LinkedIn

2016 Social Media in a Nutshell:
A Marketers Love Notes to Each Platform

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2016 has been yet another growing and evolving year in the world of social media. Not surprising since the field is still emerging, especially in the marketing world. While it can be exhausting to keep up with all the platforms, changes, and ideas, it’s also highly rewarding, exciting, and challenging. We have an amazing team at Thin Pig Media, and while we’re excited to see what changes come in 2017 on the business side, I wanted to do a fun year in review for the top platforms from a personal perspective.

Oh, Facebook. I think many of my marketer friends can agree, we have a love/hate relationship with you. Your constant algorithm changes and never-ending updates without notification keep us on our toes, and your glitches abound, but with your endless possibilities for reaching people, you are often a marketers dream. In 2016 you added various advertising options, new page layouts, algorithm updates, and made an obvious emphasis on live video. I’m looking forward to what 2017 brings, and I’m pretty sure it’s going to be a lot more live video.

Twitter, you lost yourself a bit this year. My once active and engaging stream just felt cluttered and empty at the same time. Cluttered with the links, self-promotion, and inspirational quotes, but empty of any meaningful conversations. Yes, you haven’t always been the most personal of social networks, but I remember being able to have a real conversation (albeit, under 140 characters) back in the day. Now, it actually seems rare to see two people tweeting back and forth to one another. You remained great for breaking news and brand customer service, which is where I have always turned for these types of updates. I hope you make an awesome comeback in 2017 because you were once my favorite social platform.

Man oh man, Instagram. You kept kicking butt and taking names in 2016. More and more people and brands turned to you for sharing memories, in both photo and now video format. You even opened up advertising, which has been very high quality thus far. Even though I wasn’t a fan of you “borrowing” Snapchat’s idea of 24-hour disappearing stories within the app, I appreciate the changes you made in 2016 like multiple account management, interest-based feed optimizations, and the save-as-draft option. Looking forward to working with you in 2017 and the changes you’ll make.

Snapchat. You became more than just a fad in 2016. Congrats. In a way, you became the Facebook of the year because not only did I start using you more and more, but so did my mom (and, we’re both not millennials.) I really hope Instagram does not knock you out because I’ll truly miss your private video message feature and your constantly changing lenses and filters. You helped keep my kids busy for many minutes when I was in a pinch, and I thank you. Cheers to 2017, and not disappearing forever.

And then there is LinkedIn. My old professional friend. At least you used to seem like a place for professionals to hang out. Now you just seem filled with click bait and men lurking on women. Okay, that doesn’t really sum up 2016 on LinkedIn, but those were the first two things that came to mind, and I’m kind of scared those might actually be spot-on in summing up LinkedIn in 2016. Am I the only one? 

And lastly, Pinterest. Well, you continued being Pinterest: full of amazing ideas that I rarely do myself. Perhaps in 2017 I’ll make a resolution to actually do 25 ideas from one of my 1.2K pins.

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While the above is just a fun (although that’s subjective!) rundown of my thoughts from 2016, I’m really looking forward to 2017 on the social media and technology fronts. My quick predictions for 2017 (because hey, if you don’t write them down, they doesn’t exist!) are:

- Live video (especially on Facebook) and video in general will grow in use.

- Virtual reality will be focused on and highly improved upon.

- Social advertising dollars will continue to skyrocket and take over traditional advertising method ad dollars

- Myspace will make a comeback (Just kidding. Wanted to make sure you’re paying attention.)

- We’ll see more influencer marketing on more platforms. Brands will turn to “gurus” and YouTube and Instagram personalities to help push their products instead of traditional celebs.

I’d love to hear your summation of each of the platforms from 2016 and you predictions for 2017. Leave a comment or tweet us @ThinPigMedia!

We hope everyone has a wonderful time ringing in 2017, and we look forward to connecting with you. Happy New Year!

Drive Website Traffic with LinkedIn Publisher

LinkedIn Publisher

LinkedIn PublisherWe work with several customers to optimize and manage their company LinkedIn pages. One client in particular has done a great job building up their community. The key we found is to consistently share great content. Recently, one of their managers started to post via the LinkedIn Publisher tool. We highly encourage this. Traffic to their website increased noticeably from our combined efforts on LinkedIn.

