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The Social Media Landscape is Changing. Are You Ready?

June 1, 2021
As learning to use software improves productivity, learning to use social media can be critical to enhancing professional opportunities.

Social media activity continues to expand, in part as it was one way for people and businesses to safely maintain their connections during the COVID pandemic and the shut-downs. Now, as WFH continues and the divisions between work and personal time blur, on social media channels the separation between business and personal activities has realigned as well. Showcasing your humanity is the new “authentic” movement, with thought leaders jockeying for position across various social platforms.

The past few years, and especially the last 18 months, also have witnessed an accelerating pace of technological change. Social media platforms are part of this of course and are changing at a breakneck pace. Here’s a quick snapshot of the 2021 social landscape:
- Instagram now offers a smorgasbord board of choices: regular posts, IGTV within regular posts (as well as having their own “gateway”), Stories, and Reels;
- Facebook is launching an audio-only platform option to rival hot newcomer Clubhouse;
- Linkedin and Twitter both have launched a video Stories function to rival Instagram’s Stories;
- SnapChat lingers on with fun filters, despite Kylie Jenner’s platform-killing Tweet in 2018;
- Reddit showed growth during the pandemic – its first since 2019;
- TikTok continues to shape how other platforms evolve - even the business bastion of LinkedIn. (This is the first year Pew Research included the professional networking platform in its annual study.)
- YouTube continues to dominate social media usage.

Keeping up with the changes in both use and technology of social media can feel overwhelming to individual users. It might feel very daunting to join or to post. You might wonder: Where should I be? Where should my business be? What should we be posting? What should I post? The answers do not have to be complicated.

Where should you be? For your business, you should be where your clients spend time. Are they likely to see and be receptive to your business on LinkedIn and Twitter? Is your product highly visual so that it would benefit from a showcase on Instagram or YouTube? Would it make more sense for you to be a “knowledge leader” on an industry-specific forum?

Before you choose a social media platform in which to invest your time (and your time is an investment), spend some time researching how your prospects and customers interact on that platform. This is especially important if you have a dedicated digital marketing staff; they may know the tools, but they may not understand the industry or your target market.

Personally, you should be on the social media platform that you enjoy using. The best way to gain traction on any of these platform is to go deep … meaning, “use it.” (Pew Research’s 2021 yearly poll on social media use indicates users are likely to log into Facebook, Instagram or Snapchat daily - if not several times a day.1) Being split across multiple platforms while still working and trying to have a life pretty much ensures a more difficult path for you.

What shouldn’t you do? In the opinion of this marketer, the single worst thing you can do in social media is the multi-post. (Same information, posted on multiple channels, in the exact same way.) While it may seem efficient, the multi-post is lazy and ignores the norms of each channel. Even when using a scheduling tool, you have the opportunity to customize the message per social channel -- so use it.

Beyond that maxim, to succeed when posting to social media, bear in mind a few things:

Know how the platform works. This is one of the norms. Know how to recognize a company or person. Understand how -- or if -- hash-tagging works on the specific platform. Understand the basics of how the platform uses algorithms -- if only to know that a LinkedIn post an hour before an event on a Company Page is unlikely to net you visitors at a tradeshow the same day.

Leverage tools. Tools make the most of your time. TikTok, while a social platform in its own right, is also a tool to leverage other platforms; many of the reasons that TikTok is dominating the social landscape right now are technological. TikTok’s video feature allows integration with other social media platforms and offers good video edit options -- while still being user-friendly. Anecdotal reporting notes improvements across all platforms, as well as easier reporting with its use.

Twitter now allows native pre-scheduling in laptop applications. Facebook has integrated business postings and ads for both Facebook and Instagram in a single business interface, with pre-scheduling. There are a variety of stand-alone scheduling tools available as well, including free options from Hootsuite and Agorapulse.

Know your company’s social media policy. In regard to personal use, learn what your employer permits you to do and not to do on social media. Are you allowed to mention clients on personal social media? Are you only allowed to comment on what the business posts on approved social platforms? Are you not allowed to mention the business or clients on certain platforms? Do your business posts need to be approved?

Know the laws. If you sell products or services internationally, be aware of how this impacts how you professionally interact with social media contacts -- both as a business and as an individual. (Pro-tip: Don’t DM Canadian folks on Twitter with cold sales pitches.) Are there compliance concerns about affiliating your company logo with any others? Something as simple as an image of you at a business event with sponsors is a compliance no-no in some industries.

Social media isn’t a fad. It’s not just for kids. And much as learning to use office software is important to your productivity, learning to use social media could be just as critical to achieving your next promotion or landing your next business opportunity. Software changes and improves. Take the time to learn how social media works in 2021.

Alexandria Trusov is the Director of Marketing at Euthenia Manufacturing Group and a B2B marketing consultant to manufacturers and other B2B companies.  Contact her at [email protected] or visit

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