How to Ace Social Media Marketing with Limited Resources

15 Oct

Social media today drives the life of the internet savvy. Naturally, it is the preferred channel for businesses to reach out to consumers, generate brand buzz, and achieve business goals. Businesses big or small, all have social profiles and are working towards making their presence felt on social mediaHere are some tips on how to crush social media marketing while optimizing limited resources.

Social Media marketing becomes more difficult if you are on a shoestring budget. But if you are thinking about it – you are on the right track. Let’s find out how you can optimize and effectively utilize your limited resources for an effective social media marketing strategy.

Survey Before You Start

You have to be economical, which means you cannot splurge to experiment widely and see what works. So, start small. Conduct a simple survey to understand who your potential customers are, where they are spending most of their time, and what kind of content they like to engage with.

You cannot target everyone, but narrowing down your options will help you use your resources more concretely and effectively.

To get the most out of the process, follow the process outlined below:

Identify the right audience: Use surveys and gather feedback to understand what your customers want, which target audience is most likely to find value in your business, and what their preferences are.

Determine the right content: Audience analysis helps you determine the type of content your target audience would prefer consuming. Would they prefer quizzes? How about story form content? Which contest are they more likely to enjoy: the one that gives them free passes to a book launch or the one with a discount coupon on their favorite sports gear? Pick the content that fits your brand persona. For example, does your product need demonstrations? Video content might be the answer for you.

Ascertain the right social channels: Once you have identified whom you are targeting, you can figure out which social channels they use the most. If you are in the travel industry, Instagram and Facebook may be the best channels for getting engagement. You need not spread your eggs across all baskets, a strong presence and a focused approach on a couple of channels will be more effective.

  • An ideal channel would be:
  • Aligned with your business
  • The preferred channel for your audience
  • Well suited to your content

Set Your Social Media Goals

It is essential to have realistic expectations from your social media campaigns. You should have clear, attainable and measurable goals like:

  • Creating brand awareness
  • Lead generation
  • Boosting engagement
  • Customer service

If you have identified your goals, you would be able to align your business decisions with them. Remember, social media is most apt for creating brand awareness and establishing brand relevance.

Plan Your Strategy

Once you have set your goals, you should devise a strategy to achieve it. You could be on a low budget, have a small team, have basic tools at your disposal, and little experience. But if you are creative and systematic, things will fall into place.

  • Create customer profiles based on your surveys.
  • Create your brand persona by creating a brand personality by crafting your voice and tone.
  • Devise a posting strategy to determine the number of posts per day, the type of posts, time of updates, etc. Of course, it won’t be fixed, but there should be a pattern which your audience can identify with.
  • Relevant Value Proposition: Tell your prospects what’s in it for them. It makes you stand out from the competition if the customer feels you are offering some value to her.
  • Analyze Content Performance: Test what content performs the best, and the one that is lagging. Is it the content or the content format that is making the difference? Is the audience moving towards videos rather than blog posts? Do they prefer educational content over a story form? Measure and tweak your content strategy accordingly.
  • Use Videos: Marketers swear by videos as they are more appealing, grab attention, are easier to recall, and communicate more information in less time. Include videos for demos, tutorials, how-tos, customer experiences, etc.
  • Go Interactive: Interactive content is more engaging and informative for customers and helps you capture more data and relevant data.

Hire a Good Resource

If you can possibly make room to invest in professional help, do so. This will speed up the process, and you may end up saving resources.

  • Hire agencies that have proven experience, and that can give you a head-start. There are many small but creative agencies, which will not charge the earth but will help catapult your social presence, hence delivering ROI. However, stay clear from those who promise big numbers in a short time.
  • Influencers are a great way to reach out to your target audience. You need not chase big names. Try teaming up with local influencers. They may fit your budget and have a niche following which is well suited for your targeted strategy.

Use Social Media Marketing Tools

There are plenty of content creation and social media marketing tools that are free and easy to use. These tools can help you design, curate content, automate, track and analyze performance.

Social media marketing cannot be ignored as traditional channels are losing their steam. Whether you are a big brand or a small but nimble upstart, you need to leverage social media to reach out to your target audience. Allocating time, budgets, and teams becomes tricky for businesses with limited resources, but if you have clear goals and a focused approach you can establish an effective social media presence that will keep giving you dividends.

4 Major Ways in Which Big Data is Impacting Social Media Marketing

8 Oct

With the advent and increased use of the internet, social media has become an integral part of people’s daily routine. Social media is not only used to connect with others, but it has become an effective platform for businesses to reach their target audience. With the emergence of big data, social media marketing has reached an altogether new level. It is estimated that by 2020 the accumulated volume of big data will reach 44 trillion gigabytes. With such an enormous amount of data available, marketers are able to utilize it to get actionable insights for framing efficient social media marketing strategies.

All the status updates, photos and videos posted by users on their social network contain useful information about their demographics, likes, dislikes, etc. Businesses are utilizing this information in numerous ways, managing and analyzing it to get a competitive edge. Big data is used by marketers to plan for future social media campaigns by learning everything they need to know about their potential customers and approaching them. This post will throw light on the application of big data on social media marketing, examining its current as well as future impact.

Personalization

Big data enables personalization allowing brands to approach their customers in a more personalized way based on their choices and likes. It gives in-depth insights and a holistic understanding of the audience, which aids businesses in creating tailored communication for them to enhance retention and elevate their trust.

With big data, it will become easier for brands to display only those advertisements which interest consumers, turning ads into a non-obtrusive experience. Advertisements will be targeted based on users’ social media posts, what they watch and share, etc. With personalized ads, it will be possible for marketers to strengthen their relationships with social media users and convert them into customers after identifying the most effective platform, time and format for their ads.

Decision making

Big data allows marketers to identify social media trends and gain insights, which can be used to make engagement decisions like which users to communicate with, which group of users should receive marketing emails., etc. It also makes it easier to keep track of the demographics to decide which social media platform to target.

Businesses can easily understand the sentiments of the market through big data, enabling them to build winning strategies. Instead of relying solely on past performance to ascertain what improvements are required, big data aids in making informed decisions to better meet the future needs and expectations of consumers.

Effectiveness of campaign

Big data is useful in tracking the performance of social media campaigns and finding out the gradual changes in ROI. It also allows marketers to test their campaigns before launching it, analyze the results, make changes in the campaign as required, and retest it. Predictive analytical tools enable businesses to take decision regarding when to pause the campaign to avoid losses.

By deriving actionable insights from big data, businesses get an idea about the peak timings of customers, their preferences, behavior, etc., leading to increased effectiveness of the social media campaign. Marketers can get important information about the process their clients took right from the first stage of the buying cycle to post-purchase interaction, making them fine tune the campaign at every stage of the cycle.

Product Insights

Social media marketers can effectively use big data to judge future buying patterns and trends. Big data increases the certainty regarding what consumers want, when they want it, and how they want it. This gives businesses insights into what their new products should be like.

Businesses can utilize big data to analyze the choices of people, their complaints, what products are missing, faults in the products, etc. This will enable them to make changes in the current product and come out with new innovative products.

Conclusion

There is a continuous increase in the number of people interacting with brands on social media platforms. This makes it essential for you to be data savvy to remain competitive and stay relevant in the social media landscape. Seeing the massive amount of data produced by these platforms, it becomes crucial that you make use of big data in your social media marketing campaigns.

Big data will allow you to analyze the behavior of buyers and target an exact group of people. By giving you in-depth insights, it will assist you in fine-tuning your social media messages and choosing the right platform to communicate them to buyers. The more information you get about consumers, the better you will be able to target them through your social media campaigns.

Search Social Media Marketing: Looking Beyond Reach

1 Oct

Marketers have long focused on the reach of their social media messages as a key measurement. After all, if your post, tweet, video or image is being shared, reach represents how big an audience that asset is potentially making an impression on.  But marketers are realizing that reach, while valuable at the start of a campaign, is not enough to determine success and provides few meaningful insights into long-term customer engagement.

However, by monitoring two areas — message consistency over time and audience sentiment in response to the message — marketers can take better control of the impact of their social media presence.

Social Buzz, All For a ‘B’

The recent IHOP burger campaign is an example of how consistency and sentiment can be applied to create buzz. The restaurant chain teased its Twitter and Facebook followers with a faux name change to “iHOB” in an effort to build support for its new burger line. The company carried the name change ruse going by changing the letter “p” with the letter “b” in select social media posts.

Consumer reaction on social media, particularly Twitter, varied from disbelief to encouragement to interest in the new burger line. Moreover competitors, such as Wendy’s and Burger King, jumped in with their own responses.

Message Consistency

The IHOP campaign succeeded in part because it stayed consistent with its message. The effort generated positive sentiment around its brand, even at the risk of disappointment or other negative reactions from long-time customers.

Measuring Sentiment Analysis

The rise of social media brought with it a newfound interest in sentiment analysis.  Up until now marketers could keep track of a hashtag to describe the sentiment of a potential message. They would do this by maintaining a dedicated channel in Hootsuite or Tweetdeck. But this relied on people using a hashtag reach does not capture audience reaction to a message.

The latest analytic solutions have some analysis complexity in gathering the data. However, they are bringing marketers closer to understanding the reaction to a message.  Sentiment analysis, for example, can be applied to the words of a social media posts through R Programming, all while minimizing statistical biases.  This is done by taking the words from a tweet, stripping out the punctuation and specialty terms (like a URL) and then comparing the words against a lexicon.  Being able to estimate an audience feeling from the words can help marketers see how their messages are bringing an emotional impact.  I demonstrated a sentiment analysis at the O’reilly OSCON conference this summer, showing that the reaction was indeed positive despite some negative and competitor commentary to the campaign.

Sentiment analysis is a signpost for marketers to use methodologies that go beyond reach to understand engaged audiences.   Noting how far a message was reposted indicates volume, but it does not cover if people really appreciated the message.

Which Resource is Best for Your Social Media Marketing?

24 Sep

Social media is a critical element of most businesses’ marketing strategies nowadays. In 2018, 77% of the U.S. population has at least one social media profile. It’s predicted that the average person nowadays will spend 5 years and 4 months on social media over the course of their lifetime.

While these statistics might be alarming for social media’s critics, it’s undeniable that people are spending a lot of time on social media. Your business needs to have a social media strategy and needs to know how to execute it well.

Often, though, social media marketing can be too complex or overwhelming to tackle on your own. What outside resources are small businesses using to maximize their social media marketing?

Social Media Management Software Offers Simplicity and Collaboration

A recent survey found social media management software to be the most popular outside resource that business use for their social media marketing – 43% of businesses report using it.

Software solutions include names like Buffer, Hootsuite, and Sprout Social. These tools offer a variety of capabilities depending on the brand.

Before you purchase a social media marketing software, you must first understand your ultimate marketing goals. What do you want the tool to primarily do?

  • Do you want to monitor conversations about your brand? A tool focusing on social media listening might be your best choice.
  • Do you want to understand how your audience reacts, grows, and changes? A tool focusing on social media analytics is potentially the most helpful.
  • Do you simply want to schedule out posts? A cheap tool that mainly provides social media scheduling capabilities might be all you need.

Once you understand your ultimate goals, how do you research the best tools? The largest percentage of businesses (24%) say they are primarily influenced by referrals when searching for social media marketing software. A lesser number are influenced by Google searches (21%) and marketing content (17%).

Referrals offer a level of comfort during the research process. A fellow business can offer more details about exactly how the tool worked for them and whether it will help your specific marketing goals.

When it comes to making the final purchasing decision, though, the tools’ more concrete details are top of mind. Digital marketers primarily consider features (40%), costs (32%), and free trials (27%) when making social media software purchasing decisions.

Social Media Agencies Offer In-Depth Expertise

The second most popular outside resource is social media marketing agencies, at 28%.

If your business is attempting larger social media marketing goals, such as a rebranding or a huge campaign, hiring an agency might be a wise choice.

When searching for an agency, businesses primarily consider referrals (43%) far beyond any other factor. This makes sense, given the intensity of business-agency partnerships.

When you hire a social media marketing agency, you are trusting them with very public platforms – for many customers, social media is where they first encounter your products or services.

By collecting a shortlist of agencies via referrals, you can gather information on other businesses’ experiences, which can often give you far more valuable insight than marketing content or other third-party information.

Once a business is making a hiring decision, its focus shifts primarily to costs (40%), followed by referrals (37%) and culture fit (31%).

This data further signifies the importance of personal comfort when it comes to hiring a social media marketing agency.

Don’t Be Afraid to Seek Outside Help

While social media is a constant presence in digital marketing, that doesn’t mean it’s an easy task.

Whether it’s software or an agency, outside resources can significantly benefit your business and are often worth the cost.

 

15 Tactics for Successful B2B Social Media Marketing

17 Sep

For 20% of B2B marketers, social media is one of the top three sources for qualified leads, according to the Chief Marketer B2B Lead Gen Outlook report.

The role of social media in demand generation has evolved to encompass targeted lead generation, influencer outreach, lead nurturing, social listening and research. B2B marketers who want to successfully build an engaged following on social media must master new skills as well as embrace the uniqueness of social media marketing.

When it comes to social media success, it’s important to remember the first part of the phrase “social media.” It’s social. B2B marketers must approach their strategy with relationships in mind. It’s a matter of give-and-take, not a one-way broadcast.

15 B2B Social Media Marketing Tactics

One of the common themes you will see in the tactics listed below is that successful social media marketing takes manual labor. If you think there’s a possibility of automating your blog posts to go out at the optimal time of day with some trendy hashtags and expecting magic to happen, think again. You have to make a regular investment out of your schedule.

1. Budget your time

Regardless of whether you’re in a full-time social media or content marketing role, it’s important to budget your time for social media. Every B2B marketer needs a mastery of social media for personal branding, relationships and influencer outreach. Devote a block your calendar to ensure your time spent on social is productive.

2. Consider a boost

Allocate demand generation budget to amplify the reach of posts. Paid post promotion with targeting parameters increases viewers, allowing B2B marketing organizations to engage with qualified leads and promote content resources. Boosting posts on social media can offer many marketing benefits, including:

  • Increasing your exposure and engagement
  • Growing your following
  • Building a list to remarket to site visitors

3. Splinter your content

B2B decision-makers are sometimes overwhelmed by the amount of digital content on social media. Avoid getting lost in the crowd by splintering your content. In other words, break off salient information into more bite-sized chunks, rather than asking the reader to consume an entire 2,000 post to get anything out of it.

Pull out quotes, stats or graphics when you share links to content resources on social media. Don’t forget to splinter content from your organization’s main website pages, not just your blog and other content resources.

4. Create educational, entertaining content

High-quality education that entertains and engages is among the most effective B2B marketing strategies for social media in 2018.

While e-Courses aren’t a necessity or the right fit for every organization, brands should take inspiration from B2B organizations who produce high-quality, educational content.

5. Make your content actionable

Your social media strategy and content should focus on offering prescriptive guidance to audience members. Not only will this deliver value, but it can also position your brand and employees as thought leaders.

6. Be real

86% of modern consumers say authenticity is essential in deciding which brands to support. However, just 57% believe brands succeed at creating authentic content.

Being authentic can build trust in a B2B audience. Write in your own voice, but stand behind your brand, product and company values. Listen to others and engage consistently. Focus on your audience above self-promotion to develop a real, likable presence.

7. Be genuinely helpful

The focus of B2B social media marketing should be to solve your audience’s pain points and problems. Your content should be relevant and provide value in formats that are easy-to-consume.

8. Stay on the platform

Post your content on the social media platform itself, as opposed to posting links to other sites or platforms. Each social media post should provide stand-alone value without an audience member needing to click-through to your company website. Social media platforms gear news feed algorithms toward native content, so this is an important factor in maximizing the reach of your posts.

9. Share others’ content

Sharing content authored by industry influencers is a powerful way to provide high-quality, curated resources to your audience. Scratch the back of an influencer and make sure they know you shared it.

10. Converse

Every day, subject matter experts and prospective customers are having conversations about your industry or product category. To join these conversations, B2B marketers need to know where to find them and actively listen:

  • Use keywords for social listening
  • Develop a list of influencers to follow
  • Join industry-relevant groups

To maximize your conversations, adopt the right technologies for social listening and emulate the culture of the groups and social media network you’re engaging on.

11. Show appreciation

When influencers and other brands share your content, it’s important to be appreciative. Say “thank you,” and when possible, reciprocate with shares.

12. Plan it out

Using an editorial calendar to plan content marketing and social media efforts can offer a host of benefits to B2B marketing organizations. The advantages of using a social media calendar for planning include:

  • A roadmap to consistent, varied posting
  • A big picture view to map posts to campaign themes and strategy
  • The ability to pivot and refine strategy based on campaign results
  • The opportunity to align social media messaging with multi-channel marketing campaigns

In addition to these high-level benefits, an editorial calendar can enable B2B marketing organizations to link improvements in social media marketing metrics to specific posting actions.

13. Use your camera

Visual content, including videos and imagery, can be highly engaging formats for social media posts. Plan to shoot video and take pictures at brand or industry events. Providing a behind-the-scenes peek of employees at work or engaged in office outings to your audience can humanize your brand.

14. Leave recommendations

When you’re blocking time each week for social media marketing, allot an hour for writing sincere recommendations for colleagues, peers and customers on LinkedIn. While individuals who receive a recommendation may reciprocate, this is a strong way to build and maintain existing professional relationships in a way that reflects well on your brand.

15. Get the team on board

Turning employees into content advocates can benefit both the organization’s and employee’s (personal) brands.

Some platforms give you the ability to share posts automatically on everyone on your team’s accounts. While this can conveniently expand content exposure and reach, make sure to balance automated posting with manual team member posts.

Succeeding at B2B Social Media Marketing

There’s more to successful B2B social media marketing than social selling or growing a following. One often overlooked component of effective B2B social media marketing is building authentic relationships. By creating a human, helpful presence, B2B organizations can use social media to connect with customers, prospects and influencers.

What is your company’s social media marketing strategy?

10 Sep

According to the Pew Research Center’s 2017 Social Media Fact Sheet, social media usage among American adults has grown 69 percent since 2005. For the most popular sites, most users are visiting those sites at least once a day. That makes social media a necessity if you want your business to get noticed.

Leveraging social media marketing can increase your customer base significantly, but it can be a challenge to start a social media campaign without any insight or experience. Almost all entrepreneurs currently participate in social media but are unaware of its full potential.

Setting goals, planning and executing campaigns, keeping your messaging on brand, and using metrics (data) to measure the impact of your efforts are all key components of a winning social media marketing strategy.

Planning and goal setting

Before you create your first social media marketing campaign, set business goals and devise a plan to achieve them. If you do not already have set goals for your business, it is essential for you to create them.

Consider what you are trying to achieve when marketing on social media sites, who your target audience is, where they spend their time, and how they are using social media. Additionally, determine what message you want to get across to your target audience.

You can use social media marketing to achieve key business goals, including:

  • Boosting website traffic.
  • Creating engagement and communication opportunities with key audiences.
  • Converting site visitors.
  • Establishing a positive brand identity and association.
  • Building brand recognition.

You can only measure your social media ROI once you have established your goals.

Other helpful tips

Some other tips that will be helpful in building a foundation that will serve your brand, customers, and bottom line include:

  1. Provide quality. You can benefit more from having 100 followers who consistently read, talk about and share your content than 1,000 who disengage after your initial contact.
  2. Have patience. Success in social media marketing takes consistency and time. Although it is possible to make some quick sales or form business partnerships on your first attempt, it is far better to be patient and remain focused on your long-term strategy.
  3. Hang with influencers. Find out who the online influencers are in your industry and hang out with them virtually. Respond to their tweets and Facebook posts, and eventually, they might do the same for you. These are the people with quality audiences who may take an interest in what you are offering. Make a connection with these people and begin building relationships with them.
  4. Provide value. If you are using social media exclusively for promoting your products or business opportunity, people will begin to ignore you. You have to add value to the mix. Keep your focus more on creating valuable content and less on conversions.

Available platforms

Facebook

Create a business Facebook page. By adding a business page, you can further your conversations with your audience by posting images, articles, and videos that are industry related. You should also pay careful attention to the layout when using Facebook since the visual component is an integral part of the overall Facebook experience.

Twitter

Twitter lets you broadcast tweets in 280 characters or less. You can begin by following other tweeters that are in your related industry, which will hopefully garner you followers in return. When tweeting, it is best to mix messages up a bit between official-related tweets (discounts, specials, etc.), news tweets and value tweets. Throw in a little bit of fun and humorous tweets as well. If a customer says something nice about you, be sure to retweet it and always answer any questions that people ask you.

Instagram

Instagram is one of the most potent social media platforms for visual content. Almost all of it is content consists of photos and video posts. Now with more than 700 million active users, it has become a destination site for those that like to post about food, fashion, travel, the arts and other visually-focused subjects. The other exciting aspect of Instagram is that its post all must originate from a mobile device.

Snapchat

Snapchat is another mobile-only platform that currently has 150 million-plus app users. Snapchat content is temporary, disappearing from a user’s feed after 24 hours. Snapchat is useful for visual story-driven material and has a strong reach to millennial audiences.

YouTube

If your business lends itself to product demonstrations or service explanations, take advantage of the popularity of video. YouTube is a fabulous platform for many types of companies to embrace and prosper with as a promotional vehicle.

Pinterest

Would your business benefit from posting and sharing images? Hair salons, web designers, jewelry stores, restaurants, event planners, and many others find that Pinterest helps them attract and engage with existing and prospective customers.

LinkedIn

While many businesses can benefit from LinkedIn, it is especially beneficial for B2B marketing. It is an excellent platform for small businesses to reach out to other organizations that may be seeking their services. It is also an excellent tool for recruiting employees.

A successful social media marketing strategy can do much more than increase your website traffic and sales. It will allow you to better understand and learn from your target audience, and when done well, social marketing can lead to increased traffic, better conversions, and more customers.

Social media marketing is evolving, here’s how to keep up

3 Sep

Gone are the days when social media marketing was all about increasing your followers. An early sign of success was seeing your followers grow from one day to another. Nowadays, social media marketing has left behind the ages of innocence to go through a more mature phase. This should not be a bad change, but we still need to keep up with the shift.

As buzzwords change, how can marketers adapt to the changing world of social media?

How social media is changing

There are many reasons that the social media landscape is changing and all of them can affect your marketing strategy in one way or another.

Increased connectivity and mobile consumption

We are all more connected than ever and we’re using our smartphones at a growing rate. As of July 2018, there have been more than 4.1 billion active internet users and 3.3 billion social media users.

As more people use their smartphones to access social media, marketers need to adjust their strategies to make their campaigns more appealing and less intrusive. The era of constant connectivity has made people more demanding, and omnipresent brand messaging makes it harder for a business to stand out.

Social media users may be increasing, but marketers also need to be more creative to reach their target audience. Content consumption is growing but our online habits are also changing. That’s how we’ve reached the era of maturity on social media with both users and brands seeking an improved social experience.

Growing privacy concerns and the need to build trust

It has been a turbulent year for social media and many social media users have started being concerned about their privacy. Facebook’s Cambridge Analytica scandal and the rise of fake news has made more people cautious about their use of social media.

24% of US teens feel that social media has mostly a negative effect on people their age. They list bullying, rumor spreading, and harmful relationships as their main concerns.

Social platforms seem to be aware of these concerns and they’re trying to address them to ensure that they are not missing their already engaged younger demographics.

Similarly, marketers should be able to understand their audience’s concerns to avoid using black hat techniques that can mislead users. The most successful brands will be the ones that manage to maintain the consumers’ trust—and this will be more important than ever over the next years.

The changing algorithms that affect the social media game

Facebook loves changing their algorithm, and it’s not the only social network giving their platform a regular update. Although we cannot do anything about these changes, we still need to keep up with them if we want to maintain a successful social marketing strategy.

For example, Facebook’s latest algorithm update encourages marketers to create more engaging content if they want to stay relevant. Organic reach continues to drop. Clickbait techniques are no longer welcome. The demand for video and live streaming continues to grow. Increasingly, the best way to reach your audience is to post content that is genuinely engaging. These are the changes that marketers need to be aware of when revisiting their social strategy to ensure that they stay successful over the next year.

Facebook seems to be the most popular platform for marketers, but Instagram is rapidly gaining ground both from marketers and actual users. Instagram has also updated its algorithm this year to focus on non-chronological feed display. This has been a big change for marketers as it requires them to create more appealing and engaging content to make sure they show up in their followers’ feeds. The more their followers engage with the brand, the higher their chances to maintain visibility on their feeds.

5 ways marketers get more serious with social media marketing

More marketers realize that social media is changing and this makes them evaluate their social strategies. Social media is now turning into a business tool and there are different areas that marketers embrace on a more serious focus while seeking success:

Talking about real ROI

It’s great that we can start talking about real ROI and conversions coming from social media. Awareness and engagement are vital but we’ve reached a level of maturity in social media that we can explore actual return on investment.

ROI has been a common challenge until now, but the rise of attribution and the evolution of marketing technology allow us to have a clearer picture of which social networks help us meet our goals.

In other words, ROI is not just a buzzword anymore—but it’s up to us to set the right goals for our business plan.

Focusing on the right platforms

As we focus more on ROI we also realize that there’s no need to be present in every single social network. It’s better to spend our energy and our budget in the most relevant social platforms for our target audience as we’re able to narrow down our focus and our messaging.

Thus, more marketers spend time on fewer yet more relevant social platforms. The choice depends on the company’s goals, their industry, and their audience’s online habits. Why should your B2B company join Instagram if you’re targeting 50+ business professionals?

In fact, Snapchat has probably lost the biggest audience in 2018, since both marketers and users moved to other platforms. It was estimated that only 8% of marketers used Snapchat as part of their strategy in Q1 2018.

Blending organic and paid social

We’ve finally come to terms with the fact that organic and paid social need to come together. We may have gone through a denial phase measuring the ongoing drop of the organic traffic on Facebook, but it’s time to embrace the change.

Paid social has gained an even more significant role over the last year, and it is imperative for a complete social media marketing strategy to involve both organic and paid growth.

Marketers need both of them to create a balance between their existing audience and their prospect followers. Facebook has made it quite clear that organic marketing will not survive without a paid budget in their platform. This was the final push for any cautious marketers who weren’t using Facebook Ads in the past years.

However, there is still the need to be strategic in different areas, from managing your budget to targeting engagement.

Heading from influencers to micro influencers

Another sign of maturity from marketers is the fact that influencers are not measured by the number of followers anymore. We now place higher value on the relevance and context of collaboration.

Influencer marketing is heading into a phase of transparency with clear indications of paid partnerships between influencers and brands.

There’s no need to request a big budget to seal a collaboration with the biggest celebrity to promote your campaign. Micro influencers and vloggers have turned into the new generation of celebrities. They don’t necessarily have a massive audience but they have loyal and extremely engaged fans.

A brand can have far better success with a relevant vlogger with 50k subscribers rather than an influencer with 2m fans. This change comes from the changing algorithms, the users’ cautiousness when it comes to fake stories, and the genuine need of belonging in a community. People have more chances to connect with an everyday blogger who found growing success rather than a top model who may be working with multiple brands every week.

This doesn’t mean that collaborations of larger scale don’t exist anymore, but they have a clear purpose and they can be more successful in the awareness and the exposure of big brands. If you don’t have the budget, you can still promote your campaign with more relevant micro influencers.

Being more serious about analytics

A key point that led to the maturity of social media marketing has to do with the increased focus on data. It’s more common than ever to build data-driven campaigns and messaging on social media and this comes down to using the right tools.

Marketing technology has seen an explosive growth and we’re reaping the benefits of it. There are numerous tools to measure the performance of your social media campaigns.

You can use social media analytics to:

  • Analyze your competitors’ performance
  • Learn more about your audience
  • Measure the success of your campaign
  • Perform market research when testing new ideas
  • Keep track of your mentions and your brand’s sentiment
  • Follow the latest trends in your brand’s social profiles

The right use of technology can make it easier for you to talk about social ROI while proving the areas of growth. There’s no need to focus on vanity metrics like simply the number of followers or number of clicks.

In fact, you can even save time by automating the generation of your reports.

Where is social media marketing heading?

It’s not easy to predict the future of social media marketing but we can tell that it’s heading towards an era where the most successful brands will be the ones that know their audience.

The more time you spend on understanding your audience, the easier it will be to build trust with the right messaging and the most relevant campaigns.

As people get more cautious with social media, marketers need to reassure them by creating campaigns that highlight a brand’s human element.

Trust and accountability across social platforms will be crucial to strategy.

The best way to maintain a successful social media marketing strategy is to keep a close eye on the social media updates without ignoring your audience’s needs.

We can’t predict which social platforms we’ll be using in five years, but we can still ensure that our strategies will be agile enough to maintain the relevance of our marketing plans.