Keeping current with the state of the art in social media can be exhausting. Algorithms shift, terms of use change, advertising policies reverse course and what was once clearly, definitively a best practice becomes outdated overnight. A social strategy that tightly adheres to the latest trends may quickly become useless. That’s why, no matter which way the wind blows, the best course is fairly simple: remain committed to consistent production of high-quality, relevant and authentic content; post to platforms where you’ll reach your customers; mix in some video; engage with your audience’s reactions and comments; and strategically spend on highly targeted social ads with clear potential for ROI.

With these simple directives, you’ll have a durable approach to your brand’s social media that won’t need to be scraped after every Mark Zuckerberg press conference. These tactics are the keys to basic social media execution — if you’re not sure your brand’s social media hits the mark on the basics or could use some help taking your social media to the next level, reach out!

To truly stand out and keep up with user migration, it’s crucial to think beyond the timeless best practices and occasionally re-evaluate where you’re allocating content resources. Otherwise, you’d be reading this article on a GeoCities page, sharing it on Friendster and composing your thoughts about it in a Xanga journal (or, more likely, writing anime fanfic; we digress). So, here are a few timelier, but still actionable, strategies to stay relevant on social media.

I’m watching my Stories

Yes, this is what grandmothers say when General Hospital is on, but these Stories won’t feature Luke and Laura’s wedding. In case you’ve been living under a rock, Instagram and Facebook Stories emulate the Stories feature originally introduced by Snapchat, making it brand-friendly for in-the-moment photos and videos. Overall, Stories sharing across platforms is up nearly 1000 percent since 2016 according to the consulting firm Block Party. Stories are poised to surpass feed posts for Instagram and Facebook reach within the next year, making them absolutely mandatory for brands that want to stay relevant on those platforms.

Not sure how to get started with Stories? Don’t be intimidated by their immediacy — it’s easy. Enlist your entire team to find visually stimulating and timely happenings throughout your organization that highlight the best side of your brand. Experiment with different formats (photos vs. videos, polls, Q&A, etc.) to see how your audience responds. When you feel particularly good about a Story, save it as a Highlight. Most importantly, post to Stories at least a few times each week so your skills with the format develop and your followers grow to expect something fun and interesting from your brand in every format.

Finally, the rise of Stories doesn’t mean you should quit posting to the feed. Find ways to repurpose essentially the same content to each format, altering it to be more dynamic, fun and ephemeral for Stories and a little more formal for the feed. This practice makes efficient use of your social media resources to reach more users without bombarding them with the same exact message.

Instagram as the new mall

Facebook debuted its Shop feature for Pages a few years ago. Now sister platform Instagram is rolling out a shopping feature that will soon allow content creators to tag items in their photos as shoppable products within the platform. Instagram’s visual nature and high density of influencers promoting various products will quickly turn it into a new hub of online retail. No more “link in bio” — just click a product in the photo and you’ll be redirected to an in-platform shop.

Responding to this change is easy for an e-commerce brand. Simply set up an Instagram shop (and a Facebook shop, too, if you haven’t already) with your inventory and pricing, and begin tagging the products featured in your posts. Voila, a new sales pipeline.

It’s been five seconds…where’s my personalized response?

We all know that social media is a conversation, not a monologue. Brands post content, but so do regular users, and often users who respond to a brand’s post expect it to lead to a quality customer service interaction, just as if they’d called a help line or emailed a customer service rep. For brands that receive a great deal of social interaction, the sheer volume of social message requests for customer service along with the raised expectations for online service from digital natives will necessitate adaptations.

The simplest way to handle this new expectation for social customer service is to deploy a chatbot, which you can integrate with Messenger and on your website to handle a few of the most frequently asked user questions and customer service issues. More complex issues can be elevated to your customer service team, but adding a chatbot at the beginning of the interaction will filter out the higher volume of easily solved inquiries and allow users to receive the immediate answers they expect.

These are the trends we see coming, and we can help your company adapt to them. What do you see coming? Let us know on Twitter!