Why Social Media Reach is Really Dying

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Having trouble reaching your audience on social media?

You’re not alone.

Over the past decade, social media marketing has become one of the most powerful tools in the modern marketer’s toolkit, allowing businesses to build an audience with relative ease.

However, times are changing, and it’s no longer easy.

Social media reach is being hampered by several factors, from saturated markets to an ever-evolving digital landscape.

Now, your company must adapt to survive.

How the Facebook Algorithm Has Changed the Game for Marketers

At the start of 2018, Facebook announced some big changes were afoot.

The platform was to shift focus back to connecting people, rather than giving preference to media consumption.

The new algorithm effectively put marketing content in the backseat, which was bad news for marketers hoping to grow their brand on social media.

Since then, some companies have reacted well, while others have made some mistakes. Specifically, they’ve bought into the widespread belief that organic social media reach is dead. 

One of the Most Harmful Social Media Marketing Trends

Research from BuzzSumo found that content engagement on social media has dropped by 50% since 2015. With less interaction on their posts, many companies have turned their attentions to other marketing streams, such as email.

While that in itself holds vast potential for building a loyal audience, you shouldn’t close the book on social media marketing just yet.

A common trend now is for companies to manage their social media marketing in-house, as opposed to hiring an agency. While this certainly cuts on costs, there are drawbacks to employing an avid social media user fresh-out-of-college.

Sure, they’ll know a few things that the rest of the office might not, but when it comes to strategy and marketing skills, you could find yourself falling behind the competition.

Unfortunately, many small businesses persist with this venture, which more often than not, leads to a flood of low-quality content that delivers little return on investment (ROI).

5 Strategies to Boost Social Media Reach in 2018

So, just how can your business deal with the issue of declining social media reach?

Here’s what you should be doing:

1.    Video

When Facebook say video content boosts engagement, it’s worth taking note.

Facebook Live is another option. Although it doesn’t have the same social media reach as native videos do, studies indicate it still trounces text posts.

Native or live, video content is the indisputable king of content now, and it’s here to stay.

2.    Visuals

From GIFs to infographics, catchy images to thought-provoking photos, visuals make a big difference to your content, as proven by the 87% increase in engagement.

3.    Ask for Engagement

Sometimes, to get more likes and shares, all you need to do is ask. But beware of bait-like posts. Instead, aim to incite genuine discussion and conversation.

4.    Paid Ads

With social media reach on the wane, many marketers are exploring paid advertising.

Facebook ads don’t cost much, and with some clever strategy, you can target specific segments of your audience. Ultimately, this ensures your content reaches the people you really want it to.    

5.    Use Brand Advocates

Social media marketing still has the power to build networks. By reaching out to friends, family, and trusted associates, you can get help to amplify your content.

Teams who post their content on personal pages can harness this potential, as people are 16 times as likely to engage in content from a friend rather than a brand.

Quality Over Quantity Is What Matters In Social Media Marketing

Social media reach is not what it was, but it isn’t quite dead yet.

The game has changed, and companies must evolve with it.

Focus more on quality rather than quantity.

By embracing new social media marketing strategies, your company can still build a strong brand on social platforms. Over time, these methods will deliver a solid ROI, and help you achieve real growth.

3 Things You Need To Know About GDPR

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If your company collects customer information for any type of marketing, you probably already have rules in place regarding data privacy. That said, the laws surrounding customer data in Europe are about to change, which means your rules need to, as well.

What Is the GDPR?

The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) is a digital privacy regulation the EU passed back in April, 2016 and goes into effect May 25th, 2018.

Its goal is to standardize all of the different privacy laws in place across the European Union and combine them into a single set of regulations that will apply to every member state. This will make it easier for companies to understand how to remain compliant no matter where they’re doing business.

How Will the GDPR Change My Company’s Data Privacy Practices?

Simply put, your company will need to adapt to this new legislation. Fortunately, complying with these data privacy laws is fairly straightforward. While you can read the full text of the GDRP here, we’ve highlighted the three things you need to know right now. 

1. Asking for Data Permission

If your company uses pre-ticked boxes to automatically opt-in leads that will need to change. The new rules make it very clear that parties must provide consent and that it must be, “freely given, specific, informed, and unambiguous” through a “clear affirmative action.”

Up until this point, you’ve been able to assume that a prospect who fills out any type of webform on your site is fine receiving marketing emails from your company.

However, you now need to make it clear you’ll be sending these emails. The prospect must consent to this by checking a box or taking some other kind of action that proves they understand.

2. Providing Access to Customer Data

The “Right to Be Forgotten” is now law and the GDPR will give people more power over the information your company is allowed to store about them. They can access it or require that you remove it and your company is obliged to make this process as easy as possible.

For marketing emails, this means including a clear “unsubscribe now” button and a place where consumers can easily update their account preferences.

3. Justifying the Data You Collect

One of the reasons data privacy has become such a hot topic in recent years is because people worry about just how much information companies have about them. The GDPR is addressing this by requiring companies to only process data they’ve collected if they also have a legal justification for doing so.

As long as your company can directly link the data it collects to a specific business need, you will be in compliance.

How the GDPR Can Help Your Business

Although it’s vital your company takes the GDPR seriously, the changes shouldn’t be a tremendous burden if you’re aware of the laws and look to proactively comply. In fact, this legislation could actually go a long way in helping your marketing efforts.

For one thing, asking for explicit consent is a good way of ensuring you’re not filling your marketing funnel with leads who don’t actually have a lot of interest in what your company has to offer. Instead, keep your focus on customers who stand the highest likelihood of converting.

