How do you market in a noisy world?
What is the future of social media content marketers?
What content are the consumers looking for from brands?
Interest in social media is undeniable. However, businesses are now going to struggle with the time, effort, and costs of participating and figuring out how to link it to leads or revenue. As these questions come up, tools that help measure the sales cycle will continue to grow in demand.
Social media experts need to expand into lead generation experts that understand a broader scope of the sales funnel.
Social media will change how we do business, marketing and sales with the continued improvement of socials ads and open graph searches like search.twitter.com.
Facebook will learn more about their users for ad targeting from big data. Social selling via native ads and open searches on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and LinkedIn will be the new trend as these platforms grow in 2015 and beyond. Customer service will move to social as it’s a cost effective way to:
- Handle questions
- Support issues
- And delight customers with high transparency
WHAT SHOULD MARKETER’S BE DOING?
Overall, brands should be focusing their efforts on personalizing messages toward community members, especially when it comes to interactions. Finding ways to add humor with GIFs as a response, or creating an image that speaks to an individual are great examples that we’re starting to see take prominence.
Anytime a brand takes that extra step to create content on a more personal level, it will always leave a lasting impression with the recipient – user sentiment can only go up as a result.
Organizations will start using social media to better engage their own employees as ambassadors. There is a hugh potential for brands. The fear for most brands is losing control.
The brand Zappos has for years allowed 1000+ employees to have Twitter accounts. These brand ambassadors amplify the brand through tweeting and engagement.
For years, the marketing department has focused on developing relationships with outside ambassadors to organically spread their message but a large base of brand advocates – a company’s own employees – has remained largely untapped.
I see social media as the perfect medium to activate those ambassadors and easily spread a brand’s message.
PAY TO PLAY
Once upon a time, I fell in love with the fantasy that social media was free like everybody else, until I realized that it wasn’t.
The thing about advertising that I want to very heavily emphasize is that success in social media in 2015 and beyond will weigh heavily on brand’s being able to develop shareable content and disseminate it quickly.
- Brands will also need to control the velocity at which content spreads and stays alive in the social space.
- This is why advertising is so critical.
- It gives brands the ability to toss out several pieces of content, advertise them, see which ones perform the best and then fire on all cylinders with a larger ad spend to keep things moving.
The new Facebook forces marketers to look closer at the quality, relevance, and strategic benefit of their social content, instead of throwing all kinds of rubbish on the page because it’s supposedly free.
As you consistently pump out content in 2015 that increases in engagement, your following will grow organically and because your content is being engaged with more heavily, it will have a higher organic reach.
POST BETTER CONTENT
For the past few years Facebook has intentionally dropped the organic reach of business pages.
From a business’s perspective it feels like Facebook is screwing the companies and individuals who have spent thousands of dollars building their followings only to have Facebook diminish their reach. Some businesses even think this is Facebook’s way of forcing businesses to use their Boosted Post feature. There’s some truth to that.
Business migration away from Facebook. The drop in organic reach has been apocalyptic for many businesses. Why? There’s too much content on Facebook and the company is forced to ratchet down the reach. We’ll have to either spend a lot more money on Hollywood-quality content, a lot more money on advertising or both. This will force some businesses to reconsider Facebook as a viable channel and enable a migration to less noisy venues.
However, most businesses post boring, ad-blatant content on their pages. This results in low engagement. Facebook has chosen to severely limit the reach of this type of low quality content. That being said, post better content especially native video.
VIDEO BECOMES THE CONTENT OF CHOICE
In 2015 and beyond, video will dominate as the social media content format of choice. Further, regular video segments, like podcasts and blog posts, will come into their own as a form of content that drives social engagement and other marketing goals.
Let’s look closer. In August 2014, Facebook surpassed YouTube in the number of video views via desktop according to comScore. It’s important to note that YouTube still has more views across all devices.
INFORMATION OVERFLOW CREATES HURDLES
Nearly every idea and innovation in our marketing world today is being forged by this: Fighting through information overflow.
By 2020, the amount of information on the web is expected to increase by 600% (and some believe that number is low!). The challenge of cutting through the content shock and earning a share of the limited customer attention span is the marketing challenge for the foreseeable future.
SLIDESHARE THE B2B TOOL
SlideShare launched on October 4, 2006, the website is considered to be similar to YouTube, but for slideshows. It was purchased by LinkedIn back in 2012.
- Page views
- SEO juice
- Long-lasting evergreen content
In 2014, SlideShare added video capabilities for LinkedIn influencers. In 2015, SlideShare extended video to their entire audience. Watch for SlideShare video to become YouTube for business.
YouTube Declines as Social Networks Embrace Hosted Video
Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn will show preferential treatment to video content that is hosted on their own platform. This means that marketers will be uploading original video content to each social network (and not just short videos).
TOP 4 MARKETING TOOLS
According to the recently released Social Media Examiner Study, Social Media Marketers plan to increase their use of:
- Visuals (73%)
- Videos (72%)
- Blogging (69%)
- Podcasting (26%)
Here is a breakdown by form of content:
The use of visuals is a key part of most marketers’ plans in 2015, with 73% planning on increasing their use of visual images.
Video is a large area of focus for marketers. Nearly 3 in 4 plan on increasing their use of videos.
The written word is still important for marketers. A significant 69% of marketers plan on increasing their use of blogs.
Only 26% of marketers plan on increasing their use of podcasting and a significant 60% have no plans to get involved in podcasting.
CONVERSIONS, ENGAGEMENT AND DEMOGRAPHICS
Brands will turn their attention to this three legged stool.
Conversions are the closest tie-in to tangible social media ROI outside of vanity metrics such as Likes and followers, and it’s important to ensure that your followers are ultimately converting on your company’s website.
Tracking conversions puts a hard number on any leads or transactions that take place via social media and helps provide context about social media’s worth. It also goes a long way with the boss.
As for engagement, Think of it as a priority metric – it needs attention.
- “If you’ve got nothing nice to say, don’t say anything at all” is a phrase that rings true within social media circles, and engagement is one of the main components that help define social media.
- Are you broadcasting more than you should be?
Keeping an eye on engagement can help identify whether you’re talking to yourself or actually having real conversations.
And last on the list is user demographics.
- Focusing on this metric will tell you a lot about your customer base and followers, but it will also provide insight into any new and potential customers.
Noticing a spike in engagement from a small town in Tennessee? You might have a new business opportunity there. If you want to continue to grow your business, this is a great metric to watch!
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- Facebook Ads – How to create, implement & boost sales – Sept. 10th AM
- Visual Content for Business – How to create & use visuals – Sept.10th PM
- Social Media Marketing for Realtors – Gain more listings & sales – Sept. 17th AM
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- Twitter for Business – The fastest way to spread your brand content – Oct. 29th AM
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- Blogging – Generate leads & get new customers – Nov. 5th PM
Blair Evan Ball is a Social Media Coach and founder of Prepare1, a company that works with businesses, individuals and non-profits. He is a former executive with a Fortune 50 company, and his national division did $1Billion+ in sales annually.
Blair has written three e-books: Facebook for Business Made Easy, Facebook Pages for Business Made Easy, and WordPress Blog Setup Made Easy.
Blair also educates, trains entrepreneurs and business professionals how to amplify their brand, increase revenues, and raise more funds.
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