More About This Episode
The Smarter Building Materials Marketing podcast helps industry professionals find better ways to grow leads, sales and outperform the competition. It’s designed to give insights on how to create a results-driven digital marketing strategy for companies of any size.
This week, Beth brings back Venveo’s very own social media expert, Ashley Stevenson, to talk about social media platform changes: what’s happening right now and what may be changing in the future.
Be sure to sign up for our Social Media Masterclass on May 9 to make sure you and your team are getting the most value out of your marketing.
Social media right now seems to be changing every five minutes. All of the information in this episode is applicable at time of recording (April 24), but know that it may have changed by the 25th.
When it comes to Instagram, it’s crucial to utilize visual storytelling conversion on a visual platform. However, stories and reels, while still important, aren’t the main focus.
“The CEO came out at the beginning of the year saying, ‘Well, we kind of made way too big of a thing about reels, we over-focused on it, and now we need to slide back a little bit and focus more on carousels and focus more on the in-feed posting and talking about actual engagement and conversation’,” Ashley explains.
Your Instagram content still needs to entertain, but it also needs to be educational as well. Ashley recommends you diversify the portfolio of content you have. Don’t go all in on reels or all in on stories or all in on carousel posts.
“It's more just making sure that you have consistent messaging throughout stories, on your reels [and] on your feed post — that you've got actual conversation happening,” she explains.
A lot of platforms, including Instagram, are also putting a bigger focus on incoming messages, so be sure to encourage direct messaging. She also suggests “doing more collaborative posts where you're tagging potential partners and you're using the opportunity to echo off of those voices that are saying the same information but to a different audience, so you're allowed to grow that opportunity.”
Another big change: hashtags are no longer as important. Focus on three to five main hashtags, instead of trying to hit the max. “Stop over focusing on hashtags because if the content isn't good, the hashtags won't save you.”
If you saw a big uptick in follower growth when reels were rolled out, and then saw a stagnation or even drop in the following month, know that it may not be your content that’s the problem. “It actually means your content might be getting more to the right niche audience and is now being narrowed down from the really wide reach that it was getting to earlier,” says Beth.
Strategy for the Next 60 Days
So what should your strategy be for Instagram over the next 60 days?
If you’ve been doing a heavy amount of reels, your strategy doesn’t need to change drastically or quickly.
“If you've started to create a form of consistency with your community, then it needs to be a slow, tailored approach to then adding in other types of content,” says Ashley. “If you were posting anywhere from two to four times a week, and if 50% of that content is reels, then I think you do a tapered approach in which you continue to stay on that approach for two weeks, and then you slowly back off from that for the next two weeks.”
Put informative content in your carousels and keep your reels for behind the scenes, installation work and product launches.
Favorite Building Products Company on Instagram
Watermark Designs, a faucet company, is Ashley’s favorite, both for their beautiful imagery and their consistency. Their posts and reels delight visually and their interviews pack a punch.
They don’t just show their products, but they “get into the details of how it's made, who it's serving, and why it's really beautiful.”
TikTok’s actual platform, user interface and functionality hasn’t changed, but its potential future is uncertain, Ashley explains; “I think that what winds up making the headlines is: Is it going to be banned? Is it not going be banned? Is this state going allow it? Is this state not going to allow it? And then you get into the regulatory issue.”
When it comes to TikTok, Ashley’s advice is simple: “If your community already exists there and they are interacting with you and they're enjoying your content, then I'd say continue to do that, keep up that relationship and stay consistent.”
Remember, there’s always going to be a new social media platform coming out, so as always, make sure you never have all of your eggs in a single basket. Algorithms can change literally overnight, upending a strategy that’s been working for you for years.
There has been a huge shift (on all social platforms) with how influencers work with brands. “Influencers are now having to get a lot more specific about how much they're being monetized with brands and their partnerships because the platforms are not monetizing them in the same way that they used to, or they never actually monetize them in an appropriate way,” says Ashley.
Instagram did a 180 in just 30 days and stopped their reels program and started charging for blue check verification. They don’t want to pay influencers anymore — they want influencers to pay them.
Communities and Niches
“One thing that I will say that I am absolutely noticing 100 percent across all different platforms though, is that there is the niche of communities,” says Ashley. There are communities for DIYers, deck builders, foodies, book readers, home renovators, homesteading and more.
“There are niches everywhere, and so if you can dig into a specific niche community and start collaborating and having conversations with those niche groups that make sense with your brand, I think that that is a great opportunity for you to be successful, but that takes time.” You have to put in the work, but it can be worth it.
Beth agrees: “With all of the algorithm shifts and priorities and video versus still imagery versus multiple images and everything else, the communities have been consistent throughout.”
It takes time to integrate because they are deep ingrained, highly loyal knit groups, but with effort, you can find people to partner with and how to add to their conversation. However, be careful not to join and start selling or promoting right away. Add to the conversations — answer questions, get excited for them, champion and cheerlead successes.
“The communities on social are what are significantly more steadfast and reliable than the platform and the algorithm itself,” says Beth.
Want Even More Insight?
We’ll end with a quick glance at Twitter, with Ashley summing it up perfectly: “What I would say is that there was a big, huge, probably skirmish on the playground.” Blue checks were taken away, and then brought back but only for people with a million followers. Twitter was also rebranded from Twitter to Platform X, which is a conversation for another day.
Should building product companies be on Twitter, then? Surprisingly, Ashley’s answer is yes.
If you want to find out why, join our Social Media Masterclass being held on May 9.
To learn more about the current status of social media platforms, listen to the entire episode here.
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