How 2020 Shaped The Social Media Landscape For 2021

  For many ringing in the new year, the excitement to dispel the old year outweighed the enthusiasm for the new one. Our country experienced tremendous hardship economically, medically, and individually. But where there is suffering, there are survivors who see adversity as an opportunity to innovate. We’ve all become experts at social parkour, jumping from one challenge to the next in the swiftest way possible. In the old advertising landscape, corporations acted in unison, all offering the same press releases in response to social events. In 2020, social media changed all that. Corporate approaches to social commentary were widely-varied, ushering in a new era of unique brand personality. Brand voices are now as distinct as human voices; no two are the same. Social media is the first line of defense to a company’s brand character and the swiftest form of communication that a company has with its audience. Being able to balance expediency with substance is the mark of a great social media guru. Here are three things social media managers learned in 2020. 

 

  1. Trade in customer experience for quick acquisition.

    Traditional methods for building customer loyalty through exceptional customer experience are not possible in the new distanced merchant environment. You can’t try on your clothes, you can’t have a food sample, and you can’t even get into a conversation with an employee at close range. These used to drive our purchases and create a sense of fondness (and eventually loyalty) to our favorite brands. While we can’t replicate these organic experiences digitally, we can shift focus. Acquiring new customers and holding their attention spans will be critical for increasing your return on investment.

 

    In social media, “less is more” thinking will defeat you. Multichannel campaigns have higher returns than single media ones. This is also true for features. Use every feature available to you. This will improve your relationship with algorithms and help to replace the in-store experience. For example, use live streams to show off products. Scrolling through product search results isn’t a good substitute for fun window-shopping with friends. Inspire users to buy things by showcasing them with a charismatic showman. 

 

  1. Slow and steady wins the race.

    Addressing a global pandemic and a rocky political climate while still prioritizing sales was a huge challenge for brands last year. Brands that chose to center themselves in important conversations were the ones that missed the mark. People were seeking to connect with each other rather than companies during times of crisis, and brands who ignored this came across as insensitive and selfish. Brands that stepped back from advertising to listen intently to their audience were the ones that we’re able to connect in a meaningful way once they returned. The lesson to be learned is that saying the right thing should be prioritized rather than saying something first. Even if self-promotion seems critical to your business, there are times when it could backfire. Don’t be afraid to hold back until the correct narrative is clear. Customers admire restraint and integrity. 

 

    When Nathan Apodaca went viral for his skateboarding TikTok video set to the calming ambiance of Fleetwood Mac and while enjoying swigs of Ocean Spray cranberry juice, Ocean Spray took over a week to address the viral moment. After taking the time to conduct “social media listening,” they used the moment to give back to Apodaca rather than soak in the free publicity. Ocean Spray sent him a new truck and a supply of cranberry juice, much to the delight of TikTok users (a notoriously hard audience for corporations to win over). They even got their CEO to recreate the viral video, adding a moment of lightness to an otherwise heavy atmosphere. 

 

  1. Stop underestimating baby boomers once and for all.

Brands initially considered social media the direct link to Millenials and Gen Z, leaving a generation of users (and potential customers) in the dark. According to Hootsuite’s Digital 2020 data report, 70% of internet users between 55 and 64 have bought something online in the past month. So why do marketers keep ignoring them? Ageism is a real issue manifested on social media through a constant lack of representation of older people in images. In 2021, neglecting to appeal to this older audience could mean being surpassed by brands not tied down by stereotypes. 

Merely including this demographic isn’t enough. Monolithic views of an entire generation are not rooted in reality. Not every boomer is a potential customer of your brand. Thoughtful segmentation of this demographic will lead to increased brand favorability. Instead of targeting audiences by age, try clustering them by shared passions. Facebook is the biggest platform for boomers, but Pinterest is the second-largest and offers a more valuable insight into all users’ interests. Assuming that boomers are elderly people incapable of exploring new things is a dated stereotype that is hurtful to a group that is perhaps suffering the most in this current situation. Compassionate creative can help us show a new world that is kinder to those over 50.

 

We do our homework. 

At The Ad Leaf, our social team is paying attention to the trends shaping the new-age media space. We scan the internet and analyze data so that we can pass those insights on to our clients and generate success both in terms of brand favorability and return on investment. 

