Don't Ignore These 4 Hot Social Media Trends

You may think you know the latest trends in social media, but the world changes so fast nowadays that it’s easy for yesterday’s advice to become old news today.

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Considering recent concerns about Twitter’s active user activity, the continuing development of Pinterest and Instagram, and the rapid rise of new platforms like Snapchat [including their new messaging platform], this is no time to press snooze.

Here’s what you need to know.

Advertising is becoming more important than ever on Facebook & Twitter

After Facebook and Twitter went public, everyone knew it was just a matter of time before they started focusing intensively on earning money through advertising. How do these efforts affect you?

Facebook has been reducing the organic reach of Pages, leading some to say that the “free marketing gravy train” is over. As a result, you may need to invest money to reach your own audience on Facebook.

At its conference earlier this month, Facebook launched its new Audience Network, a tool that allows businesses to target mobile users across different applications that they use. As eyeballs move towards mobile devices, your advertising should follow.

Everyone’s sharing images on Instagram & Pinterest

Instagram is hot, by some surveys growing faster than Facebook and Twitter, and Pinterest has seen some 30 billion pins so far. Retailers in particular love the visual-heavy nature of both of these networks, and you can take advantage of their explosive growth to build on and re-engage your audience.

Be sure to engage with others and your audience! Like and comment, don’t just  re-pin,

Remember, even if your business doesn’t sell something physical, Pinterest and Instagram can still be an option. If you provide services, for example, you could post or pin images that are on-brand--for financial planners, perhaps photos of a dream vacation or retirement home.

For Instagram, using hashtags can be a great way to get your content seen by new audiences and users who are just browsing.

Don’t be afraid to share photos of your team and business in action! Events, public meetings, team outings are all fair game--just be sure to stay tasteful and respect privacy, of course.

Regular engagement with your audience is critical

As more and more businesses, brands, and organizations join social networks, it’s more important than ever to share content with them frequently.

Especially on Twitter, don’t hesitate to re-share the same content, or even the same tweet, more than once. With so much content flowing through every user’s streams, it’s easy to miss things even if someone was online to see the first tweet or post you made.

For any given piece of content, such as a blog post, you can schedule some 10-20 tweets, and reuse the copy that performs well.

If you target young people, you need to keep up with Snapchat

Many have been surprised by the rise of Snapchat, but the service is especially beloved by the 13-to-25 crowd as a way to share easily-disposable pictures--many feel a magnetic need to check their latest snaps. Expect that trend to continue with the app’s recent messaging update.

One of the biggest challenges with Snapchat is building an audience of handles. Consider holding a contest to get your fans to send you snaps--say, a free cake for the best snap of your customers enjoying goods from your bakery.

Then, you can send out snaps to everyone on your list, giving them sneak previews of new products, behind-the-scenes views into your business, special offers, and more.

Perhaps one of the best upsides of Snapchat is that it is more or less devoid of robots and fake accounts that have become a big issue on sites like Facebook. You can also share with everyone on your list with little restrictions [so far].