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Maximising social in an ever-changing environment

Date Posted: 10 November, 2017
Maximising social in an ever-changing environment

Whether it be Zuckerburg and his charity VR initiative or Trump and his over-eager thumbs, there’s no doubting that we’ve been witness to a drastic change in social over the last few years. It’s developed into an increasingly global notion, no longer purely indicating friendship though including wider sentiments such as influence and perception.

As such, it’s become increasingly hard for brands and consumers alike to try and keep pace with the changes going on. Below we’ve noted three key areas brands especially need to get to grips with to ensure they continue maximising their social impact moving forward.

 

Organic posts are losing potency

Gone are the days when the right content would nail users a viral hit. Okay, that may not be totally accurate across the board, though it’s undoubtedly a fact of the modern social machine that paid social is becoming more and more beneficial, with organic posts achieving very little when compared to the results of their paid-for compatriots.

On average less than 2% of your audience will see your post organically, no matter the content. This is due to Facebook’s own algorithms, which are designed to force brands to pay to play and also the sheer volume of Facebook posting – on average there are 1,500 daily posts which could appear in a person’s feed, though obviously not everything is shown.

Almost to drive the point home, Facebook recently announced that they are trialling a new system in a number of countries, including Slovakia and Sri Lanka, that shifts non-promoted posts out of its news feed, with the change seeing users’ engagement with Facebook pages drop by 60-80%. Although there are serious reservations about the success of the test, it’s indicative of where the interest lies, and how we should expect platforms to develop their strategies moving forward.

 

Spend time planning and developing your content

At the heart of every good social campaign is a strategy and plan devised well ahead of time, with some thought going into the quality of the content posted. Brands need to be willing to put in the time to research and design the likes of infographics and graphs to ensure they give their audience something they can engage with.

Part and parcel of this is the understanding of what types of content work, the leader of the pack right now undoubtedly being video. With platforms such as Facebook designed to maximise its impact, with recent alterations including videos automatically playing when users scroll down their feed, they are the most successful means of maximising the time users spend on a page online, thus making them the most valuable.

It’s important not to forget however that content continues to be king, whether it be video or otherwise. Customers who enjoy their interactions with a brand are also 7x more likely to try new offers and 8x more likely to trust brands in the future. This positive interaction is created by producing good quality content focused on your audience interests. Despite this, a recent study by Marketo showed that only 61% of business are using the right type of content to engage with their target audience, suggesting there’s still plenty of work to be done in this area.

 

Expand and develop your key relationships on social

Alongside all of the planning and paid content brands should be investing in, there’s no getting around the fact that old fashioned networking is just as essential to really make the most out of social. The most obvious way in which this tends to work is via referral relationships, where brands may approach a leader in their field to post about their products or messaging in return for payment, product placement or otherwise.

A notable recent feature of this is the emergence of the influencer. A report by Deloitte found that 47% of millennials say their purchase decisions are influenced by social media, though it isn’t just their direct link to sales that makes them an important social contact. As we see a continual move towards paid content becoming more and more commonplace, they are also a way of interacting with a brand’s core audience, creating a halo effect and reaching those on the periphery. Alongside understanding the importance of putting money behind social and planning the right content, relationship building is going to prove itself ever more integral to successful social strategies and campaigns as we continue to see the landscape to shift and change.

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