Social networks have provided consumers with a new way to keep in touch with what is happening in the world, to find out when things are taking place and to receive updates about the people they know and topics in which they are interested. This high degree of information relevance is what drives user adoption.
Here’s how we see getting the best out of the main social media platforms in 2018.
Using Facebook in 2018
If you focus on the statistics, Facebook is starting to lose its popularity as the top social media platform. In 2017 the number of 12-17 year old demographic dropped for the first time – but dropped by a significant 10%.
There are a number of reasons for the decline, but talk to the younger generation and Facebook has been losing its cool factor for some years now. Youngsters have more options than ever before for staying in touch with friends and family. Which explains why Snapchat and Instagram, which offer features for sharing photos and videos that disappear, are growing in popularity.
The days of companies taking advantage of organic reach on Facebook Business Pages, without any paid advertising, are long gone as we make our way into 2018. Getting seen on this platform is about to get a lot harder.
In January, Facebook announced a major change to its news feed algorithm. No longer will it prioritise “helping you find relevant content”, said the site’s founder, Mark Zuckerberg. The new goal is to help you “have more meaningful interactions”.
In the past, most people’s Facebook feeds were dominated by professionally made content from brands, businesses and the news media. Zuckerberg says Facebook wants to change that balance. So posts from friends and family, as well as Facebook groups you are a member of will instead dominate your feed.
Top Tips for using Facebook in 2018
- Focus your posts that naturally encourage reactions in some way (conversations, comments, likes, and shares) because Facebook will take those indicators into consideration.
- Stop using “Like & Share” posts and;
- Try and create posts that encourage conversations between your followers e.g. what do you think about?
- You can encourage their current followers to choose to “See First” (but **Note – There is a low chance of getting more than a very tiny amount of people doing this.)
- Quality / Not Quantity – Post less instead of more – Posts that get little to no engagement will be more detrimental to any chances you have at getting future organic Reach.
- Facebook has put more emphasis on video content in their news feed lately – so use video and Facebook Live – Live videos average 6 times the engagement – add it to your marketing mix. Use it for your events, PR, celebrity interviews
- It’s time to “pay to play”- but only advertise or promote your most important posts
- It’s even more critical to make your Facebook adverts the best they can be.
- Ensure your copy, media, audience, and ad objectives are as precise as possible.
- Start thinking of Facebook Ads as an alternative to Google Ads
- Diversify your online marketing mix – Think about shifting some of your time to other social media platforms or other online marketing tasks like email marketing, SEO and/or your blog
Using Twitter in 2018
Twitter didn’t have the greatest 2017 as it struggled to increase its user base and got caught up in the rumours of US election fixing – with thousands of Twitter bots auto tweeting campaign messages.
Although the extra attention that Donald Trump has brought to the world of Twitter hasn’t had a massive impact on Twitter user numbers, there is still a lot to like about this popular micro-blogging platform.
Twitter still has a hard-core set of users and they remain loyal to the platform. Although it may not have the reach potential of other social media tools, it does provide some significant advantages – most notably its open and public nature.
When content is shared on Twitter it is generally available for all to see, which is why consumers generally use Twitter to communicate with brands or highlight their experiences (good or bad). On Facebook, only your friends see your posts, so if you have a complaint you are probably better posting on Twitter – for all the world to see. For most parks, Twitter is generally the social platform of choice for customer-related queries.
And that provides some key opportunities for brands – here are some tips to help maximise your use of Twitter in 2018.
Top Tips for using Twitter in 2018
- Twitter also has an algorithm but unlike Facebook it is very basic. Engaging more often with responses to your tweets and mentions – boosts your exposure and reach. So if you Like a tweet, there’s a higher chance it gets shown to more users.
- Twitter users are more engaged, more often, which is a big endorsement of their algorithm-driven approach.
- Tweet character length is now 280 – now that the initial backlash seems to have died down, Twitter’s data has shown that the extended tweets have actually lead to more engagement. Here’s your chance to put those extra characters to good use.
