it or find someone to purchase graphics from. You have to be able to express yourself visually. It’s a big deal.
As a helpful side note, make sure the graphics that you use don’t get you sued. Make sure you are using copyright-free images you are allowed to use. If you want to use meme generator, then use it. You pay for the right to do that. If you don’t have images yourself, you can use resources such as Canva. There is so much free stuff out there.
Be Consistent and Responsive
You have to consistently be there. You have to consistently post and once you post you can’t just leave. You have to be able to talk to your end-user. It takes so much time and effort to get an engaged end-user and if you don’t respond you waste all that. You don’t have to write a paragraph but you don’t need to acknowledge that they’re talking to you. If they’re angry, deal with the angry. If they’re happy, thank them for the happy. Be prepared to like, comment, and reply to people talking to you online.
Customize Content for the Platform
Can you use the same information across all platforms? I mean, you can. I can walk to Atlanta but I’d rather drive there. Can you? Yes. Would I recommend it? Absolutely not. Your content needs to be unique to each platform. If you have information you want to share on Facebook and Instagram, don’t use the same caption or hashtags and don’t share it on the same day.
Talk to the audience that platform is for. A great example of this is the difference between Facebook Live and YouTube. On Facebook Live, you greet everyone at the start of your video. When people comment you tell them hi and answer questions. It’s very conversational. On YouTube, you have 7 seconds to get people’s attention before they go looking for another video. If you use that time to greet the viewer instead of getting straight into your content, your views will suffer.
Stories are Here to Stay
This is the one I wish wasn’t true but it is. Stories are here to stay. Because stories were so successful on Instagram, Facebook decided they’d get in on the stories trend as well. I can understand that. However, Pinterest stories and LinkedIn stories? Are you kidding me? I don’t love stories on Pinterest and LinkedIn and I don’t know how effective they are because there are no stats on them yet. On Instagram, they are super effective.
Bonus tip: Another thing on Instagram that is tremendous for your engagement is Instagram Reels. Instagram is competing with TikTok and thanks to reels we are seeing tremendous engagement. I’m talking 10 times the engagement we get from a regular post. If you haven’t checked out reels I highly recommend you do so.
People will spend 100 minutes a day watching online videos in 2021. That number is up 20% from 2020. If you haven’t integrated video into your 2021 marketing plan, it’s time to get on board. You have platforms such as YouTube that are totally video. You have platforms such as Facebook and Instagram that are hard leaning into video. You just can’t escape it. Video is everywhere. Get in front of the camera because people will relate to you in a way they won’t relate to anything else.
The Trends are Here to Stay
Yes, many of these trends started because of the pandemic but they are here to stay. Now that we’ve realized that meeting really could have been an email and that conference could’ve been more convenient on Zoom, things are changing. Learn these lessons now so you don’t have to learn them next year.