Social Media in 2018: What we learned from the chaos and disruption
Sometimes we see the present and notice a spike of chaos and disruption, whether we’re talking about politics or how the the younger generation behaves. The same is almost always true in marketing because of the many ways it is in a state of chaos and disruption. This, however does not apply to social media marketing in the first quarter of 2018! Check out a some of the mayhems we’re currently experiencing in the social media world.
Changes in the Facebook Newsfeed
Mark Zuckerberg announced in January, that Facebook would drastically regulate most brand content in the newsfeed in favor of more content from “friends and family.”
Furthermore, evidence is snowballing that the younger generation are leaving Facebook for more private social networks like Snapchat and Instagram.
Twitter cracks down on bulk posting
Twitter has declared that as of July 2018 users and third-party apps will no longer be allowed to post the same post to multiple accounts. This is mainly because of how effortlessly spammers and bots can use it to push political and hate agendas. Mass-liking or retweeting posts will also be banned.
Social sharing decreases
A recent study by Buzzsumo says the average social shares per post had degenerated by 50% in 2017. Their data also establishes how quickly most topics become saturated with content, meaning low quality social shares and links.
The rise of dark social
Dark social is all the online social sharing and action that occurs outside of public social media posts like email, private messaging, chats, and word of mouth.
Dark social cannot be traced or measured, so it lacks one of the chief selling points of digital marketing: the capability to tie results directly to social media campaigns.
Influencer abuse and scandals
It was meant to save digital marketing but over the past year, it turned out that a lot of influencers did not really have the reach they claimed, with much of their following being bots or purchased followers. It can be even more harmful when a brand representative engages in scandalous behavior.
Ad blindness and blocking
You can pay to get to your audience and have the benefit of knowing you’re reaching a targeted demographics, which makes the it all the more valuable. But two threats loom over it:
- Ad blindness. Social media users are becoming more immune to ads and in a lot of cases are not seeing them at all.
- Ad blocking. As consumers became more aware they could block ads, they flocked to do it.
Next-generation social media marketing
Social media remains one of the most amazing mass communication devices ever devised by humans. It’s still where a good deal of the online conversation and sharing happens.
So, challenged by these disruptions to business as usual, what are we to do? How can we take shape to still do marketing using social media platforms?
Find out if social media still makes sense for you
The conventional wisdom has been that because of the size of social media audience, all businesses has to be existing and active on it. But with just the very nature of some businesses, they find it hard to get the level of engagement required to get any meaningful level of reach from social media. If these businesses have been thorough and tried different marketing platforms, and they are keeping records of their results, they may find it a better use of their resources to focus on channels that are working for them than still punching through on social.
Acknowledge that paid reach is no longer optional
Sure, organic reach seems more appealing because it’s free, and who doesn’t like free?
There is a steep learning curve to doing it right but embrace the fact that paid promotion is probably the most sophisticated marketing tool ever created. Remember that the ability to target your messages to exactly the right people, and to creatively remarket to those who have already shown interest, is unparalleled.
Be better or go home
Just as the digital advertising world worries about ad blindness, social marketers should be concerned about content blindness. Or the way too much content going after a limited amount of attention.
The Facebook newsfeed change was in a way motivated by this user passivity toward brand content. Facebook noticed that too much brand content in the newsfeed turned users into passive scrollers and therefore more likely to leave the app.
This means that just as SEOs had to become content marketers, so it goes for social media marketers. We have to remove ourselves from the mindset of getting as much as we can into the feed everyday to investing more in high-quality content that viewers want to see and engage with.
Work out how to become more engaging but less clickbaity
The networks have figured out that clickbait makes for unhappy users. For algorithm-driven social networks, engagement has always been the most important metric. However, those networks have now figured out that not all engagement is equally valuable. Engagement-based algorithms gave rise to the onslaught of “clickbait,” posts written with the primary purpose of enticing or even tricking users into performing simple but mostly meaningless interactions.
Truly engaging content is better for your business. It helps make your brand more respected and remembered. It develops positive feelings toward your business that help influence people when it’s time to make a buying decision.
Cultivate real influencers and build strategic partnerships
The lesson we got from the influencer scandals of the past year is that connecting with people who are ‘influencers’ merely because of their follower count is a failing scheme. But that doesn’t mean influencer marketing is not valuable.
The pitch here is a genuine exchange of value. Seek out relationships with influencers who have truly earned their influence. Look for people who have real respect, trust and authority in your industry, or in an area that at least relates to your industry.
It’s time for social media to mature and become a better marketing channel. It’s disastrous that it’s taken a real challenge from the social networks to make many realize it but those who see the changes as an opportunity to become better, rather than an obstruction, will probably end up reaping better benefits from social media than they ever have before.
Let a TVH VA lend a hand.