Once again the world of social media marketing is evolving. Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and even Snapchat offer plenty of benefits to businesses. But with the ever changing dynamics, it’s important to keep up and understand these emerging marketing tools.
Over the summer Facebook made changes to the way items show up on timelines. The social media giant says it tweaked its algorithms so users can see posts made by family and friends instead of being inundated with posts from pages and sponsored posts.
As a marketer, there are some ways to get around these changes. Most importantly Facebook suggests posting material that followers would be more inclined to share with their friends and family members. Content is king. Video and photos, special deals and exclusive offers are all ways to boost engagement.
When it comes to ads, the cost to post them on Facebook is on the rise. The site eMarketer has predicted by 2018 demand will increase significantly and the cost per engagement will go up as well. If you rely on video get the most important content out first. On average, users watch less than 30 seconds of a video that pops up on their Facebook feed.
Encourage followers to make your page important to them. You can share the instructions on how to prioritize news feeds via the Facebook Help page. But remember if you’re asking followers to commit to you, follow through by providing valuable content that makes the changes worth their while.
Marketers are singing the praises of the expansion of Twitter. Adding pictures, videos or GIF links to posts are no longer counted in the site’s 140 character limit. This change gives users an extra 23 characters when it comes to getting their message out.
This change allows you to use both text and visual stimuli to appeal to your followers. Research has shown tweets with pictures or videos get retweeted 150 percent more often than messages without the visuals. Also, using the right image is important. Posts with something relevant are 94 percent more effective according to studies.
Video is just as important on Twitter. The same research has shown shoppers are nearly twice as likely to buy a product, good or service if there is a video attached to the message. Videos uploaded to Twitter can now be up to 140 seconds (just over two minutes). That’s plenty of time to get out an important message to drive customers to your website, business or event.
Instagram continues to make changes to its site as well. Video posts have quadrupled from 15 seconds up to 60 seconds. While not as long as the Twitter video limit, one minute can give customers a better idea of what you’re trying to say. Videos also do much better on social media platforms if they include captioning. Not everyone is scrolling through social media with the sound on so that text can keep a viewer engaged if the video content catches their attention out of the gate.
Users may have noticed not everything in their feed is from the people they follow. Businesses are cashing in on the trend of Instagram ads too. These sponsored posts have a much lower cost-per-click rates than other sites like Google, Facebook and Twitter.
Coming up with the right hashtag to accompany an ad is critical too. The average reach of an Instagram ad is just over 31,000 users. Engagement levels vary depending on the number and type of hashtags being used. The site Buzzoid reports using two hashtags has been engagement than three or more hashtags. But the best results happened when a post had both hashtags and a location tag. Simply put, let people know where to find your product.
Something else Instagram has recently implemented is the Stories feature, much like Snapchat. These stories only exist for 24 hours after posting and have a limit of 10 seconds. When using Stories, marketers can post a call to action. There’s a quick and easy way for followers to respond. It’s up to you to do the follow up once messages come in, and remember the more creative and compelling the content, the more people will watch it.
As mentioned in the Instagram section of this post, Snapchat is the originator of the Stories feature. The app has nearly 10 billion video views a day and 200 million active users. It’s easy to understand why more brands are using this still growing social media app. The audience’s age is trending up. No longer is Snapchat just a secret way for teenagers to communicate.
Snapchat stories are ten seconds in length too. The key to a successful story is providing compelling content to keep followers engaged and wanting more. Now Snapchat allows users to create a playlist of sorts when it comes to viewing their stories. No longer does the app automatically play the next on the list. So it’s even more critical now that your content is creative enough to make users add your story to their queue.
Work with influencers who follow you to engage with new audiences. Provide opportunities for so-called Snapchat takeovers. Here’s how it works: allow the influencer access to your Snapchat account. That person then records messages for the day and invites their followers on their social media pages to tune into your brand’s Snapchat account.
Other ways to grow your brand through Snapchat is by offering exclusive discounts that followers can take advantage of through the app. Stories should also include demonstrations of products, sneak previews of new items and exclusive behind the scenes access.
But don’t just make Snapchat stories about you and your brand. Now the app allows users to post photos to their story from their camera roll. Collect pictures and comments from customers via other forms of social media and share them on your story to give your supporters their “10 seconds of fame.”
Social media has come a long way in a short amount of time. Expect to see more trends and new ways to get your message out in the next 12 to 18 months. Stay active and up to date with new trends, as many of the changes in this post have come about in 2016 alone.