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.

Evolution of the Digital Marketing Landscape

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Digital disruption is a hot topic among marketers.

While the biggest websites in the world have held a tight grip on their places for years, seismic shifts in the marketing landscape have begun to unsettle some digital giants.

It seems the future isn’t as certain as it was before.

The Fall of Facebook

Over the past two years, Facebook has been hit with one storm after another, from fake news and Holocaust deniers, to the Cambridge Analytica scandal.

The backlash has been epic, with traffic being decimated, falling dramatically from 8.5 billion monthly visits to around 4.7 billion in just two years.

CEO, Mark Zuckerberg, hasn’t been immune to the damage either, as his personal net worth fell by a jaw-dropping $15 billion in July. It was the biggest single-day wipeout in the history of U.S. stock market losses.

However, don’t get the tombstone out just yet.

Facebook is much more than their own namesake property, as the parent company still owns WhatsApp and Instagram.

One is rapidly becoming the world’s favorite instant messaging platform, while the latter is arguably the hottest platform in social media right now, thanks to the world’s new-found obsession with visual content.

Facebook might be down, but it’s not gone which is good news, as they have some serious competition on their hands.

The Rising Digital Giants That Are Changing the Digital Marketing Landscape

Have you heard?

Content is no longer king.

Video content is king.

By 2019, video content will account for some 80% of all internet traffic. So, it’s no surprise that YouTube is bigger than ever, and Facebook is pushing video hard. It’s new Watch platform is Facebook’s very own TV channel.

Research shows that the YouTube video platform now has more than 1.8 billion active monthly users, putting it in 3rd place behind Facebook and Google.

Interestingly though, it is growing at twice the rate of Facebook, with user numbers up 20% from 1.5 billion over the past year.

And then there’s Amazon.

Currently fourth among the digital giants, Amazon is dominating retail, with expectations that they will account for at least 80% of total growth of the entire ecommerce market this year.

The rise from online bookstore to far-reaching technological behemoth has been astonishing. In just three years, revenue has surged from $149B in 2015 to $258B this year, increasing 29% since 2017.

With these big changes among the major forces, companies must consider how to adapt in the new digital marketing landscape.

How Marketers Are Adapting Their Digital Strategies

Facebook made big changes to its algorithm this year, with a desire to reconnect people with their friends and family, and thus retain their user base.

What that really meant for companies was it became even more of a ‘pay to play’ platform than it already was.

Social media is abundant with opportunities to build targeted audiences for your brand.

However, the changes mean that to really reach a large audience, you need to use paid advertising.

The cost of Facebook advertising is on the rise, having grown 70% since 2017. Marketers continue to pay it though, as denoted by the 40% bump in overall spending.

It seems that rising prices are little deterrent for ambitious marketers, as many companies realize the overall ROI of targeted ads is worth investing in.

Amazon too have hiked their prices, with Prime membership growing to $119/year, with almost no negative impact on traffic and sign-ups.

CEO, Jeff Bezos, revealed this year that subscriber numbers have topped 100 million, making it a worthy rival to Netflix.

What Does the Future Hold for Digital Marketers?

The digital marketing landscape is always shifting.

Facebook looks set to slip behind YouTube and the unstoppable force of Amazon.

Video marketing is undoubtedly the way to go now, regardless of your industry.

The younger demographics have helped Instagram grow by 80% since last year.

To remain relevant to your audience, decide on the best platform for your brand and build a video content strategy that appeals to your audience’s needs.

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.