By Jessica Austin
Social Media Manager
Last month, I attended Social Media Marketing World 2018, a conference put on by the Social Media Examiner and drawing thousands of digital marketers to San Diego, California. Over three days, speakers including Guy Kawasaki (formerly Apple’s Chief Evangelist), Linda Lee (Strategic Partnerships Manager for Facebook Messenger) and Brian Solis (social futurist) covered all things social media.
While the topics varied, the general themes all underlined the same fact: social media, as we know it, is dying. Only marketers that embrace and utilize the drastic changes are going to be able to mount highly successful campaigns.
Here are major takeaways you need to know.
Dig Deeper, Not Wider
There were plenty of fantastic speakers who covered the future of social media and they all agree that social media is no longer about how many people you can reach. Small is the new big. In case you haven’t heard, Facebook has updated its algorithm and is making it even more difficult to reach your target audience. The platform is looking harder at not only who engages with your content, but the level at which they do so. The length of comments and the quality of the follower is being taken into account. All of this means that measuring ROI is increasingly difficult. Considering this, all the experts agree: these days, numbers aren’t everything.
The focus now is to dig deeper, not wider, into your potential audience. Put more effort into providing quality, potentially viral, content to a smaller, more engaged group instead of focusing on reach and impressions. Really dive into insights and analytics to get more detailed customer personas and speak directly to those people. Having a lot of followers or reaching a large group of people won’t do you any good if those people aren’t Superfans.
Video, Video, Video
It shouldn’t be news by now that video is currently the most effective form of content. Users will pay attention longer to video as opposed to static content. What is changing is the type of video top brands are employing. Short-form video, such as Instagram and Facebook Stories, are increasingly effective as brief, digestible and engaging pieces of content.
Top marketers are also producing video for “social TV”, such as Facebook Watch. Live video is still a hot item. Streaming live is the best way to showcase humanized content and connect on an emotional level. Highly-edited, perfected videos aren’t always the best way to speak to your audience.
Creating Content is About Creating Relationships
As Michael Stelzner, founder of Social Media Examiner so aptly puts it: “As marketers move in, members move out.” As a great number of year-end reports showed, consumers are trusting companies less and less and turn to peers who they deem trustworthy. Brands need to speak to their audience the way that they would want to be spoken to with quality content.
Brian Solis remarked, “Tweet others like you want to be tweeted.” Be a writer first, a marketer second and a salesperson third. Show your target audience that you know who they are and what they desire by connecting with them on a human level. Stelzner goes on: “Learn to scale at a human level.” This means don’t lose sight of the customer relationship in the push to publish content.
Influencer marketingis still goi ng strong. As we’ve talked about, consumer trust in institutions is declining and changing algorithms are making it much harder to reach customers. Utilizing influencers, big or small, is an effective way to get your message out via people that consumers trust and look up to. However, many companies are missing out on a huge opportunity: their Superfans. Influencers are great, but in theory, they can hawk any product or service they are incentivized to promote.
Superfans are the true brand loyalists; people who buy the brand, follow the brand on social media, sign up for newsletters and spread the word organically to their friends. Companies need to foster their relationships with these fans through community building.
As Social Media Marketing World 2018 emphasized, what we once considered best practices in social media is drastically changing. Social media rules of engagement continue to evolve, whether it’s updated algorithms, content quality or user behaviors.
Need help taking your social media strategy into the future? Contact us to learn how we can jumpstart your digital marketing today.
eLocal Solutions specializes in marketing your business via the digital marketplace. We use search engine optimization, social and review promotion, and Email marketing for all types of businesses from local to global. We utilize various digital marketing techniques to increase your Internet presence, optimize your traffic and generate new business.