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Natural Awakenings Charlotte

Cassandra D'Alessio, Founder of Next Page Brand Strategies, with Social Media Tips in 2024

Dec 29, 2023 10:00AM ● By Cassandra D'Alessio

I often call social media the “exercise” of a healthy marketing plan. It’s the one thing we all know is good for us (and our business) and the easiest thing to put off. Regardless of your personal feelings about social media, the world knows that everyone (well, basically) is on it. According to the most recent data, over half of the world’s population has at least one social media profile. Search Engine Journal says there are “4.8 billion social media users worldwide, representing 59.9% of the global population and 92.7% of all internet users” which is a 3.2% increase year over year. If you want to break that down even further, it equates to 410,000 new social media users every day. So, it’s safe to say that no matter your industry, your audience is on social media. 

But using social media takes time. And using social media well, takes strategy. As large corporations begin dedicating entire departments to managing social media, it’s fair to say that managing your own company’s social media is - literally - a full-time job. And most small businesses are not quite ready to hire a full-time social media manager. That’s OK. You can still take your social media plan from sporadic to strategic with a few important adjustments. 

Know Your Audience - And Where They Are

You’d be hard-pressed to find a person you know who just loves social media. Many of us struggle with it for obvious reasons such as it affects our productivity, the security of the sites are continuously up for debate, not to mention the ongoing studies of its effect on mental health especially in teenagers. But no matter how much we loathe it, over half of us in the world use it to some degree. 

When you think about how many channels there are, the reality is that everyone can find something that they tolerate for a specific outcome. Just recently, I was at a networking event where a business owner shared he wasn’t on social media. Later in the conversation, he mentioned YouTube. “Oh yeah,” he said, “I spend a lot of time there.” People need connection, and they will spend time in the places online where they find that connection with friends, brands, and co-workers. So where is your audience? Generally speaking, here is a breakdown of social media demographics from 2023: 

Facebook: 

One of the original social media channels, Facebook has seen a decline in usage as younger generations move to TikTok or Snapchat over the last year. However, with a large ad revenue ($121.9 billion) and ability to hyper-target audiences in a specific market, the channel is still one of my go-to’s for small business advertising and brand awareness especially if you are trying to reach new communities. 

Instagram: 

Two-thirds of the audience here are Gen Z and millennials. While the platform has always been a place to see artsy or highly filtered images, the increase of video (in this case, Reels), has also seen a recent boom on the channel. Since the channel is owned by Meta (who also owns Facebook) cross-posting here is easy. Just be sure to know your photo or video dimensions. Instagram is a stickler for this. 

LinkedIn: 

For many Boomers or Gen X, this might be the only channel they are connected to, likely because they boast a long career and many of their contacts are already here. But Millennials, especially ages 30-39, dominate this platform. Moreso, because LinkedIn is marketed as a professional network, many of the users here are high-earning B2B professionals and often have decision making powers. If you’re marketing to B2B, you have to be here.

X (f.k.a Twitter) 

With ongoing drama on this platform, people have been concerned whether it is necessarily a worthwhile channel to promote business. Of the dozens of clients we’ve worked with since 2017, only two have had a Twitter account. This platform is good if you are looking to connect with local media and especially if you are trying to build your credibility in your field and are open to interviews. It’s also beneficial for nonprofits who need to stay in front of media outlets for potential “free press.” 

Tik Tok

I feel compelled to put a note about TikTok since you are probably thinking about it. This channel saw a massive rise during 2020 and it continues to feel like a favorite with many people. However, the data states something different. In a 2023 study by the Content Marketing Institute, only 18% of B2C marketers used TikTok (compared to a surprising 93% using LinkedIn and 88% using Facebook). Why are so few marketers putting their effort into this channel? Simply put: its audience is young Gen Z. We’re talking ages 18-24. And this age group typically doesn’t have the budget (yet) to support a brand or product long-term.  

Make it Sustainable 

In order to have a successful social media plan you need to be consistent - and consistency can be hard since each channel has its own strategy (hashtags, for example, need to be placed in different areas of the post in order to be effective on different channels). Our team recommends keeping your strategy to two channels knowing you can add more later if you really want. For our B2C clients, perhaps unsurprisingly, Facebook and Instagram are the top channel choices. 

