Does it feel like social media “best practices” are changing all the time?
That’s because they are.
Social media marketing tactics have been nothing less than a rollercoaster in recent years. As social media platforms have matured, so has our profession and competition. As new apps come and go every day, people shift between which platforms are the most engaging, user-friendly, and trustworthy.
It’s difficult for social media marketers to keep up with all of these shifts. So how can we know the best social media channels and best practices for distributing content when the platforms are in constant flux?
Below we’ll discuss why quitting outdated practices and embracing new opportunities will help your brand remain at the top of its game.
The Current State of Social Media
Social media is an essential marketing tool for every person, business, and brand. But with thousands of differing opinions, how are we supposed to know what to do? What does a good strategy look like?
Standing out nowadays requires a different set of skills and tools than just a couple of years ago.
To add to the high stakes, as 2020 approaches, a new generation of consumers is taking over the global marketplace. Poised to become the most influential generation ever, Gen Z’s direct spending is an estimated $143 billion, while 90% of them also influence their parents’ buying decisions.
When discussing the social media landscape earlier this year, our friend Mark Schaefer shared,
“Instead of recognizing social media as an opportunity to strengthen the customer connection, companies have inexorably squeezed the ‘social’ out of social media.” He continued, “Social media still provides an essential chance to connect to customers and serve them, but most companies are missing the opportunity due to an outdated focus on “me-centric posts,” random acts of content, and misguided attempts to manufacture engagement.”
In other words, stop thinking so much about distribution and self-promotion and start thinking about communication and connection.
Stop Focusing on Self-Promotion
Millennials and Gen Z have a low tolerance for brands that constantly self-promote. Review your last 10 posts on Facebook. What percent of them include a link to your product, landing page, or website?
If the answer is 100%, your social media marketing strategy is unfortunately outdated.
Gen Z and millennials want to feel that your brand cares about more than just making money. Today’s followers look for content that informs, entertains or supports a social cause.
Instead of constant promotions, update your content plan to include things like user-generated content or behind the scenes content.
Make It Meaningful
When was the last time you created a poll or asked your audience questions? They’re a fun way to connect with your community and keep things fresh.
Have you thought about sharing other people’s stories? Sharing stories about others never gets old and inspires meaningful conversations.
The point here is that there are many ways to engage your audience, and none of them need to include yelling into a virtual megaphone about how great your company is. Use social media as a way to connect, establish your brand voice, and showcase your company’s culture and values.
Respond to Feedback From Fans and Followers
Piggybacking on my previous point about trying to create positive interactions and connections with your audience, it’s never a good idea to ignore negative comments or reactions.
For some reason, major brands and companies used to think it was acceptable to pick and choose who to interact with. Not that it was ever a good idea, but now more than ever, this is definitely not the case.
Ignoring your audience’s feedback (let alone deleting negative interactions) is now considered arrogant at best and incompetent at worst. Customers expect top brands to provide prompt, courteous and useful customer service on all channels.
Meeting this expectation is not only a way to be on par with competing brands but an opportunity to stand out by going the extra mile and offering a top-notch customer experience.
Don’t Share The Same Posts On All Platforms
Beyond algorithms, each platform has its own rules and best practices. This shapes users’ expectations in terms of what type of content they want, and like, to see when they scroll.
Needless to say, publishing the exact same posts on all platforms is counter-productive.
Instead, top marketing teams should be customizing each post for each platform. For instance, shortening copy on Twitter, adding 30 hashtags on Instagram and adopting a more formal tone on LinkedIn. Once again, this has much more to do with meeting your audience’s expectations than anything else.
Numbers Still Matter
In the early days of social media when organic reach was high and competition was low, publishing a couple of updates per week and counting likes manually was probably enough to get a feel of what to post about next.
Now that content competes for eyeballs, there are more KPIs available than ever in your analytics dashboard, and amplifying organic posts with ads is becoming the norm, the task at hand is more complex and the stakes are simply higher.
Top performing marketing teams have feedback and reporting dashboards set up and know how to maximize both ROI and engagement in the long run.
What worked well in the world of social media marketing a few short years ago no longer works today. In 2019, your social media strategy should be based on transparency and building connections. Let your audience know who you are!
What are you doing to keep your social media strategy relevant? Let us know in the comments section below!
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