 

How To Make The Instagram Algorithm Work For You

This month Instagram rolled out a new layout to their app that replaced the notification button with a shopping tab, introduced Tik-Tok-inspired reels, and other minor changes. These changes were not a pleasant surprise to all users. Instagrammers fled to Twitter to voice their complaints.

Instagram’s famous switch from chronological content to algorithmic was one of the most detested updates in social media. Over time, many influencers have been able to master the algorithm and make sure their audiences see their content. Since Facebook’s purchase of Instagram, we have seen a movement towards shoppable posts and more monetization of the platform in general. While some users are skeptical, it introduces a new opportunity for small business sales. Instagram’s intentions for small businesses aren’t always fair and rosy, but understanding their system can allow you to beat it. 

Understand the Algorithm

The supposed reason for intelligent algorithms is to help you wade through the clutter that is your newsfeed. It works to learn your scrolling behavior and push posts from your top creators as a priority and minimize posts from accounts you value less. For example, if you like Gucci and want to follow them, but prioritize seeing your best friend’s content more, Instagram will always show you your friend’s content first and more often. This feature can be frustrating for content creators because if they miss the algorithm, they could see significantly less engagement with their posts. 

The algorithm has solved some woes that chronologic feeds had. For instance, the time of day you posted mattered much more pre-algorithm. This caused social media “rush-hours”, certain times of day that were known to garner the most engagement. Now with the algorithm, you could post in the middle of the night and the content will still eventually reach the correct audience over the next 24 hours. After that initial 24 hours, it’s not likely to get more engagement than it has gotten in the initial day. 

Every time you post, Instagram treats it as an experiment. It shows it to the first initial 10% of people your post and based on their reaction to it (what percentage of them liked and commented and shared the post) Instagram will determine the value to other users. If the post performed badly with the first 10%, Instagram will not push your post as much to the top of user’s feeds. Don’t forget, “engagement” has changed in meaning over the years. It’s widely theorized that “saves” are most valuable, “shares” are second-most valuable and comments are third. Likes have diminished in importance. Invisible keystroke measurements are also being measured by Facebook, much to the chagrin of digital privacy enthusiasts. Examples of this are how long you spend looking at a post, how long you look at a profile, and what you type into the search bar and delete without pressing “enter”. 

Human Intelligence Can Still Compete with Artificial Intelligence… For Now.

Now that you understand the algorithm, how can you beat it? 

  • Create posts that are worth bookmarking

Because “saves” are so valuable now, you have to think about what kinds of posts are worth saving. Think about why YOU save a post. Usually, because it inspires you, you want to remember something you read on it, or it has valuable information that is worth referencing. Infographics, educational/informational long-form captions, and insider-advice are great examples of “save-worthy” posts. 

  • Utilize ALL the features

Instagram is a bit of a cyber-bully these days. It has added new features like stories, reels, IGTV, and IG Lives, and it will punish you for not using them. The algorithm can almost be thought of as a reward system. If you use their app in the way they’ve intended (obsessively) then it will reward you. You should be utilizing all of the features they have. 

  • Use tools in your story

There are many interactive tools you can use on Instagram stories. There are polls, questions, DM buttons, time/location tags, music suggestions, and more. 

  • Ask questions in your captions. 

Asking genuine questions starts a conversation and Instagram likes that. You might ask users what their favorite skincare product is or ask them to tag a friend who loves boba tea. 

  • Respond to every story reply with at least an emoji.

This establishes true engagement rather than your followers talking to a wall. Instagram knows if it’s a one-way street, it isn’t a real conversation. 

  • HashTAG, YOU’RE IT.

Hashtags. Use them. Abuse them. They are critical in getting your post on the explore feed of your next follower. They give your posts visibility outside of your ole’ reliable follower base. 

  • Post Videos

Like utilizing all features, you should also utilize all types of media. Use videos, GIFs, boomerangs, carousels, and whatever else you can think of. Having a variety of media is also a great way to make sure your audience doesn’t get bored. 

Use it or Lose it

Once you understand the algorithm’s goals, you can see how to align them with your own goals. Make the algorithm work for you rather than against you.  Instagram’s algorithm may be controversial, but it’s not likely to change. Whatever you do, just don’t stop trying. In the world of social media, consistency is key. Your scrolling thumbs are a muscle and with any muscle, you use it, or you lose it (your following).

