The Secret to Social Media

7th February 2018

From hashtags and Stories to fake news and memes, the social media world is an ever-changing and constantly challenging place, where marketers could be forgiven for feeling like it’s impossible to keep pace. But falling behind simply isn’t option; in today’s ‘always on’ environment, customers expect businesses to be a part of the conversation, fast to respond and available 24/7, so it’s vital that you’re ahead of the game!

When done right, social media channels can enable you to create and maintain strong relationships with your customers, so don’t let its fast-moving nature deter you. To get you started, we’ve gathered together just a few of the social media marketing trends we’re predicting for 2018, and some quick ideas on how you can use them to give you a competitive edge.

Those Facebook changes

The first hot topic on the social media scene in 2018? Facebook’s announcement that they would be changing their algorithms, so that posts from family and friends are given priority over viral videos and clickbait headlines from Pages – cue a flurry of panicked articles from social media marketers around the world. Many businesses that rely on the Facebook newsfeed to drive organic traffic are concerned that the algorithm changes will have a negative impact on their organisation. Don’t panic! If you adapt your strategy accordingly, you may find that you actually get more return on investment from Facebook.

Facebook’s official advice is to encourage your followers towards the ‘see first’ feature, which allows users to choose which Pages and friends they want to see content from. While this will help to ensure your content continues to appear in their feeds, it may be difficult to convince your followers to do this. The real trick is to make sure that your content is always relevant, timely and engaging to your audience. As the changes are intended to encourage ‘meaningful interactions between people’, content that resonates with your followers will attract the likes, shares and comments needed to ensure your posts are still reaching your audience. Read our guide to creating meaningful content before you get started.

It’s not what you know, it’s who you know…

Word of mouth and peer recommendation are some of the most effective forms of marketing, and social platforms offer the prime setting for both. But don’t worry – gone are the days when a successful influencer marketing campaign meant blowing your budget on a single Instagram post from a household-name celebrity. In fact, research has shown that ‘micro influencers’ – who have between 1,000 and 100,000 followers – have the maximum impact on social media. Developing a relationship with a micro-influencer will ensure that your brand reaches a sizeable audience, and they achieve an average 2.4% like rate on Instagram compared to a 1.7% like rate for users with over 1 million followers[1]. Add to this the fact that increasingly savvy – or perhaps cynical – social media users can sniff out a false celebrity endorsement at a thousand paces and it’s easy to see why an authentic and relevant micro-influencer is a better choice for your brand.

B2B organisations may find that the best way to utilise influencers is by asking them to contribute content to their site. Technical and academic experts have emerged as the most credible sources for the general public[2], closely followed by people like themselves. Could you develop a relationship with an industry influencer and ask them to write a blog for your site? This could add real credibility to your brand and have the added benefit of enabling you to reach the influencer’s network.

The future is here

Artificial intelligence (AI) may seem like a tool for the future, and its full potential is yet to be fully realised, but AI is already helping businesses to reach their customers. When it comes to the ‘social’ experience, AI is no replacement for human interaction, but if speed of response or scaling up customer service operations are an issue for your business, there may be a place for AI alongside your flesh and bones team!

Marketers are increasingly turning to AI to improve customer experience and make their jobs (slightly!) easier. By 2021, it’s predicted that over 50% of businesses will be spending more on bots and chatbots than mobile apps[3]. You can use chatbots to provide customer services that you might not have the resource to provide otherwise – bots can help customers to research or complete purchases and answer common questions, so your social media team can focus on developing customer relationships instead. (Look out for our AI blog, coming soon!)

Break the internet

Creating the right social media strategy can be tricky, especially for B2B businesses, who may feel that social platforms are geared towards B2C organisations. But don’t miss out on the huge opportunities that having a strong social presence could bring to your business!  If you have any questions about social strategy – whether it’s AI, influencer marketing or how many hashtags are too many - give us a call on 01564 742 848 or email hello@themarketingpod.co.uk.

Coming soon – Focus on LinkedIn and Twitter – the business social essentials

[1] https://www.forbes.com/sites/forbescoachescouncil/2017/09/29/using-micro-influencers-to-successfully-promote-your-brand
[2] https://qz.com/1185051/edelman-trust-barometer-2018-there-has-been-a-resurgence-of-expert-voices/
[3] https://www.informationweek.com/big-data/ai-machine-learning/b2b-chatbots-are-poised-for-explosive-growth/d/d-id/1330878