The Top 5 Social Media Mistakes

1. Posting Without A Strategy

The worst mistake your brand can make is not having a strategy for your content.

Having a social media strategy helps you stay more organized, less frustrated and keeps you focused on your brand’s overall messaging and goals. Once you’ve created a strategy, utilize scheduling platforms, like @planoly or Sprout Social, to schedule your posts in advance. Not sure how to create a social media strategy? Check out our blog post on content calendars for some ideas or contact us about our one on one consulting sessions.

2. Being Too Sales Oriented

It’s a give & take.

Obviously, as a brand, your ultimate goal is increasing sales. However, consumers & social media users are on platforms because they want to establish a relationship.

Give away free bits of information to your followers or include content that they can learn or grow from. As an example, at Something Social, we give away blog posts, such as this one, to help educate our followers about the social media space. We want to help our community grow & establish relationships that will be active long-term, instead of constantly pushing purchases and isolating our followers.

3. Not engaging with your audience

Your followers know best.

We can’t say it enough, it’s called “social” media for a reason. Your followers are your direct audience; take time to get to know their likes & dislikes before determining your social strategy and planning your content.

Regularly engage with your audience by doing giveaways or asking questions in your posts. Run Twitter polls to get direct feedback from your followers & ask for their input on design elements.

Utilize Instagram stories & Facebook Live videos to have open discussions concerning your product or business. For more ideas, read our blog post on “8 Ways to Use Instagram Stories to Make Your Business Stand Out.”

4. Pushing the same content across all platforms.

Your content should be platform specific.

 If you have the exact same content on all of your social platforms, it doesn’t give your followers a reason to follow you in multiple spaces. Use Twitter for short facts & insights about your company, Facebook for sharing articles & videos and Instagram to establish your overall aesthetic and visual branding. Combining the strengths of all of the platforms in one social strategy will give your brand a well-rounded presence in the digital space.

5. Doing too much or too little.

It’s a balance.

A lot of companies are still stuck in the mindset of traditional marketing & tend to ignore the power social media can bring. Not maintaining a regular posting schedule can be detrimental to the growth of engagement and following on social platforms. On the flip side, posting too frequently can drive down your posts in Instagram & Facebook algorithms and can annoy your following, leading them to unfollow you. The cure? Test out posting frequency with your audience.

We recommend our clients post a minimum of 5 times per week on Instagram & Facebook with a maximum of two posts per day. Twitter should always be the most active platform with multiple posts going up daily. However, every single brand and account is different. Go back to who your target audience is and what their habits are online. If they are more active, then you can be more active too.

Written by our VP of Operations, Marissa Stahl.

How many of these were you doing? We won’t tell! 😉 Tweet us  @somethingsocial or tag us on Instagram- @somethingsocial.

 

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Instagram Shadowbanning & What You Can Do About it

Ever since Instagram rolled out it’s algorithm in the middle of last year we’ve heard a number of complaints from users & brands who have seen drops in their engagement. This can be extremely frustrating, especially when you’ve been putting a lot of effort into creating original content & engaging with users to grow your fan base.

Recently, the engagement debacle has gotten worse, much worse, especially with brands on Instagram. Clients have been noticing that they’re not gaining followers as quickly or are even losing followers and that their posts are no longer showing up in popular hashtags that they’ve been successful using in the past.

This anomaly has come to be known as “Instagram Shadowbanning.”

What does ‘Instagram Shadowbanning’ mean? 

Shadowbanning, also known as Stealth Banning or Comment Banning, is the act of blocking a user from an online community in a way that doesn’t let them know they’ve been banned. So this could be happening to your photos & you would have no idea you’ve been Shadowbanned!

What does Shadowbanning look like on Instagram? Instagram will now hide your posts that are connected to a hashtag from users that aren’t already following you. So if a user clicks a hashtag that you have used in association with a brand post, your photo won’t show up in the hashtag feed unless that person is already following you. So if you’ve previously been using hashtags to grow your account and gain new fans, this will definitely have an impact on your account growth and could even result in you losing followers.

“I have been experiencing less engagement, does that mean I’ve been Shadowbanned?” 

Not necessarily. Unfortunately, all of the algorithms that Instagram has been rolling out over the past year are known to negatively effect engagement on users’ posts. Just because you’ve been experiencing lower engagement rates doesn’t mean you’ve been Shadowbanned.

