Social media sites are a place to connect — with friends, family, like-minded communities and … your customers. It’s not surprising that nearly a quarter of small businesses consider these platforms to be their most successful digital marketing tool.

But, what happens when the algorithm changes, your account gets disabled or new tools are added? For a small business, it’s critical that you stay in front of your intended audience.

But, you’ve got a business to run so you can’t spend your hours studying social media changes.

That’s why we’ve pulled the top 5 social news items from the last 30 days to keep you in the loop:

Facebook Ad Targeting Troubles

Facebook has some of the most robust ad targeting tools available. When choosing who will see a paid ad, you can narrow your audience based on location, demographics, behaviors, connections and even interests.

But let me ask you a question: When you launch an ad, how confident are you that the people you want to see it, actually will?

A new study from North Carolina State University found that Facebook’s interest targeting is inaccurate around 30% of the time.

As the study states, “Facebook does not differentiate between positive and negative interactions. As a result, many of the interests listed in the ad profile become irrelevant or inaccurate.”

Don’t panic. This doesn’t mean you should liquidate your Facebook ads budget and swear off the platform. Rather, the study emphasizes the importance of building out a detailed and accurate buyer persona.

As we mentioned, interest targeting is only one of the criteria you can set when choosing your audience. A buyer persona will help you identify where your customers live, what age bracket they are in and so much more.

Tell Your Story on TikTok

TikTok is the latest platform to hop on the Stories train. The platform began testing stories in 2021. Similar to the OG Stories on Instagram, TikTok Stories last a full 24 hours before vanishing.

As a brand, stories provide a unique opportunity to highlight limited-time offers, behind-the-scenes features and exclusive content.

Instagram Continues to Roll Out New Features

If we can count on one thing in this digital world, it’s Instagram rolling out new features. In March alone, the now video-sharing platform made the following improvements:

Algorithm-free feed sorting options:

Instagram is ditching the algorithm and bringing back the feed of the past. With two new feeds, the app will show you posts in chronological order, as they’re posted, rather than being selected by the almighty algorithm.

  • Favorites. Choose to display the latest posts from accounts added to your ‘Favorites’ list, which can hold up to 50 accounts.
  • Following. This view shows posts from the accounts you follow.

Updated editing tools for reels:

To everyone’s delight, users are now able to reorder, delete and trim clips after starting the editing process.

Instagram Creator Account Reels Update

Started testing a full-screen main feed:

Instagram has also begun testing a new UI. This new, fully-intergraded home feed would present all of your posts, stories and reels within a single flow in full-screen mode. Stay tuned for more info on this update!

Twitter GIFs … It’s Pronounced JIF

GIFs are the unofficial language of Twitter and making them just got a whole lot easier … if you have iOS.

To make your own custom GIF, compose a new tweet and click the camera button. You’ll get the option to take a photo, record a video or make an animated GIF. Click GIF, record a few seconds and voilà! You just made your own custom GIF.

As a platform, Twitter is great for communicating with your audience and sharing timely updates. In fact, GIFs will help you showcase the services your business offers in a fun and engaging way.

However, while no date has been announced, it is expected that GIF creation will soon be available to Android users.

Twitter is almost as notorious as Instagram is for rolling out new features. But, some of the most surprising news from the platform is the word of its newest almost board member, Elon Musk. While crowdsourcing ideas for the next Twitter update he decided not to join the board.

Only time will tell if we’ll get the elusive edit button for free accounts … but it appears it’s in the works:

Google Announces Google Marketing Live

Google has set a date for its annual Google Marketing Live conference. In a blog, the internet giant shared its initial plans for the event, which will take place on May 24.

According to a blog posted by Jeff Dischler, VP & GM, Ads at Google:

“Products like Performance Plannerpickup today in local inventory ads and conversion goals were all developed directly from conversations with marketers who attended this event. Together, we are building products to shape the future of advertising.”

This collaborative event, which will consist of both in-person and virtual events, has been known to showcase some of the company’s latest Ads tools, which Google says are “built to help you achieve your business goals.”

More details will be shared as the date approaches.

Your Social Media Advantage

While staying up on the latest social trends may feel like a fruitless undertaking, understanding how each social platform is changing will enable your small business to continue to connect with your audience in a way that matters — without getting buried in an unfriendly algorithm.

Believe it or not, small businesses have the upper hand on social. When it comes to success on any platform, engagement is the key.

And unlike many large conglomerates, small, locally-owned businesses are part of the communities they serve.

By knowing what works on each platform and fostering that feeling of community, your customers will gather on your page. No matter the platform, social media gives your customers a place to talk about your products and services, post pictures and provide reviews.

As a result, you get the social proof and best marketing there is: word of mouth.