It’s been a wild ride – Lessons learned as a social media manager from 2022/2023

In the past few years there’s been a lot of upheaval on social media. Meta (Facebook and Instagram) have been changing their algorithms wildly to compete with Tik Tok. For a while they pushed video on everyone like how your Mum was worried you’d have drugs pushed onto you in the 90s. Then Meta slowly accepted that they weren’t going to buy out Tik Tok, or put them out of business. And that their customers don’t have the time to make 1 minute long, super edited videos every day.

Social media isn’t a huge deal to everyone, but let’s take a broad look at this: Meta is the 8th largest company in the world (after market cap). The impact they have on culture is enormous. To us social media managers, our whole entire careers rely on Meta. So the rapid changes have been stressful.

I’m not even going to mention Elon Musk buying Twitter.

The last couple of years also put a load of social media managers out of business. I’ve seen the move to video happening for the past 12 years, but I didn’t expect how swiftly the world has taken to it since Tik Tok. I had to deal with the fact that if I wasn’t going to smash Tik Tok, I was out. Game over. So I created a personal Tik Tok account in Jan 2023 (which now has over 6,000 followers and I’ve gone viral 3 times 🙌) I also took 3 of my brands close to 10,000 followers on there.

Whilst I am for sure a Tik Tok convert, in October I started my Bookstagram (that’s a book review Instagram) on erm… Instagram. And have been getting good engagement there. This has taught me a few things about Instagram that I couldn’t grasp from the brand accounts that I run.

Without further ado, here are some lessons learned from 2023:

You don’t need to be Slick Rick

  • Your content doesn’t need to be totally slick and professionally shot. The best performing content right now, for me, is day in the life/ daily vlog/ daily routine style stuff shot on my mobile. This is for paid and organic.
  • You can get away with talking to camera for a long time, but be sure to edit any pauses, urms and ahs. Be a bit more extra than you would in real life or on a work call.
  • Unboxing works great.

But don’t neglect a bit of pro-content

  • This is for branding. Using lots of different creators, UGC and influencers weakens the brand. We still need the professionally shot content in there, even if it has lower engagement. So that when someone looks at the profile they can see it’s a brand account. Some people don’t actually believe an account is from a brand if it’s too relatable.

Put the product into context

  • Using UGC, showing product application in recipes or what not, really works.
  • When someone creates UGC and you comment or repost, that develops a relationship with the customer that can’t really be beaten by any other means. They become active community members, and be sure to comment on their other posts from time to time that don’t feature from their brand – and give them a follow.

It’s not just about being clever, funny or grabbing attention

  • Nowadays, a lot of people look at social media content in the evenings to wind down or see something nice. They like looking at cute bakeries in France, and libraries in Cambridge, snowy days and videos of some lady slicing up a bar of soap. Things that look nice or videos that are relaxing work really well.

Saying that, educational stuff works well too

  • Not everyone is an easily distracted ferret. You’ll always get people who want to know everything about, well, anything… give people detail. Allow them to learn something new and cool. Allow them to take a deep dive into your business. Be there for the people who collect every single Squish Mallow and who absolutely need to work with a 0.5 nib pen.

Let’s talk about ads

  • You don’t need to do hyper targeting on Facebook and Instagram ads anymore, and I’m worried that people are contacting me still looking for hyper detailed and targeted strategies. Since 2020 Meta have been saying to use broad targeting and let A.I find the people who are most interested in your product. So if you’re choosing detailed targeting you are essentially inhibiting the success of the ads.
  • However, I have found that targeting specific interests on Tik Tok does work.
  • Tik Tok ads work great for attracting new Tik Tok followers, Instagram and Facebook doesn’t.

Should you post on Facebook anymore?

  • Unless your customer is over 50, you probably won’t get much engagement there. But there is no harm in posting on it.
  • If your customer is over 50 — many people do have customer bases over 50 and it’s a totally valid platform to use to target that audience. Even at 80 or 90, people can be heavy internet users, and often are.

Forget data

  • If you see some things do well and others flop, then sure, this shows you what’s working and what’s not to some degree. However, it’s not a case of just creating what the algorithm likes, and in my opinion this is why a lot of modern advertising is so terrible. Do what you think is good, and what you think your target audience will like, at the end of the day. It’s why we see so much content that’s just mindlessly following trends and doing dumb dances – because it gets likes and views. What about brand sentiment? What about brand guidelines?

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