It can be difficult to stay on top of your social media. There are dozens of platforms, and to be seen on many networks you must update your status throughout the day.
Some networks like Twitter need short, frequent updates. You could easily post 5-10 tweets a day to highlight your brand. Other networks like Facebook are showing content from brands less frequently. This means if you want to up your brand’s visibility on Facebook,
you need to post frequently here, too.
The best way to manage your social media content is to automate them. When your content is automated, you’re free to focus on other equally important tasks like releasing new products, serving your customers, and managing your business.
But social media is different now than it was in the past. Years ago, you may have had one or two networks that you wanted to post on. Now, it’s common for business owners to have 5-7 social networks, all of which need content.
It’s hard to keep up with these networks because they’re rapidly changing and innovating. So, here’s what you really need to know about the five most popular social media platforms and how to use them…
What’s New with Twitter in 2018
Twitter is a unique social media network. It was designed so users could post 140-character messages called tweets. Users could find tweets that contained content they might be interested in by searching through hashtags (#).
Since its early days, Twitter has gone through a few shifts and more than one growth spurt. One recent change to Twitter includes an increased character length. Now, users can post messages that contain up to 280 characters. This increase in length means users can post longer messages and share content more easily.
Besides doubling the character limit, Twitter is also more focused on video. The company is giving preference to video tweets in the home feed of their users. These videos play automatically, which can help increase your views.
But in keeping with its tendency toward short bursts of content, Twitter only allows viewers to upload videos that are no longer than 2 minutes and 20 seconds. You can upload longer videos, but then Twitter will prompt you to edit them.
Many brands are taking advantage of Twitter’s video feature by posting about their products and deals. Drybar (@theDrybar) did this when they created a video promotion of their new monthly blowouts deal.
Some brands prefer to use video on Twitter to go behind-the-scenes and show customers how their products are created. One company that did this was OTTO Pizzeria (@OttoPizzeria) when they uploaded a video showing how their pepperonis are sliced.
Another feature that’s rumored to be in the works is a tweetstorm. You may have noticed some people and companies using 1/ or 2/ in front of their tweets. These numbers signal that the tweet is part of a series or a “tweetstorm”.
Tweetstorms give you the chance to share more text and information. It can be useful when you’re discussing a topic that you want to talk about in-depth. But it can be difficult for users to follow your thoughts since they’ll be seen in reverse chronological order.
However, if Twitter does release a Tweetstorm feature, this problem would be addressed. Instead, it would be easy to follow a chain of tweets from their beginning to the conclusion.
Keep in mind that Twitter is a good social network, but it may not be ideal for every niche. The social media platform works best for rapidly changing niches like fashion, celebrity gossip, news, and more.
It’s ideal if your goal is to be an informer for your community. For example, if you’redocumenting the outcome of a landmark trial and wish to keep your followers up-to-speed as the case unfolds, Twitter is an ideal network.
But niches that are more evergreen like fish breeding or puppy care are less likely to benefit from Twitter’s format. However, that doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t tweet the link to your latest blog post. It just means your audience may be less likely to follow you or engage with your brand on this platform.
Grow Your Platform with the Latest LinkedIn Features
LinkedIn is one of the best platforms for professionals who want to connect with their colleagues, managers, or other brands. Some people have even gone so far as to call LinkedIn the professionals’ Facebook. Given some of LinkedIn’s latest features, that’s not a stretch.
Since being acquired by Microsoft in 2016, LinkedIn has been undergoing some big and important changes. One of the most notable changes is the way messages appear. No longer are they simply in your inbox. Now they’re on your home page in chat boxes. This makes it easier to follow up with a colleague about a project or send a status update to a client.
Another feature that’s now built into LinkedIn is the “smart reply”. The “smart reply” is an
algorithm that scans your messages and learns how you prefer to phrase your communication.
Then the bot suggests three possible responses to messages. So if a colleague asks if you’ll be at the meeting on Wednesday, the “smart reply” might suggest saying something like, “Yes, I’ll be at Wednesday’s meeting, Bob. We can follow up there.”
