With fresh scandals rocking the social media world, revelations from inside Facebook are casting a harsh light on social media. For the first time since Facebook debuted in 2004, the long-term effects of social media on health and society are being widely questioned.
This comes at the same time organic reach is declining on Facebook, a fact it openly admits. Businesses are expected to pay as a matter of fact to connect with users, even those who intentionally follow your brand’s Facebook page and want to hear from you.
The heaviest toll falls on small Central Florida businesses. Online advertising is an increasingly large part of social media marketing, but family-owned companies in DeLand or elsewhere may not have the money to shore up Facebook’s contribution to their digital marketing.
Does this mean it’s time to jump off social media? Not for most brands.
There are three big questions to ask yourself:
- Is your social media strategy focusing on the platforms where your customers are found?
- Are you working to reduce the impact of social algorithms on your digital marketing plan?
- Have you taken action that will show users you understand their social media concerns?
1. Focusing on the Right Platforms for You
Each social media platform has its own unique demographics, and those demographics are shifting.
The best example of this is Facebook. Known as “The” Facebook back in the heady days of 2004, it was originally for college students. These days, younger users are embarking on a mass exodus away from the platform and often look at it as “social media for grandmothers.”
Users aged 25-34 make up the largest Facebook demographic worldwide, yet in the United States, the figures trend higher, hovering around 40 years of age. But looked at by household income, Facebook has a broad reach across categories, from less than $30,000 to $100,000+ per year.
What it all means is simple: Ensure the exact demographic you are trying to target is active on your chosen platform in abundance. On Facebook, you can get a clear idea about the activity level of your audience by exploring the platform’s ad targeting options, even if you decide not to run a campaign.
On the flip side, don’t add a new platform to your social media strategy because it’s trending.
For example, it costs a minimum of $25,000 to run Tumblr’s “ads that don’t feel like ads,” an offering that was so unsuccessful, Yahoo had to sell the company at a massive loss. TikTok is another platform that can impress with 130 million U.S. users, but they skew too young for many businesses to gain traction.
2. Reducing the Impact of Social Media Algorithms
Social media algorithms exist to show people more of what they respond to.
In part, that means more of what they like. But recent revelations suggest it can also mean giving them whatever provokes outrage and furious comments. From a technical perspective, the goal is to keep the audience – your audience – captive, stopping them from clicking away.
You can still get terrific value from social media, but you should always be looking for meaningful ways to deepen the relationship. Ideally, that means enticing them off the platform and inspiring connection with your brand as an active participant, not a passive consumer.
3. Aligning Your Brand with Users’ Concerns
More people are wondering whether social media is really good for them, but that doesn’t mean they’re quitting en masse. 45% of Facebook users, 34% of Snapchat users, and 32% of Twitter users have actively considered leaving. So far, there’s no sign of this turning into a movement.
But it is a source of anxiety for many of your future customers, who may be trying to cut back on social media. There’s a challenging balance for modern brands to strike – honoring these concerns without losing users’ attention.
Four Concrete Ways to Make Social Media Marketing Better for Your Brand and Your Followers
These are big, complex topics at the intersection of business and philosophy. It may be hard to know where to begin, let alone untangle what obligations your business has to its social media audience. By embracing these challenges with help from a Central Florida digital marketing agency, you have the opportunity to lay the foundation for long-lasting relationships of trust with your followers.
Here are four ways to do it:
1. Roll Out Data Analytics for Your Social Media Marketing
Social media networks are eroding your reach behind the scenes. Strike back by gathering the data you need to verify that a particular network is still worth your time. Before you do anything else with social media, be sure you have an analytics suite running on your website!
Analytics software helps you determine how each user reached your website and what they did once they got there. While social platforms often have their own built-in analytics, you can only get the full picture – including which social media is making an impact – by implementing it on your website.
This data can guide you in spotlighting certain platforms and paring others back.
3. Aim to Get Social Media Traffic to Your Email Marketing List or Online Forum
This is the big one – and it should influence your social media marketing at all levels.
Think of your online relationships as a continuum:
- New visitor
- Social media follower
- Email subscriber
- Brand advocate
In the past, it was reasonable to assume that if you could motivate new visitors to become social media followers, you would normally be able to reach them with your news and offers. That’s no longer the case; social media is a stepping stone to email marketing, which makes your communication consistent.
Once someone becomes a customer, you can then strengthen the relationship even further with a members-only online forum on your website. Private forums allow you to message all your users easily and at will. It’s only natural that social media platforms brand these “outdated” – don’t be fooled.
4. Emphasize Video Content for Your Social Media Initiatives
Last but not least, get the most staying power out of your social media marketing by using the content that consistently performs best. Video storytelling allows you to communicate your message quickly and efficiently. Video yields more comments, “likes,” and shares than virtually anything around. Plus, it is more likely to be remembered and acted on than plain text alone.
Contact us at New York Ave to find out how modern social media marketing can work for you.