Just this morning I learned, with my eyes full of sleep, that Facebook is planning to release a feature for Instagram that lets people schedule posts six months in advance.
Thank you Eric Ravenscraft for bringing this to my attention and jolting my tired ass awake.
While people like Eric are concerned about brands taking priority over people, I’m not. Not really.
This has been the way of things for quite some time now, and I’d expect nothing less with Facebook’s crazy feature roll-out.
I’m concerned about something entirely different:
My bros in this space, their Startups, and how it will impact them.
When I say “my bros” I mean companies who I’ve worked with, and have fond feelings for. I mean companies I idolize and would love to work with, which they are aware of (hah).
I’m sure they’ll all keep on succeeding, because they offer features not found anywhere else, they have powerful track records, and they’re the good guys.
I wouldn’t work with them, or be a frothing fan, if they weren’t aces.
What does this mean for them, though?
What does this mean for the Startups I actually like? What does this mean, even for the Startups I think are silly?
Were they already working on a direct-to-Instagranola post feature?
Will their USP of already being able to do that get downed?
I know just how hard it is to run a Startup, market a Startup, roll-out new features, and all that jazz.
Because I know these things, and they often come to me for these things, I’m thinking about what all of them may or may not have to do to make their product offerings more competitive.
I’d like to share my thoughts with you.
Here’s What Your Social Media Startup Can Do To Compete:
While big business focuses on the bottom line, you should focus on earning customer loyalty and bolstering consumer trust.
Consumers already don’t trust big businesses as far as they can throw them, and Facebook (which owns Instagram) is a behemoth if ever there was one.
Just 36 percent of shoppers say they trust large companies to do what’s right.
That’s a really small percentage, and will probably just get smaller as time goes on. Check out this massive consumer trust article by Vision Critical for more consumer trust statistics.
What you need to do is show how trustworthy I know you truly are.
Post reviews and testimonials on the front page of your website; real people telling other real people how your product / service has helped them.
Don’t do the ‘hard sell’, if you can help it; sell the lifestyle that your product will give consumers; less stress on social, more helpful tools to make life easier. If that’s what you’re giving, don’t stress people out with the ‘hard sell’.
Protect your consumers’ data, and give them control over how it’s used; consumers want control over their data, now more than ever, so give it to them. IG / Facebook doesn’t care, and will use their data however they want.
Stop the spammy pop-ups if you’re using them; trust your consumers to make the right decision without nagging them, and use your UI copy to explain how you can change their lives.
Treat customer support like customer success; and.co, who I don’t work with but love, has the best customer support team I’ve ever seen, full stop. They strike up conversations, and get back to people promptly.
You need to be doing this, not just directing people to a Knowledge Desk.
Make personable emails; really show that you’re putting out The Good Stuff. Show how your product can truly benefit people. Give Value. Share tips and insights. Use email drip campaigns sparingly and with great consideration.
Show your pricing front and center; just tell people how much things cost. Be transparent, be open, be upfront. Some Startups have a really hard time with this, and it doesn’t help their cause.
Be reachable; consider running a Reddit AMA. Have people ask questions, and give them personable answers. Be legit. Just be legit.
Make your Brand absolutely Bombastic.
Niche down. Be anything but boring.
Authentic brands win the day in 2019, and will continue to do so until the sun explodes and wipes out all life on Earth. Many consumers right now are savvy, smart, and technologically literate.
You need to show your true colors if you want to compete.
Instagram doesn’t do that, not really. And this means you can pull consumers away from Instagram’s inevitable stranglehold on social media management tools.
Mark my words; these developments mean Facebook (therefore, Instagram) is going to try to keep all this social media management stuff completely in-house. Bet.
86% of people say authenticity is important when deciding what brands they like and support.
Check out this study by Social Media Today for more deetz on consumer interests and authenticity.
Don’t be afraid to get a little crazy; if you have someone on staff who actually knows how to meme, leverage that. But they actually have to know it, or you’ll get a lot of backlash.
