Organic reach on social media is becoming more difficult to execute, and brands are requiring more paid promotion on social networks just to be noticed. Humanized experiences are the future, at least according to the platforms. Facebook admitted as much when it said it wants to prioritize “moments” rather than messages and content, making it more difficult to flood with boring branded media. Boredom is death; to be emotionally arresting is paramount. It’s trending towards people first, business second.
The Continued Importance of Diverse Social Outreach
It’s not a new idea in marketing to say you need to deliver your message where your audience is. For years this meant brands would have a social media presence across as many networks as possible, and early on it meant nothing more. As brands became more sophisticated in their online tactics, they graduated to community building and content marketing.
But people viewed these platforms as amplification channels through which to beam the same message. There are many companies, and indeed many agencies, continuing this wrongheaded practice. Tailoring content to each individual platform is a strong indicator a brand knows what it’s doing. But cross-posting the same piece of content without modifications on each individual channel is generally understood to be a poor strategy.
From Facebook to Pinterest, each platform has its group of dedicated users. From a brand perspective, the point of being on multiple social platforms is to reach as wide a group as possible. Some customers might use Instagram as their platform of choice; others might choose to spend most of their time on Snapchat and Twitter. You don’t need to be on all of them, but once you know where your audience is, you must build the content to fit the platform. This is one of the reasons organizations are taking the time to build content in Instagram Stories not published anywhere else.
Key Takeaway: Make sure the content you post is built for the platform.
How You Need To Operate On Social Media Now
Traditionally brands have invested heavily in content to drive social media engagement such as likes or views, with the notion that organic reach was sufficient in achieving meaningful business outcomes. Organic reach is dwindling and the era of “pay me” is here. Even influencer marketing, once practiced like an arm of PR and community outreach, is full of seasoned thought leaders who know their value.
The keyword here is “value.” Facebook wants you to pay, so you’d better know what your return on investment should be. Adopting this mindset allows brands to focus on investing in media, allowing significant reach of content which resonates with targeted audiences and drives high-value actions. Make content designed to fulfill a goal, even if it’s a blog or a fun video.
Even if you make great content, it can be a roll of the dice if the right people ever see it. The way Facebook and Instagram function is when you make a standard post, it will show the post in the feed of around 10%-15% of your audience. Based on how that particular fraction interacts with it will decide whether it gets rolled out to the rest of your subscribers. Even Twitter recently switched to build your individual feed based on relevancy rather than chronological. How do they judge relevancy? They’re not going to tell you.
What they really want you to do is use their promotional tools to reach a wider audience, even a wider slice of your own existing subscribers. The benefit for brands is these tools allow advanced targeting based on everything from location to interest. It’s great news for brands big and small, but it’s clearly pay to play and it’s not going to get cheaper.
Key Takeaway: The only way to guarantee exposure is to pay for it.
Operating on Social Media In the Future
The future is quality of the content you make, not how much of it you make just to feed the community beast. Innovative marketers are embracing a solution – the slow content marketing movement. Much as the slow food movement argues less-but-better food will deliver improved health results, the slow content marketing movement insists less-but-better content will deliver improved marketing results. Take your time and think about what you want to actually achieve with what you are making, knowing you will need to put a dollar value behind it even after it’s made.
Bringing us to remarketing. This tactic isn’t new, so we won’t bore you with the details on how it works or why you need it, but it’s definitely one of the smartest things you can do for your content on social media. A potential customer has already visited your site and shown interest in your company and now you need to keep them moving through the marketing funnel. So, you feed them a piece of content designed to entice someone who is already aware of you, but wasn’t ready to explore further. With paid promotion, brands can begin thinking about audience journeys and at what part of the onboarding cycle you want to design each piece of content for. You can make content that targets your existing customers, content to bring people into your community, and content to move them along the buyer’s journey.
Key Takeaway: Make content that targets your audience based on what level your relationship is with them, and integrate that into your platform strategy.