- Use Twitter Threads – earlier on in the year Twitter introduced a “Threads” feature, essentially a simply way to string together a series of tweets on a given topic. Threads provide a new way to offer more detailed explanations, step-by-step instructions, more in-depth messages with added context. And because the tweets are linked, it also makes it easier for users to understand, without seeing a single part of the wider message appear in their stream.
- As with pretty much all of the social platforms, video is the best performing post type on Twitter. If your park is not using video, or considering how you could possibly incorporate video into your Twitter strategy, you could be overlooking a key opportunity.
Using Instagram in 2018
Instagram is currently the fastest growing social network, having gone from 600 million to 800 million active users in the past 12 months – and that’s before you consider the rising use of Instagram Stories (now up to 300 million daily active users).
However, with the increased attention comes an increased interest from other brands, which means that while there are more people to reach on the platform your company will also be competing with other brands for space and attention within the Instagram feed.
Top Tips for using Instagram in 2018
If you are already using Instagram for your park then it is worth considering the Stories feature. As more and more people become aware of the Stories format, the potential value of this format continues to increase.
Instagram Stories are temporary 10-second picture/video clips placed at the top of Instagram feed. These ephemeral clips can drive huge engagement if handled strategically. There are various things you can do with Instagram stories like, offer exclusive content, show behind the scenes, showcase a product in action, show a countdown to launch event or ask influencers to contribute.
Some recommendations for using Stories:-
- Ideal length of a video on Instagram is around 30 seconds to 1 minute
- 10 seconds is the ideal length for stories
- Ideal aspect ratio is widescreen or 1:1 and portrait mode for stories
- Optimise captions and comments with hashtags
- Adding one hashtag in the caption results in 12% more engagement
- Use Third-party tools like Boomerang and Layout for easy Instagram captures
Hashtags has always been a big part of Instgram use, and they are an effective way to expand the reach of your posts – note you can use up to 30 hashtags on one post. But as of December you can now follow a specific hashtag as well as profiles – meaning you can follow and monitor conversations by using hashtags alone.
Visual Content is key
Although Instagram has changed a lot in the last 12 months it is important to note that it is still first and foremost a visual channel, so you should consider the composition of your images and consistency of images when you post.
Having a clear visual strategy is key to your company standing out – you should ensure that you are aware of image composition best practices and examine which types of layouts and formats work best within your niche.
Using Snapchat in 2018
Snapchat is a social media platform that allows users to send temporary, seconds-long images to other users. It is one of the most popular mobile social media apps with users under the age of 25 years old.
However, unlike most social networking platforms, the app’s messaging services are entirely mobile-based, so if you want to use Snapchat for your business, your smartphone will become a crucial marketing tool.
Snapchat is also more widely used among millennials, so consider your target audience before committing to the platform. If you want to become a Snapchat marketing pro, you’ll need to understand the app in-depth.
Top Tips for using Snapchat in 2018
- Document your company’s day-to-day operations. What’s a day in the life like in your business? Use the app’s story feature to walk followers through business operations at your park. Give them a sneak, exclusive peak of events and goings-on they can’t see anywhere else on social media.
- Upload content regularly. Don’t let your following forget that you exist. Use the app regularly to upload frequent, daily content. Snap stories are a good opportunity for this.
- Sponsor a Snap Ad. Ten-second audio-visual clips are more traditional but allow you the creative freedom to drive an advertisement using video content as you would on Twitter, Instagram or Facebook.
- Sponsor a lens. Inspire users to engage with your company’s brand by bringing it to life. Find a way an average customer would engage with your products or services and apply it to a lens. If you have a company mascot for instance here is an opportunity to use that character and turn them in to a lens. You can create your own create, publish, and share your own Lens with millions with Lens Studio!
- Design a sponsored geofilter. If you use Snapchat in any McDonald’s across the country with your location settings on, a McDonald’s themed geofilter will appear while flipping through your different filters before sending a snap. You could do the same with your business.
