Is Social Media Marketing an effective marketing strategy in 2018?

2018 is here, and there seems to be no stopping the social media frenzy.

The President of United States seems to prefer the convenience of Twitter over the formality of press releases. Instagram has continued seducing more 18-34 year olds than other social platforms (especially now that Stories are a thing). Fitbits have integrated our health and fitness activities with our social media feeds quite seamlessly.

We have to face it- there is no avoiding social media in personal life, but how does it translate from a social media marketing perspective? With the concentration of content available to each and every customer- does social media marketing for small businesses even make any sense?

Too Much, Too Little

On an average, a user scrolls through 300 feet of content on social media. Every day, Instagram Stories get 20 million views- which might be why 70.7% of businesses see value in posting over 2 million monthly advertisements on the platform.

bigstock-Social-Media-Logotype-On-Tags(source)

Instagram’s popularity is vastly beaten by that of Facebook, even though the social media giant has been declining in popularity, especially in the youth demographic. Users spend an average of 35 minutes a day on Facebook, which has a penetration of 63% (Instagram lags behind in second place- at only 27%). Every single minute, there are about 317,000 status updates, and 54,000 links being shared.

However, when we take off the rose tinted glasses, we can start to see some of the worrisome issues. Social media is currently in a phase of oversaturation. The cost per click (CPC) of the platform has been increasing off late, but the amount of impressions and relevance score reported by businesses have been on the decline. This means that often, the 70 million businesses that have Facebook pages are spending a lot more money for far lesser impact. Over the last year, there has been a lot of speculation that Facebook favours paid media and sponsored content over organic traffic and recommendations.

There are a few subtler problems on the rise as well, with more and more people tending to opt for private social media platforms like Instagram and Snapchat. This is a part of the ‘dark social’ sphere-

where most of the interactions and sharing happens on private- through direct messages and chat forums that cannot be tracked or messaged.

Keeping up with the Times: How to revamp your social media presence

Let’s face it- social media marketing for small businesses has become quite competitive. That means it’s time for you to keep up, or get out. Social media platforms, (especially Facebook) have been committed to the cause of small businesses. Sheryl Sandberg, the COO of Facebook has gone on record having said “Small businesses create jobs and drive growth in every economy- so when they succeed, everyone wins.”

We bet you’re wondering, should I spend on Facebook ads? The answer is yes- but you’re also going to have to evolve your strategy in order to cover a wider social media base. Here are a few handy tips that can help you evolve your strategy to suit 2018.

Go for depth, not width

It’s easy to get lost in this numbers game, especially when dealing with millions of pages and views.
However, as a small business, your focus should be on your relevance score, and the impressions your page is making on those who could potentially turn into clients. Facebook paid ads for small businesses actually allow for targeted reach to chosen demographics, and that’s exactly what you should do! If you’re selling ballet shoes, there’s no point in spending a bulk of your revenue reaching out to 65+ year olds on Facebook.

Engage and Retain- not click and go

Once you’re aware of which demographics you’re targeting the focus of your social media strategy should be on developing content and ads that are engaging- not disrupting. Clickbaits have become a thing of past in terms of popularity, and have been proven to have a negative impact on the users (so definitely think twice before adding ‘share if you agree’ to any of your posts).

What users are leaning towards is genuine human interaction that is more personalized and unique to the brand’s culture. This will give you an edge among your demographic, and lead to more organic traffic to your page.

Test the waters with Instagram

As we mentioned, Instagram’s popularity has been on the rise, and whether you’re a B2B or a B2C, it makes a lot of sense for you to display your company’s culture and journey on Instagram. This appeals to the newer demographic, and allows for more private and dedicated engagement with the users. Instagram has made it even easier for marketing campaigns to be launched, by encouraging the use of clickable tags that can be used to target specific demographics.

Go beyond marketing

A good social media marketing strategy is one that does not just restrict itself to marketing. Many pages have started using their Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, and LinkedIn pages to foster conversations between their users, and to encourage a prompter customer support service. Fewer pages have been ignoring posts- with over 61% of business pages on Facebook responding to the posts made on their page.

resource-sm-support-theme

(source)

Use this as an opportunity to showcase your business culture and value using social media- you don’t have to stick with Facebook for this, you can do it through Twitter chats, LinkedIn forums and more.

Out with the old (methods), in with the new

Plain text has become a very passe way of communicating in the 2018 era of social media marketing. Now, it’s all about the videos- after all, 90% of the content actively shared by the users in 2017 was in video format. Your focus, as a small business, should be on developing engaging content that can be delivered in a new format- whether it is video, image related, or even in the form of a poll. Facebook paid ads for small businesses would be way more interesting to the customers if the ads actually allowed them to take glimpse of the real person behind the page they follow!

Consider if social media is really for you

This might seem like a rather existential question to posit- but what is the value of social media for your small business? Your question on whether should I spend on Facebook ads is dependent on what you expect to achieve out of it. Is it brand awareness, or an increased ROI? Is it to drive sales, or to have that edge over your competitor? Knowing the answer to this will help you determine if you’re joining an oversaturated market in vain.

Expand your metrics for success

It’s 2018- you cannot be sticking to the old trends any more! If you haven’t revisited the metrics you’re using to determine whether your social media presence is on point. Here are some potential metrics you should be tracking in 2018:

  • Number of clicks (especially per page, and per campaign)
  • Engagement (number of social interactions/number of impressions- will shed a lot of light on your audience’s will to interact with your page)
  • Hashtag performance (how many did you use, what hashtags are most commonly associated with your brand)
  • Sentiment (are users positive, or offended, or disinterested?)

Hopefully, these tips will help you structure a social media strategy that is relevant, and can translate directly into impact for your small business. After all, you are the backbone of the economy!

Tell us what you think! Email to us at contact@contentninja.in.

Shriya Garg

A book-lover with dual degrees in finance, Shriya has created (and abandoned) eight blogs, started her first company at 12, published two books (first one at 16), edited dozens for others, and worked with five interesting startups in her career so far. Prior to joining ContentNinja, she worked with PricewaterhouseCoopers, and has a deferred admit from ISB, Hyderabad. She is an SLP Fellow and a Quora Top Writer. When she’s not fielding client calls, she can be found cleaning cat hair from her clothes.