When a social media app does a major overhaul of its format and features, frustration ensues. Most marketers go through six stages of emotional grief: anger, resentment, resistance, resignation, petulance, and… eventually… acceptance. This is ESPECIALLY true of DIY or “one man band” marketers, who are drowning in general marketing tasks and have little time to learn the new rules of the game in one particular specialty.
Instagram is on a path to emulate TikTok, and even though it’s been a rocky start, they are committed to getting there. Twitter is rolling out a “notes” feature, which lets you tweet long-form content. YouTube Shorts was launched in 2021 and yet many brands have been slow to tap its potential (even though the platform gets an average of 15 billion daily views).
For marketers, changes like that can be utterly exhausting. Sure, if you’re an Instagram marketer (for example), and that’s ALL you do… you’ll dive in immediately and figure out how to harness all the new opportunities. But if managing a brand’s Instagram account is only one of your 100 diverse responsibilities, a dramatic overhaul of the app is a roadblock that can tank your productivity and wring you out emotionally.
Resentment and resistance can only be indulged for so long before results start to suffer. So give yourself a brief period to pout and then figure out how to embrace the changes in a way that works best for you.
And if you’re NOT a social media specialist whose entire job is to immerse yourself in these apps, here are four tips to help you get past your frustration when social media apps do an (annoying) overhaul:
- Divide & Conquer: There are two things contributing to your exhaustion. One is figuring out what the new features are and if they’ll benefit you, and two is learning how to use them. Both things take time, which is likely in short supply for you. So, don’t do it all at once…research first, worry about learning the skills later. The world won’t end if you don’t adopt the new features quickly. In fact, if social media is only a fraction of what you do, your presence isn’t likely to be that robust and so your audiences won’t be expecting cutting-edge marketing here from you anyway. Take your time. It’s ok.
- Do Research: The best thing about the internet is that someone, somewhere will have written a helpful article within a day of the overhaul. You can find summaries of what’s changed, how to use the new features, and why they’re useful (or not). A Google search for things like “Instagram update” or “Twitter Notes feature” (or whatever) should bring you to the latest articles the day overhauls are announced. Wait a few days and “how to” articles are bound to follow. You can also check sites like Social Media Today and Search Engine Journal.
- Create and Use a Test Account: Part of the emotional frustration you feel comes from worrying you’ll screw up and not use the new features correctly…and your audience will see it. This is where having a secret “test account” comes in handy. Setting up a second account on a channel that’s private, with only you and a few friends/colleagues as the audience, is an easy way to play with all the new features until you get comfy with them.
- Watch and Learn: You may not have the bandwidth to do EVERYTHING a social media app allows you to do, but you can certainly cherry pick features that make sense for you. So, watch what other accounts do and try to recreate them in your test account. This means you may need to follow more than just your local or regional competitors, because if they’re in the same time-poverty boat as you, then you won’t learn much by watching their accounts. Follow BIG brands, that are bound to have expert social media teams using the latest cool stuff.
And above all, relax. I know it’s frustrating when overhauls like this disrupt your routine. Suddenly things you finally learned how to do efficiently are no longer efficient to do. It’s annoying as hell. But social media apps will continue to evolve constantly…it’s just the nature of that marketing medium. So if you’re going to have a presence on those channels, this is a necessary evil.
Just remember: It’s perfectly OK if your social media marketing isn’t robust because you’re spread too thin. As a marketer, you have to make choices…and as long as you’re choosing to be robust in OTHER areas that bring you a strong ROI, it’s fine for social media to get less attention. In fact, we flagged that as #17 in our list of Top 20 Tips for Tourism PR & Marketing Agency Clients. It’s worth a look.
Because really, at the end of the day, success in marketing is about how much time you can spend on it.