Admit it. You'd just love to flip everyone that visits your blog the bird. Not out of spite, but because you care about how they'd react simply by waving that bird tall, and proud, in their faces. Because everyone loves to get the bird waved to them before kissing their spouse and children as they head to work, right?
Let's break it down.
Keeping blog guests engaged in your content means you’ll need some method of allowing conversations to take place all the time. Accepting blog comments mean cleaning spam every day from your Wordpress console, and carry little value when you really seek deep engagement. Finally, nobody really wants to ‘beg’ people to share their content on Twitter; it would be simpler to provide an easy tool for others to carry forth conversations which can be #hashtagged easily and spread amongst your followers. You need to get more Twitter followers, right?
We crave approval, but you already knew that. Conventional thinking would suggest we seek digital validation in the forms of Likes and Favorites because they signal that we’ve impressed people and raised our social status. But what anonymous apps such as Secret are highlighting is that we don’t always care if our name is attached to that approval. So why are we doing it just for the likes?
Are humans so deeply wired as tribe animals that we’ll happily take any external approval we can get, even if our name and the name of who compliments us stays hidden?
Do we feel a sense of community with fellow users of our anonymous apps that is strengthened by passing approval around?
Have we developed such a Pavlovian response to real-identity Likes and the presumption that they improve our status that we derive a placebo-esque satisfaction from anonymous ones devoid of that status bump?
Do you remember how in the past, marketing consisted of grabbing your attention with loud colours, catchy (and then later, irritating) jingles, pretty people – and if that didn’t work, huge billboards?
These days, businesses are slowly giving those campaigns up in favor of getting in touch with their customers. Pop-ups and other gimmicky ads are moving aside for tailored content – be it in print, image, or video — that a company’s customers may find useful, or otherwise worth sharing.
When we think of what businesses use to speak to their audiences, the list most commonly goes like this: email newsletters, social media posts, SEO-optimized blog posts and podcasts. On a general level, the type of content businesses use depends – and should depend — on their target audience’s online behavior, such as what’s more likely to interest them and keep them coming back for more.
Brands who ignore social media do so at their own peril. Although the business world seems to have accepted social media as a viable marketing channel, many organizations completely lack or struggle with social media strategy. Winning social media marketing is not solely brand-focused; it is about captivating your social audience, engaging your social prospects and delivering real value—in the form of your own original content as well as the high-quality content of others, which you have curated from trusted, industry-leading sources. The social media landscape is a vast, loud and often chaotic place; breaking through the noise and reaching your captive audience requires a sound social media strategy.
Social Media Has Grown Up
Current marketing trends highlight the reality that social media is serious business; social media as a marketing channel has matured and gained credibility. Major brands are working harder than ever to engage their prospects on various channels, including social media. Some have even transformed themselves into media companies and publishers; Coca-Cola has the Cola-Cola Journey, and Red Bull created the full-length feature film on snowboarding, The Art of Flight. Both are major initiatives to increase fan engagement through not overly brand-focused media efforts—in keeping with the ethos of community-based social media.
If you know what organic Facebook Reach is, you’ve probably already heard that Facebook is throttling the results for brands. This doesn’t mean that they’re turning it off entirely, but if this Valleywag article is to be believed, your brand’s content will now only reach 1-2% of your followers. (If you want to know more about Reach or why our Swedish Facebook expert thinks it’s the most important metric on Facebook, the hyperlinked article will help you out.)
To put it simply, Facebook Reach is the same thing as “impressions” in a traditional media source. It’s the number of people exposed to your content – and it’s how you get Engagement (and on Facebook, Engagement’s by-product is word-of-mouth marketing). In the past, Reach was earned media: we were able to get those eyeballs in the Newsfeeds of the folks who Liked us on Facebook, simply by posting content on our own owned media (our Page). And the more people who engaged with the content, the more other folks saw it – not just through the shares and their specific activity feeds (which is more earned media for us, i.e. the holy grail of social media marketing), but because Facebook Story Bumping rewards content marketing engagement by keeping popular content up at the top of relevant user Newsfeeds.
Hang on there, marketing folks: the Facebook reach ride isn't free anymore.
People have been saying it for a while, and this week voices seem to be getting louder about it: it’s only a matter of time until Facebook is pay-to-play only. First this, then this, now this….I won’t take up your whole day, but I could probably keep adding links talking about Facebook’s declining organic reach for a very long time. Suffice it to say that the writing is on the wall: Facebook’s free lunch for brands is dwindling fast so don’t be surprised when the inevitable happens and Facebook truly becomes what it already has become for many brands - an ad platform.
So with this in mind, and given that Facebook is probably where the majority of organizations with little or no ad budget are spending most of their time and effort when it comes to social media, I think it’s about time to stop being shocked or in denial about the inevitable and instead start plotting your post-Facebook social media strategy.
What if you woke up tomorrow and you suddenly had to pay to post to your org’s Facebook page, or at least had to pay in order to have anyone at all see what you posted? Would you be able to just re-tool the content strategies for your other social media channels and re-create any lost engagement, web traffic referrals, sales, leads or whatever else it is that you’re currently getting from Facebook on those channels? Or would your whole social media strategy be dead in the water?
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- Free fascinating eBook: 50 Tried & True Social Insights from Real Marketers… a must read from Marketo!