During the past decade, social media’s traffic and growth have outpaced many other things. While many of us spend chunks of our downtime on social media, we’re not as often there searching for services. Facebook knows this, too. And to respond, Facebook recently rolled out its latest algorithm change, which is intended to downplay posts by publishers and brands.
All brands currently vie for the attention and engagement of users on social media—users going about their day-to-day catching-up-on. The users most apt to click on, view, or share your content are also used in algorithmic data and will be advertised to until potentially they tune out the noise. (Fortunately, this isn’t always the case). However, this poses an important consideration for brands: How many ads has someone seen in one day? How many of those do they pay attention to? How much attention do they have? And, are they even a target for the content they’re seeing?
What this means is that brands should keep aware of the fact that their social media advertising, from Facebook to Instagram, could be a distraction for their user. That’s the reality. Sometimes, and hopefully, this is the case for your brand; it’s a good distraction and one that you might even call engagement. Digital advertisers want users to engage with their content or learn more about their service. That’s the golden ticket of social media advertising.
What this also means is that today’s technology and trends are fluid. While social media is essential for digital advertisers, brands should focus on brand awareness, brand building, and creating user bases across multiple channels. Your users surely aren’t only on social media, and as a brand, you might not want to target accordingly.
Social media algorithm updates and changes emphasize the importance of branding, and underscore, even more, the need for high-quality content pieces that are “pulls” for users, just as inbound marketing works through search and direct traffic.
One thing’s for sure, even considering Facebook’s recent algorithm updates, the content that performs best on Facebook happens to be in-depth content that encourages actual reading and interaction.
Five More Social Media Changes from 2018
1. Facebook has announced they’ll show more stories from news sources in a brand’s local town or city. What this means is if you follow a local brand or if someone shares a local story, it may show up higher in Facebook’s news feed (another push towards local-first).
2. Brands continue to see the impact of engagement on social media and the value of the relationship. This frame of mind will help social media advertisers switch from one-off ad content that doesn’t serve the long-term relationship with their users.
3. The use of chatbots by brands continues to become a reality. Bots are used for automation conversation workflows, and for limiting the workload for social media management teams
4. Listen up. Brands can now employ social listening to create better, above-the-fold content and data-driven targeting. Social listening is the practice of tracking conversations and leveraging those words or phrases to find new opportunities to create content for those audiences. It’s also an excellent tool for customer care. What are the needs of your user? Listen to those needs and answer them.
5. Instagram. Since Instagram’s Stories were launched, in part to compete with Snapchat, businesses now can reach new users where they spend their time—and their time on Instagram is only increasing. Smart social media teams are integrating Instagram more and more and especially Stories where they fit.
While the past couple of months saw some dropoffs of social media usage—from Facebook to Instagram to Snapcat—social media still and for the foreseeable future will be a place where communities connect. And that means there will be ads and ad consumption. Unlike when a user hits the web for search, actively searching for something they need, a user on social media is disrupted. Your content, whether it’s a blog post, video, graphic, or an image, should be enough to teach them something, make them smile, want to learn more, or simply just be engaged.
This year and beyond, its necessary find and work with your social media and branding teams to ensure your social efforts are not only productive but are up-to-date. Make sure you’re analyzing the data from what worked where and that you are implementing the needed changes to address the social landscape of today, and potentially more importantly, of tomorrow.