Are you better off posting content as a company update or through LinkedIn Publisher via individual team members?

While there are undoubtedly different schools of thought on the topic, our answer is ‘both.' We think best practice is to have authors post via LinkedIn Publisher and then share that piece of content as a company update for the following reasons:

• The content shows up via the LinkedIn Publisher tool and it goes one step farther to demonstrate technical expertise and promote credibility. • The more a piece of content gets shared and viewed, the more likely LinkedIn will add it to the newsfeed. This reaches people that are outside of your network! • Company updates are limited to 600 characters total. • A long form post looks more attractive in LinkedIn Publisher than a post update. • Analytics are available to measure success. Hopefully this will encourage and motivate more of your team to create and share their own content with LinkedIn Publisher.

How much, if any, supervision/approval process is in place for employee created content?

Conduct training about the benefits, uses, and company guidelines regarding LinkedIn and LinkedIn Publisher. Many companies have never had an internal discussion to develop a standard operating procedure for LinkedIn. This is a great place to start. Certainly, there will be team members who don’t want or care about company rules regarding their personal LinkedIn profile. We get that, but we have also found that the majority of folks want to help out the company page, and weren't sure how to do it.

There's always room to improve your company LinkedIn page. Find us on Twitter @ThinPigMedia, our virtual water cooler, to discuss ways to get started!

Where Are Your Social Media Fans Hiding?

Quality Social Media Fans

Numbers lie. Quality, not quantity, is what makes great social media fans. It’s not the sheer number of fans or followers you have that is important. The engagement you receive from loyal past and present customers will truly provide your company with great insight and long-lasting relationships. This in turn attracts potential new customers for your product or service. Quality Social Media FansHow does your brand become a magnet for quality fans? The number one rule is NOT to hop on every social media network. Instead, with your target demographic in mind plus our knowledge of the different platforms available, we will recommend a few networks to focus your efforts. A robust presence on the right social media networks instead of a minimal presence on all networks saves time, saves money and builds relationships with the right audience. If your company is still trying to decide where your core customer is hanging out on social media, consult this quick summary of the most popular social networks:

Facebook - social media fans: 18-34 females

+ As the world’s largest social network with over 1 billion users, it’s likely some or all of your audience is on Facebook. - Within the last 9 months Facebook has made a major update to its algorithm by limiting organic exposure to users, making Facebook a ‘pay-to-play’ platform now. The days of free advertising to a large audience are gone.

Twitter - social media fans: 18-29 male and female

+ Easy access to past, present, and potential customers; great opportunities for cross-promotion with other businesses. Engagement is fast and easy. 255 million monthly active users. - Can be time-consuming, successful brands often tweet 10x per day or more to actively engage with followers.

Instagram - social media fans: 18-49 female

+ If this is your demographic AND you have a visually appealing product or extremely creative and eye-catching content, Instagram is a great platform. Over 200 million users. - Inability to have clickable URLs (except in bio) making it harder to drive traffic to your website. Be sure to create consistent quality content to keep feed exciting and engaging.

Pinterest - social media fans: 18-49 female

+ Great for visual brands, especially products appealing to the core demographic. Users can ‘re-pin’ your content, thus spreading it to more users. Free social sharing among 70 millions users is worth investigating. - Businesses must be careful when pinning copyrighted images/pins. Men are not very active on this platform. Less conversation and social engagement than other platforms.

LinkedIn - social media fans: 30-64 males

+ Great for B2B companies, as the demographic is mainly professionals. It can be good for SEO purposes. There are several ways to showcase your expertise in a particular field. - A percentage of active users are only on Linkedin when they are unemployed, or looking for a new job. Less engagement on this platform although it should increase as LinkedIn introduces new content and features.

Google Plus - social media fans: 18-34 males

+ Can be great for SEO purposes (afterall, it is Google’s own social media network!) - Smaller amount of active users (~35%) relative to the other more established networks.