How Consuming Social Media Has Changed

In 2018, social media came of age! Twenty-one years ago, the completely forgotten social media site – SixDegrees – gave us a glimpse into our connected future. Now, social media is the always-on portal to our real-time world.

If you use the internet, you’re consuming social media. It’s a fact, 98% of internet users are on social channels already. Social media sites are where everyone hangs out. About a third of our online time is spent on social media – over two hours every day and growing.

But social is fluid – reflecting the fads and trends of its audience. There are constant subtle shifts in platform parameters. Savvy marketers don’t wait for an authoritative organization to conduct a survey regarding their business. Instead, they get the news from their social analytics.

Where Are Your Customers Hanging Out Now?

Because social media is growing up alongside its consumers, it’s in an ongoing state of change. What’s cool for a teen can’t be the same for a millennial or Gen X audience. Social is a global age-sensitive phenomenon.

We all know the demographic at Facebook is skewing towards an older cohort. Snapchat is the darling of Gen Z. And every channel has something unique to add to the mix. However, what we’re seeing here is a clear heads-up for visuals and video.

Already marked as the key trend for 2019, video content is driving the percentages seen in these 2018 user changes.  Here is proof the power of visuals. Visual content is more likely to get shared on social media.  In fact, Snapchat users share over 9,000 videos per second!  

How Long Do Consumers Stay on the Major Networks?

Facebook and YouTube are the superstars of social. And they’re the top two platforms for video. But, like great hair or a cheeky smile, the top social channels all have special qualities.

Still, it’s a distracted world. Digital consumers can be juggling on average as many as eight social networks! The thing to remember here is that your audience hasn’t necessarily moved away from Facebook. Instead, the way they use Facebook has changed in recent years. Your consumers have likely added another network to their mobile home screen or they spend time where the visuals are more appealing such as on Instagram.

To find how your consumers have migrated – look to the demographics! Has there been a seismic shift in the user base of the channel? Facebook experienced an exodus with concerns over data privacy and sites like Google+ were canceled entirely for similar issues. Social media algorithms are constantly changing. These are all issues that reflect in the numbers as the network addresses user’s anxieties.

Why You Should Lend More Budget to Social Media in 2019

It’s no secret, social marketers are adding to their budgets. With everyone online all the time, digital marketing is the key. And marketers must grow to meet customer expectations.

But here’s the catch, more platforms are moving towards a pay-to-play model.  While organic engagement is still possible, it won’t be long before organic visibility is a thing of the past.

What are your goals for social? What does your brand need to achieve? Why are you on social media anyway?

Goals and objectives could be:

  • Making more sales
  • Growing brand loyalty
  • Increasing customer retention

Chances are you’ll need that bigger budget to compete with social advertising. But before you spend, identify your aims! Getting the most bang for your buck takes planning. Don’t forget to build on social successes by analyzing your past performance, constantly. Pay close attention to top performers based on engagement and the type of content that drives the most traffic with the lowest bounce rate.  These are indicators of content marketing winners!

Compare digital to traditional advertising when most of the world is online. Not surprisingly the move is toward bigger spends on social.

Increase Marketing Staff To Compete

Social media is an astonishing mass communication tool. But someone has to write the tweets, create the content, answer the comments. And then campaigns don’t run themselves.

Streamlining operations is the mantra of businesses everywhere. But where do your social marketing efforts go without more staff?

Create Video

It’s not the number of hands in the game. It’s what those hands are doing. Creating a video, responding to clients and visitors, and dishing up answers for customer questions may be tops. Is there more?

Automate Solutions With Chatbots

Yes! Start filling the gaps with automated solutions such as chatbots to provide customer service and software to help with the content creation process. Use what you have.

Start An Employee Advocacy Program

Do you have loyal employees? Encourage them to share company kudos on social media with tools such as Bambu by Sprout Social.  Need help setting up your employee advocacy program or gamifying your system, that’s part of what we do here at Blue! Get in touch with us on any of our social sites to talk more about how you can amplify results with employee interaction.

Turn your staff into brand ambassadors. Promoting the company softball game, or the Christmas charity drive with their network of friends and family shout authenticity to your social audience.

Get your social marketers working smarter, not harder.

Other Departments Where Social Marketers Can Make a Difference

Here’s the point. What kind of impact do you expect from your social efforts? Social engagement drives results across the board. One hand washes the other. For example, sharing website teasers (like blog posts) sends visitors to the website to read more.

Pique the curiosity of casual social visitors and they’ll visit the website for more information. Offering something for free – an ebook or report – might get you their email address. Another lead to add to your list!

Tailor your social interactions for specific results. Every department gains from a well-planned social strategy.

Important Features & Strategies for Social Marketers

Useful features change as social media evolves. What worked in 2016 could be useless in 2019. Likewise, strategies must adapt to the new landscape. Marketing plans for next year will guide your actions. Effective planning exposes where you’re failing or succeeding.Social marketers rely heavily on social analytics. A constant refrain from business owners is, “I’ve spent $$$s on this campaign, what’s my ROI?” Different social media analytics tools track specific data.

It’s crucial to know what posts are working for you and what posts are falling flat. With tools like Sprout Social, you can engage in social media listening, respond effectively, involve your team, record information about your users like a social CRM, track engagements, tag incoming and outgoing posts, and more!  If you’re looking for more comprehensive reporting in your social media analytics, we can help set that up for you!

Social Marketers’ Must-Have Tools

Social media management tools are the big guns in social marketers’ arsenals. A close second is social media analytics software. Social marketers know they need to measure their results.