Instagram and Facebook Updates At-A-Glance

Are you struggling to keep up with the changes that occur on social media platforms almost daily? Algorithms are updated routinely, new features are tested out in select locations or industries on a regular basis, ad targeting options seem to change weekly; it can be a lot for a business owner to keep up with, especially since social media is just one part of a successful digital marketing strategy. That’s where we come in. Having an agency at your disposal who stays at the forefront of trends and breakthroughs in the industry is vital for an effective and successful digital presence and overall marketing strategy. Today we’re going to catch you up on the latest changes with a quick overview so you can get back to running your business and we’re also going to give you a little sneak preview of some changes that may be coming in the near future. 

 

Facebook


Top Fans and Exclusive Content

For Facebook pages with over 10,000 followers, you can exclusively target your followers who engage the most with your content now. These users receive ‘Top Fan’ badges and everytime they comment on your content the badge is displayed by their name. You can publish organic content that only ‘Top Fans’ can see on your page enabling you to test new campaigns with your most engaged audience members before rolling it out to everyone or provide special offers or exclusive information to your most loyal fans. 

Mobile Content Gets Compressed

Last month, Facebook updated the layout of the mobile experience for users by changing the aspect ratio on screens from 2:3 to 4:5 and reducing the number of text lines shown from 7 to 3. This means any text past the 3 line limit will be hidden and users will need to click see more to read the rest. This just means it’s even more important than ever to hook them with those first few lines. 

Update to Facebook’s Terms of Service

With all the media buzz around privacy and Facebook’s lack of transparency around user information and security, the social media platform has updated its terms of service to include things like details on how they make profits, information on content removal and intellectual property and more. You can read them all here.  This change was put in place to offer a more straightforward and transparent relationship with users. 

Cracking Down on Health Claims 

If you’re in the health and wellness space you will be especially interested in this one. Facebook has begun ‘downranking’ posts that talk about sensationalized treatments such as magic pills to get instant results or DIY ideas for losing weight that are dangerous. The key here is ‘sensationalized’ phrases. As usual, Facebook does not release details on algorithm changes so the exact phrases being targeted are unknown. Stick to medically proven health and wellness content and you should not be affected. 

 

Instagram 


Desktop Publishing Abilities 

In the past, the only way to work on Instagram was through third party software or through the mobile application itself. That means marketers and business owners could only use Instagram through their mobile devices. Most busy business owners and marketers take time to sit down at their desktops to do this type of work in depth. Now, thanks to the Creator Studio in Facebook, Instagram photos and videos can be posted to the platform along with the ability to check and respond to messages. This will save time for so many and as you know time = money!

Ad Placements Now Available in Explore 

If you’re not a heavy Instagram users you may not know about the explore tab. This is a place on Instagram where the platform shows you content you are likely to be interested in based on your behavior and actions taken in the app. So if you love watching cat videos, your explore feed may feature lots of pics and videos of cats. It’s usually got a good mix of things and in the past did not allow for ad placements. This is great news for business owners and marketers as it’s a brand new space to promote your content. 

Study Claims Instagram Engagement is Down Platform Wide

According to a study of 1.4 million Instagram posts by consulting firm Trust Insights, the average number of interactions on Instagram is down 18% from the beginning of the year. The study notes that brands as well as individual influencers are feeling the pain of dropping engagement rates and are still looking into what the potential cause could be. 

 

What’s Coming Next?


Facebook and Instagram Likes May Disappear 

Are you obsessed with comparing how many likes your posts get compared to others? Facebook and Instagram are testing hiding that feature from you in select countries. You’ll still be able to see your own likes but you won’t be able to see anyone else’s if they decide to roll this feature out permanently and in the United States. 

 

To stay up to date on all the changes being rolled out on your favorite social media platforms be sure to check back on our blog for future updates and join our newsletter list to get the latest and greatest information sent right to your inbox. If you want to learn more about how our agency can help you define and deploy a digital marketing strategy to include web development, SEO, content marketing and social media marketing, give us a call today at 321-255-0900 or email us at info@theadleaf.com

 

Social Media Dictionary

Social Media Dictionary

Even if you are familiar with social media, the concepts and keywords surrounding these platforms are constantly evolving. It can be an intimidating process to make the transition from personal social media use to using social media for your business. We created this list of common social media keywords and their meaning in our “Social Media Dictionary” to help better prepare you to embark on your social media marketing journey.  