Talk about causes you support and are passionate about; if your team has stances on social topics, talk about them. Passion is infectious.
There’s a reason why “64% of consumers choose, switch, avoid or boycott a brand based on its stand on societal issues.”
Post stuff about your team; don’t just fill social media with company stuff. Post about the team, encourage your team to talk about their lives, and be present.
Write like humans, not like copyeditors; every copyeditor in the world hates my guts right now, but you don’t need to MLA or CMOS every bloody blog article.
Write what is helpful, what makes people happy, what gives value, and gets people talking. Unless you’re a journalist it doesn’t really matter if you go apeshit with the best grammars possible ever.
Make beautiful things; make your website different. Make it beautiful in only the way you can. Ditch boostrap columns; go for broke with a video hero image. Get a little nutty with illustrations. Be anything but boring.
Focus on conversations, not monologues; get people talking, share user generated content, tag people on Twitter. Be a Person, not a Product.
Focus on features consumers can’t get anywhere else.
You’ve got that ‘special something’, now show it off.
One of the biggest problems I see Startups running into is trying to offer too many things, all at once, and not considering ‘information overwhelm’. ‘Making it simple’ is really, really hard.
But not making it simple is shooting yourself in the foot.
Drill down your USP; really put down concrete words on what you make, and then keep shouting it from the rooftops.
Make videos that show your product in use; put them on your website so consumers can see why your stuff is the best stuff.
Figure out what your customers like most of all with data and surveys; and then figure out how to extend that to all your product offerings.
Test UI copy with Google optimize and A/B testing; that way you can know what visual and written language resonates most with consumers.
Make your USP easy to understand; be specific when explaining your features. Nobody wants to interact with a landing page that blathers on about a pain point but doesn’t offer a solution, and how that solution is going to work.
Create a table on your site that shows what features you have; display what you can do that others cannot do, in an easy-to-find and easy-to-understand way.
Show off your stuff, and pair it with real case studies by real people; really dig in deep into why your customers love what you do, and how it specifically helped them. Case studies make a world of difference.
Don’t obfuscate the intent of your content; just show people what they’re missing. Make a webinar. Hell, make eCourses or a Knowledge Hub on how to succeed on social media.
Do whatever it is you have to, to prove what you make yields success in a special way.
Host demos whenever possible; actually get consumers to check out what you provide, first hand. Just don’t be annoying when you set up follow-up calls / meetings. This is a huge problem, and has actively turned me off from using a product.
Show how your scheduler and social media tools are way better than whatever Instagram is planning on rolling out; be specific about it.
Highlight how you’re different with blog articles. Highlight how you’re different with advertisements.
Highlight how you’re different with conscious UX design. Highlight how you’re different with authenticity.
Highlight how you’re different by emphasizing an all-in-one dashboard; if you don’t have one, you should. That’s a huge USP that IG just can’t deliver on.
Show your stuff, and be proud of it.
I’m probably worrying needlessly, to be honest.
But when a game-changer hits this hard, it makes me think.
And then it makes me want to help.
It makes me think about all the changes people in the space are going to need to employ. Even if they aren’t going to shift or pivot, plenty of Startups have been working tirelessly to offer direct-to-Instagram scheduling, for example.
Perhaps IG has been making this difficult for the past two years because they knew what was on the horizon. I don’t really know.
All I can say for certain is that some things are definitely going to need to change, what with Instagram starting to push into the social media scheduling space.
I bet actual hard cash that that’s the end goal; offering solutions that only third party platforms have provided for years.
When stuff like this happens, I want to offer a solution. I want to come to the rescue.
Because I know what goes into all this.
There’s so much work that goes into making products. Crafting services. Designing them. Developing them. Marketing them. Getting ahead of the digital noise.
Hopefully some of my tips can help you, even if you are in the clear with all this.
That’s all I aim to do; help.