Are brands still suffering from Social Media frenzy?

Just over two years ago I wrote an article about the changes that were happening in the Social Media sphere and the key elements of a successful Social Media strategy: Stop the Social Media frenzy (and start paying).

Two years might not seem like a long time, but in the digital age, it’s like talking about a century ago. When I wrote that article, companies were still discovering Social Media as a Marketing tool, most were still solely relying on organic reach, and Social Media managers were struggling to show the impact of their work on business performance.

Today things have changed a lot:

1) New platforms

Periscope, Snapchat, Kik, Medium, Slack… … new social networks seem to appear almost every day, and each with a different purpose: from chatting to video broadcasting, from blogging to instant messaging. Despite this, Facebook maintains its predominance with over 1,968 billion active users as at April 2017.

Source: Hootsuite ‘We are social’ report 2017

2) New trends

It used to be that Social Media was just a tool to meet and communicate in digital space, but the latest trends include live video streaming, more and more instant messaging apps, chatboxes, as well as anything that allows us to share and engage pretty much in real time.

Read here for more details about the latest digital trends: Top 10 Trends That Will Transform Digital Marketing In 2017 

3) Different expectations from customers

In 2015, Social Media users were already connecting with the brands that were in the digital arena, but today they expect all brands to be there and to be there for them. Customers want to interact with brands, they want their voice to be heard, and if there is an issue they want brands to be there to fix it straight away. Which brings us to the next point…

4) Social Media as brand reputation management tool

Being active in the digital space gives companies the opportunity to monitor their social reputation as well as act and react accordingly. Social Media listening tools can research and collect ‘user generated content’ such as blogs, comments, reviews, bookmarks, videos, etc… and alert a business to any negative conversations occurring.

Social Media customer service is another way to improve brand reputation and cut costs associated to traditional customer services.

You can read more on this here: Can social media ruin your brand reputation? 

5) Automation

Hootsuite, Buzzsumo, Buffer, are just some of the platforms now available to marketers to manage their multiple social outlets in an efficient and programmatic way. The downside of automation? When brands forget the human factor. Social Media is about being social, nobody likes to talk with a bot…

6) Tracking

At last, marketers can track the performance of their campaigns, prove ROIs, and demonstrate the impacts of Social Media Marketing on the overall business performance. Now we can identify when a customer has first interacted with a brand through a Social Media post, when they clicked through to a landing page, and when they bought a product. But remember, with great power comes great responsibility. This means that Social Media Marketing goals can no longer be limited to ‘likes’ and ‘shares’, they need to be linked to concrete business goals.

7) The rise of Content Marketing

Content Marketing is the newest, most effective, yet least expensive form of Marketing.

It works by creating and sharing high-quality, valuable content through different channels to provide value to customers while generating business opportunities for the company.

However, having a great piece of content is not enough by itself if nobody can see it. This is when Social Media comes to the rescue.

Find out more about the importance of sharing your content and how to do it here: Are people engaging with your Content Marketing?

8) Social Media as a Search Engine, or ‘Social SEO’

Social Media has a double role on the SEO battlefront: firstly, Social Media profiles rank in Search Engines, which means that social brands have more chances to appear as the first result of a relevant online search on engines like Bing and Google. Secondly, Social Media users might search for companies directly on social platforms, even before passing by traditional Search Engines.

The future

These are only some of the changes in the Social Media sphere, Social Media is constantly evolving and what was so true yesterday might not be that true tomorrow (like organic vs paid reach).

However, I do believe that when approaching Social Media Marketing there are a few principles that are still very much valid. Following up from what I wrote back in 2015, companies need to:

  • Define and understand their target audience
  • Select the social platforms relevant to their own audience, and avoid trying to be everywhere, anyhow, anyway
  • Maintain a consistent brand, but
  • Adapt style and tone of voice to the specific network
  • Create great content that is worth investing money to share
  • Make Social Media Marketing a full-time job
  • Be social, for real

If companies forget these basic principles, they fall into the trap of the Social Media frenzy with the risk of investing time and resources in ineffective and potentially damaging tactics.

For a quick checklist on how to design a successful Social Media campaign download the infographic “How to win prospects the Social Media way

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