First we will look into each platforms and some of the concepts that are unique to each one.

 

Facebook: Facebook is a mobile application and online social networking platform with various ways to interact and share with others.

Facebook Business Manager: is a free tool developed by Facebook to allow businesses and agencies to securely manage their company’s Pages, ad accounts, catalogs and pixels in one place, without sharing login information or being connected to their coworkers on Facebook.

Facebook Marketplace: This is the classified section of Facebook. People can share ads and post pictures of products or services they are selling for targeted buyers.

Groups: Like-minded individuals can come together over a shared interest. These can be anything from local support meetups, family reunions, school alumni, or activists’ groups. You name it, there is probably a group for it. Admin rules are also listed as a guide for required behavior to stay in the group. The admins do have the power to ban those that violate their terms. Be aware of their policies especially when attempting to advertise in them.

Events: Make an event public and invite followers and track those that will be attending.

Facebook Page Roles: On Facebook Business Pages, owners can assign staff, marketers, friends or family to have access to their page. This will be found in the setting section of the page. There are different levels of management access you can assign under the following categories: Admin, Editor, Moderator, Advertiser, and Analyst.

Facebook Admin: The most important role. Admin can create and delete posts, send messages via the page, respond to and delete comments and posts to the page, remove and ban people from the page,create ads, view page Insights (analytics about the page), and see who published as the page.

Facebook Insights: This is where you can track the current analytics and metrics regarding your page, posts, and promotions.

Facebook Boosted Post: Boosted posts are ads you create from posts on your Facebook Page. Boosting a post may help you get more people to react, share and comment on it. You may also reach new people who are likely interested in your Page or business, but don’t currently follow you. Boosted posts are not the same as promoted posts or Facebook Ads.

Facebook Ads: Facebook ads can be as straightforward or complex as you would like. Create and run campaigns using simple self-serve tools, and track their performance delivery. With over two billion users, you can customize your audience and find those you think will be most interested in your products or services.

Instagram: Instagram is a mobile application and online photo and short video sharing social networking platform.

Instagram Story: A story is a feature that lets users post photos and videos that vanish after 24 hours. Similar to Snapchat, the photos and videos shared in your Instagram Story only visible during that 24 hour period, they will show up at the top of the app in a circle for your followers to see and engage with.

Direct Message (DM): Messages on Instagram for users to privately interact with one another.

Influencer: A social media user with a significant audience who can drive awareness about a trend, topic, company, or product. From a marketer’s perspective, the ideal influencer is also a passionate brand advocate. Successful influencer strategies usually involve the coordination of an organization’s marketing, customer service, and public relations teams.

Pinterest: A visual organizer for saving and sharing links to sites and other media you like, also known as Pins. Pins are represented by an image and description of your choosing and organized into collections called Pinboards. Pinterest users can share their Pins with others, or Repin pictures they liked from other users. Think of Pinterest as a virtual scrapbook, or a bookmarks page with pictures.

Repins: The number of times someone saved your Pin to one of their boards. Repins are how Pins are shared across Pinterest.

Pin: Favorite links stored on Pinterest. Every Pin is made up of a picture and a description given by the user; when clicked, a Pin direct users to the source URL of the image. Other users can like or Repin your Pins. Users can also organize Pins by theme or event into visual collections.

Pin Board: A collection of Pins on Pinterest. A Pinboard can be organized by any theme and can either be private or public. Some examples of Pinboards: Hairstyles, Interior Design, Recipes, Man Caves/She Sheds, and DIY Weddings.

Twitter: Twitter is an online news and social networking site where people communicate in short, 140 character limit messages or tweets.

Hashtags: Hashtags are converted to searchable hyperlinks that will show posts using it. It helps to track keywords and topics that are trending. Most commonly used on Twitter and Instagram.

@Replies: When a fan sends a Tweet directly by using your brand handle at the beginning of the Tweet. This will only show up in your feed, and the feeds of users who follow you both. Example: “@SimplyMeasured Your Reports Rock!”

Retweets: When a fan directly shares your brand message with their audience. Example: “RT @SimplyMeasured: We’ve made some great updates to our Twitter Account Report. Check it out!”