The easiest way to discover if your posts are being Shadowbanned is to ask a user who doesn’t follow you to click on a hashtag that you’ve used and see if your photo shows up in the feed. If your photo isn’t in the feed, you have most likely been Shadowbanned.

If they do find your photo, then you’re experiencing low engagement for a different reason. Try switching up your posting times, create new types of content or make more of an effort to engage with potential new fans (like and comment on their photos) on a daily basis.

“Why have I been Shadowbanned?” 

There are a few different reasons that your posts could have been Shadowbanned.

You use the same hashtags repeatedly. 

We’ve discovered that some accounts who use the same block of hashtags on every single one of their posts have been Shadowbanned. Because you’ve been using the same ones, you might have been flagged as a spam account. Make sure to mix up your hashtags on every single post in order to keep them fresh & avoid being banned.

You’ve been using a bot for follower growth. 

If you’ve been using an automation tool to help increase your follower base & engagement, you’re likely to have been Shadbowbanned. These tools, like (the former) Instagress and Likestagram are clearly against Instagram’s Terms of Service which prohibit use of automation services, such as bots.

You like & comment too frequently on posts. 

Instagram has limits for how many photos you can like or comment on in a given hour. If you’re being super diligent on your engagement and notice that you’ve been reaching the liking limit (you’ve reached the limit when you’re no longer allowed to like photos), it’s likely that Instagram has flagged you with bot behavior and has Shadowbanned your account.

You’re using a “broken hashtag.” 

A “broken hashtag” is a hashtag that has been flagged with inappropriate content. When a hashtag becomes extremely popular, it can become overrun with inappropriate content. Even if the hashtag itself is innocent, Instagram promotes a safe online space and will have to remove the hashtag from their community. Double check all of the hashtags that you’re using to make sure that they aren’t associated with vulgar or inappropriate content.

Your account has been reported. 

If your account has been reported to Instagram, someone thinks that you’ve been acting in an inappropriate way on the platform. If this happens, Instagram is likely to Shadowban you.

“How Can I Grow My Account if I Don’t Use Hashtags?” 

Focus on content. 

The best thing that you can do to grow your account is have great content. Focus on a great photoshoot highlighting your product or brand or brainstorm ways to produce new & unique content that users will associate with you. Take time in using other features, like Instagram Stories, to find new fans.

Engage Organically

Don’t use bots to increase your following. Make sure that you are behaving in an authentic way on the platform & doing your engagement by yourself. This is also the best way to make sure that the fans you are targeting are ones that will interact with your brand & will be interested in what you have to offer.

Play by the rules. 

Especially if you’re using Instagram as one of your main methods of marketing for your business, make sure that you know what the Terms of Service are and that you are abiding by them. Shadowbanning is bad, but it could be worse. Instagram has been known to delete accounts that repeatedly don’t abide by their terms and you definitely wouldn’t want that to happen.

At the end of the day, remember that Instagram is a community. Use the platform as it’s meant to be used, to foster a community of creative individuals and friends.

Written by our Vice President of Operations, Marissa Stahl, find her at @MarissaCStahl on Instagram and Twitter.

Share your experiences with engagement and Shadowbanning on Instagram. Tweet us  @somethingsocial or tag us on Instagram- @somethingsocial.

 

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The Importance of Content Personalization

As technology and social media platforms continue to develop, we create more and more ways to reach consumers on a personal level. Whether it is developing a specific brand voice catered to certain types of consumers, sending targeted advertisements or emails, or even just including a consumer’s name in an email subject line, we’re armed with many personalization tools.

The first question one might ask is why? Why do we want to spend time on customization? Isn’t our time better spent creating more ads or content instead of building out different options of the same content?

Yes and no. While having enough content at any given time is crucial to maintaining an organized content schedule (see why having an organized content schedule is important here), creating content that will resonate strongly with your consumers is just as important.

We’re provided with so many tools that allow us insight into each and every one of our consumers, it would be a waste to not use those to our advantage. On Instagram alone, Insights provides you with the gender breakdown of your following, their age ranges, top locations by city and country, and what days and hours your followers are most active. Using other services, like Iconosquare, can provide you even more in-depth information, leaving you no room to be lazy with customizing your content!

