Social media is a beautiful and scary creature, a creature that is no longer in its infancy. With Facebook set to celebrate its 14th birthday in 2018 and showing no sign of slowing down, the question of whether to embrace social media trends and adopt them for your business is starting to become a laughable one.
So, new year, new...social media strategy!
While the sentiment doesn’t quite have a sexy ring to it, if your social media strategy is stagnant or simply doesn’t exist, there’s no time like the start of the year to make a change. Treat this article as your guide to nail your social media in 2018.
1. Keep Up With Messages
Social media is connecting consumers with brands like never before. Not only do your customers expect you to be on platforms like Facebook, Instagram and Twitter but you have little choice but to acknowledge their interactions with your account. Gone are the days when a customer would have to call up your head office or visit your physical store to ask a question or make a complaint, they can simply write a review or send you a message via social media. Stay on your customer’s good side by always responding to them or by setting up an automatic Facebook reply detailing how they can best contact you depending on their issue or query. While you’re in the housekeeping mood, why not check to see if your contact information and opening hours are up to date as well?
2. Embrace Paid Advertising
Facebook advertising is something most people are familiar with in 2018, but setting up an effective ad that delivers real return on investment is another story. Last year, a whopping 93% of social media advertisers were using paid Facebook ads to reach their target audience and with Facebook set to change its algorithm to favour profiles instead of business pages, it’s becoming a matter of pay to play or be left behind. While ad creation on Facebook may seem like a minefield, evidence shows that often simple is best. Here are our top tips to create a killer ad:
Create a valuable offer
No matter how fantastic your imagery, copy or budget is - if you’re advertising a lacklustre product or offer, your audience will let you know by simply not engaging. The first step to determining what might be a hit online is to try and put yourself in the shoes of your target consumer. What are their needs? What are their pain points? Aim to be the solution to their problems before they realise they have them and you’re on your way to a winning ad campaign.
Imagery is king
So much of ad performance is dictated by imagery, but choosing the prettiest photo or graphic you can find just won't do the trick. The only way to truly know what will perform best is to split test your ads to find out. If you're creating imagery yourself, Crave New Media has a guide on how to make the most of your camera phone, or if you’d rather leave it to the professionals then you can of course hand it off to our in-house photography team.
Video is going from strength to strength
You’d only need to be an occasional Facebook user to notice that video is continuing to reign supreme on the platform. In 2017 Nielsen found that when a person views even just a few seconds of video posted by a brand their rates of ad recall, brand awareness and purchase consideration were increased. Don’t be disappointed if your audience doesn’t watch your whole video this year though, as evidence shows that 47% of the value of a Facebook video happens in the first 3 seconds. Your goal should be to capture your audience’s attention quickly with video if you want to make them stay and watch for longer.
Keep Copy Simple
Think of some of the most compelling ads you’ve seen online, were they text heavy? Online audiences want their content quick and digestible which means no lengthy paragraphs or text heavy images. Facebook has even made its own cheat sheet for creating strong ad copy.
3. Embrace the algorithm, immerse in analytics
Advertisers felt the full brunt of the Instagram algorithm in 2017, and while the user experience is still sometimes questionable with the algorithm, as a business it’s more worthwhile working with it rather than against it. How your audience interacts with your posts on Instagram strongly determines how high it will rank in their feed. While this does include the obvious - how many likes and comments the post receives, it’s also influenced by how quickly users engage and how long they spend interacting with your content. Does your audience respond better to photos of your product or behind the scenes action of your staff? To make the most out of the algorithm, we suggest experimenting with the types of content you post to Instagram (this includes experimenting with captions!) and then using Instagram’s Insights feature to assess the success.
4. Story time
Instagram stories are the perfect place to give your followers a backstage pass into your business; by showing the people behind it, the creation of your product or even by giving them a say by using polls for market research. And the best thing about all of this? Since the content is quite disposable, while it’s important to have strategy behind it, there’s less pressure for the content itself to be polished and perfect.
If 2017 wasn’t the year of the micro-influencer, 2018 definitely will be. The definition of the term itself is open to a bit of debate, but basically a micro-influencer is an individual with a medium sized following (think between 5,000-15,000 followers) on Instagram. Micro-influencers are powerful. Their online presence has been built from emotional connections with their audience so product endorsements come across as a recommendation, rather than a paid ad. We recommend finding micro-influencers relevant to your product or geographical location for the most impact. For more detailed information on influencer marketing, Crave has written a full guide.
Social media in 2018 is full of twists and turns. Now is the best time to re-evaluate your social strategy and stay ahead of the game! Immerse yourself in the new algorithm changes and play hard. Good luck!
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