Social media has become an important, if not the most important part of digital marketing strategies for brands and companies of all sizes. To harness the power of social media, you need to keep up to date with the ever-changing landscape.
The strategies that were effective a few months ago won’t necessarily produce the same results today. Why? Consumer behavior is changing, social media platforms are changing, and new platforms are emerging and becoming more popular.
As consumers change the way they use and interact with social media, marketers need to adapt to reach their target audience. By staying at the forefront on social media, your strategy will stay current and give you a competitive edge.
A brand can no longer publish generic content across all social media channels and expects it to produce results. Furthermore, social media content can’t be overt advertisements – consumers are immune to this type of marketing.
They need to stand out and be memorable on social media. Today, a results-oriented social media marketing strategy must include:
Campaigns on the platforms on which the attention of your target customers is present
Highly creative content specially created for each platform
Unique ways to promote UGC (User Generated Content)
Let’s examine half a dozen ways social media is changing in the new age and what to focus on in order to get the best results for your business or brand.
Video content is one of the best ways to achieve brand loyalty
Video content is preferred by social media users. As a brand, you need to create content in the format that your audience prefers.
While you might think that traditional Instagram image posts are better suited for your business, you need to go wherever the opportunity is for engagement. Currently, these are established social media channels with specific functions for video content (Instagram, Facebook, YouTube) and video-focused social networks such as TikTok and Triller, which are newer.
In-app opportunities for e-commerce are evolving
In 2021, e-commerce is expected to become even more widespread on social media and more in-app purchase options will become available. In the latest Instagram app update, the “Shop” function icon was placed where users previously accessed their notifications.
While it was a move that many thought was a bit underhanded, it is a clear sign that Instagram is ahead of the game in expanding its stores functionality. Make sure TikTok is rolling out in-app e-commerce soon too.
Earlier this year, TikTok announced a partnership with Shopify, the world’s largest e-commerce platform, so that its merchants could seamlessly advertise on TikTok. The most interesting piece of information from this announcement was the mention of the two companies that are working on releasing new in-app features across the board.
Influencer marketing must now be brand-related and authentic
In the early days of influencer marketing, before it was even called “influencer marketing”, you could get insane amounts of volume simply by having an account with a large following promoting your product or service in a post .
Social media audiences have never been exposed to this type of marketing, so it has been implemented at high rates. So high that it quickly became the marketing channel of choice for many brands. Several direct-to-consumer brands were launched and scaled up heavily using only influencer marketing. Fashion Nova is a great example – a half-billion dollar brand that quickly went from obscurity to nearly 20 million Instagram followers a few years ago. They achieved this massive growth by simply spending every other brand on influencer marketing.
Times have changed, however, and the number of followers alone is irrelevant. Micro-influencers with a very committed fan base that is perfectly tailored to your target group are the way to go. The way they promote your brand has to be natural and authentic – holding a product and smiling just doesn’t cut it anymore.
Long-term brand partnerships with developers who value your brand are by far the most valuable form of influencer marketing. This allows the relationship to evolve and naturally introduces the influencer’s audience to your brand.
You can no longer simply force your brand down the throats of consumers through an influencer with a large following. Authentic, branded content promoted by specific influencers who value a product or service is by far the most effective method of getting results.
User generated content surpasses traditional advertising
According to Jon Simpson in this article, digital marketing experts estimate that most Americans are exposed to around 4,000 to 10,000 ads every day. If you take a minute to scroll through all of your social media feeds, you will undoubtedly come into contact with advertisements, several of them on each platform.
Multiply this by the number of times you open those apps and you can see how accurate that estimate is. Consumers are becoming more immune to traditional advertising every day. You can smell a hard sale from a mile away, and if you’re running campaigns that are too big on sales, the results will be bleak at best.
UGC, or User Generated Content, is a great way to increase brand awareness while providing you with highly effective social proof. A marketing message that includes an actual user of a product or service sells better than a creative ad that consists of professional photography and high production value videos.
Encourage your customers to create UGC for your brand. Create a campaign with a branded hashtag that gives customers free products, discounts, or other special offers. Document the standout features in your social media accounts – this way you can quickly achieve a UGC snowball effect.
Don’t think of your social media accounts just as a sales platform. They have evolved into much more. Social media today is both a customer service channel and a marketing channel.
If a consumer has a question or a complaint, where do they go? Social media. From Instagram and Twitter DMs to Facebook messages, a large percentage of customer service requests come from social media.
Your commitment to customer service on social media plays a huge role in the success of your brand. Consumers love to share their opinions on positive and negative brands on social media.
If you take the time to ensure that all incoming customer service requests are handled quickly and satisfactorily, you can build an army of loyal supporters to call you out, tag your profiles, and run business your way. Most CRM platforms have social integrations so your customer service team can easily monitor messages sent through your social media accounts.
There are now more laws and regulatory controls
Social media is no longer everything it used to be. Now there is increased government scrutiny, and brands also need to be aware of the legalities of disclosing influencers and partnerships. Simply put, you need to be extremely transparent when marketing on social media.
The Federal Trade Commission has specific disclosures for social media influencers. Whenever you hire influencers, you need to make sure they follow them as failing to do so can bite you. As the FTC investigates the collection and use of consumer data, it’s likely to change how many data points you can use to target paid ads in the future.
The reach and effectiveness of paid ads in terms of the ability to laser target audiences could change very soon. Facebook has already touched on how Apple’s iOS 14 update can affect its advertisers. If paid ads on Facebook and Instagram are an important part of your marketing circle, I highly recommend that you spend time testing and perfecting various organic strategies.