It is important for digital marketers to learn how to sell their brand on social platforms, organically accrue followers, tackle updates to the algorithm and learn about new social sites and features. A lot of aspects changed in 2019 and therefore a fresh perspective is required on users’ experience and journey. First, let’s review the observations, insights, and trends seen in 2019.
First Trend: User Engagement
User engagement has changed from the early days of social platforms. Today, many users are not performing traceable actions like shares, comments, and likes even if they like social posts. Rival IQ reports that the average engagement rate on Facebook has decreased from 0.16% in 2018 to 0.09% in 2019. Likewise, on Instagram, there is a reduction from 1.73% in 2018 to 1.60% in the year 2019. This change is due to many factors:
More Competition and Content Overload
Competition is increasing on social platforms, but users can consume only a small amount of content every day. More than two million companies utilize paid ads on Instagram and over 7 million firms use this strategy on Facebook. This tells you the impressive number of enterprises that have an organic presence on social media. For instance, more than 25 million companies are present on Instagram.
While paid content has become more important in NewsFeeds, there has been a steady decrease in organic reach since 2014. Further, organic content typically has less time to get traction and a smaller opportunity window among users who are tired of brand ads. Branded content has made audiences wary of engaging due to the sheer overload. So they are adopting other engagement routes.
Instagram Has Removed Likes
To protect users, Instagram’s new update conceals the number of likes received by post. As a result, the user experience has changed and followers have got distanced from the concept of liking a particular post because of its popularity or so they can “belong”.
The new update is a victory for influence marketers in terms of authenticity. Influencers who create engaging, relatable, and unique content will continue to be popular. In addition, they can view their metrics about engagement and track the effectiveness of a campaign’s performance.
Second Trend: Followership
There are too many brands present on social platforms which makes it impossible for a follower to track all the brands they are interested in, love, or use.
Followers are important as they can assist consumers to gain trust in your brand and prefer it over your competitors. Plus, they offer credibility to your product’s quality. A Market Force study reveals that 78% of users agree that they get influenced by the content posted by brands they track on social platforms. However, the impact of social media goes beyond followers.
Most users today utilize social media to discover and analyze the products they are interested in. However, during this review phase, they may choose not to track a brand. Even if a user decides to become a follower of a brand, it is difficult to maintain their interest over the long term. For high-ticket, one-time purchases, users may follow until they convert so they can keep the buy top of mind. This is similar to future planning on Pinterest.
Users may simply see an ad, go to the brand’s social profile to scan its legitimacy/credibility and continue their buying journey via the advert. A user could also learn about a brand, research it on social, take a product screenshot for later reference, and move on to other things. These paths provide negligible trackable information to a brand about how the consumer arrived at the purchasing decision – however, social played a role in the process of decision-making.
This shows that the impact and importance of social media extend beyond growth in the number of followers. Social media offers limitless possibilities and follower numbers are not a proper measurement of success on these platforms.
Third Trend: Attribution, Visibility, and Tracking
In comparison with other channels of digital marketing, organic social lacks transparent 1-to-1 monitoring that correctly indicates its potential/true value.
For instance, look at the example of storing a social media post to buy an item months later. Presume that the consumer reads the post on their mobile device, directly types your website on desktop, buys your company’s product, and later un-saves that post. This means organic social would not get a helped conversion for this transaction and the brand will not obtain the needed visibility of the true value of every save received by post.
In addition, your organic content’s value can lose clarity if your posts are taken offline by users.
Followers like to share enjoyable content. A lot of readers take screenshots of social posts and share them with their contacts. Plus, users share posts within messages in private groups where a brand cannot track comments, likes, and positive feedback. However, organic social platforms help to spread precious brand awareness.
Community management is another value provided by organic social. Users typically voice their concerns and opinions on social sites. Customer support issues and inquiries may crop up in your Instagram and Facebook inbox. Your brand can reignite consumer loyalty with proper communication and resolution. Plus, positive engagements between consumers and brands on social platforms can lead to product purchases. A 2017 social index survey by Sprout indicates that 71% of customers are willing to buy a brand’s product after a connected, positive social engagement.
Social Media Essentials in 2020
Develop Genuine Relationships with Brand Followers
It takes time for a brand to build authentic relationships with its social media followers just like in actual life. The effect of this strategy can last for a long time, unlike a post whose value persists only for a few days. Therefore, brands should veer away from simply measuring reach or engagements per post and focus on tracking Return on Relationship (ROR).
Brands should try to leverage organic social platforms for genuine relationship building. They should go beyond focusing on the number of likes and try to create meaningful connections with each consumer.
How to Concentrate on Return on Relationship
Social media is all about building relationships but this concept is novel to marketing. Brands typically use social mostly for promotions and forget relationships. Ad repetition, screaming text, and bright colors are passé as conversion tools. Today, consumers can analyze volumes of promotions and easily identify inauthentic ads. Therefore, brands need to concentrate on building authentic relationships to get more word-of-mouth referrals. A Neilsen survey shows that 92% of buyers trust referrals they get from their known contacts.
Strategies for Relationship-Building on Social Sites
Facebook presents an excellent tool for customer management inside the “inbox”. This feature allows you to find a follower by their name and view the history of all their page interactions. This enables you to engage in a personalized manner with each follower and build a closer relationship. As a result, the follower can become a fan and ambassador of your brand.
Instagram offers the “Close Friends” feature that brands can use to boost page engagements and create a special bond with their consumers. You can incentivize engagement by making your brand’s “Close Friends” eligible for rewards programs. For instance, you can post that you will add your leading 20 engagers on Instagram to your company’s “Close Friends” follower group every month so they can get special promotions, giveaways, and discounts. This can inspire your followers to interact more to gain their spot.
Focus on Social Profiles
An effective organic social profile provides credibility and visibility during the purchaser’s journey. Compare the social profile of the brand with your competitors. Which one is likely to be chosen by new users based on the content of the feed?
Monitoring the number of profile visits could help you to get more insights on the effect of your social media presence. If there is an increase in organic or direct search, check if the spike is related to visits to your social profile. Consumers could well use social to research your products without offering trackable interactions like follows or likes. Then, then may access your website directly or organically through Google to make the purchase.