It’s Time to Reassess Your 2017 Social Media Strategy

Dive deeper into your strategy.

Have you thought about your 2017 social media strategy yet? Well, of course, you’ve jumped into it out of necessity, but have you really thought about the “why” behind your choices?

When creating a strategy, it’s easy to default to doing the same things we’re already accustomed to. That might mean that you aim to include images on every post and also add in the occasional video just to stay up with what’s trending, but those things are easy to think through. Sometimes, we take what influencers tell us is important, and we run with it without thinking about how it really fits into our social media strategy.

My hopes are that today you’ll be able to assess the “why” behind your 2017 social media strategy as we jump deeper into the stats from the last Nielsen Social Media Report.

What is Nielsen?

Nielsen is a company that is highly passionate about discovering what influences consumers. They study consumers in over 100 different countries to aggregate the most diverse data possible. If you aren’t familiar with how Nielsen collects information, let’s briefly chat about that first. Hint: It’s not done by survey.

Nielsen has employees with feet on the ground all around the world. They deliver scanners to different regions to collect the data they’re seeking, and they also talk with locals about what their experiences are like day-to-day.

Their proactive method of information collection gives us a really unique look into what’s really happening around the world.

Below, we’ll pick into some of the high-points of the 2016 Nielsen Social Media Report. I highly recommend that you check out the full report here. It’s great stuff!

Now, let’s get into the meat.

5 things you need for a successful 2017 social media strategy

1. Smartphones must be forefront of your 2017 social media strategy

We can see from Nielsen’s stats in the charts below, that every single age group uses their smartphone more than any other device (tablet or PC).

Wait… even those over 50 years old?

Yes! Even our older population.

Have you tested your content on mobile phones? How does your most-shared image appear on a smaller screen? Many marketers create and schedule out social media content while on a laptop or desktop computer. It looks awesome! But, does it also look great on a smaller screen, or is your image cut-off or too small to read?

If you don’t have the time to test out your posts on mobile prior to publishing, just schedule out time each week to scan your social media feeds for look-and-feel. Instead of deleting them and republishing, learn from your mistakes and move forward. You work hard to get those posts looking great, let’s not ruin it by assuming that all of our followers access our social platforms on a large screen.

Hint: If getting it right the first time matters to you, think about creating a test account to get an eye on what your feed will look like before you post on your active account.

This mobile stat should also hit you hard for another reason. If folks are accessing social media mainly from their smartphones, that also means that they are likely to access the links you publish on social media from their smartphones. That said, is your website mobile-optimized?

The chart below can be read as: Out of all of the people in the U.S. ages 18+, 73% access social media from their smartphones.

2017 social media strategy

The graph above is helpful, but not as helpful as it is when you pair it with the one below. Can you see how prevalent mobile phone usage is these days?

Read as: When thinking of time spent on social media, adults ages 18-34 use a smartphone 78% of the time, tablets 10% of the time and PCs 12% of the time.

2017 social media strategy graphic, minutes spent on social media

2. Are you on the right social media platforms?

This is the age-old question, right?

Based on Nielsen’s report, Facebook, Instagram and Twitter are the most frequented social media channels across smartphone and PC users, with Pinterest not far behind.

I aggregated the stats for you:

  • Facebook: 269 million
  • Twitter: 114.9 million
  • Instagram: 111.9 million
2017 social media strategy chart
Note that each of the numbers listed include some people counted twice. Duplicates are caused by those who use both a PC and smartphone to view a particular social media channel.

Now, just because the stats tell us that people love Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, doesn’t mean you need to abandon everything you’ve come to learn about marketing your business, erase your other accounts and jump onto these ones.

It does mean that we should think about how these platforms can benefit our businesses. And, if we decide that they can’t, fine! If you want a more comprehensive run-through regarding how to assess which social media platforms we should be on, head here.

Below (just so you can see the context around what we spoke about above), you’ll see the stats broken up by social platform and by method of use (smartphone or PC).

2017 social media strategy social media on smartphones
2017 social media strategy social media on PCs

3. Social media users are not there to interact with brands or advertisements

Most people don’t seek out brands on social media, barring customer service needs. It’s easy for us to publish with blinders on. We send out what others tell us to, and we hope it works out for the best. We might even go as far as to think that people are actually seeking out our brand’s page. Let’s hope that’s the case, but let’s just pretend for a second that it isn’t. 

If it’s not, how do we get in front of them?

Here are a few ideas:

  • Repeat content so it pops up more frequently in the newsfeed
    Repeating content is not unheard of, but for people newer to the marketing space, it can be scary. With algorithms, though, only a small percentage of your audience will see each post. It’s fairly safe to say that the person who saw post #1 of the day will not see a repeat of that post that day, a day later, or even two months later. Note that taking into account the number of posts you publish per day will be important when thinking through a repeating posts strategy. For example, if you are publishing 20 posts per day on Facebook, it’s probably safe to repeat content a few times throughout (maybe with different wording or a different angle). If you’re only posting twice a day, you’ll want a bit more of a buffer between your repeat posts.

