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Internet marketing is always changing. The share of traffic, effectiveness of campaigns, and amount of user engagement all change with the tides of the market and algorithm updates.
There have been a few pieces of bad news for social media marketers during 2017. From Facebook’s algorithm change that devalues businesses to the Buzzsumo report that Facebook engagement for brands dropped by 20 percent in 2017, things are looking precarious for social media business prospects in 2018.
Don’t panic! There is always a way to adapt. SEO professionals know it, social media professionals know it — a change to an algorithm is the herald of change, not doom. This changing environment provides businesses with new opportunities.
Social media marketing can still boost your bottom line, but generating sales looks a little different in 2018.
Changes Prioritize Influencers
Facebook remains one of the largest sources of traffic for businesses, which is the reason its algorithm changes are so worrying.
Understanding what they’re trying to do, however, makes the story less concerning. Facebook is trying to prioritize the kind of content people like seeing. Yes, that means updates from friends and family over business pages, but it also means influencers, and it also means good content.
None of these updates make social media marketing campaign data useless, but data may have to be used in different ways to make the most of social media going forward. It’s important to focus on active information about your audience, rather than passive personal details. Active information means who people follow, and why they interact with content. If you’re just focusing on basic demographics like age, gender, marital status, and hobbies, it’s time to up your game.
Brand ambassadors are going to become more important than ever. Companies like Facebook want to focus on providing content through their service that people most want to see, so you need to develop content that people want to see and then pitch it directly to influencers.
It might be time to take some money out of automatic campaigns and put it into promotional agreements with influencers.
Brands That Converse Still Do Well
More than ever, conversing equals converting. Look at the success of brands that put effort into interacting with their audiences, from the spicy style of Wendy’s to the amusing photo updates from Taco Bell. Brands that embrace and understand social media culture enjoy advantages on those platforms.
The shift to prioritizing content that users truly care about makes things a lot tougher on the organic reach of your business pages, so it’s becoming much more vital to reach out to the audience. The University of Southern California notes that millennials demand a greater feeling of collaboration and customization from businesses that they work with. Advertising is a two-way conversation, rather than a presentation. The public image and customer service of a brand is absolutely inseparable from their advertising efforts.
Outreach is becoming the key to recognition on social media. It’s not just about responding to concerns and issues, people want to see businesses actively getting ahead of issues with their products and fostering positive experiences with their followers during everyday interactions.
Remember The Golden Social Media Rules
Strategies are always changing, but remember what social media is about at its core: people use it to communicate, yes, but also to cultivate and customize their entertainment, news, and social experiences. Your social media campaigns should follow a set of best practices that prioritize content which is easy to access, appealing and interesting to the audience, and which incentivizes sharing first and buying later.
Just like with a conversation, you have to give something to get something. If you want your brand put on people’s screens in 2018, you need to give people something to talk about, something to share. These efforts are vital elements of a marketing strategy and should occur alongside targeted landing page campaigns and metrics-oriented experiments.
Guest Post: Ben Steele writes stuff: anecdotes, motivation, real talk about the freelance life and marketing