LinkedIn has also begun to display analytics to content you post on the platform. For example, you can see how many views your post received, plus you can also tell other useful data like the location of your viewers, job roles, and more.
This information can help you refine what you post and share, so you can focus on content that provides the most value to your audience. You may even see LinkedIn suggesting content that will resonate with your community.
LinkedIn has also added a native video feature. Previously, if you wanted to upload your video content onto the social platform, you had to upload it to a third-party video site like YouTube. Then you would take the YouTube link and post it in your LinkedIn update.
Now, you don’t have to worry about all of those extra steps. You can upload your video directly to LinkedIn. However, don’t try to post that lengthy presentation you gave at last month’s meeting. Your videos on LinkedIn must be shorter than ten minutes.
This sudden addition of native video is very telling. It reveals that LinkedIn will most likely be focusing on video content. Perhaps, they may even release a feature that allows you to live stream directly onto their platform like Facebook or YouTube.
The social media platform has also refined their search. In the past, when you wanted to perform a search, you had to navigate to a specific area of the website. For example, if you wanted to find a company you liked, you’d need to click around the site.
But LinkedIn’s search has been improved. Now you can search all of the content on the website and sort it by category. This makes it easy to find what you’re looking for and could simplify your connections.
LinkedIn is the ideal network for busy professionals. Those who are in niches like business, finances, and leadership usually thrive on the platform. But if your niche is focused on another topic like upscale fashion or crafting, you may not find it very helpful for growing your brand.
Why Pinterest Is One of the Best Social Platforms of 2018
Pinterest is one of the best social networks for driving traffic. That’s because each post, or rather “pin”, has a shelf life of up to three months. By contrast, a Facebook post has a shelf life of approximately 3 hours and a tweet on Twitter reaches its full potential just 24 minutes after being published.
If you only use Pinterest occasionally, you may have missed out on some exciting updates the social platform has recently rolled out…
Some brand creators spend hours uploading dozens of meaningful, high-quality posts each day. While it is important to stay active on the site, Pinterest gives priority to the first five pins you post.
Those five are distributed widely so you can grow your following and experience more traffic. That means if you have a new blog post you want to promote through Pinterest, don’t wait until the end of the day to schedule it. Instead, make it one of your first posts of the day and you’ll get a bigger surge of traffic.
Pinterest also introduced the ability to save a pin to multiple boards. This can be useful when you have overlapping boards. For example, if you have a puppy training website, then you may have a board called ‘Puppy Nutrition’ and ‘Puppy Diseases’.
If you have a pin about gluten free puppy food, then it could be added to both boards. But keep in mind that Pinterest will rank the first board as the most important one. So, prioritize your boards if you’ll be posting to multiple ones.
The new ability to post to multiple Pinterest boards has resulted in some spamming. These users publish their images to boards that are not relevant to their topic.
An example would be posting a picture of hair care products to a board titled ‘Quilting 101’ simply because that board has good traffic. But Pinterest is cracking down on these attempts at spamming. That’s why you need to be sure the boards you’re using are relevant to your pin. Otherwise, Pinterest may remove the post or even ban your account.
Another new feature from the social media platform is the ability to arrange your pins on your board. Previously, older content appeared at the bottom of your Pinterest board. This could be troubling because it meant some of your best content could be positioned too low to be seen, resulting in few pins and less traffic.
Fortunately, Pinterest has addressed this problem. Now you can choose the order of your pins and re-arrange them however you like. To get the most out of this update, focus on putting your best content at the top of your board. This makes it easy for users to clickthrough to your website.
Some brands and marketers have a lot of content and information to include on their Pinterest boards. This meant they could have very long boards that could feel overwhelming to new followers.
To make it easier for long boards to get the same traction, Pinterest now allows brands to break their boards into sections. This can be helpful if you need to subcategorize some of your content.
