Can’t keep up with social media? Here’s what you must know for 2017

It seems like every time we turn around, there’s a new social media platform popping up, one that’s dead or dying, and one that may be hot, but utterly confounding. You know you have to use social media. Everyone says so. Your broker and your office manager would shout it from the rooftops if they thought it would make you tweet more. But even if you have the accounts, how do you know if you are you using social media effectively? And how can you possible keep up with all of the trends?

You might not need to. Well, let’s put it this way: you don’t have to keep up with all of the social media trends, all of the time or immediately hop on every band wagon. Consider your industry. Most of the fastest moving trends live and die while their users are still in school – often within a few semesters. That’s not your target audience. So for now, don’t worry about the trendy apps. Let’s stick with the best ways to use the tried-and-true platforms that have become the heavy hitters in the industry. They are the ones you need to use, and the best strategies to use them as a professional do change. Why? Just like everyone else, the Facebooks, Instagrams and Twitters of the world need to keep evolving if they want to stay relevant.

The biggest thing you’ll need to know for 2017 is that just because you post something online, that doesn’t mean anyone is going to see it. Social platforms expect you to pay for posts as a business now. They have all kinds of programs called algorithms that run in the background, and if your post sounds like work, they might very well not share it much – if at all – on other people’s timelines unless you pay to boost or advertise. You don’t have to post every hour to be seen any more, but you do have to pay when you post, at least fairly often. It’s important that you’re paying to promote quality content, too. Don’t waste your money boosting pictures of your coffee, but do create a nice video or photo montage of your new listing and boost that. Make sure that your posts are active links to your website. After all, if people interact with your post, wouldn’t you rather they go to your page than just click a thumbs-up and scroll down?

Be sure to know your market. Baby boomers and Gen Xers are still using Facebook. Gen Xers and Millennials are gravitating more toward Instagram. Professionals of all ages are using LinkedIn. While it’s tempting to use the same ads across all platforms, a great ad for Facebook might not play as well other places and vice-versa. Pay attention to the types of posts that do well on the different platforms and customize your messages. There’s no point in paying for a message if it’s destined to flop.

It’s all about location, location, location – which in today’s market means lifestyle. You’ll need to become a lifestyle expert online. It doesn’t matter if you’d rather spend your off hours at home with the blinds drawn and the lights off. When you’re online you’re an outgoing, active social butterfly. Post updates about events, festivals, new businesses and restaurants in your area, and community feel-good stories. Contact your local schools to see if their student councils have any community service projects you can promote, or your local parks and rec board to find out about any new public works projects happening. Promote the heck out of the lifestyle elements in and around your farm. Use photos, text, and video. Be that local expert people want to contact.