Where Social Media Is Headed In 2018
Guest Post by Susan Friesen
Social media is a very new aspect of our businesses that has taken over significant parts of not only our marketing plans but also our personal lives.
Major platforms battle for prominence and significance by adjusting their business models to provide better returns for their shareholders while intending to improve the user experience.
As these systems develop, how you use these platforms for your business must change as well.
Social Media ROI
While certain trends are consistent, subtle variables at play can become game changers. Recently Facebook has announced adjustments to its news feed and if that matters to your social media marketing then you will need to account for that change.
For that platform brands and businesses will now have an even harder time connecting to users with no previous demonstrated connection to the company trying to reach them. When Facebook originally started it was a free-for-all and at that point everyone marketing online pounced. But year after year it became harder and harder to reach any users organically through their feed.
Now even the paid reach will be more restricted making it even harder to drive traffic from posts to your business’s page or website.
If you measure the ROI of your social media efforts with an emphasis just on the Facebook platform then you may be alarmed when you see the stats start to change.
So how do you measure the ROI in social media?
According to Buffer, most measure by analyzing engagement with lead generation being second place and a sale being third.
As we all know measuring a conversion can be very simple or very complex but for most small businesses, it’s the former and amounts to ‘did they buy from us?’ or ‘did they contact us?
Moving forward the value of a lead may take precedence over engagement as platforms make it easier to qualify where the lead came from and how the user started in one place (social media) and wound up in another (your website).
Another aspect that continues to attempt to move into a more prevalent spot is video marketing.
In 2016 and 2017 many predictions were made about video becoming more and more relevant to businesses. Many companies have started, and some closed, whose sole offerings were pre-made videos that could be updated for a business or brand to use.
The market hasn’t shown that businesses are warming to that and many small businesses simply shy away from the cost, effort, and risks associated with trying to produce professional quality video with a small budget.
It’s not impossible to do but it can go badly very easily. As a result, video marketing is still struggling to lure companies in. Though in Buffer’s same analysis, the users they polled stated they are interested in doing more video this year.
What Should Your Business Do?
If you’re planning on adapting to trends, then two things genuinely stand out. While there is no shortage of opinions, most self-appointed experts or gurus are guilty of self promoting while hoping their particular specialty will become more relevant.
Ask a video marketer and they’ll tell you it’s all video and YouTube. Ask a Facebook ads specialist and they’ll tell you it’s all about Facebook ads now.
The truth is the only two big stand outs that have shown they’re providing better results are Instagram (and Instagram stories specifically) and LinkedIn ads. Instagram’s user base has grown dramatically and LinkedIn will soon be offering video ads leading to increased relevance for both.
You may have a budget already set for your social media spending, but remember those are never fixed. Adjust and try attributing more to different platforms to gauge how effective it is for your business.
While it may seem laborious it’s really not that hard to take an afternoon to read up on any recent changes and adjust your spending accordingly.
If you find yourself too busy to bother or hung up by the complexity, it’s good to reach out to social media experts.
They can work with your SEO consultant, or if you don’t have one, they may have a recommendation in making your social media work for you to avoid just pumping out content for the sake of having it and hoping it will do something for you.
Make 2018 the year you really pay attention to your social media because more and more of your competitors are.
Getting ahead of them requires adapting to change rather than resisting. Once you do you’ll see much better results from your online marketing.