Using Pinterest in 2018
While social platforms such as Facebook and Twitter have more users than Pinterest, they are used mainly for social networking. Pinterest, on the other hand, is principally used as a content discovery medium, enabling Pinners to connect and engage with content that they are interested in and actively seeking.
Users create and manage theme-based image collections such as events, interests, and hobbies. They can also browse other pinboards for images, ‘re-pin’ images to their own pinboards, or ‘like’ photos.
With over 100 billion Pins on Pinterest, it’s tough for a company to stand out among all of those digital bulletin boards. It doesn’t help, either, that your park photos will be up against glossy photos of adorable puppies, delicious cakes, and gorgeous home decor. But you can’t let that get you down – there are opportunities out there for the taking!
Remember that everyone comes to Pinterest to find more of what they love. And chances are, some of those people can find what they love on your blog.
Top Tips for using Pinterest in 2018
- Know Your Audience – You don’t need a detailed demographic breakdown of your park customers – but it does help to have a clear idea who you are targeting. You can then tailor your images to suit.
- Create Boards That Represent Your Business – Think about the decision making process of your visitors when they buy a holiday and what they may be interested in. And then categorise your Pinterest boards into what messages you want to portray. Perhaps create separate pin boards for your business, “must see views”, local beaches, things to do etc.
- Pin Striking Images – People love great images – so here’s your chance to show off what you have got!! If you catch the perfect sunset or could boast about the best view in the UK, Pinterest is the place to do it. Drop in the odd oversized image every now and again to make your images stand out a little more.
- Use Relevant Keywords – Social Media can have an effect on SEO as the major search engines are all turning to social signals as part of their search algorithms. In order to take advantage of this, you will want your content to be searchable so remember to include a description with relevant keywords for everything that you share.
- Schedule your pins in advance – If you don’t plan to work during those optimal hours — or if you just want to prepare ahead of time — schedule your Pins in advance. For instance, you can use a tool like Buffer, Hootsuite and Later. Just connect them to your Pinterest account and start Pinning. This is a simple strategy, but a necessary one. It enables you to have a whole stock of Pins that are ready to go at just the right time.
Using LinkedIn in 2018
While other social platforms get more attention, LinkedIn has slowly been developing its marketing options having recently been acquired by Microsoft. The backing of this major software house has enabled a range of integrations and data tools to help marketers with their campaigns.
Over the last few months, LinkedIn has been making some serious moves. They’ve added video for all personal accounts, they’re testing geo-filters for videos and they have made lots of extreme updates to their messaging platform.
The platform has also increased its user base – rising to 530 million total members.
It is worth taking note of these as you go about planning your 2018 strategy – particularly as more social managers look to diversify their traffic sources in the face of Facebook’s algorithm shifts.
Unlike the other social platforms most parks use, LinkedIn is a business platform, which means that the value of the users is higher for those companies looking to connect and engage with users who are over 35 years old and working for larger businesses.
Top Tips for using LinkedIn in 2018
- Unlike Facebook and Twitter, LinkedIn as a platform, isn’t about reaching consumers. It’s about networking with those in your industry. This is of course, important: when it comes to incorporating LinkedIn into your content marketing plan. It is fundamentally different than any other social network.
2018 looks set to be an interesting year as the different social media platforms vie for our attention. It will be interesting to see what happens to Facebook as the year progresses but with a number of major international events like the World Cup in Russia, the Ryder Cup, the Commonwealth Games, another Royal baby and two Royal weddings you can be sure there is going to be lots to talk about.
Key Tips for Social Media use in 2018
- Focus on the social networks that make the most sense for your customers.
- Customer service via social channels
- Embrace video, especially the short-lived kind that are posted on Instagram Stories and Snapchat.
- Use paid social media to support your organic activity
- Understand the algorithms of each social platform and be prepared to try new digital tactics
- Content and SEO should still be the mainstay of your digital strategy