Mentions: When a user includes your brand hand, but not as a direct @Reply. Example: “I really love that @SimplyMeasured charts are dynamic within Excel!”

Pinned Tweet: A tweet that has been pinned to the top a Twitter profile page. Pinning a tweet is a great way to feature an important announcement. If your tweets are public, anyone who views your profile page will see the tweet.

LinkedIn: LinkedIn is a social network for the business community. The online site is a place for professionals to connect with past and current colleagues, increase their number of business connections, network within their industry, discuss business ideas, search for jobs and look for new hires.

LinkedIn endorsement: A connection’s recognition of another person’s skill, such as Content Marketing, Web Programming, or Cake Baking. Endorsements, a form of social proof, boost your credibility through third-party confirmation that you actually have the skills you say you have. Users can endorse the skills of only their first-degree LinkedIn connections.

LinkedIn recommendation:A written compliment from a connection that you can display on your LinkedIn profile to impress hiring managers, potential clients, and the 428 conference attendees you carpet bombed with your business card. There’s no limit to how many recommendations you can give or request, but remember that the most authentic recommendations come from people that you’ve actually worked with. If you receive a lackluster recommendation that you would rather not display, you can easily hide it from your profile. You can also edit, remove, or hide recommendations of your own LinkedIn connections any time.

 

Words that are important to us:

Collaborative: We encourage constant collaboration between you and your social media team at The AD Leaf ®. This means sending us real photos of your business, staff, store, or lifestyle photos of your products. The more you share and provide feedback, the more successful you will be. You are a professional in your field and we are professionals in social media marketing and the combination of the two creates growth and results.

Authentic: Authenticity is when your social media reflects who you truly are. Social media was created to establish real human connections. This will be the vibe/tone that you are communicating on social media. Do you want to come across as a serious and informative professional? Or humorous and light-hearted? When you actively collaborate, we can capture your authenticity more successfully to achieve your desired results.

Branding: What are the colors, symbol, logo, and visual concepts that you want to be the voice of your company? Our goal is to work with you to answer these questions that you might not have asked yourself before. When you establish a strong recognizable brand, it will create a relationship, loyalty, and help expand your following.

Lifestyle Images: Lifestyle photos are aimed to capture people interacting or using your products in a natural way. These include events, milestones, and various activities that visualize authentic human interactions.

Adjacent Content: Adjacent posts encompass content that includes your industry’s relevant news and/or blog articles. These are used to keep your followers informed on your industry’s trends and to show that you are knowledgeable and connected to other professionals/businesses that share a similar message.

Evergreen Content: Evergreen content describes the social posts that do not expire that you can reuse and share at any time. You are gaining new followers all the time, so something that might be older to you is new to them. Plus, the organic reach can be as low as 2% so even your current followers may not have seen it the first time it has been published.

Metrics: Metrics/Analytics encompass the numbers that are affiliated with your page and content performance. They allow us to measure insights to gather an understanding of fluctuations and growth of your pages. These measurements help us to understand what your following engages with and how many people the page has reached. We use these to strategize our approach for success.

Reach: Reach is the number of people who saw any of your page posts. Reach can be broken down into people who saw your posts with or without advertising (paid or organic posts). Reach is the number of people who received impressions (definition below) of a Page post. Reach might be less than impressions since one person can make multiple impressions.

Impressions: Impressions are the number of times a post from your Page is displayed or seen, whether the post is clicked or not. People may see multiple impressions of the same post. For example, someone might see a Page update in News Feed once, and then a second time if their friend shares it.

Engagement: Engagement is the total number of times a user has interacted with a post. This is the sum of shares, likes, comments, and various platform specific interactions from users on the platform with your content.

Organic: Organic doesn’t only apply to produce. It means those you reach through social media without spending on advertising.

So you might be thinking to yourself, “this is not in my wheelhouse”. Lucky for you, The AD Leaf ® Marketing Firm is here to help. We customize and curate your pages and content while including all your preferences. We are here to help your business grow, increase your digital representation, build positive reputation, and a loyal following. Representing the business on social media can be an essential piece of your marketing puzzle and is not something you would want falling to the wayside. For more information about our social media dictionary and social media marketing solutions, contact us today at info@theadleaf.com or give us a call at 321-255-0900.