If you’re sending out email campaigns, many email softwares, like MailChimp, enable you to do A/B testing.

SSLA Quick Tip: A/B testing is a type of comparative content testing that allows you to see which types of content performs better. This can really help you reduce unsubscribe rates and increase Click Through Rates.

Spend some time playing around on any analytics page for platforms you use (most have them) and you’ll see the plethora of information you have right at your fingertips. Going the extra step to make sure you’re curating your content correctly for your consumers will really add a new dimension to how people view your brand.

Written by our Digital Specialist, Nora Henick.

Have any questions on how to optimize your content? Tweet us  @somethingsocial or tag us on Instagram- @somethingsocial.

 

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How to Handle Instagram Trolling

We’ve all seen it, whether or not we knew it had a name. Those accounts that just seem to comment on everything they can, saying nothing but nasty things. Internet, meet trolls.

So how do we stop all that nastiness and make the Internet the place we all know and love? Thanks to Instagram’s new features, personal accounts and companies can start protecting themselves against these trolls. This is Instagram’s third role out of safety measures just this quarter, a huge advance compared to many other social media platforms. The four major changes you’ll see starting to roll out are the ability to turn off comments from specific accounts, removing follows from specific accounts, support for comment liking, and blocking specific accounts from viewing Instagram Stories.

If you head over to your settings and click on comments, you can filter your comments by specific keywords or what Instagram may deem as genuinely abusive content. This is where the line can get blurry though. We encourage you to practice with caution – you don’t want to accidentally block too much and end up losing out on some of the real social media fun!

To block someone from your Instagram Stories, click on your profile, and then click the gear icon on the top right. Scroll down until you see Story Settings, which should be under Invite and Follow People. In there, you can hide your story from specific people and control who can send you message replies.

Let’s review some old features, too. You can still block people – just head over to their account, click those three dots on the top right, and hit block account. Instagram will prompt you to then confirm that you want to actually block this account. However, if someone is harassing you on Instagram, make sure you take it a step further. Not only should you block the account, you should also report it. To do so, click on those same three dots and right below block, you’ll see report. Follow the appropriate steps from there.

We hope these safety tips help you continue to keep your Instagram a fun, safe place to share with friends, family, and anyone else.

Written by our Digital Specialist, Nora Henick.

Have some experience with Insta-trolls? Tweet us  @somethingsocial or tag us on Instagram- @somethingsocial.

 

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Facebook, Twitter, Instagram & Snapchat Updates

With social media constantly rolling out new features, it can be hard to stay up-to-date with all of the changes. Our current three favorite platforms, Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, have all rolled out new features in the past week. We’re giving you the breakdown of them, so you can stay in the loop and make sure you’re utilizing these services to the best of your abilities.

Facebook

Following Instagram, Facebook has just released Facebook stories. You can share photos and videos that appear at the top of your newsfeed and they’ll disappear after 24 hours. All you have to do is click the Your Story icon on the top of your newsfeed and you can add to your story. Similar yet again to Instagram, you can also send direct photos and videos to your friends, enabling you the same privacy you see in the Messenger app and Instagram/Twitter direct messages.

Twitter

We know that 140 characters isn’t a lot to work with, but that is Twitter’s standard and it doesn’t seem to be changing any time soon. However, they are helping us utilize our 140 characters more efficiently, by constantly looking at new ways to cheat the system. Now, when you reply to someone’s tweet, their @username characters do not count in the 140 characters. That means when you’re replying to @wowicantbelieveapersonmadeausernamethislong (just kidding, Twitter has a cap on username length), you can still savor your 140 characters for the message.

Snapchat

The newest Snapchat update lets you change the size of the brush tool. Just like on Instagram stories, you can now change the size of the wand by using two fingers. Move your fingers farther away from each other or closer together to change the size & then draw to your heart’s content!

Instagram

With the goal of being “less transactional and more immersive”, Instagram has rolled out a new way to shop. In testing since November (https://techcrunch.com/2016/11/01/instagram-shoppable-photos/), shoppable tags are now available to all businesses.

So what does this mean for you? If you aren’t familiar with shoppable tags, let us explain. When implemented, each post will have an icon on the bottom left of the photo that says “tap to view”.  If you click this button, up to five items will be showcased in the photo showing the product names and prices. If you click on a specific tag for an item, a detailed view of the product will open.