Hint: Two very quick and non-customized rules-of-thumb, include 10 posts between your repeating posts and don’t repeat every post. Here are some thoughts from Guy Kawasaki:

“My tip for you, in terms of social media and increasing your influence is that you repeat your tweets. I have found that by repeating tweets you get about the same amount of click‐throughs for each time you repeat it. And contrary to most people who believe that if you tweet something, once your followers are so enthralled about your tweet, that they will go back for it, they will look for it, even if it was 23 hours ago, they’ll find it somehow.  And I think that’s completely wrong. You should repeat your tweets. I repeat them four times every eight hours. And I see about the same amount of click‐throughs for each one. So no matter what people tell you—repeat your tweets.”

  • Play into the algorithms and social media platform favorites
    If Facebook comes out with a new algorithm (which they did in July of 2016,) read it and know it. If Instagram comes out with a new video product, use it! Pay attention to what’s new in social media, play into the trends, and you might see some great social reach because of it.
  • Encourage the viewers who come across your content to share it
    If we want our reach on social media to be far and wide, we can’t do it all on our own. If your content is too irresistible to share, those who do come upon it will pop it into their own feeds for others to find. How do we achieve this? Well, taking an idea from this post, “if your content makes your followers look good, they’ll gladly share it.” Your job is to entertain and to inform. Do more of what your followers love.

Hint: Spot the posts your followers share (even if few), assess what you did to cause those shares and do more of that.

Now, let’s look deeper into Nielsen’s findings of how important our audience thinks our content is, and which content are they seeking out most.

Read as: 24% of people who spend less than 1 hour a day on social media use social media to show support for their favorite companies or brands.

2017 social media strategy brand interaction

But, we can’t skip over it that quickly. There is a huge opportunity in the table above. Did you spot it?

The second-highest category on the list is “Receive exclusive offers, coupons or other discounts.” Sweet! Here’s what you can do right now to tap into this desire:

  • Create list-building ads on your social media platforms. Within these, advertise the fact that folks who are on your email list will receive exclusive coupons reserved only for those V.I.P.’s. This is one really lean example from Toys ‘R’ Us:
    2017 social media strategy toys r us ad

Do you think using the word, “exclusive” might help a bit if they used this email list as an ad on social media? Absolutely!

  • Announce a Flash Sale once a month and let people know that you will choose a random day each month to do this so they might have the urgency to keep an eye on your feed. You can also increase your email list at the same time by telling them that you will only announce the Flash Sales once on social media and also once to the people in your email community. If I’m a fan of a company and don’t want to miss the announcement of their monthly flash sale, you can guarantee I’ll add my email address to their list, purely out of F.O.M.O. (fear of missing out). Can you relate? If you and I can, I’m sure most of our followers can, too.

For some extra food for thought regarding social selling, let’s take a peek at this chart:

2017 social media strategy social media purchases

Now, it’s not completely apparent if social media had an effect on any of the purchases listed on the chart above. However, the uptick in percentage, from people who don’t use social media to those who use social media at any level, is noticeable.

4. When should we publish content for the most potential interaction?

2017 social media strategy weekly activity

Well, I’m not going to try to fool you by telling you that Nielsen’s findings will work for your 2017 social media strategy. I’m sure you wouldn’t believe me if I did!

However, it is interesting to see what social media usage looks like on a broad level. The tick-up on Saturday and Sunday shouldn’t be a complete surprise. Those are the days that most people are off work. Many families are busy on Saturdays with kid sports and other family events, and Sunday is likely the time that most are lounging around the house, which might explain the additional increase on Sunday.

If you really want to discover which times are best to encounter your audience, dive into the analytics on each social platform every three months. To see what it might look like on Facebook, skim down to #3 on this post.

5. What should my content look like?

2017 social media strategy 2nd screening

It might not seem fascinating on the surface, but let’s dig into this more.

  • Our Images: If 58% of people who come across our social media content are multi-tasking, we need to think about making our content simple and eye-catching! Creating designs and images with contrasting colors, compelling headlines and focal points are all tips that Canva recommends in their post here. This is one image Canva used to show an example of communicating through imagery. I’d stop to read this, wouldn’t you?
2017 social media strategy canva image
Image from’s post: How to Grab Attention With Your Design
  • Our text: Although there is definitely room for longer posts, when specifically thinking about the population of multi-tasker social media users, keeping our thoughts short, concise, and compelling gives us the best chance at earning their time. Need some thoughts for compelling headlines? Here’s a great tool from CoSchedule. The purpose is to create blog post headlines, but who’s to say that it won’t work for social media posts, too?
  • Our frequency: Going back to the idea of repeating posts, these repeats give us a few more chances to capture the eyes of our multi-taskers. If you change up the angle of the post, these repeats will end up flowing nicely.

now it’s your turn

We’ve covered only part of the picture that Nielsen’s report gives us. It’s certainly a lot to think about! To view the entire 2016 Nielsen Social Media Report, click here.

What are focused on for 2017? Is there a new strategy you’re excited about implementing?

Thoughts or Questions?

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