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2019

When it comes to social media, there is never a shortage of new platforms, trends and tools to measure your efforts. It’s easy to jump on the bandwagon only to later realize you spent a lot of effort and got very low ROI.

 

So, I’d like to suggest three social media trends you can leave behind in 2019 to focus on activities that matter in 2020.

 

1. Jumping on the Hottest Social Media Platformssara-kurfess-6lcT2kRPvnI-unsplash.jpg

 

Every year, dozens of new social media sites try to make their way onto your radar. Whether they are based on video, graphics, gaming, community, or communication; a theme like music or sports; or a combination, they all want to be the next big thing.

 

Sure, you want to test new platforms to see if that’s where you’ll find new customers. However, give a new site time to find its footing before going all-in. There’s something to be said for being an early adopter … and you could discover the next big thing. But not every website becomes a Facebook, a WhatsApp, or a LinkedIn.

 

And even when an awesome new social media site bursts onto the scene, it may not be right for you, your customers or your business. For instance, TikTok (founded in 2016, launched in 2017, and one to watch in 2019) ended up being the No. 1 most downloaded app globally this year, but it was not necessarily a big platform for marketers.

 

Primarily adopted by users under 30, TikTok is like a mix of Vine (short-form videos on a loop) and Musical.ly or Snapchat (where you can add fun special effects).

 

Personally, I deleted my TikTok account and removed the app from my phone once I saw the growing buzz about U.S. investigations into data, privacy etc. Also, user growth finally plateaued.

 

Takeaway: Beware of flashy, trendy sites. Test them but spend your time sparingly until it’s been fully vetted, you find it has a proven track record with your demographic, and/or it serves a business purpose.

 

2. Obsessing Over “Likes”

 

It’s no secret in the social media marketing space: likes on posts are the least-relevant way to gauge audience engagement. Double-tapping or clicking to heart/like a post is the laziest way to interact with a post. When someone is willing to take the extra effort to write a comment or share a post, it indicates your content connected with them. That’s much more relevant.

 

To test this theory, Instagram is expanding its test of hiding like counts. Facebook is jumping on the bandwagon by testing hiding like and reaction counts (and video views too). Note: Publishers/account admins can still see this data, but the information will no longer be public-facing.

 

These tests are designed to shake out fake followers, encourage meaningful engagement, and, as a bonus, promote mental health and well-being. A quantifiable metric, such as like counts, leads to competition, which is stressful. Social media should be “social,” interactive and fun, not something that invites stress.

 

Takeaway: Embrace the change. You shouldn’t be focusing on like counts regardless. Instead, get to know your audience. Create content that speaks to your clients, prospects, and followers in a way that encourages them to meaningfully engage with your posts.

 

3. Doing Influencer Marketing … Without Proper Research

 

Influencer marketing happens when people who have an expert level of knowledge, lead a community and/or possess social influence in a certain area endorse a business, service or product. Although influencer marketing has been around for a while, in many ways, it’s still in its early stages.

 

Legitimacy is key when it comes to influence, and there’s a big industry-wide shakeout going on. Too many businesses and brands jumped in too quick and got blindsided with dismal results.

 

Now, businesses are tired of investing in posers - so-called influencers with fake followers and no real platform. Influencers who overcharge for little or no results will soon be a thing of the past, paving the way for influencers who have actual influence.

 

For influencer marketing to truly work, brands and businesses need to find better ways of identifying and collaborating with influencers. Remember, even a big-named expert will not get results when paired with an incompatible product or service.

 

When identifying influencers, search databases, but also get referrals and introductions from peers. Then, check their social media platforms, watch videos, and review posts to ensure their values and personal agenda align with your company.

 

Most importantly, make sure your influencer’s audience is a match for your audience. Don’t be shy to ask for case studies, examples, metrics, etc. The right influencer will be happy to accommodate you, since they are looking for amiable partnerships too.

 

Takeaway: The right influencer can make a huge difference for any company. It’s up to the businesses to get referrals and do the legwork to find the right match, and ultimately create a mutually beneficial situation.