For example, if you run a cooking blog, you create a board titled, “Breakfast Ideas”. You might have thousands of posts to share. But with Pinterest’s new feature, you could take your “Breakfast Ideas” board and add new sections. You might want to have sections for “Hot Breakfasts”, “Vegan Breakfasts”, “Dairy-Free Breakfasts” or “10-Minute Breakfast Ideas”.
Pinterest is ideal for some niches but not good for others. In particular, Pinterest is well-suited for events and holiday businesses. If you’re in the wedding or graduation niches, then Pinterest can be a wonderful source of traffic.
Another demographic that Pinterest appeals to is the do-it-yourself (DIY) audience. These users love pinning crafts, recipes, and art that they want to try out in their spare time.
You can also see good traffic if you’re in a niche that requires planning. Niches like home décor or gardening often need advanced preparation. So, publishing a seed guide 20-40 days before spring can result in plenty of traffic for your website.
The Latest Snapchat Trends and News
Snapchat is a picture-sharing social media network. It’s different from other platforms in how it treats images. Users take a photo (usually a selfie) and send it to their friends, but the photos (called “snaps”) are set to be deleted after a friend has opened the image.
The original photographer can set their photo to be viewed for 1-10 seconds. They can add filters, text, or emojis to their images. When users regularly share photos with each other, they develop ‘streaks’ that they try to continue by sending photos daily.
The novelty of Snapchat is due to the fact that the photos “disappear”. This adds a sense of urgency and many users report checking the social network 10-20 times a day.
Recently, Snapchat has encountered a backlash. They streamlined the user interface within the app. Snaps from friends are given more priority while snaps from brands and businesses are stored under another section.
Many suspect the changes were an attempt on Snapchat’s part to appeal to an older demographic, mainly users over the age of 35. These older users had difficulty managing the previous app and found it confusing.
But Snapchat’s main demographic is millennials and teenagers. These users were unhappy with the changes and some of have re-installed the app in order to access their previous settings. However, the company plans to leave the new interface as-is and expects that users will adjust in time. Despite these issues, many brands and marketers continue to use Snapchat with great success.
One company that used the social media platform for their advertising was Coca-Cola. They created a special filter that users could apply to their snaps.
The filter made their selfies look like Christmas cards and was only available to users in the UK. Their marketing was successful and the company was proud of the increased brand awareness that resulted from it.
Another well-known brand, Dove, used Snapchat to start conversations with their users. They did this by inviting followers to send them snaps that shared their insecurities and body flaws.
Self-esteem ambassadors, including a child psychologist and an educator, responded to the snaps privately. Their campaign resulted in over 130,000 views and plenty of enlightening conversations about how young women today view themselves.
What other brands can learn from this is that Snapchat is a good way to connect with younger users. It can be a bridge to invite deeper conversations, allowing you to learn more about your audience.
If you have a more mature audience, then Snapchat may not be the best fit for your business. Niches that rely heavily on visuals like cooking and modeling do well with the Snapchat platform. But other niches may not see as much traction.
New Features for Instagram Brands in 2018
Instagram is one of the most popular photo sharing apps. Users can take photos and share with their followers and fans. But the site continued to grow and now has a popular feature called Instagram Stories.
These are short videos that users can upload. The video must be less than sixty seconds in length and it’s only visible for twenty-four hours after it is uploaded. Like Snapchat, this is actually a good thing, because it increases the number of views you get. If a user wants to respond to your “story”, they can send you a direct message.
Recently, Instagram has unveiled a few new changes, including updates that affect Instagram stories. The biggest change is that you can limit the number of replays on your Instagram story.
So, if you want users to see a special coupon code only once, you can set your story to only be displayed one time. Like the 24 hour limit, this makes users who consume your content feel special, like they have a deeper bond with you.
If you sent an Instagram story through a direct message, you can also choose to leave that story in chat permanently. This feature would allow your followers to reference your message repeatedly. That could be helpful if you send customers a coupon code they can use on some or all of your products.
Instagram Stories also made an interesting change. In the past if you wanted to create a story, you uploaded a picture. You could add text, filters, and emojis to the images, making your video frame by frame.
