Social media management has been one of the most important aspects of corporate digital marketing for more than a decade. Maintaining a consistent, relevant, and timely company presence on the major social media platforms is still one of the most effective ways to reach new audiences and reinforce existing customer relationships.
Social media marketing has been in a state of flux in recent years, as digital marketers grapple with how best to leverage new social media innovations like live video and paid campaigns. And the recent media blitz surrounding the privacy breach of some 87 million Facebook users have led some marketers to wonder whether they should modify their social media strategy to follow shifting public sentiment.
Here are the ZAG FIRST marketing team’s 6 tips for social media marketing in 2018:
Each social media platform (from Facebook to LinkedIn to Pinterest) has its own strengths and weaknesses. Some are stronger with a younger audience (Instagram), others are more B2B focused (LinkedIn) and others are most popular with a female demographic (Pinterest). Just because the social media platform exists and is popular does not mean it is popular with your target audience. It is much better to choose the right platforms for your company and do them right rather than trying to be everywhere.
Use social media to tell your company’s unique story and foster meaningful customer interactions – Be real online
Social media marketing is so ubiquitous for companies at this point that it can be challenging to be heard above the crowd. Your company’s social media content will be better received if it tells stories and invites real customer dialogue. In Mark Zuckerberg’s January statement outlining the changes to Facebook in 2018, he said: “You’ll see less public content like posts from businesses, brands, and media. And the public content you see more will be held to the same standard–it should encourage meaningful interactions between people.”
As mentioned above, each social media platform targets a different demographic, and it’s important to know who you’re talking to when you post on social media. And when a company does it right, customers will usually start talking back–commenting on posts, reposting articles, etc. Social media is a great way to open a channel of dialogue between company and customer.
Use Social Media to Discuss Your Industry and Your Audience–Not Just Your Company
No one wants to be in a conversation where the other party only talks about themselves. No one wants to be sold to all of the time. If every one of your social media posts just talks about your own company, your audience will quickly lose interest. If you really want to establish a relationship with your clients you need to talk topics other than you – talk about the industry, the future, trends, what you saw at the latest trade show, what your clients are doing successfully, etc. A good rule of thumb is that you need to be talking about topics other than your own company twice as much as your talk about yourself.
Don’t abandon Facebook
There are definitely lessons to be learned from the public outcry surrounding the Facebook reveal. But it would be a mistake to remove your company from Facebook, which is still far and away the most-used social media platform globally. Facebook currently sits at 2.2 billion monthly users, the first social media platform to ever surpass 1 billion.
62% of digital marketers cite Facebook as the most important social media platform for company marketing. And while a #DeleteFacebook campaign launched on Twitter following news of the privacy breach, recent data reveals that very few users have actually left Facebook. It remains the most popular app in the U.S. and U.K., across both Android and IOS platforms.
Of course, this is not to say that digital marketers shouldn’t be careful about how they use Facebook in the coming months. It is always important to acknowledge and respond to customer sentiment, which might require increased delicacy when it comes to posting on Facebook. But deleting your company Facebook page is not the solution.
Diversify your social media platforms
Diversification is the name of the game for brands. It’s important that companies not put all their eggs in one basket, which means posting specific and relevant content across a wide variety of social media platforms. Every social media platform appeals to different demographics, so the more platforms you use, the more demographics you can reach.
For that reason, digital markets should try not to get in the habit of posting identical content across all their social media platforms. The audience your company reaches through a Tweet will not be the same audience it reaches through a Youtube promotion. Digital marketers should identify their target customer segments, and then leverage as many social media platforms as possible to reach those customer segments in unique, relevant ways. Of course, it’s important not to take this to the extreme–if you have limited marketing resources, it’s always better to use one social media platform really well than use many social media platforms poorly.
Video and livestreams are great social media tools
We mentioned in an earlier blog post that video and livestream are increasing in popularity and importance in 2018. Live video can be one of the most effective ways to engage with customers, and social media platforms are investing heavily in livestream and videosharing options. The three main social media giants–Facebook, Youtube, and Twitter–have been busy in 2018 developing new video options for their platforms.
Of course, depending on the customer segments your company is trying to reach, it’s important not to overlook other online broadcast options like Twitch and Periscope. Although Twitch is primarily an e-Sports live streaming platform, Youtuber Logan Paul made headlines recently when he launched a Twitch channel and gained 190,000 followers in 24 hours. Not every niche platform will be relevant for every company, but the increasing emphasis on different video broadcast options demonstrates that all savvy content creators are looking to increase their digital footprint.
Questions about how ZAG FIRST can help your company leverage social media? Contact us.