Of course, the public has been growing steadily more worried about the information companies have on them. If the GDPR is successful at inspiring confidence, customers should be more comfortable providing you with their data – especially because they know they can always ask you to delete it later.

While the GDPR marks a clear change in traditional data privacy laws, there’s plenty of reason to look for the silver lining in how to use this new regulation to your advantage.

Yes, Gen-Z Kids Are Spending Their Time on YouTube

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It’s astonishing how YouTube transformed into a social media giant so quickly! YouTube was founded in 2005 and ten years later was purchased by Google for $1.65 billion. It has become a social platform leading the charge on original content with many many people watching over 1 billion hours of YouTube videos every day.

The fact that YouTube reaches more 18-49 year-olds than any broadcast or Cable TV network, makes it crystal clear that advertisers wanting to reach a younger audience need to consider spending money on YouTube ASAP (if you want to reach younger viewers, which 99% of us do). I have a few unbelievable statistics on YouTube (with receipts): YouTube is the second largest search engine and third most visited site (behind Google and Facebook), 300 hours of video are uploaded to YouTube every single minute and the number of YouTube channels earning six figures has increased by 50% year over year. And those are just a few of my favorite stats.

What YouTube gets right about being a social platform is its easy to use platform, video recommendations and advertising placements. I’ve personally gone on YouTube for the sole purpose of finding a new trailer for a movie I want to see or wanting to watch that new Halsey video and just getting lost watching recommended videos, one after another, and temporarily forgetting why I came to YouTube in the first place. Their advertising placements work better for the consumer versus Facebook and Instagram where it can feel like you are being overwhelmingly advertised too (after every few posts in my feed sometimes!). YouTube always has an ad at the top of the page and at the beginning of most videos, which is what the consumer has come to expect and generally agrees to watch.

Video is such a powerful way to connect (and advertise) to consumers. But direct advertising on YouTube isn’t the only way to reach that younger audience, influencer marketing on YouTube is a very popular way to reach those Gen-Z kids. They trust influencers opinions and have learned to tune out advertisers. They want to be like these influencers and will buy what they are selling. But the influencer has to be authentic. For example, Summer McKeen in one of her videos says “As you guys know I don’t work with any brands that I don’t truly believe in and truly love” and I believe her. Her love of MVMT sunglasses really shows and is authentic. She also didn’t spend the entire video talking about the glasses, just the beginning, and showed 10+ photos of her wearing them IRL. It wasn’t pushy, forced or fake. She did a better job promoting the brand than most of the influencers I’ve worked with. It reminds me of how the movie “Love Simon” was promoted in an episode of Riverdale and it was cringe-worthy how obvious and unauthentic the placement was. The idea was a good one, but the execution was not successful.

According to AdWeek, influencers hold more sway than celebrities when it comes to branded content. There are high impact influencers and “micro” influencers. The “micro” influencers can easily slip out of popularity if they don’t keep up with their YouTube page. If they stop posting or don’t keep up with the trends they will lose their cult following. There are trends in the YouTube sphere that are popular amongst teen “lifestyle” influencers: A Week in My Life, Shopping at Thrift Stores and more. These lifestyle influencers show their followers their “perfect” life. Influencers on YouTube are the new reality television and radio personalities for today’s teenagers. They tell their viewers how to live their best life: “drink more water,” “make your own green smoothie” and “try this face cream.” Here are some popular teen lifestyle vloggers: Hailey Sani & Nil Sani, Tatiana Ringsby and “Queen” James Charles. What makes them successful? Engaging with fans, posting at least once a week, a lively personality, and being “somewhat” relatable. They shop at Brandy Melville and brought the Pop Socket into popularity.

Don’t underestimate the power of influencers! Use their popularity, influence and content to transform your brand. You can thank me later.

Megan

5 Changes to Make Right Now to Your Facebook Ad Strategy

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Facebook recently announced significant changes to their news feed algorithm that will prioritize human interactions over branded content. CEO Mark Zuckerberg cited a desire, “…to help people stay connected and bring us closer together with the people that matter to us.”

Change has been in the air for some time as Facebook spent the better part of last year under governmental scrutiny for its role in spreading misinformation and fake news.  Additionally, in its Q4 earnings report, Facebook posted a decline in its daily active user base (albeit small) for the first time ever.

The extent to which publishers and brands would be impacted by these impending changes was uncertain. The announcement provided more insight, but the true impact remains to be seen.

As we roll this out, you'll see less public content like posts from businesses, brands, and media. And the public content you see more will be held to the same standard -- it should encourage meaningful interactions between people.”

As expected, the reaction from the ad community was another round of eye rolling directed at a media outlet notorious for changing their algorithms with little to no advance notice. Marketers are often left in the lurch scrambling to explain to clients why ad performance changes dramatically from one week to the next. Thankfully this go-around, Facebook has provided advertisers enough advance notice to begin making adjustments to their content strategies.

Here are 5 shifts marketers should make now to help brands prepare for these changes.

1.     Develop more meaningful content that actively engages consumers and encourages a dialogue within the community. The key is figuring out how to loop in brand relevant messages at the same time.

2.     Move away from any content using engagement bait as Facebook has already called this out as a behavior they will penalize.

3.     Be prepared to pay more to maintain on par results with past ad performance. Organic reach has been on the decline for quite some time and this may be the final nail in the coffin.

4.     Produce higher quality video content that actively engages viewers. Even better if it’s live video. Facebook’s not-so-secret ambitions crystalized last year with the introduction of Watch. Growing their video platform will continue to be a key focus for the publisher moving forward.

5.     Look at creating groups to help build your community. Groups operate on the basis of audience engagement, so this is a tactic likely to perform well under the new algorithm.