In the first quarter of 2018, we’ve seen a number of upheavals in the social media world. January brought us Facebook’s news feed changes, and increasing evidence that teens and young adults are abandoning the site for a more private social network experience on platforms like Instagram and Snapchat. In February, Twitter announced that from July 2018, they would no longer allow its users, or any third-party apps, to publish the same post to multiple accounts. Mass-liking or retweeting will also be banned. Throughout March, various reports detailed the decline of social sharing, as well as the rise of “dark social,” which is nothing more than what we’d consider “old-fashioned” interaction at this point – emails, private messaging, chat forums, and even word of mouth.
To round out the quarter, we received word of a potential thread to even paid social ads – ad blindness and ad blocking. Ad blindness simply refers to an idea becoming more and more commonly accepted, that social media users are becoming more immune to ads, and in many cases, not seeing them at all. Ad blocking is nothing new, but the technology has improved over the years, giving users more control over what they choose to see and not see. Though so many changes coming at one time can be frustrating, it can serve as a much-needed wake-up call to those using social media marketing. The days of tricks, hacks, and gaming the platforms are more or less over, but this gives anybody who’s willing the chance to grow into a more authentic marketing method.
Social media remains one of the most important communication devices we’ve ever had access to, and it’s worthy of our marketing efforts, even amidst so much change. So what does the next generation of social media marketing look like?
“Pay for play” is the new reality
Organic social media reach is obviously more attractive because it’s free, and who doesn’t love free stuff? However, the smartest marketers have known for a long time that paying for social media marketing is no longer an option. Even at its best, organic reach never guaranteed you reaching your target audience. Embrace paid promotions as the sophisticated marketing tool they are, and you’ll see the payoff in increased engagement.
Keep in mind that there’s still an art to creating campaigns that won’t trigger ad blindness and target your message to exactly the right demographics. If you don’t have the time to regularly invest in and manage paid social media options, have a qualified agency like Neon Canvas handle marketing for you.
Abandon any clickbait aspirations
For any social network driven by algorithms, which includes Facebook, LinkedIn, Pinterest, and in some ways, Twitter and Instagram, engagement is always the key metric. It is the number one way these platforms which posts should be seen more by more users, and they know that not all engagement is created equally.
Posts that are written with the primary purpose of enticing users into performing meaningless interactions for the sake of boosted but empty engagement – think “like this post if you agree!” – has a negative effect on users. If social networks feel that your content is spammy or thin, they’ll eliminate it from their user’s feeds, promoting instead content that creates genuine interest, involvement, and interaction.
As we’ve outlined many times, truly engaging content is a real boost for your brand. It creates a positive association between your audience and your business, and also gives you a respectability people will remember when it comes time for action in the real world.
Take your social media beyond promos
Looking at social media as nothing more than a medium for promoting your products or services means missing out on its many other valuable possibilities. From effective customer service to valuable feedback to user-generated ideas and content, there’s a great deal of value in using these platforms as places your target market can come together with your business, encouraging brand sentiment and loyalty. Being helpful, supportive, and genuine can open the doors to authentic and mutually beneficial engagement.
Using this kick in the pants from social network changes gives us a real chance to shine and use these shifts to our advantage. If you’re having trouble visualizing how you can make it work for you, why not let Neon Canvas take over for you? Our pro team is innovative and experienced, and would love to work with you to grow your brand outside the box. If you have questions or suggestions, we’re here to listen! We appreciate you and your business, and we’re excited about making the most of these changes alongside you.
Kyle Fagala, DDS, MDS
Co-Founder, Neon Canvas