The tools that count for social marketers are the tools that help them do their job.

In Summary…

Where does your audience spend their time? How do they consume content?  Social marketing is all about your brand. How it solves your audience’s problems. Are you spreading a consistent message that covers your client’s needs?

Delight and inspire your readers with content they can’t resist. Visual demonstrations create a potent impact.

Graphic content is dominating social media and the appeal of video is a solid bet. When social media works, nothing on the net can take its place.

Grow Your Business With Social Media Advertising

If you’re not utilizing social media advertising in 2019, your business is in for a rude awakening. With 37% of the world’s population (2.8 billion people!) using social media platforms, you cannot afford to ignore it any longer.

Google and Facebook have created a very successful business model for themselves by continually updating their search algorithms. Businesses are encouraged to invest more money in digital advertising with every update.

This year, it’s going to be pay-to-play, more than ever. Are your numbers still dropping? Why are you still not investing in social media advertising? Love it or hate it, in any industry you need Google and social media ads for active growth in 2019.

The Infamous Heavy Hitter, Facebook

Facebook alone has over 2.27 billion monthly active users, making it the universal platform for business advertising. It takes the guessing game out of marketing for you.

Want to know who your demographic is? Facebook’s analytics will tell you precisely by what age, geographic location, interests, and more about your followers. If you don’t already have a social following, you can bank on Facebook being a solid starting point.

With social media and Google ads, you get results on the first day of ad spend. The platforms will tell you with impressive accuracy how many of your targeted customers will see your ads. 

Ads on Facebook are some of the most affordable, with campaigns starting at just between $1.50 and $5.00. Larger investments see larger returns. Social media ads on Facebook allow you to tailor campaigns to drive traffic to your site, increase engagement, motivate shopping, and more.

Other A-Team Players in Social Media

Facebook has been controversial lately, and you can undoubtedly find successful results on other platforms. However, Facebook owns Instagram, which has over 1 billion active monthly users. This is a vast sweep of the market share.

Still not feeling it? LinkedIn and Twitter have your back!

LinkedIn is more powerful and relevant than ever, especially for B2B businesses. With over 250 million monthly active users, if you’re targeting other companies, you need to be using LinkedIn. Budgeting your ad spend on this platform is a brilliant choice for your business this year.

Who’s Your Target?

Twitter is another solid choice. With over 326 million monthly active users, it’s a diverse demographic that almost any business can find their clientele within. Let’s get general for a moment:

Are you targeting a younger audience? You should probably consider Instagram, which is heavy on visuals and popular with the hip youth of today.

Facebook is quickly going to the parents, grandparents, cousins, and aunts and uncles. The cool kids are “opting out” after the Cambridge Analytica scandal. Extra thanks to a series of outrageous privacy issues.

Is your ideal client a more mature professional? Twitter is still going strong with white collar users, which also includes aging hipster millennials. They are likely to be found on LinkedIn as well.

Social Media Success Story

It was between 2006 and 2007 that Facebook blew up, becoming a household name. Facebook has gained millions upon millions of users each year ever since. Other platforms also quickly gained steam during that period.

Social media is snowballing, and changes so frequently, that many business owners feel overwhelmed and inept with it. Digital marketers have come to the rescue. Just as lawyers regularly study the law to stay up-to-date, you will fall behind if an expert isn’t consistently honing your social media presence and advertising.

Just having a social media presence is vital. If your business gets a new lead, this prospective customer is going to cross-check you on social media, and if your pages come up empty, dated, or non-existent – they are gone.

Posting content regularly is a modern business survival tactic, but will not provide active growth. You’re going to have a hard time growing your business organically.

What’s Your Budget?

Consider a digital ad spend and make it substantial. Anything less than hundreds of dollars is going to bring minimal results. However, there are hacks and tricks up every digital marketer’s sleeve that can save you big on ad spend.

For example, you might budget out $600 a month for social media advertising and Google ads, and as you optimize those ads, your cost-per-click can come down significantly. You may only use half your budget for the same results.

Digital marketers are going to scream at me, but it’s not unheard of to just hit the “boost” button and apply $5 +/- to every post you make. 

You’re better off taking a targeted approach, but just $5 will make a difference. You will have much more engagement and reach. If you’re a start-up or a struggling business lacking a decent ad budget, then DIY and put that card in your pocket.

Search Engines, Google vs. YouTube

What about search engines? Google is becoming more saturated every day. It’s getting harder to climb the ranks without spending top dollar, especially for competitive markets and keywords.

You’ll have to bite the bullet at first and try a few different ad campaigns to see what brings the best ROI. However, YouTube is quickly becoming the next Google. People are searching YouTube daily for everything from an easy pancake recipe to jumping a stalled car.

Google is no longer the only source of instant information, and you’d be wise to get involved with YouTube. YouTube now has over 1.9 billion monthly active users. Google owns YouTube, and the advertising is just as calculated and useful as Google Ads, yielding good PPC averages.

Are you noticing a pattern? The biggest online platforms are monopolizing their markets. Like I mentioned earlier, it’s going to be pay-to-play in 2019. Facebook and Google are making sure of it.

If your website is an essential aspect for your business, and likely it is, then being found on search platforms is very important. However, if you’re more of a local and geographically based business, then social media is a better focus. Not to say that search ads or social media are more important than the other, they indeed go hand-in-hand.

The best approach for a business that wants active growth is to layer their digital advertising budget across Google, YouTube, and social media ads. You need to spend some time and money on digital marketing to keep your business relevant in 2019.