2017 saw a number of changes to our favourite social media platforms. Instagram introduced a new algorithm to their home feed and Facebook trialled a newsfeed system that saw non-promoted content moved to a secondary feed.
These changes resulted in dire headlines predicting a higher emphasis on paid advertising to make up for the loss of an estimated two-thirds of organic reach and engagement.
Yes, the playing field has changed. And the rules too. But what hasn't changed is the purpose of social media – to engage, connect and create conversation. Is it possible that all these changes might be a good thing and could even result in improved customer relationships?
Here are a few guidelines for winning at Social Media Marketing in 2018:
The key phrase from Facebook is "meaningful interaction" so comments, shares and reactions will carry more weight than just clicking a link or watching a video.
Create engaging, quality content that is relevant to your audience AND pertinent to your business. Now is the time to get to know your target market better and reacquaint yourself with your core message.
GIVE IT SOME THOUGHT
With all the analytics and insights available to us, getting to know your audience has never been easier. Gone are the days of planning a campaign from start to finish and following it step by step. More value will be gained when you regularly review and improve your strategy.
Social Media platforms are first and foremost about people. They are there to connect to their friends and family or with online communities that share their hobbies and interests. According to the 2014 Edelman Brandshare survey, a staggering 87% of consumers want more meaningful relationships with brands.
It's no longer a popularity contest with the most attention-grabbing content winning the day. The post with personality that is interesting and conversation-worthy is now the belle of the ball.
DID YOU KNOW?
After the official Instagram account, the most followed Instagram accounts are people. Actors, musicians and athletes. In fact, the only brands in the top 25 worldwide are National Geographic (#14), Nike (#16) and Victoria's Secret (#24). Twitter and YouTube follow a similar pattern.
FIND GENUINE INFLUENCERS
Influencer Marketing is still a force to be reckoned with. But choose your brand ambassador wisely. Find a thought leader who is knowledgeable or passionate about your product, business or industry whose opinion will be an authentic endorsement.
Don't put all your eggs in one basket. Most of the impact from the Facebook changes are being felt by small businesses who do not have presence on other social media platforms. And don't neglect your company website! A Facebook Page is not a substitute for a website.
BUILD A TRIBE
Building relationships and creating connections is key. Branded Pages can now be linked to Facebook Groups where engagement is not limited by the same algorithms. Facebook Groups do require more time and effort so be sure you are prepared for that level of commitment.
Social Media can only be an effective marketing tool with a well-researched strategy in place which places the emphasis on quality content.