By Kat Shee, Vice President of Marketing at GROW and 1/2 of Shee sisterslifestyle and golf creators.
How much time does your business spend keeping up to date with social media updates? I’m not talking about trends (which are a whole beast on their own) but rather the constant updates that can affect your content’s reach, audience, and algorithm performance. Last year alone, Facebook released updates regarding Meta, Reels, Live Shopping, Feed options, and AI-related content. Instagram has rolled out changes such as love stories, remix reels, and scheduled lives. And Twitter provided users with updates on editing capabilities, new replying features and more. All this to say, if you don’t keep up to date with the latest updates, how long will your content stay relevant?
Creating a digital marketing strategy takes a lot of work! Don’t let your content get lost because you don’t stay on top of the latest changes to your platform.
Why platforms change
Social media platforms are constantly evolving for several reasons. For one thing, technology is constantly improving. Remember when Facebook started in 2004 as a way for Harvard students to rate each other? It’s hard to believe that nearly 20 years later it’s become a place to connect, shop, watch videos and receive targeted ads. The way brands can target users with ads has also grown and developed, from a small “flyer” campaign to what we know and click now. Technological growth driving changes in social media was inevitable.
Let’s also discuss the role that competition plays. In 2023, it is expected that 4.89 billion people will use social media (that’s more than half of the world’s population). But for so many seemingly large numbers of users, companies come and go faster than you can say “relevant.” If you’re not in the top 10 platforms, do you even have an audience? Currently, some of these major platforms include Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, TikTok, YouTube, WhatsApp, Snapchat, WeChat and more. TikTok alone has become one of the fastest growing platforms of all time, hitting 1 billion monthly users years earlier than rivals Facebook and Instagram. In the name of competition, is it any surprise that we’ve seen other platforms start integrating their own video components, like Reels on Instagram/Facebook? Competition is a huge reason why these platforms are constantly evolving and an even bigger reason why you need to stay on top of what they are evolving into.
How to stay on top of social developments
Now comes the tricky part: how to stay on top of social media updates. It can really depend on your lifestyle. I’m a big fan of Google Alerts. Setting alerts for phrases like “TikTok updates” is a surefire way to make sure you don’t miss any of the latest news. Following news platforms and communities dedicated to keeping you up to date is another great tool. Find trusted sources that keep readers informed of the latest happenings, like social media on Forbes, which compiles the latest data for readers. Some other heavyweights include Social Media Today and Mashable. I know it seems like social media is already time consuming – from creating a campaign to designing content to analyzing metrics – but if you don’t follow the basics of the platform , you can’t expect to see the best results. Each week, make it a priority to visit one of these news sites or keep an eye on your alerts.
When you need to implement changes
It’s up to you, as a social media savvy, to know when it’s worth integrating updates into your own channel and when it’s not. For example, TikTok was released in August 2018. A year later, Instagram launched Reels, a tool intended to mimic (some say copy) the video giant quickly taking over. Reels has since improved overall Instagram user engagement, time spent on the app, and discovery page usage. Now, when Reels first hit the market, content creators and brands may have looked at exactly what it was and thought It will not replace TikTok. Or they might have jumped on the bandwagon and started gaining viral fame across multiple platforms, expanding their reach to as many audiences as possible. It’s really up to your instincts to decide when platform changes are worth digging into and when they’re going to be a miss. My personal opinion is that the platforms make these updates for a reason: data and professionals back up these decisions. So it probably doesn’t hurt to incorporate them into your digital marketing strategy as well, as long as you have the resources.
The most important thing is to make sure you are working with the same knowledge as everyone else. When you know your platforms inside out, you have the ability to use them better than your competitors and get the most out of them for your digital marketing.