 

Recommended reading: How to Vet Influencers for Your Small Business

 

Final Thoughts

 

Enter 2020 thinking forward. Leave flashy platforms, likes, and amateur, fake or over-priced influencers behind. Spend your time on the best social media sites for your business, creating content that encourages real interaction and is bolstered by the right influencers for your company or brand.

 

Happy New Year!

 

About Mari Smith

 

mari_0362xFACE_preview.jpg

Often referred to as “the Queen of Facebook,” Mari Smith is considered one of the world’s foremost experts on Facebook marketing and social media. She is a Forbes’ Top Social Media Power Influencer, author of The New Relationship Marketing and coauthor of Facebook Marketing: An Hour A Day. Forbes recently described Mari as, “… the preeminent Facebook expert. Even Facebook asks for her help.” She is a recognized Facebook Partner; Facebook headhunted and hired Mari to lead the Boost Your Business series of live events across the US. Mari is an in-demand speaker, and travels the world to keynote and train at major events.

 

Her digital marketing agency provides professional speaking, training and consulting services on Facebook and Instagram marketing best practices for Fortune 500 companies, brands, SMBs and direct sales organizations. Mari is also an expert webinar and live video broadcast host, and she serves as Brand Ambassador for numerous leading global companies.

 

Web: Mari Smith  or Twitter: @MariSmith

 

Bank of America, N.A. engages with Mari Smith to provide informational materials for your discussion or review purposes only. Mari Smith is a registered trademark, used pursuant to license. The third parties within articles are used under license from Mari Smith. Consult your financial, legal and accounting advisors, as neither Bank of America, its affiliates, nor their employees provide legal, accounting and tax advice.

The new year is coming up, a year filled with new opportunities, fresh hope and exciting prospects. It’s a time to look ahead and not be held back by what you’ve done. So, before the year ends, take the time to examine your digital presence and clean up your old connections and your dusty, old content.

Here are 5 things you should do: shallow-focus-photo-of-man-holding-floor-brush-ceramic-434163.jpg

 

Dump Toxic Followers

 

Over the years, you’ve probably picked up plenty of followers and connections across your various social media platforms. They won’t all have been positive. You might have added people you barely know to your personal Facebook page, engaged with trolls on Twitter, or attracted unpleasant comments next to your Instagram posts.

Social media shouldn’t work that way. You should have a personal Facebook page that keeps you in touch with the people you really know, and you should have a separate business page that lets you connect with people who support your business.

The people who follow you on Twitter and who you follow on the platform should be people who make your life better, not angrier. And the images and stories you see on Instagram should enrich your life, not inject it with envy.

This step is simple. Write a post on Facebook stating that your contact list has become too long to be useful. You can blame Facebook’s algorithm if you want. Tell people that you’re deleting everyone who isn’t a close friend or relative, and tell everyone else that they can follow your business page if they want. Then review your contact list and cut out anyone you don’t need.

 

On Twitter, you can also mute people if you think they might be offended by an unfollow, but block anyone who brings negativity to your page. Social media should push you forward. If anyone there holds you back, let them go.

 

Delete Old Posts

 

The same goes for content. If you’ve posted something on social media that you’ve regretted, you’re not alone. The press is filled now with reports exposing public officials who wrote something 20 years ago that people now find offensive. Any angry, old posts you made back at the start of social media are still online. You might have forgotten all about them but they’re available to anyone to find if motivated.

This is the time to make sure that you find them first. This will take a little longer than cleaning up your connections, especially if you’re a regular online contributor. Scroll down to the start of your social media posts, and delete anything that could give you problems.

 

Secure Your Email

 

If the media isn’t reporting about old social media posts, it’s announcing data breaches. Just recently, hackers stole the personal information of 218 million Zynga players and 4.6 million DoorDash customers. Companies should inform customers when their details have been compromised but if you missed the announcement—or ignored it—now is a good time to make sure that all your passwords are secure.

 

  • HaveIBeenPwned.com is run by Troy Hunt, a Microsoft Regional Director. It keeps track of breached accounts. Type in your email address, and it will tell you whether it appears in any hacked database. You can then delete your email address from that account or change the password. And if you’ve used the same password on other accounts, change those passwords too.