From there, you’re able to click on a Shop Now link. This link will take you directly to the product on the brand’s website, making shopping a lot more direct and easy via Instagram.  Now, you don’t even have to leave the Instagram app to research and shop! Thank you Instagram.

Written by our Digital Specialist, Nora Henick.

What do you think of the new platform updates? Tweet us  @somethingsocial or tag us on Instagram- @somethingsocial.

 

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Best Posting Times for Instagram & Facebook

One of the top questions we get is, “what is the best time to post?” Our clients are always seeking guidance on the most optimal time to share their content in order to get the highest reach & engagement with their followers.

Before the Instagram algorithm went into effect, we generally stuck to posting around mealtimes: 8-9am, 12-2pm & 5-6pm. After the algorithm, the Instagram & social media community was somewhat at a loss for a little while about when the best time to share content was. After some research and a hard look at our client’s data from our favorite analytical tools, we’ve updated our thinking on the best times to post. While results can vary depending on the brand and audience, here are some general rules & guidelines that we go by:

Instagram

  • We generally find that early afternoons (11am – 1pm) and evenings (7 – 9pm) bring the most engagement.
  • We call weekdays from 3pm-5pm the dead zone. Posts at this time most likely never receive high engagement percentages.
  • Save important posts & announcements for mid-day on weekdays in order to have the highest amount of reach.
  • Find out when your audience is the most active. If you’re a West Coast or an East Coast brand, for example, your posting times will vary based on when your audience is awake.
  • Weekends can be hit or miss depending on your audience. Some of our clients have great success with posts on Saturdays and Sundays, while others don’t fare as well.

Facebook

  • Facebook is the king of social media. With the most active users over any other social platform, it’s kind of hard to find a bad day or time to post.
  • Some basic things to note:
      • Thursday at 1pm is the overall most active time
      • Morning & late night posts tend to perform worse
  • We generally stick to Monday through Friday at 12pm on Facebook
  • Boosted posts & Facebook ads are necessary to gain traction for your brand page, especially for a newer brand.

Important notes: Our guidelines might not work for everyone! Don’t be afraid to test out different posting times for you and your brand to see what works best for your audience. 

Written by our Digital Specialist, Nora Henick.

What does your data say? We wanna know! Tweet us  @somethingsocial or tag us on Instagram- @somethingsocial.

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New iPhone Software Updates

We’re always anxiously awaiting a new iOS update. Sometimes they bring the good (think black heart & avocado emojis) and sometimes they bring the bad (think reformatting & confusing new settings). This time, iOS 10.3 is bringing a bunch of new features beyond balloons & confetti in your texting streams. Don’t panic, we’re breaking them down below so you can roll through the new update in a breeze. 

AirPods

Got the new AirPods and can’t seem to keep track of them? Apple has decided to add Find My AirPods – think Find My iPhone but for your sneaky, always missing headphones. You can easily access this new feature within the Find My iPhone app. Similar to Find My iPhone, if you believe your AirPods may be in the same room as you (or nearby), you can have the pods emit a loud noise to make your search a bit easier. To make it even better, have one pod but lost the other? You can specifically choose left or right pod to emit this noise, unless of course, you’re like us and you may have accidentally misplaced both of them.

Apple ID Profile

All of your information, now in one place. Click on settings, and at the top you’ll be able to now see all of your account information. Once there, you can access your iCloud, iTunes, App Store, and Family Sharing information. It will also show you all devices connected to any of these accounts.

Weather + Map = Packing Made Easy

Traveling somewhere and don’t know what to wear? The map app is about to make your life a lot easier. The weather and map app are combining to let you know what the weather will be like where you’re headed. This weather addition will be integrated in the Maps app, so you’ll just have to click a little button to check what the weather will be like, no matter where you are. So pack accordingly, now that you can.

iCloud Storage

While it is currently possible to see the breakdown of your storage if you going into Settings – iCloud – Storage – Manage Storage, with the new update, you’ll be able to see a more graphic breakdown of what’s eating up your space. No more confusion on what those “documents and data” are.

Beta testing is currently out for iOS 10.3, but we will keep you posted as new features and software updates begin to roll out for everyone!

Written by our Digital Specialist, Nora Henick.

What’s your fave part of the new update? Tweet us  @somethingsocial or tag us on Instagram- @somethingsocial.

 

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