Can you imagine a world without social media? Of course, you can remember the days before Facebook, Snapchat, etc, but social media has become so interlinked with our daily lives that it’s hard to imagine what life would look like without it.
This is especially so for those of us who work in social media marketing. Our day jobs are spent analysing and scrutinising, trying to gain engagement, and then we go home and snoop what our friends are up to or update our own channels. It can sometimes feel like we live on social media (hence why I’ve been taking a bit of a break from my personal channels lately!)
The End of Social Media?
Considering how addicted most of us are, poor old social media seems to have taken a bit of a battering recently; with former Facebook employees declaring “social media is ripping society apart”, the UK Child Commissioner warning us that social media poses significant emotional risks to children and finally, the shock algorithm changes that Facebook sprang on us.
It’s fair to say that social media is under serious scrutiny right now, not just in terms of how it affects human health but how businesses and brands use platforms to influence us.
Could all of this be the end of social media? Various industry people are predicting a social media revolution of sorts, whereby users will abandon social media and platforms may very well tumble, so where does that leave marketers?
If in the future, there won’t be anyone on social media then do we need to start looking for new ways to engage?
Not quite. There’s no need to panic just yet as statistics on social media growth in 2017 show that predictions of doom simply aren’t true.
The biggest social media networks have continued to grow, despite all the bad press Facebook gained millions of new active users last year and Instagram saw phenomenal growth, especially after the introduction of their ‘stories’ feature. Some networks are starting to see failure – Twitter, for example, is lagging way behind the competition in terms of active monthly users. But it’s only natural that platforms will rise and fall in popularity if you look at growth figures massive dips or rises in users coincides with updates or changes made to platforms. So as long as social media platforms keep up with the latest developments and the way in which we like to consume content, I can’t see the death of social media being anytime soon.
Having said that, users do now demand more from platforms and it’s only right that developers respond to that. Mark Zuckerberg’s latest Facebook changes were made in direct response to user complaints that Facebook had too much news content which seemed to be blocking out updates from friends and family.
Zuckerberg was right to make the changes as there definitely is a distinct backlash against advertising and rubbish content starting to develop. Think of how you use social media yourself. Here’s betting that you yourself have got annoyed at the amount of information being pushed down your throat every time you go online?
It’s this increased awareness of audience dissatisfaction that should guide social media marketers, brands and businesses in 2018.
How to Get the Best From Social Media in 2018
It’s impossible to accurately predict what will happen with social media throughout the course of this year; things change so quickly and most updates by the major platforms are kept very hush-hush before their release. Who knows what Mark Zuckerberg has up his sleeve next?!
However, we can plan ahead based on what we have been seeing lately and the current social media landscape. Here is my advice for social media marketing for businesses this year;
Be genuine and useful
Much like SEO, social media has fallen victim to everyone jumping on a bandwagon and wrecking it! Not all content is created equal and as a result, there is a deluge of uninformative, useless information on the internet! Content for the sake of it. Be genuine with your audience through your social media channels. Don’t try to hide it when you want to sell something – make sure it’s balanced with other none sales related content.
Always keep in mind that most businesses exist to solve a problem – find ways to demonstrate that and show your audience why they need your product/service. Focus on providing what your customers need and you will see better results from your posts.
One of the biggest turn-offs for consumers is when a business or brand ignores them. Do not make this mistake and make the time to respond to not only enquires but any comments too. Customers love their favourite brands interacting with them – emulate that by reposting your own mentions, complements and featuring customers on your channels.
Being good at getting back to people is important for the bad times too…complaints or not so nice comments left without replies don’t look good and will lose you fans faster than you can log in. Acknowledge and resolve issues in public to show that you care about your customer’s experience.
Try new things!
I see a lot of businesses posting the same type of content on social media day in, day out. Don’t fall into this trap and bore your followers and fans! You really should be trying a variety of materials to engage your audience – there is no limit on the approaches you can try!
We already know that posts with pictures are more engaging, but video content has really taken over the past few years. Surpassing even video is timed content – content that only appears for a certain amount of time and is quick to consume, think Instagram stories and Snapchat.
Set simple campaign goals
All marketing activity needs goals but social media is notoriously tricky and can end up being an absolute nightmare if you set several goals for a single campaign. This can also lead to disappointment but it’s not realistic to expect amazing engagement, clicks, leads and shares from a single campaign.
Instead, set simple campaign objectives, such as ‘I want more of the right type of clicks on my website’. This is something which can be easily measured and reported back on.
Plan for a long game
Finally, and most importantly do not fall for any quick fix strategies or ways to ‘trick’ algorithms. Build your social media strategy for the long term.
It’s easy to gain thousands of followers in 2018 when you can simply pay for them, but these are vanity numbers and will do absolutely nothing to grow your business. Don’t follow as many people as you can in the hope that they will follow back either, this gives you the same result – a load of followers who more than likely don’t want or care for what you’re offering. Instead, focus on long-term growth of ‘good’ followers (people who are likely to buy from you).
Get in Touch With Us
What do you think will be most important to your social media strategy this year? Do you think the end of social media is still imminent? Send me a Tweet and let me know what you think!
GrowTraffic is a digital marketing agency who specialise in SEO, content marketing and social media marketing. If you need someone to manage your social media, or just give you some pointers then please feel free to get in touch with us.