 

Delete Your Unused Accounts

 

When you check whether your email address has been compromised, you might find that you didn’t even know your details were in that database. You’ve probably registered for all sorts of services over the years, most of which you’ve now forgotten. Those companies still have your email address, your password, and a host of other details about you, including permission to send you messages.

 

If you’re no longer using those accounts, delete them.

 

Registering at Deseat.me will give you an opportunity to unregister at lots of different sites at the same time. It will give you a list all the accounts associated with your email address. You’ll be able to delete or request removal at the click of a button.

 

Be Forgotten

 

A bigger challenge is changing how you appear in Google search results. When someone tosses your name into Google, they’ll see events from your life in an order generated by Google’s algorithm. That could mean that incidents in your past that are no longer relevant and which you might not want publicized could be at the top of the search results while your current activities are buried at the bottom.

 

People in the EU can apply to Google to have those old links removed by completing a form. Google doesn’t have to comply, but it must at least consider removing links to information that might be inaccurate or irrelevant.

 

Since 2014, the company has removed 1.3 million links from its search results, fulfilling about 45 percent of applications. Examples described in the company’s Transparency Report have included links to reports of criminal convictions, legal disputes, and the private addresses of politicians. But the law only applies in the EU.

People outside the EU should consider reputation management services. These are companies that fill the Web with rival content to push unwanted search results down the page. It’s a big move and not always worthwhile. You can always produce your own fresh content but above all, you can do your own forgetting: stop thinking about any mistakes you’ve made in the past and look forward to the opportunities coming up in the new year.

 

About Joel Comm

 

As an Internet pioneer, Joel has been creating profitable websites, software, products, and helping entrepreneurs succeed since 1995. He has Screen+Shot+2019-02-08+at+9.16.44+AM.pngbeen at the frontlines of live video online since 2008 and has a deep expertise in using tools such as Facebook Live, Periscope, Instagram or Snapchat to broadcast a clearly defined message to a receptive audience or leveraging the power of webinar and meeting technologies.

 

Joel is a New York Times best-selling author of 15 books, including “The AdSense Code,” “Click Here to Order: Stories from the World’s Most Successful Entrepreneurs,” “KaChing: How to Run an Online Business that Pays and Pays and Twitter Power 3.0.” He is Co-Host of The Bad Crypto Podcast one of the top crypto-related shows in the world and has spoken before thousands of people around the world and seeks to inspire, equip and entertain.

 

Web: https://joelcomm.com/ or Twitter: @JoelComm

Read more from Joel Comm

 

Bank of America, N.A. engages with Joel Comm to provide informational materials for your discussion or review purposes only. Joel Comm is a registered trademark, used pursuant to license. The third parties within articles are used under license from Joel Comm. Consult your financial, legal and accounting advisors, as neither Bank of America, its affiliates, nor their employees provide legal, accounting and tax advice.

Ever since Facebook introduced advertising, it has been met with a mixture of enthusiasm and a hint of annoyance from those bothered by interruptions in their feed. pexels-photo-744464.jpgRegardless, the advertising potential of Facebook and its entire family of apps – including Instagram – remains huge for business. The opportunities and options for ads continue to grow, as do the millions of advertisers.

 

In fact, on the Facebook Q3 2019 Earnings Call, Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg said 140 million businesses use its social platforms every month. And, of Facebook’s 7 million advertisers, 3 million already advertise across Facebook, Instagram, and Messenger Stories.

 

This transition to expand advertising across its platforms has been developing for a while.  And as it evolved, Instagram and then Facebook, copied the horizontal-scroll tap-and-swipe format of Stories from Snapchat. This short-form, ephemeral micro-content is what advertisers would do well to focus on in 2020.

 

Stories

 

There are two fantastic aspects of using Stories. First, creators can publish an abundance of content and not worry about ‘jamming up’ the feeds of their followers. Second, followers can consume as much or as little Story content as they wish. In essence, both parties are in control.

 

Plus, with Facebook and Instagram adding more and more fun, interactive, highly engaging features to Stories, such as polling stickers, advertisers can also capitalize on this super popular feature that has a prominent top-of-feed placement.

