The future of social media with Sim Handa

In the lightning quick, ever-evolving world of social media, finding your path and your edge can feel like an uphill battle. Which is why I turned to Social Media Strategist & Coach Sim Handa this month to break down the future of social media and how you can start strategically dialing your content in now. 

Sim breaks down the dos and donts for social media in 2022 and beyond, a forecast of where the platforms are headed, the real-real on the algorithm, and so much more in this bursting-at-the-seams interview. 

Get ready to tune in, turn on, and do some MAJOR bookmarking because the social media forecast is here and things are getting turned up. Let me know what you think when you finish reading – shoot me a DM on Instagram with your takeaways! 

Let’s dive in with you sharing about your journey to becoming an entrepreneur & Social Media Strategist

Well to be honest, if you’d told me 5 years ago that I would be here, I’d laugh. I never thought I’d be running my own business, but today I wouldn’t give it up for the world.

My love for marketing began when I completed my Masters in one of the top fashion and luxury schools based in Milan. Specializing in social media was the next natural step as I have always been drawn to the online space, and I’m thankful to my first boss who encouraged me to develop my skills as a Digital Marketing Executive.

After working for 3 years in Milan, I landed my dream job back in my home city Mumbai with a top luxury fashion label. I was ticking off all the boxes, finished college with Honors and then landed my dream luxury marketing job, but however cliche it may sound, something felt missing. I hated my work environment, I never truly felt I was living up to my full potential nor did my boss care about that and a desk job just didn’t feel aligned to me.

I quit my job, exactly 2 months before the pandemic hit with no plan B. I realized I’m not going to get a job during the pandemic anyway so why not start freelancing. I loved the idea of working remotely (especially because I LOVE to travel) and nothing made me feel more alive than connecting and serving clients globally. 

One thing led to another, and I went from being a struggling solopreneur to having a team of two today helping me build my Social Media Management & Coaching Business, scaling it to consistent 5 Figures and working with 20+ Clients all over the world. And as they say, the rest is history 🙂

Can you share about the evolution of social media and how the current landscape is looking & operating? What has shifted in the past year? What’s no longer working?

Social media is changing more rapidly than ever before. 8-10 years ago it was all about being picture-perfect, flaunting your client revenue wins or your 100K followers and providing as much free value as possible.

Unfortunately this is no longer going to cut it in 2022. 

Your audience is maturing. The question is: are you?

The biggest content shift coming is the transition from CONTENT CONSUMPTION to CONTENT EXPERIENCE.

As more and more people are consuming content, it’s becoming more and more important to give your potential clients an in-depth, emotional and interactive experience of your business through your content.

Bringing out the human behind your brand is going to be the leading factor that’s going to influence future client decisions, so it’s time to push that creative bar.

Gone are the days when educational content was the backbone of every online business owner. YES, it’s the easiest way to get more eyeballs on your page and get that follower count up.

But the content that makes you popular is not the same content that brings you clients. This year you’re going to have to do better than just ‘How-To’s and ‘Tips & Tricks’.

Here’s a list of Dos & Don’ts to better help you with your social media game.

Dos:

  • Say hello to high, in-depth, well-articulated value
  • Welcome others in by inspiring them with your vulnerabilities and tapping into their emotions to drive them to take action
  • Lead with authenticity by speaking up, transparently discussing business wins, sharing personal opinions and shifting perspectives with facts and knowledge
  • Humanize your brand by documenting your journey and video is the best way to go

Donts:

  • Say goodbye to basic educational tips
  • Let go of old marketing tricks which are fear-based and scarcity driven
  • Sharing only a picture perfect IG world, blending into the trends and sharing half truths.
  • No more hiding behind the screen and being safe in your comfort zone

Something I hear a ton is, “No one is seeing my content on Instagram,” and “The algorithm never shows my posts to many people.” What would you say to these people who are seeing a decrease in reach and engagement on IG, and what can they do differently?

