Social Media Trends vs. Best Practices

December and January bring blogs and articles that list outgoing fads, compile top trends of the previous year and outline new trends to try in 2018. This focus on new, fresh and of-the-moment ideas is not out of a place in an industry like digital marketing, where a dynamic landscape is de rigueur. Even Alter Endeavors is not immune from this focus, we recently published blogs on 4 Holiday Marketing Tips to Try and Your 2018 Social Media Resolution.  However, fads and trends will not help brands maintain and establish a sustainable online presence.  A superior social media strategy will combine experimental exercises with best practices.  How can you tell the difference between a fad and an experimental exercise?  What social media trends are worth trying and which should you leave behind? Ask these questions before trying any new trends.

Is it cheating?

If it seems too be good to be true, it probably is.  If the new trend feels like you are gaming the system, this is probably not a best practice.  You can buy followers for almost any platform, but will 15,000 new followers that aren’t relevant to your brand help you sell more products?  There are many services and bots that will allow you to quickly follow and unfollow other accounts or even post to Instagram from a desktop, but both of these practices could get your account shut down.  If you are ever unsure, consulting blogs, resources and guides published by the main platforms themselves like Facebook, Twitter and Instagram are a great resource.  This is not to say that platforms won’t implement new changes, for instance, Twitter doubled their character count from 140 to 280.  Instagram users may remember that originally the platform only allowed users to post square photos.  Subscribe to industry newsletters and follow platforms to stay current with new changes.

Who else is participating?

Before implementing a new strategy, take a look around and observe which other brands are participating.  It’s true that innovators and industry disrupters are often early adopters and what sets them apart is not following the crowd.  However, observing whether trustworthy brands are taking part, could help you decide if the new strategy is right for your brand.  Step one is having a good sense of your brand identity and how your brand is positioned within your own industry.  Following respected thought leaders whether they are within your industry or outside it can help determine whether any of these social media trends are worthwhile.

Will it help you achieve your goals?

Not every goal needs to be focused on long-term sustainability, but will this new strategy help you achieve a short or long-term goal?  If the trend is just something new to try and is not tied to any goal in particular, then implementing the new strategy may not be worth the effort.  This question doesn’t aid you in evaluating the value of new practice unless you have first taken the time to identify and set goals.

Asking these questions can help you evaluate whether these social media trends are worth trying, save you time and help you create a sustainable online presence built on best practices.  If you want to learn more about best practices, you can sign up to receive our emails and our free Social Media Best Practices White Paper!