It can be tough to keep pace with the ever-changing landscape that is social media marketing. Especially coming off the wild ride that was 2018. The scandalous year for Zuckerberg and fallout from Facebook’s privacy debacle has changed the game for digital marketers and businesses relying on social advertising to promote their product and services.
We broke down the most significant social media marketing changes to be aware of in 2019 and how they affect you. We also cover how to adapt your social media marketing plan for these shifts so you can dominate in 2019!
Here’s what you need to know to keep reaching your customers and converting in the ever-changing social media market place:
1) Algorithm changes –
Since Facebook still dominates social media ad spend, and its’ share of ad spend is expected to grow in 2019, you can’t address your social campaign without stopping here first.
In the fallout from Facebook’s privacy scandal, most everyday users have lost trust in the platform. And Facebook is paying attention because if the end users start to fall off the platform, so will the advertisers. This has forced Facebook to put the customer experience first and work toward making the platform feel friendly and “social” again.
What does this mean for you, the advertiser?
Your content should feel much more personal and authentic to your audience. It should look like it’s meant to be there, in the middle of their news feed, along with pictures of their friend’s kids and funny memes from their favorite blogger. Your traditional direct response ad from 2016 is not going to work in 2019. If users aren’t engaging with your post (commenting, reacting, sharing, etc.) then your ad will not be favored over more engaging content.
One way to monitor how your ads are performing against Facebook’s algorithm changes is your relevance score. Your relevance score is calculated by taking shares, reactions, and comments into account and weighing negative reactions (e.g. when someone hides your post or marks it as spam). The higher your score (out of 10) the more Facebook will optimize your ad, the wider your reach, and the cheaper your spend.
2) The rise of authentic content –
2019 is marking a shift in the types of content that users are consuming and truly engaging with.
We’ve seen the rise of Instagram stories to over 400 million daily active users which has introduced a new medium to the marketplace: raw storytelling. And people are paying attention! The average completion rate for a brands Instagram story is 72%!
Prior to this content shift, ads really stood out. They were shiny clean professional images with banners and short punchy copy. But today’s social audience is educated, and they see your ad from a mile away and just glaze right over it.
The successful ads of 2019 will be personal and conversational. They’ll invite people to comment and share. They’ll tell a story and/ or provide value that your audience wants to share. Imagine sharing an ad?!
This is where it gets really fun because there are so many ways brands can put this into practice.
One way to harness this trend is to source consumers for real stories to share. For example, let’s say you’re a local spa or wellness retailer looking to attract young professionals that are new to skin care treatments (remember: always define your target audience first!). Talk to your current consumers within this demographic about their skin care journey, how they came to find your spa, and what it has done for their life. Pick out the most moving story and tell this story on social media with raw imagery and authentic quotes. This is sure to resonate with your target audience in a much more impactful way than a coupon for your services.
On that note, coupons are dead last in the list of most engaging types of posts on Facebook. Not surprisingly, video content is first and gets 59% more engagement than any other type of content.
Using video, another fun content example would be a tutorial for an at home skin routine (sticking with our spa example from above). This is something that could actually provide value to your audience, without asking anything in return. This is the type of content a user would share and engage with – it’s a reason to keep following your brand. Even better, you’re simultaneously creating retargeting audiences to come back to once they’re warmed up and familiar with your brand.
3) On-Brand Social Influencers –
We’ve seen the explosion of influencer marketing over the past few years and no shortage of Instagram stars to go around. But with a new Twitter star trying to sell you something at every turn, the message can often come off as contrived. Brands are now trending toward micro-influencers that have an authentic connection with their product and with their followers.
Social Influencers, like most successful brands, have grown their following by being genuine and communicating their story which a lot of people relate to.
This authenticity is something that brands can tap into to spread their message to a new audience.
Courtney Osgood, owner of CKO PR , an influencer herself, looks for influencers that have a real connection to her client’s brand. Osgood says that “the use of social influencers as part of brand’s marketing strategy is far from over. In fact, I expect it to grow in 2019, with an increased premium on authenticity. You may have seen a campaign in the past that spanned across the board with hundreds of influencers armed with similar messaging and cookie-cutter content – – not the case anymore. Instead, brands are being more selective about the type of influencers they partner with to ensure that it’s also on-brand for them.”
The common thread in these platform shifts and algorithm changes is being human about how you talk to people. If that intimidates you, remember that you have a story to tell and an audience that wants to hear it. These platforms just make it easier to broadcast that message to a wide audience.
2019 has brought its fair share of changes but for consumer brands and services it couldn’t be a more exciting time to share your story and grow your audience.