Social Media is a huge interest of mine. I’m of the Myspace top 5, change your layout monthly, and add an intro song era but I absolutely appreciate the evolution of this space. If you haven’t kicked off your 2019 Social Media strategy, don’t worry. We are still in the first quarter of 2019 and I’ll be sharing a few tips to help shape your Social Strategy.
First things first, 2018 was the year of the side eye.
The whole year uncovered problems including a lack of transparency with targeting, hate speech, and oppression across various cultural groups, fake accounts, and fake likes. These dark moments left us all with that “again” feeling. That being said and acknowledged, I believe 2019 will be the year social comes full circle and returns to why it was created; to build communities. Building communities that share like-minded connections, values, and trust to provide uncensored and open communication exchanges.
With a refocus at the core, advertising across Social is predicted to drive considerable revenue. This year, marketers are expected to generate marketers are expected to generate $39B in revenue through social media; however, brands will need to be thoughtful about how they interact with people across the platforms. With that said, we will continue to see Paid and Organic strategies integrate, so at any touch-point, the person to brand experience is connected. The brands that rise to the top will be able to relate to what matters most to their core audiences personally and culturally. Shout out Nike and Patagonia for their examples, but this isn’t just an area for the mega-brands to play. People want brands to show their values and engage in these conversations on Social platforms. According to a 2018 Sprout Social study, 66% of consumers say it’s vital for brands to take public stands on social and political issues, 60% are more willing to buy from (or boycott) brands that make a stance, and 58% are open to this happening on Social.
The good news: People want to hear and identify with brands across Social platforms. The better news: Social has evolved, and there are many tools available to plan ahead. The best news: here is a quick strategy guide you can use to support any Socially focused initiative.
- Develop an audience strategy. Who are you trying to reach and connect with? Is it Millennials, Gen Z, Horror Enthusiasts and/or Parents?
- Once an audience(s) is identified, use social listening and insights to understand which platforms are native to the audience, what matters most to them and where the people/brand value intersects
- Identify the main campaign KPI. What do you want your audience to do? (i.e., watch a video, go to your website, share)
- Develop a content strategy that resonates with the audience and matches your KPI always keeping the “why should they care” question top of mind
- Use a conservative budget to test content ideas against a small sample size of the pre-selected audience(s) to get a read on creative resonance and relevance
- Strategically scale the wining performance(s), while monitoring audience overlap especially if testing two or more segments
- Continue to optimize media performance, while keeping a pulse on how your audience is responding and reacting
At the end of the day, if the value exchange is mutually beneficial, people will believe in you and buy from you.
Now let’s dive into each platforms focus for this year.
Facebook will advocate its less is more approach to targeting the 2B plus users across the platform. The larger the audience, the more opportunity there will be for algorithmic learning and scale. There may be times when a niche audience is desired for targeting, but balance is essential so that the algorithm can learn. Use all available placements (Messenger, In-Feed, Stories, In-Stream, etc.) to balance targeting and scale. From a product standpoint, I’m excited to see Watch and Groups evolve and possibly work more closely together because they still share the core elements of a community. One of the main reasons I go to Facebook is to get my Red Table Talk fix. With CTA stickers now available and the on-platform and Messenger stories global roll-out, Facebook is looking to build mass stories momentum.
Instagram will double down on more shoppable experiences. According to Instagram more than 200M accounts visit one or more business profiles each day! And with the launch of shopping stickers, people can buy from videos they see in their feed; save items to a specific “shopping collection” in their saved posts, and buy from business profiles more easily. Testing shopping in the explore section is also rolling out as a new way to influence the shopping discovery phase, the platform is making itself a worthy shopping destination competitor to possibly the likes of Amazon. Outside of shopping, IGTV was a hot item last year. Really hoping the long-form video play didn’t fizz out and there are opportunities for advertising and monetization this year.
Twitter will continue to be the moment based go-to platform using promoted and in-stream video packages to drive conversation and awareness. I’d love to see new ad solutions, specifically focused on improving their direct response capabilities. Has anyone had success with the platform in this arena (rhetorical)? From a product standpoint, chronological order may be coming back and can we finally get an edit button? #ijs
Pinterest just released their 2019 Seasonal Guide for Inspiration. The guide is a planning chart that highlights when on-platform interest starts to ramp up and when to accelerate with paid advertising. According to SocialMediaToday , the platform is growing faster than Snapchat and Twitter and should really be seen as a product discovery engine. I encourage Brands partner with the platform during awareness and consideration phases of the Consumer Journey. During a time when consumers are in research mode. To that end, I would like to see a dedicated focus on non-intrusive ad products, specifically around the visual search capability.
Snapchat definitely has the reach against Gen Z and Millennials but for marketers looking to reach a slightly older demo, comes up short. For Snap to be top of mind at all times, there will need to be diversity in the product mix that looks outside of its filter and lens experience. With some success around commercials, it might be interesting for Snap to consider broader partnerships with publishers to round out the age factor.
LinkedIn is overhauling their campaign manager for advertisers. The beta release of Objective-Based buying happened last year (finally), and the overhaul was designed to lay the groundwork for objective-based buying to come mid-year this year. This is big news for my thought leadership spenders.
I am not sleeping on the growth of Reddit, Giphy, and Tik Tok. These platforms have dedicated communities, and because people are spending time, the opportunity for value exchange is high. With growth comes thoughtful partnerships and scaled advertising opportunities. Well, there you have it. A few ideas and tips to get you started. I would love to hear your thoughts as well, so leave me a comment and let’s discuss.