Social Media Tools & Trends You Can DIY (and Ones You Shouldn’t)
Show of hands: keeping up with social media trends comes naturally to you and you eagerly anticipate the next round of updates for Instagram and Facebook? Ok, got it. The two of you who raised your hands can put them down now.
Whether you’re a step away from #influencer status or the thought of adjusting to yet another app feature is just not in your mental budget, social media takes time and effort to make it work for your organization.
Some of the upcoming privacy changes from Apple and Google are expected to limit social media’s targeted reach, even so, it’s likely that your business still needs a presence on platforms like Facebook, Instagram, and depending on your audience, Twitter or Tiktok. Knowing that, the question becomes “how much can you manage social on your own and how much do you need a pro to help with?” Let us help you think it through:
First, you need to decide how active your business needs to be on social. Some of the businesses MJM works with have only a basic social media presence. They know their audience is active elsewhere and invest accordingly.
When to DIY it: If you plan to keep things simple and small, DIY is likely the way to go. Organizations that only plan to utilize organic posts and basic tools can successfully manage their social accounts. Not all businesses need a full scale social media marketing strategy.
When to take it to the pros: The social media landscape changes fast. That’s been especially true this year as we tried to stay home and stay connected at the same time. New features and algorithm updates are constantly changing how people use social apps and affect how well your posts perform. It takes a lot of time to stay on top of it all, so if social media is a big piece of your marketing puzzle, you may want to consult a professional for some or all of your needs.
Social media scheduling tools have improved drastically over the past decade. Facebook has offered post scheduling for a long time, now it’s available for both Facebook and Instagram through Facebook Business Suite (find it through “Publishing Tools”). If you’re going to schedule two or more posts per month, we recommend a third-party tool like Social Pilot, SmarterQueue, or countless others that can help you set it and forget it. These tools can let you preview how a post might look and schedule ahead on multiple accounts — including Twitter.
When to DIY it: Scheduling tools are great for predictable events like holidays, for managing promotions, or evergreen branded content. Keep in mind you’ll need to stay on top of spontaneous happenings in your organization and the world, i.e. the posts you scheduled featuring images of people shaking hands pre-pandemic needed to be updated once COVID started altering in-person interactions.
When to take it to the pros: Strategizing, writing, taking photos, and scheduling takes longer than you might think. Consider outsourcing your content calendar or getting a photographer to create a bank of photos for your organization. Additionally, most schedulers don’t have the capability to utilize all of Facebook or Instagram’s features: stories, events, live videos, IGTV, and more. If you want to promote multiple campaigns or simply don’t have the bandwidth, consider an external social manager.
Tip: The last social campaign MJM ran for a client showed that 80% of views were on a mobile device. Set up your posts with phone screens in mind and be sure to click the mobile preview to ensure that they look good and that your most important information is visible.
Your organization should feel as professional in the digital space as you are in person. However, perfectly composed stock photos or graphics for every post could make your feed look overly produced and less authentic. Finding the right balance is key!
When to DIY it: Your smartphone camera, a Lightroom preset or filter, and an eye for lighting can go a long way to producing your own sharable photos and videos. Stock images abound online, too. Plus apps like Canva or InShot are making it easy to add text to images or create simple graphics. Canva even lets you create and use custom templates so you’ll stand out from others using the same app.
When to take it to the pros: You’ve seen those instagram feeds with clever grid layouts? Simple strategies — like always using a border or alternating posts — are simple to DIY, but the more complex ones are better suited to someone with layout software (hey, that could be you too!). A designer can help you strategize or even develop templates that are custom to your business.
Staying active on social media is an effective way to extend your brand and reach your customers and potential customers right where they are. When managing your accounts becomes an afterthought, it’s time to consider turning to the experts to make it easier with templates, calendars, posting strategies, and more.
Contact MJM to discuss your needs and, in case you’re wondering, the answer is yes. “I don’t want to be responsible for thinking up content” is a perfectly legit goal. We hear it all the time, and we can help.
(Maybe more than your nearest tween.)
Alison is a graphic designer and social media lead at Matt Jensen Marketing.