April Social Media Updates & Tips (8 Key Tips to Step-Up Your Social-game)

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Things are changing...

Now that March is in the books and the first quarter has come and gone, some trends are beginning to reveal themselves for 2018! We at Swell Social love reading about, listening to, and watching other experts give their two-cents about today's social media climate. Here are our 10 best tips for you to up your Insta-game (or really up your social media game in general).

1. GIFs are back in stories on Instagram!

So you may or may not have heard, but Instagram (& Snapchat) removed GIFs from their platforms. Shortly after Instagram introduced GIFs into their stories they removed them. This is due to some racist GIFs that slipped through the cracks. Giphy, the company responsible for the integration of GIFs into Insta & Snap, has claimed that there was a bug in their moderation software. They have since rectified that so GIFs should be available on your Instagram account once again!

What does this mean for you? Well, GIFs are a "new" way to create engaging stories, so use them well! Adding a GIF to stories is essentially just another day to create more interest in your story. 

2. Tagging Accounts/Using Hashtags in Instagram Bio

With all the changes that Instagram has seen over the past few years, it is hard to believe that their 'Bio' section hasn't really seen much innovation since the app launched years ago. Well, the day has finally come, and there are now some pretty cool changes available now in your Instagram bio. You can now directly tag other accounts and use hashtags within your bio! 

What does this mean for you? Well, first off, if you have two separate accounts you can now link them together. For example, if you have one account for your personal life and then one account for your fishing business, you can now link them together directly as you see fit. This is a nice feature for those of you juggling multiple accounts all at once. 

The most underrated part of this update, however, is the fact that you can now create and promote your own custom hashtag in the bio. For example, if we want to use #swellsocialstories to promote the content we post on Instagram, we can now encourage people to follow that hashtag from our bio.

This comes down to being able to boost engagement. If someone follows you they have about a 10-20% chance of seeing your post on average, right now. However, if someone also follows your hashtag on top of your profile, that more than doubles the chance of seeing your post.

Here's our tip: create your own custom hashtag. Encourage people to follow it. Build a community around the hashtag. Watch your engagement increase. We haven't had a chance to test this feature ourself, however in theory it will work. 

3. Newish Algorithm! (A good one this time)

(Sorry all of our tips have been about Instagram so far, but we are very in tune with that platform as we fully believe that it is the future of digital marketing). 

Wow! Instagram listened! Sort of. In the next couple months, you will be noticing that your feed will kind of be going back to a chronological order. It will put more emphasis on recent posts essentially. Instagram released a blog post about the changes, and they also teased that there are more updates on their way. We're excited! 

We're not sure if this was actually a response to user feedback or if it was a reaction to the surge of VERO's popularity, but they have addressed the issues that users were having with their algorithm which is a pretty unprecedented move within the social media world. 

What does this mean for you? Well, hopefully it means that you will see your engagement improve. The updated feed will slowly be phased in, but come the summer it should be available for everyone. Let's hope Instagram stays true to its word! This update is long overdue and we are extremely excited to see what it holds. 

4. Manually Refreshing Feeds

You know when you're scrolling through your feed and then all of a sudden it refreshes and you lose the posts you were looking at? Isn't that the worst? Well, those days are almost over. Almost.

There will be a "New Posts" button that will allow you to manually refresh your Instagram feed when you see fit. Our prediction with this feature is that it will keep users on Instagram longer. Typically when a user is done scrolling through their feed they would leave the app as all the posts Instagram chose for them to see would get viewed. However, with the manual refresh on the 'New Posts' option, users can go through their feed, view all of those posts, and then go back and refresh and see a bunch of fresh content. 

As it stands right now Instagram users spend between 24-32 minutes a day scrolling through their feeds (albeit that stat is from August 2017), but there are predictions that these durations will be increased by 10 minutes with this new feature. With the introduction of Instagram stories a little over a year ago people found themselves spending more time within Instagram, and we would assume this new update will see similar results. 

What does this mean for you? Well, again, hopefully more engagement/profile views. A lot of these updates don't require much more work on your end. Kick your feet up and breathe!  

5. (Not an update, just a new tip) Say hi to your followers!

So for those of you that follow social media trends closely, you'll know that 2018 is the year of 'sidebar conversations'. This basically means that there will be/already is an unprecedented level of communication between brands and their customers. For those of you that haven't seen, many big brands are crafting witty and informative posts to send directly to their customers (for example, Wendy has been roasting people on Twitter and it is pretty wild). However, this marketing tactic can be duplicated for accounts of all size. 

How can you harness the power of creating conversations with your followers? Well, Instagram DM's is an obvious start. You are probably all used to DM'ing people on Insta to chat about their photo that you liked, recommendations, etc. Our recommendation, however, is to triple down on that. Send DM's to everyone that follows you. Ask them about what they are doing. Ask them for tips. Make them feel valuable. This will go a long way in building your brand whether you sell custom dog leashes or like to blog about homemade yogurt. You will make some friends along the way too! 

Recently, we started crafting welcome messages for our clients. Whenever someone follows their accounts on Instagram, we have been sending a DM to welcome them to our page. This creates an immediate dialogue with a potential patron. We got this idea from the chatbots that Facebook have been rolling out (but recently quietly stopped accepting). However, these chatbots require quite a lot of developing and coding.

Our advice is to DM everyone and anyone you bump into on Instagram. Make some friends and connections! 

6. Facebook & Their Security Issues

This one has been in the new for a while. Basically Facebook let a lot of people (businesses) access people's personal information. Despite Facebook's T&C's clearly stating that they have full access to all the information on your profiles (including their private messages etc.) people are shocked by the lack of personal privacy that they got from Facebook. No one really reads T&C's ever, so it is understandable that people had no clue about this, but even without reading the actual clause in the T&C's it is reasonable to assume that something like this was going on anyways.

Maybe we're just jaded as we grew up in an era of an omnipresent feeling of having no personal privacy with all of the online posting that our generation has done, but we really don't see this as that big of a deal nor that new of a problem. 

What does this mean for you? Well, that depends. Some people will be using their Facebook accounts less or deleting them all together. This, in our opinions, is an overreaction, but lots of people don't have trust in social media's privacy and the rest of us have to deal with that. At the end of the day, we don't predict a bunch of impact on a day-to-day basis for the average Facebook user. Engagement may go down a little and you may lose some page likes, but it won't be detrimental. 

7. Create custom GIFs for your Facebook audience

Video continues to be a big driver of traffic on Facebook. Our agency has found, however, that our photos on our client's accounts have more reach than our videos do, but we are an exception. For those of you stressing about creating stunning videos for your audience don't worry, GIFs are here to save you. Creating a quick 3 second looping GIF that plays for 60 seconds will weight itself the same as a 60 second video in the Facebook algorithm. Try taking quick videos and turning them into GIFs. Here's how. Have fun! 

8. Press & Hold Magic

Alright, so we saved one of our favourite new updates for last. You can now create 'Press & Hold' style posts on Facebook. It is worth noting, however, that this feature is currently iOS-only. Essentially what this feature does is allow you to create a video that is "hidden" behind a static photo. Once the user presses down on the photo and holds it, a quick video is displayed behind it.

We're predicting that this will be a great way to engage your audience on Facebook. Some possible uses for this would be doing reveals, animating a static shot (assuming you took video as well), so on and so forth. We're excited about this one. Make your own now