Every month, we’re sharing bite-size summaries of the top social media best practices, trends and actionable research we’ve come across. These are taken both from our experience working on our clients’ social media templates, and from interesting articles we’ve been reading around the internet.
See if you can apply these tips to improve your reach, engagement and follower growth. Just be sure to always test before changing your strategy entirely, as not every technique works for every audience and account.
1. Social media trend: Stay on YouTube and Facebook, watch out for Reddit
If adults are your main target audience, it might not be wise to focus your resources on new social media platforms just yet.
Recent research reveals the following about social media use among adults in the U.S.:
- YouTube and Facebook remain the most-used platforms.
- YouTube and Reddit saw the biggest growth since 2019 (note that data from 2019 was not available for all platforms).
- Instagram, Snapchat and TikTok have a strong following among young adults.
- The majority of Facebook, Snapchat and Instagram users visit these platforms every day.
Similar findings also came out of Hootsuite and We Are Social’s 2021 Global Digital Report. Their global data shows that:
- Facebook and YouTube are the world’s most-used social platforms.
- Facebook and YouTube are the world’s second and third most visited websites (after Google).
2. YouTube tip: Try longer videos with a subjective tone and not too much info
What makes a YouTube video successful? New research analyzed videos from 150 YouTube influencers. According to their findings, this is how you can boost views, likes and comments:
- Provide information in an informal tone of voice.
- Avoid too much information at once.
- Use a personal, subjective tone.
- Make videos that are 10 minutes or longer.
- Publish your videos on weekdays, but outside of business hours.
Note that these are averages. You might find that different characteristics are more successful for your own videos and audience.
3. Instagram tip: Optimize your Instagram name for search
Ensure people find you more easily when searching Instagram by optimizing your Instagram name.
The name field is separate from your username. This means that you can tweak it to improve your chances of appearing in search, without changing or increasing the length of your username.
Learn more about how Instagram search works and get more SEO tips on Later.com.
4. Video tip: Keep viewers engaged with quick cuts
Want to grab viewers’ attention with your Reels or TikToks, and keep them focused for longer?
A simple tip is to stop and start your recording to create multiple cuts. A cut creates an abrupt transition, which you can use to keep your story moving faster, and/or to add variety with multiple scenes.
You can use a cut to go to a totally different setting or angle, or to cut one running recording into multiple short attention-grabbing sequences.
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5. Instagram tip: Prioritize portrait over square posts
When creating their Instagram templates, we mostly advise our clients to use an image size of 1080 x 1350 pixels.
Unlike square images, portrait images take up more space in the feed, which grabs more attention. Just be sure to always keep your main subject or text in the middle square of your image. This ensures your images still look good on your profile page.
6. YouTube tip: How to encourage viewers to keep watching
In this April 2021 video, a product manager for YouTube reveals how search and discovery algorithms work on the platform.
Her video includes best practices on how to get people to continue watching your channel, including via the Suggested feed, which shows up alongside the video that a viewer is currently watching. Her tips include:
- Create a series of related videos that lead on from one to another.
- Keep your titles and thumbnails consistent in style, to create a recognizable branding for your channel.
- End your video with a call to action button to watch more.
- Use playlists and end screens to keep people watching.
Watch the full video to learn more:
7. Social media tip: Take inspiration from your audience’s top thought-leaders
Want to know what makes your social media audience tick? Take inspiration from those accounts they love to follow:
- Identify leading influencers and thought-leaders among your target audience.
- Take note of the type of content they create.
- Research the hashtags they use and follow.
This can help you better understand your audience and the type of content they are after.
8. Instagram tip: Use 3 to 5 hashtags
In the first edition of their Insider magazine, Instagram confirmed that hashtags are still the primary way people search for and discover content on the platform.
They recommend that you use 3 to 5 highly relevant hashtags. And avoid the temptation of dumping dozens on each post. They add: