June 25, 2020
The Expert's Guide to Social Media: A Complete Strategy 2020
Do you know that people spend an average time of 5 years and 3 months on social media in their lifetime? That’s like climbing Mount Everest 32 times and walking your dog 93K times! In a recent study from eMarketer, there was a 70% increase in the use of all Facebook apps during the last few months. The study shows that consumers are using these apps to keep themselves entertained, connected, and informed while they’re spending time at home or on the go. Brands focus on social media for spreading awareness, driving engagement and increasing sales. Consumers use different social media platforms for different types of content. For example, TikTok and Snapchat are mostly used for fun and entertainment while Facebook keeps people updated with the latest news and developments. That is why a number of businesses or brands are on different social media channels to connect with their audience and promote their products or services.
WHAT ARE THE LATEST MARKETING TRENDS TO FOLLOW ON SOCIAL MEDIA?To succeed on social media, it is of utmost importance to stay ahead of the competition and understand and apply the latest trends in marketing strategies. Some trends that need to be followed by brands and adopted for everyday practice include -
Video marketingA picture says a thousand words and a video tells a million. Through video marketing, brands can tell their story in a more engaging, entertaining, educational and inspiring way which will have a long lasting effect on the audience. The most-shared content on social media are both long-form and short-form videos. According to a report, YouTube ranks second in terms of active users only to Facebook, whereas Instagram is introducing IGTV “landscape” videos. Brands now have to take up the opportunity to produce relevant and interesting video content and also learn how to repurpose video content from other platforms to keep their audiences engaged.
Stories are gaining more popularityOver 400 million people use Stories on Instagram daily. Similar to Instagram Stories, Facebook Stories are user-generated slideshows and video collections that are around 20-seconds video content that can be easily created on smartphones and are available for a time-span of 24 hours. For brands, interactive Stories and polls are brilliant ways to go back and forth with their audience, making their content a “must see.” Moreover, with Instagram’s new business features which includes “Growth Insights'' and “Stories About You,” brands should expect to gain even more from Stories in 2020.
Niche MarketingPeople are becoming frustrated with the over-saturation of content on popular social media platforms. Hence they are trying to move towards platforms that help eliminate the noise and posts that are irrelevant to them. Niche networks like Behance, BlogHer, BurdaStyle, Care2, Dogster, Goodreads, Dribble and more. provide brands with the opportunity to connect with a highly targeted and engaged community. Once brands are connected with their audience, they have the opportunity to know them - how they think and act which in turn can help build meaningful and close relations with them. Niche social networks are smaller and serve only those who want to be there which means going niche allows brands to focus on their communication more precisely. They won’t have to worry about beating any Facebook-like algorithms, so brands can increase the ability to get their content seen by their relevant target audience.
Continued evolution of messaging appsDid you know that most users, especially millennials, use social messaging apps like WhatsApp, Messenger, Viber more than actual social media itself? The Messenger app of Facebook is used by approximately 1.2 billion people and more than 2 billion messages are sent between businesses and people on Messenger each month. With the increase in the usage of social media messaging platforms, the potential for improving customer experience will expand exponentially. The amalgamation of messaging apps with chatbots powered by artificial intelligence (AI) will make it possible for businesses or organisations to engage in more relevant, personalized and supportive customer conversations at scale.
Micro-influencer marketingIn the recent past, influencers on various social media platforms have become a major trend. However, macro-influencers with their millions of followers charge a hefty amount and are out of reach for many small and medium-scale businesses. This is why, for influencer marketing, there is a rise of micro-influencers with a limited number of followers but a more engaged community. Opting for a micro-influencer with an engaged community and less number of followers, new or upcoming brands will not only be increasing their chances of achieving stronger engagement, but they will also be cutting their overall cost of promotions. The saved budget could be used to promote their products and services with multiple micro-influencers, in different vertices, with different niche audiences thereby making the connections more relevant and creating brand awareness.
WHAT ARE THE BEST SOCIAL MEDIA PRACTICES FOR CAMPAIGNS?For driving high revenue performance, social media campaigns can prove to be a powerful technique. However, creating a successful campaign requires knowledge of not only the fundamentals in advertising but also the necessary requirements of social media. For capitalization of businesses, driving engagement is vital for growth. It is important for brands to follow best practices to keep the audience engaged and invested to convert into loyal customers.
Frequent postingA brand is likely to lose on the number of followers with a decreased engagement rate if they are not posting content on a regular basis. By posting real-time updates like Insta stories, Facebook live-streaming, live-tweeting and more will also help ensure that a brand’s social media account is active. While publishing regularly, brands should also post real-time events and holidays to reinforce their relevancy and up-to-date branding while keeping in mind their connection with the audience.
Relevant creativesAccording to a report, audiences respond best to visuals because they tend to remember 80% more of what they see than read. Hence for a brand, it is important to make their visuals look fresh, bright and relevant, with high-resolution images and non-copyrighted photos. The dimensions of the creatives should be as per the requirement of different platforms. Poor sizing may make high-resolution images look pixelated. Errors related to visual quality or dimensions on social media will have a negative impact on the trustworthiness of a brand, thereby leading to a loss in the number of followers and low engagement rate. Another important mention, using videos usually have a stronger impact on the audience as videos outperform static images 9 times out of 10 on social media. Also, brands should remember to follow the 20% text rule for creatives that are used to run social media ads or boost posts.
Post boostingLess than 10% of Facebook followers are able to view a brand’s post organically on their news feed. Hence to increase the visibility rate of a post on their audience’s news feed, brands should boost or promote the posts on their desired social media channel. The target audience can be selected as per geographical area, age, gender etc. Boosted posts optimize post engagement which eventually increases brand awareness and the number of likes, comments and shares on the posts.
Conversion AdsConversion ads are targeted to a brand’s target audience who are likely to click and convert. This kind of campaign is most effective when brands want to track sales or generate leads from form completions on their website. Due to its trackability feature, a conversion campaign is extremely beneficial. From video views to engagement to clicks and finally sales, everything can be tracked.
WHY SHOULD BRANDS EXPAND THEIR HORIZONS ON SOCIAL MEDIA?It is now the era of experimentation as the online audience is always on the lookout for something new, something interesting, something that they have never seen before.
Brands should take standsIt may be risky for brands to take a stand on social and political conversations openly on social media platforms but young consumers tend to be more inclined and welcoming towards brands that take a stand. Consumers want to hear from brands that converse in intelligent, quirky and impactful ways. According to research, a majority of consumers feel that it's important for brands to take a public stance on leading social and political issues.
Recognizing other brandsRecognizing a brand on social media can often seem to be risky as interacting with them might give them the maximum advantage to connect to a brand’s network of audience. On the flip side, it may also mean one brand leveraging the network of another brand along with highlighting its product or service USPs. image credit: Social Samosa As brands strategize about how to best use social media to engage with consumers, they’re also increasingly engaging with each other. Whether the banter is friendly or sarcastic in tone or manner, the main thing is to capture some recognition for being quick and witty and grab attention as well as gain followers on social media platforms like Twitter.
WHY SHOULD BRANDS USE HASHTAGS ON SOCIAL MEDIA?Hashtags have become a social media phenomenon and a powerful part of online marketing strategies. It is easy to create them and are also searchable, thus making it an essential tool for brands, businesses, celebrities and even common individuals. If used correctly, hashtags can drive large conversations and help audiences dig deeper into a topic. Understanding the target audience and which hashtags they follow are a key to a successful hashtag strategy.
Expand organic reachHashtags are extremely important for social media platforms like Instagram, Facebook and Twitter since they help gain visibility on these channels. With the help of hashtags, brands can reach more number of audiences organically and can also keep a track of the reach and engagement figures. It also lends an attractive look to a social media post and encourages the audience to like the brand or page for more updates.
Better click-through ratesAccording to research, tweets or posts consisting of hashtags receive more engagement than the ones without hashtags. Hence brands can boost their customer engagement rates and click-through rates by simply adding hashtags to their posts. But at the same time, brands should refrain from using too many hashtags in a single post since it may look more like spamming and therefore weaken the meaning of the original message.
Increase visibility and brand awarenessUsing a hashtag strategy to its utmost advantage to promote branding is an impressive idea. If a brand is new, hashtags can be utilized to increase audience reach and brand awareness. When users look for a brand, they’ll see the relevant hashtags that the brand is using; or when they search for specific hashtags, the brand’s posts will be visible in the results. This automatically helps the brand gain new followers and eventually potential customers.
PromotionsHashtags are a social media version of the “word-of-mouth” method. It increases visibility by encouraging followers to use the campaign hashtag, which is further used by their followers and the cycle continues. When promoting an event, contest or giveaway, hashtags help connect a brand with its followers and also their followers with each other. The traction a hashtag can promote before, during and after an event is indeed substantial.
WHAT ARE SOME POF THE TIPS FOR RUNNING SUCCESSFUL CONTESTS ON SOCIAL MEDIA?Contests on social media are an easy and interactive way to gain new followers, increase engagement for your brand, boost organic promotion and convert leads into customers. Moreover, it is also a wonderful idea to make existing customers happy while turning them into loyal fans and advocates of the brand. While running a social media contest -
- Have a clear objective
- Choose single/dual but relevant platform
- Decide on the type of contest
- Set clear contest terms and conditions
- Focus on the time-span of the contest
- Promote and monitor the contest
- Acknowledge the audience’s replies