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This blog is often about ways to use social media to your company’s advantage, such as how to best showcase your products and services for various platforms. However, this month’s post is going to offer a certain degree of caution about doing so in some cases. Social media has changed a lot in recent years, and perhaps no more than it did in 2022. Let’s look back on why we started using social media for our businesses, what’s happened since and what to expect moving forward. I will use FGIA as an example but consider revisiting your own initial social media goals and reassessing where you might devote your time and resources in 2023.

Where We Started

FGIA’s social media presence pre-dates my time with the Association (I started in 2014). But I know FGIA picked the platforms it did based on a member survey at the time, which showed the majority of our members were most active on LinkedIn. We wanted a place online to share our news and content, so we moved to where our members already were and created a company page and some LinkedIn groups.

A Twitter account was created next, serving as a great resource for industry media news, followed by an Instagram account in 2015. This account shared (and continues to share) “behind the scenes” looks at the Association and industry event photos. Finally, when AAMA and IGMA unified at the start of 2020, we introduced the FGIA Facebook account for the first time. Today, Facebook is probably the place where the bulk of our members feel most at home, although this is based on anecdotal evidence rather than survey data.

How We Got Here

These four platforms have experienced big changes since I began in my role here.

LinkedIn was the first of the four to show signs of trouble, due to some large data breaches in 2021 and layoffs in 2022.

Facebook bought Instagram in 2015, making the two platforms intrinsically linked with one another, including how advertising on either platform works. However, in 2022, Facebook’s seemingly infallible business model finally stuttered, posting losses in Q3 for the first time in its 10 years of being a publicly traded company. This is due in part to users leaving the platform as well as the company’s investments in virtual reality – a realm the public has generally resisted entering with gusto. More than 11,000 layoffs followed.

Reports about Instagram’s impact on the mental health of young people came out. In 2021, the Wall Street Journal published a report about a study which found that one in three teen girls using Instagram experienced worse body image. The study was conducted by Instagram’s own internal researchers.

Finally, this past fall, Twitter went into a tailspin after Elon Musk bought the platform and made major changes, including cutting staff by roughly 65 percent and, disconcertingly, doing away with content moderation in many ways. As a result, several companies have paused running ads on Twitter until further notice.

In addition to this turmoil, new platforms like TikTok have stepped into the space. However, this viral video app is not without its own concerns. Bipartisan legislation in the U.S. is being introduced to ban the Chinese-based app from government-owned devices out of privacy concerns.

Where We Go Now

While this is a lot of bad news at once, it is not all doom and gloom for the future. Here is some advice for 2023:

  • I recommend taking a “wait and see” approach when it comes to advertising on Twitter. The lack of content moderation makes this platform a risky place to highlight your company. No one wants their ads running next to hate speech or inappropriate content. That said, it is possible a new CEO could help right the ship if Musk really does step down, which he has promised to do once a new leader is found.
  • I would also suggest not putting resources into starting a TikTok account if you don’t currently have one and monitoring news about its privacy concerns if you already do.
  • Facebook and Instagram continue to be ideal places to advertise, although user interactions on company pages and profiles may decline as users leave the platforms. The algorithms for both do not lend themselves as well to organic engagement as they used to, instead prioritizing visual ads. Consider using this information to your advantage by pairing text-only posts with a photo or video element on Facebook.

What do you plan to do differently online in 2023? Let us know in the comments!