Use a Scheduling System 

Even if you are limiting yourself on channels, no business owner in the twenty first century should be posting to social media on their phone. Investing a few dollars a month on a social media scheduler will save you valuable time - and frustration. Yes, Facebook and LinkedIn have their own schedulers, but having one place for all of your social media posts will be infinitely more beneficial when you are pulling analytics later (more on that in a moment). 

Post What You Know 

In 2020, I published a book about my first year in business which was aptly titled, This Won’t Be Pretty. Even as a social media marketing company, I knew that I could not build a business and keep up with the latest social media trends and be great at both. The good news is that most “trends” have leveled out and there are a few successful content indicators I have seen no matter your industry or audience:  

  • People want to see people. You, your employees or even your clients - if you have the opportunity to share an image of someone (with their permission), do it. Month over month, when we review the top engaged posts on our clients’ channels, we can always predict that a post with a real person’s face (not stock) will be in the top three. 
  • People also want to see dogs and babies. It’s OK if you’re not a big fan of selfies or you work in a field where your clients would prefer to remain anonymous. Dogs and babies are equally as popular - if not more so - you just need to be creative with your content. For example, as part of the marketing for my book launch, I asked friends if they could take a photo of their kids with my book so I could share it on social media. I also placed my book in the “paws” of my dogs for more shameless promotion. You’d be hard pressed to find someone who doesn’t love a good dog or baby post, so you might as well lean into it. 
  • Videos tend to get more traction on algorithms. But guess what? Nobody said you had to film a video. Any mp4 with animation, such as a slideshow of static pictures, counts as a video. If you have multiple photos from an event save them as one mp4 file and you’ll get the benefits and reach as if those photos were an actual video.

Know What Your Measuring 

You will have success on social media, as long as you know where to look. The most important question is to ask yourself, “Why am I on social media for my business?” Are you looking for brand awareness? Sales? The opportunity to reach media outlets for interviews? Knowing the answers to these questions will help. This is when having a central hub for scheduling all of your social media platforms is important so you can see the analytics side by side. 

It’s also important to know that whatever you want to measure from social media will take some time. You won’t see immediate results in organic content in the same way you can from direct advertising. Because of algorithms, people’s daily usage and other factors you can’t control (like prevalent news stories that might fracture people’s attention), you need to understand what today’s analytics say about your audience and how it can inform your future strategy. And if you don’t have any clue whether your metrics are “better” than they were at the beginning of the year, now is a good time to set quantifiable goals for 2024. If you are looking for more brand awareness, consider how you will measure “eyeballs on content” and what will count as a “win” or “conversion” at the end of the year. 

Build on Your Success - And Get Help Where You Need It!  

Finally, I promise that you will find success on social media as long as you keep at it and have realistic goals. In the past, marketers would recommend reviewing and adjusting a digital strategy every six months, but now we are seeing better - steadier - numbers after nine or ten months. Organic marketing can take time. When you get close to that nine or ten month mark, here are a few areas we recommend adjusting - if need be:

Audit Your Channels

If you consistently see, month over month, more engagement on one channel versus another, perhaps it’s time to cut that additional channel or replace it. Ask yourself: Am I receiving any benefit by being on here if no one is interested or even seeing my content? 

Plan Content (And Use AI to Help. Yes, Really) 

Use an AI system to help you outline at least six months of content for your content calendar. Be sure to use prompts that are specific to your industry and your business goals and edit the content so it fits in your tone and voice. 

Chat with Your Team (Or Have a Really Honest Conversation with Yourself) 

Discuss the needs of your entire leadership team. Social media is no longer “nice to have.” It has become an integral part of business development supporting every part of your business from sales to H.R. Find out what your team needs in 2024 and determine how social media - and the story you tell there - can help achieve those goals. 

I know I threw a lot at you in this article, and we barely scratched the surface. That’s because social media can often feel like an uphill battle - and there are boulders tumbling down on you as you climb - but it’s not unsurmountable. Small gains are still gains. And once you have a few consistent tactics in place, I promise running a successful social media plan will feel just like any other important part of your business - such as reconciling your books or running payroll. Besides, if you don’t start climbing the mountain today - you’ll be exactly where you were this time next year. Come on. You’ve got this! 

Cassandra D'Alessio is President and Founder of Next Page Brand Strategies, and since 2017 has been working with brands that have a passion for connecting authentically with their audiences. To connect with Cassandra, follow her on Facebook and Instagram @author_cassandra_dalessio, email [email protected] or visit TurnTheNextPage.com.

 


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