 

To create an interactive Stories ad, choose Instagram Stories as your only ad placement in Ads Manager. Then, check the “Add an interactive poll” box. It’s in the same place where you upload your creative and edit the text. Spark a conversation, run a contest, get insights from your community, and more.

 

If you haven’t already done so, start testing what gets the most clicks and engagement now.

 

The other fastest-growing areas on Facebook and Instagram for users and advertisers are Messaging, Videos, Facebook Marketplace, and Augmented Reality.

 

Messaging

 

In August, Facebook started rolling out Lead Generation in Facebook Messenger. This new template within Ads Manager enables businesses to create automated experiences to help them qualify leads. With this feature, your business can ask custom questions - and remind people to answer them a way to nurture leads - and close the loop on the unqualified leads and integrate the information with your CRM. Businesses, such as the UK-based professional services firm RIFT Tax, have already seen meaningful results. In their case, RIFT increased qualified leads by 42%.

 

Videos

 

Facebook’s continued investment in video and the Watch platform is a major indicator of what will also be important in 2020 and beyond. Not only is it valuable to create more 15-second in-stream video ads, but marketers should also be publishing more long-form video, which is over three minutes.

 

IGTV (Instagram Television) could also be a big player in the coming year. As the platform is still under-utilized, explore how your business can use IGTV to engage and develop your audience of consumers.

 

Facebook Marketplace

 

While Facebook Marketplace is where customers can discover and purchase items, creating a paid ad to appear when people shop is much more effective than listing an item for sale. Create ads through the Ads Manager tool. Set your budget and select your ad placement. Choose Automatic Placements for your ad to appear on Marketplace, as well as other compatible placements on Facebook, Instagram, Messenger and Audience Network.

 

New Advertising Options

 

With the new year comes new ads and ad placement options.

  • Facebook Search. Reach people who are shopping - and therefore in the discovery mindset - with ads in Facebook Search Results. The ads, which look very similar to news feed ads and have the same control and transparency including a “Sponsored” label, appear in Marketplace or general search. If your ad is eligible, Search will appear in placement options.
  • Facebook Groups. Last fall, Facebook started trying out ad placements in the Groups tab in order to evaluate whether they would be beneficial for people and businesses. It is one more option Facebook found to increase ad inventory. Given how much Facebook has been prioritizing Groups, the test ads will most likely get results.

 

Also of note, in Mid-2020 Facebook is expected to limit the number ads pages can run simultaneously. However, this only impacts a small percentage of businesses. Stay up to date with what’s new in Facebook Ads Manager here.

Final Thoughts

As you create your Facebook and Instagram ad strategy for the new year, go with what has been working for your business and then slowly introduce new ad features into the mix. Experiment to see what features best impact your business in a positive way.

About Mari Smith

 

Often referred to as “the Queen of Facebook,” Mari Smith is considered one of the world’s foremost experts on Facebook marketing and social mari_0362xFACE_preview.jpgmedia. She is a Forbes’ Top Social Media Power Influencer, author of The New Relationship Marketing and coauthor of Facebook Marketing: An Hour A Day. Forbes recently described Mari as, “… the preeminent Facebook expert. Even Facebook asks for her help.” She is a recognized Facebook Partner; Facebook headhunted and hired Mari to lead the Boost Your Business series of live events across the US. Mari is an in-demand speaker, and travels the world to keynote and train at major events.

 

Her digital marketing agency provides professional speaking, training and consulting services on Facebook and Instagram marketing best practices for Fortune 500 companies, brands, SMBs and direct sales organizations. Mari is also an expert webinar and live video broadcast host, and she serves as Brand Ambassador for numerous leading global companies.

 

Web: Mari Smith  or Twitter: @MariSmith

 

Bank of America, N.A. engages with Mari Smith to provide informational materials for your discussion or review purposes only. Mari Smith is a registered trademark, used pursuant to license. The third parties within articles are used under license from Mari Smith. Consult your financial, legal and accounting advisors, as neither Bank of America, its affiliates, nor their employees provide legal, accounting and tax advice.

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