The first point you need to understand is that any social media platform needs to update itself quite frequently if it wants to stay relevant and top-of-mind. Instagram is constantly updating itself, tweaking its algorithm and adding new features to make the platform more engaging and interactive for its users. So staying up to speed with the updates is definitely a non-negotiable.

That being said, there is something more important you need to ask yourself. My question to anyone making that statement is always “What’s your goal?”

Which brings me to my second point, not all posts you create are meant to bring in engagement and that’s okay. Why? 

Because if you’re a service-based business owner using Instagram and your goal is to sign aligned clients, you don’t need high engagement or thousands of followers. All you need is the warm leads in your audience engaging with your content and maybe just a couple of followers genuinely interested in what you have to offer.

If your goal is to become the next Kylie Jenner Or Kim Kardashian then yes by all means chase vanity metrics like likes or followers, and that’s okay too.

Your social media strategy should be directly connected to the goals of your business.

Each piece of content on Instagram needs to be customized to help YOU reach these goals!

Often the content which brings you engagement is not the same content that gets you clients.

Some content will bring you likes, shares and saves, some will bring you new followers, some will just help you nurture your audience and eventually inspire them to take action to convert. 

Each piece of content is meant to take you one step closer to your Instagram goals which are connected to your business goals and that’s why you need a strong content strategy.

That’s how you make a real impact for your business using Instagram. 

I’ve been using Instagram for quite a few years now and one thing I can assure you is that with all the updates and engagement drops, my business never came to a standstill and the sales always rolled in because I had a clear marketing strategy backing my actions. 

So maybe the algorithm isn’t the problem. Maybe it’s time for you to take charge of your own actions.

Ok let’s hear it – your predictions for social media in 2022 Q3&4 and beyond!

My top four predictions for social media are:

  • Video As A Format Will Continue To Rule: Video content is getting more and more popular on all social media platforms and there’s no more avoiding that. Whether you dance, sing, make me laugh or make me think, do it with video.
  • Rise of the Informer: People no longer want basic information from influencers/experts selling them copy paste packages. They want in-depth value from informers/leaders who walk the talk and know how to articulate the value behind their service.
  • Intentional & Intuitive Marketing: More vulnerability, less perfection. More transparency, less pretense. More celebration of client journeys, not just material wins. More spontaneity, less perfectly curated feeds. Be mindful of the messaging behind your brand because now more than ever, your audience is listening and they’re tired of the buzzwords that all sound the same. In a sea of online experts, be the leader they seek.
  • No More Chasing Numbers, But Building Experiences: Get off the engagement roller coaster and take a look at what’s really important if you want to attract those loyal clients. In a world chasing virality, become relevant. Give your audience an immersive experience like no other, hold tight to your values and USP and see how easily the right clients find you.

How do you know which of the social media platforms are right for your type of business and business objectives (Pinterest, LI, Twitter, IG, TikTok)?

The best way to find out which social media platform is right for your business is to ask yourself “Where does my ideal client hang out?”

If your ideal clients are CEOs and Executives then maybe LinkedIn is better for you.

If they are stay-at-home moms then maybe Facebook groups or Pinterest.

If fitness enthusiasts, then maybe Instagram is for you.

If you aren’t 100% sure then pick a few platforms (2-3) that you’re confused between and test them out for a couple of weeks, track your results and then decide which one worked best for you and your business needs.

Every business is different and there’s no right or wrong platform. You need to do your research and test your strategies before you find your best match.

What’s one thing that readers can start doing today to optimize their social media strategy?

Make sure your business goals are aligned with your social media goals and track your results.

The best way to optimize your strategies is to learn from your tracked data to see what’s working and what’s not.

There is no one-strategy-fits-all kind of a solution so you need to analyze your insights weekly and even monthly to find the right direction for your marketing efforts.

Initially you don’t need to rush to be present everywhere so don’t complicate your social media strategy. I believe in the 80-20 rule, meaning that 80% of your traffic will come from one source and 20% from the rest of your sources. 

Build one social media platform at a time, own it and then shift your focus to another one.

Remember our results take time to catch up to us. You don’t need to be viral or be exceptional to be successful. All you need to be is what most people aren’t: consistent.

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