Social media is a constantly evolving medium. From sites trending in your industry to the latest Facebook features and Instagram influencers, not to mention the development of completely new social media platforms every time you turn on your laptop.
How can modern marketers expect to keep up?
The secret is to embrace the change. If you want to make an impact with your social media efforts, it’s time to refresh your strategy. Here's what you need to know to master your social media marketing and to stay ahead of the ever-changing trends.
1. Customize your use of major and niche social media platforms.
Facebook is still number one and experts say this won’t change in 2018. In fact, Facebook is predicting that Facebook Live will be monetized and that the call-to-action buttons for local business pages will be updated.
Currently the top five social media sites in terms of reach and impact are:
These networks are important, but there is also value in niche networks for many businesses. For example, DeviantArt is geared towards illustrators, designers, artists, and art enthusiasts with a network of 26,000,000. Yes, this site would be useless for an insurance brokerage, but incredibly powerful for a photography school.
Instead of spreading your resources too thin by trying to have your brand on every major site, create a strategy that makes sense for your industry and business.
Start with the biggest. Facebook is always a wise choice with 1.79 billion monthly active users. Choose one or two other major networks after you start big. Visual industries are well-suited for platforms like Pinterest and Instagram, while service-oriented industries may gain more leads from LinkedIn and Twitter.
After choosing your major networks, consider a niche social media network. Many have several million active users and offer unique ways to reach out to leads and build brand awareness.
2. Make Your Videos Sophisticated
A recent survey by Wyzowl found 84% of consumers said they have been convinced to make a purchase choice after viewing a brand’s video, and 91% watched a video to learn about a product or service they were interested in. Yet only 63% of businesses take advantage of video right now.
Videos that engage with viewers tend to be very effective. Customer testimonials and demonstration videos will always be valuable, but try adding challenges, games, and surveys to your video content along with informational videos to keep people interested and talking on social media. Buzzfeed’s Tasty does an excellent job of this.
For some businesses, live streaming can make a strong impact. Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram are all being used by savvy brands to engage with consumers in real-time with interviews, Q&A sessions, and brand events.
If you haven’t started using video, 2018 is the year. If you have been using promotional videos on your social media channels, it's time to make them better. The use of video for social media marketing is no longer ‘new.’ It’s about coming up with creative, fresh ideas that will capture your audience and turn them into leads.
3. Focus on Influencers
A business could run eleven different social media accounts, with Twitter updates every two hours, Facebook postings twice a day, Pinterest boards, and an active presence on LinkedIn. But they still would not make the same impact that a couple of mentions by one major social media influencer would create. The big influencers have an enormous following of people who often look to them as an industry guiding force.
While in the past, consistent, regular posting was the way to go, make sure you aren’t overextending your marketing efforts with too many platforms – and too many posts. You may not just be draining your resources, but these resources may be better spent with a more concentrated focal point, like an industry influencer.
A social media mention from an influencer, or a video post that mentions your product or service, is going to reach a broad and engaged audience. Many major companies are now partnering – and paying – the big influencers to promote their products. If you want to master social media, pay attention to who the influencers are in your market based on the social media outlets that best suite you.
They don’t have to be the biggest names around, but with a few hundred thousand followers, you can make an impact if those people share, like, tweet, or feature your content in some way.
4. Examine Your Social Media Ads
Ads continue to be a popular social media marketing tool as they offer marketers a cost-effective way not just to build brand awareness, but also to test products and messaging and collect important feedback for building future campaigns.
Facebook ads still offer the best ROI of 95.8% compared to 63.5% on Twitter, and 2.1% on Snapchat. However, these numbers can shift quickly, especially as the newer networks like Snapchat and Instagram evolve in 2018.
Take a fresh approach to your social media marketing efforts to take advantage of the opportunities available. It doesn’t make sense to just pound away at your existing accounts and follow general trends. Your marketing efforts should be both sophisticated and much more creative. The brands that master these qualities will surpass their competitors in 2018.
The secret is to embrace the change. Advancements and the constant stream of innovations have provided marketers with so much to work with. Just remember, your social media marketing campaigns this year are not going to look the same as what you used last year, at least not if you want to generate more leads and stand a chance against your competitors.