Alternatively, you could record yourself for up to 60 seconds. If you need more time, you simply record more videos, resulting in a video series.
Now, though, you don’t need an image or a recording to make an Instagram story. You can make a story using just text and emojis. This feature is called type mode. It’s a good solution if you want to share a brief update but you don’t have time to film a video or if you just want to quickly share news with your followers.
Many businesses and marketers are excited about Instagram’s newest change, API scheduling. The update means you can now schedule your Instagram posts using a third-party application.
Before this change, Instagram users had to manually update their feed. Some social media schedulers would send your phone a notification that it was time to post along with a copy of your caption.
But you still had to login and manually upload the image. That could be inconvenient if your customers were located in another time zone or if you had multiple images to upload everyday.
So, this feature means you can now schedule your posts just like you do with other social media networks. There does appear to be one tiny hitch with the feature though—you must have a business account in order to schedule your posts.
The good news is that business accounts are free. If you already have an account that you’ve built a large following under, don’t despair. Instagram will allow you to convert your personal account to a business one.
Instagram works well in many niches. Some of the most popular ones include fitness, travel, fashion, makeup, pets, and luxury. The demographic for Instagram does skew younger with almost 60% of users being 18-29 while 30% of users are between the ages of 30-49.
How to Get the Most Out of Social Oomph
Social Oomph is a social media scheduling tool. Originally, the tool was launched as TweetLater.com.But as the service evolved and began scheduling updates for other social networks like Facebook and Pinterest, the name was changed to Social Oomph.
The advantage of Social Oomph is you can create separate queues based on your content needs. For example, let’s say you run a makeup and fashion blog. You can create a queue called ‘makeup tips’ with 100 tips.
You can create another queue called ‘body positivity’ filled with 200 photos of bodies of all shapes and sizes. Then you create a third queue called ‘best beauty products’ filled with affiliate links to your favorite products.
Each queue will post based on the frequency you set. You might post two makeup tips an hour to Twitter and 1 body positive photo to social media every other day. You could set your beauty products queue to post only once every seven days, allowing you to feature a different product each week.
If you want to get the most out of Social Oomph, create 3-5 queues and fill them with updates. This ensures that you have a variety of social media content being regularly posted to your favorite platforms.
Keep in mind you can pause a queue if you want to. This can be useful for holiday promotions or other events. For example, if you’re offering a free webinar on makeup tips, then you may schedule a lot of social media updates to post.
But what happens when the webinar is over? Simply pause the queue. If you decide to host the webinar six months later, update the links, and then ‘un-pause’ the campaign and you’re good to go. This can save you hours of time when it comes to promotion.
Another fantastic feature of Social Oomph is that it allows you to recycle updates. If you have 600 updates and you want 10 updates posted each day, it will take 2 months for all of the content in your queue to be used.
With the recycle feature, the content will be posted again when you’ve run out of content. So at the three month mark, your content is seen again. This can be useful because not all of your followers see every tweet or Facebook post.
To get the most out of Social Oomph, make sure you select the recycle feature for all of your queues. This ensures that your social media accounts are always topped off with plenty of good content.
For all of Social Oomph’s features, it does have one glaring flaw. There’s no option for Instagram. This means you can’t grow your Instagram followers orschedule posts to that platform. However, if you like Social Oomph’s other features (and there’s a lot to like) then you can combine it with another scheduler that handles your Instagram posts.
Why the Pros UseHootSuite
Another social media scheduler is HootSuite. But it’s different from Social Oomph in a few key ways. The biggest difference is that instead of creating content in queues, you create and schedule it on a specific date. This means if you want to feature several styles of content each day, you’ll need to keep your intended rhythm in mind.
However, the advantage of HootSuite is you can use it to schedule content to Instagram. If gaining Instagram is a key part of your marketing plan, then you’ll definitely want to take a look at this social media scheduler.
When you use HootSuite, you’ll have several tabs. You can add lists to each tab. So, for example, you would have a tab for each of your social networks—Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.
