Social Media Has Changed. Have You Changed With It?

Hanson_w_phone.pngBy Diane Streleckis -  If most communication professionals were asked whether they were comfortable using social media, they’d likely answer yes. But social media guru Arik Hanson noted that social media has changed—and many of us still need to adapt. Hanson highlighted some of the most critical changes every pro should know.

Discover how to stand out on social media now during IABC’s virtual session with expert Arik Hanson on January 18, 2024, noon - 1:00 pm ET.

Save your spot for How to Cut Through the Clutter on Social Media

Don’t expect viewers to click on your links

“You see a lot of people putting links in their posts to drive traffic to a website,” Hanson said. “And that’s not working anymore because the platforms want you to stay on them instead of going somewhere else.”

Hanson pointed out that social media companies are now designing algorithms to keep users on their platforms. “The users increasingly want that too,” he said.

This change is showing up in the metrics. “In the 20-plus social media audits I’ve done over the past few years, I’ve yet to find an example of social driving substantial traffic to a website. It’s not working,” said Hanson.

Social is best at filling the top of the funnel

“We need to change the way we think about content,” Hanson stressed. “It’s purely about engaging and making people aware of our brands.”

“Executives might say, ‘We need ROI.’ Yes, with economic conditions the way they are, there’s more scrutiny about the ROI. But you have to fill up the top of the funnel. You can’t go right to the bottom of the funnel,” he said.

Shake off lazy writing habits

“You see a lot of ‘Check this out,’ ‘Learn more’—that kind of language. For most communicators, who’ve taken copywriting or news writing classes, that’s lazy writing. We know that we’ve fallen into that habit because we were trying to drive traffic for so many years and it worked,” Hanson said.

But, as he pointed out, the pandemic changed everything. “The platforms changed the rules.”

Length is less important than entertainment value

Hanson noted that, despite the current push for content running a minute or less, much successful content lasts much longer. “Take Mr. Beast, for example. He’s one of the most popular YouTubers of all time. His videos are routinely 15-25 minutes. That’s not short-form content; that’s a television show,” Hanson said.

Longer podcasts can do well, too. “What about Armchair Expert, which is a popular podcast with Dax Shepard? They’re sometimes two hours,” said Hanson.

Along with their length, what do these things have in common? According to Hanson, “They’re entertaining.”

“A lot of us want to get to the education or the information piece. But we can’t get straight through there anymore. We have to grab attention first,” he said.

Don’t miss tips from Arik Hanson to stand out on social media during IABC’s virtual session on January 18, 2024, noon - 1:00 pm ET.

Register now for How to Cut Through the Clutter on Social Media

Diane Streleckis is a writer and content strategist dedicated to using the power of words for good. Understanding what makes people tick and then sharing practical ideas to help support their needs and concerns is Diane’s mission. She’s applied this mission mindset across industries for more than 30 years.