By Kat Shee, VP of marketing at GROW and 1/2 of Shee Sisters, lifestyle and golf creators.
How much time does your company dedicate to staying on top of social media updates? I’m not talking trends (which is a whole beast in itself) but rather the constant updates that may affect your content’s reach, audience and algorithm performance. Last year alone, Facebook published updates related to Meta, Reels, live shopping, feed options and AI-related content. Instagram rolled out changes such as liking stories, remixing Reels and scheduled lives. And Twitter gave users updates on editing capabilities, new reply features and more. All of this is to say, if you’re not staying up to date on the latest updates, how long will your content remain relevant?
Creating a digital marketing strategy takes a lot of work! Don’t let your content go to waste because you’re not staying on top of your platform’s latest changes.
Why Platforms Are Changing
Social media platforms are constantly evolving for several reasons. For one, technology is constantly improving. Remember when Facebook started back in 2004 as a way for Harvard students to rate each other? It’s hard to believe that almost 20 years later it’s become a place to connect, shop, watch videos and be the recipient of targeted ads. The way brands can target users with ads has also grown and developed—starting from a small “flyers” campaign to what we now know and click. Technology growth leading to social media changes was inevitable.
Let’s also discuss the role competition plays. In 2023, it’s forecasted that 4.89 billion people will use social media (that’s more than half of the world’s population). But for such a seemingly large amount of users, companies come and go faster than you can say “relevant.” If you’re not on the top 10 platforms, then do you even have an audience? Currently, some of those top platforms include Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, TikTok, YouTube, WhatsApp, Snapchat, WeChat and more. TikTok alone has become one of the fastest-growing platforms ever, hitting 1 billion monthly users years earlier than its competitors Facebook and Instagram did. In the name of competition, is it any surprise that we’ve been seeing other platforms start incorporating video components of their own, like Reels on Instagram/Facebook? Competition is a huge reason these platforms are constantly evolving and an even bigger reason you have to stay on top of what they’re evolving into.
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How To Stay On Top Of Changing Social
Now comes the tricky part: how to stay on top of social media updates. This can really come down to your lifestyle. I’m a huge 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 updated is another great tool. Find sources you can trust that keep readers updated on the latest happenings, like Social Media on Forbes, which compiles the latest data for readers. Some other heavy hitters include Social Media Today and Mashable. I know it seems like social media already takes up a lot of time—from creating a campaign to designing content to analyzing metrics—but if you’re not keeping up with the basics about the platform, you can’t expect to see the best results. Every week, prioritize visiting one of these news sites or keeping an eye on your alerts.
When You Need To Implement Changes
It’s up to you as the social media savant to know when it’s worth incorporating 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 meant to emulate (some say copy) the video giant quickly taking over. Reels has since improved Instagram’s overall 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 it for exactly what it was and thought That’s not going to replace TikTok. Or they might have jumped on the bandwagon and started earning viral fame on multiple platforms, extending their reach to as many audiences as possible. It really comes down to your gut to decide when platform changes are worth diving into and when they’re going to be a bust. My personal opinion is that the platforms are making these updates for a reason—there are data and professionals backing up these decisions so it probably doesn’t hurt to incorporate them into your digital marketing strategy as well, so long as you have the resources.
The most important thing is to make sure you’re working with the same knowledge as everyone else. When you know your platforms in and out, you have the opportunity to utilize them better than your competitors and get the most for your digital marketing buck.