On these tabs, you would have a list of scheduled updates, direct messages, and social media mentions. This allows you to monitor your favorite networks in the same space. It can be helpful if you receive a lot of traffic on your social media networks or drive a massive amount of engagement.
You can also bulk upload your social media updates, making it easy to schedule hundreds or even thousands of messages at once. HootSuite also allows you to see your updates on a calendar. This can help you make sure that your promotions and events are scheduled on the correct days.
Another advantage of using HootSuite is that it has a team function. If you have interns or assistants, they can add content to your social media for you. But you can set it so you personally review the content before it’s published. That way you can prevent embarrassing typos and other errors.
HootSuite is also known for their excellent analytics features. It’s not enough to simply post on social media. If you’re not tracking your results, then you’re missing out on valuable insights that could grow your brand.
For example, if you post inspirational quotes and funny memes to your Instagram account, how do you know which type of content your audience prefers? How do you know when’s the best day to announce a new product?
You don’t…unless you have a solid analytics feature that’s tracking your audience carefully. That’s why professionals love HootSuite. You schedule content, look at your analytics reports and adjust your strategies and content where necessary.
Of course, HootSuite isn’t without its flaws, either. It currently doesn’t support Pinterest. If you’re planning to use Pinterest as a key part of your traffic strategy, then you may be disappointed. But HootSuite does integrate nicely with Tailwind, a social media scheduler for Pinterest and Instagram. So if you use these tools together, you should be able to accomplish all of your social media marketing goals.
Find & Promote Quality Content with Buffer
Buffer is similar to HootSuite. You can use it to schedule content to appear on your social media networks. However, the tool is much simpler than Hootsuite, but every bit as powerful.
In Buffer, you can create posting times for each day of the week. So if you want to publish content 5 times to Twitter on Mondays and only twice on Tuesdays, you simply add the time slots to each day.
When you create content, you simply click ‘add to Buffer’ and the content will be scheduled in your next available slot. This can be helpful when you have plenty of content to share with your audience.
One of the features of Buffer that sets it apart is that you can create a social media message within their scheduler. But once you’re done with the message, you can click ‘Customize for Each Network’. This gives you the chance to share the same message, slightly altered. For example, you have a photo you want to share on Facebook and Instagram.
The only problem is that you have 20 hashtags that you’re trying to include on Instagram. You don’t want all of those hashtags showing up on Facebook, especially when they’re hashtags like “#dogsofinstagram” or “#instagrampuppy”. With Buffer, it’s easy to click ‘Customize’ and remove those hashtags from the Facebook update. That way your followers on both networks get an update tailored for the social media platform they’re using.
Buffer is different from HootSuite in that it’s not designed to be a total replacement for social media. While Buffer will notify you if your post is getting a lot of traction, it doesn’t include any way to monitor your replies, mentions, or direct messages. This means you’ll still need to manually check each social network and respond to the engagement from followers.
Some marketers enjoy the fact that Buffer isn’t meant to replace traditional social networks. By focusing on doing only one thing (scheduling updates), the interface is less cluttered and it’s easier to focus within the app.
One area where Buffer shines is it continually helps you find relevant content to post. To get started with this feature, you can enter the RSS address for your favorite websites and blogs. From there, you can choose which blog posts should be sent to your profile by clicking ‘Add’. If you find posts that you know you won’t share, click ‘Dismiss’.
Buffer is a useful app but like other social tools, it does have one obvious flaw: YouTube. You can’t use Buffer to schedule and publish your YouTube videos.
Since YouTube is one of the world’s most popular search engines, this could really hurt your traffic levels. However, HootSuite does allow you to post to YouTube, so if the video network is part of your traffic strategy, you’ll want to use it instead of Buffer.
Keep This In Mind…
When it comes to scheduling social media content, you’re not going to find one perfect tool that meets all of your needs. So, don’t be afraid to mix and match 2-3 different social media schedulers. It doesn’t matter which tools you’re using as long as you’re setting and achieving your social media goals.