Social media has ultimately become the new playground that reaches all demographic segments. It has changed the way businesses find and communicate with their audience by replacing business cards with popping up in audiences’ feeds, making it easy for them to provide value upfront before asking anything from a potential customer.
As the importance of social platforms grow, they are also becoming too cluttered and challenging for focused and meaningful communication. For investors interested in making diverse investments across different business categories, it would be an inefficient affair to track and stay informed about each business segment without needed help.
Executives overwhelmingly agree that businesses are increasingly moving their e-commerce to social media. The vast majority also agree that social media commerce is an increasing portion of their company’s marketing-driven revenue. In the opinion of most executives, social media will soon become the primary channel for customer service/support. More than four in ten consumers report contacting a company’s customer service by sending a private message or posting publicly on social media platforms.
Almost 80% of institutional investors use social media as part of their regular workflow, and approximately 30% of them said that information they gathered on social media has influenced an investment recommendation or decision. On the other hand, 34% of retail investors have made at least one change to their investments as a result of announcements seen on social media.
Social media’s impact on investing is not a new concept, despite being amplified over the past year with the meme stock frenzy. The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has started allowing publicly traded companies to report news and earnings via social media platforms in 2013, leading to an increased flow of information to investors.
Soc-Med investment to support businesses
Social media as the unifying new playground is every marketer’s dream come true. It offers free access to a vast audience of potential customers for any product or service. Safe to say, majority of marketers are already using social media in their respective work.
Many small businesses feel regret in assuming that social media is a game for only the big players with a big disposable marketing budget on hand. On the contrary, it is a level platform where smaller brands can best grow and engage directly with both present and future customers, then scale up in advertising as business grows.
With the heightened importance of increasing social media presence, budgets for social are expected to increase by 91% in at least the next three years.
According to Sprout Social 2021 Content Benchmarks Report, businesses that do not invest in social media marketing will be left behind wherein 80% of business executives think it is very important or absolutely essential to invest additional resources. Most consumers agree that brands and companies need a strong social media presence for them to succeed in the long run.
The goal is to inform
Remember that consumers are always looking for information. And the quickest access is online. Having a well populated platform along with a strong social content strategy that is connected to consumers’ interests, needs, and wants.
Relevance matters. That is, 30% of consumers will unfollow a brand if they feel that it isn’t catering to their needs and expectations. Consistent publishing on social is key.
In terms of social media goals, 58% of marketers say increasing brand awareness is their primary objective and 41% say increasing community engagement is their top priority. In addition to maintaining a regular publishing cadence, brands also need to interact with their audience to stay top of mind and strengthen those relationships. Another opportunity is to increase their average outbound engagements per day.
The social media environment is so fast-paced, which makes content go obsolete quick. That’s why posting regularly is essential because it’s unlikely that your audience is seeing your message frequently enough for it to be memorable and make an impact.
On the other hand, it’s also true that you don’t want to overwhelm the audience with posts, which can lead them to unfollow or block you. Try to balance your content schedule by posting several times per week, and spreading the posts across all your social channels. It will take a bit of trial and error, but once you determine a posting cadence that is effective for reaching your target audience, continue to do that until the environment changes.
Quality content makes the difference
Over the recent years, consumers have become more aware of the pages they follow, who they interact with, and what kind of content they want to see on their feeds. Overwhelming them with tons of posts won’t increase the effectiveness of your campaign. On the contrary, they might grow bored or get fed up, and might no longer want to interact with you.
According to Sprout Social, about two in three consumers attribute a high level of importance to responsive customer service in creating a positive experience. In addition, approximately three in five also consider the relevance of content as an important factor, while around one in two consider understanding them as customers and creativity of content as very important, even essential.
Below are a few tips to help create top-notch social media content this year.
Ensure the quality of the creatives
In learning about brands or companies, Sprout Social reports that social media comes close to traditional modes of broadcast like television or radio. In fact, a third of the respondents say that it would be their preferred way going forward. Focusing on Gen Z, they are significantly more likely than all others to learn about brands or companies on social media.
So it’s worth noting to remember that creatives speak louder than words. But if it doesn’t present the offer in an appealing way, there’s very little hope the content will deliver results.
Make sure that you should always check if the photos or videos are
- Correct sizes
- Optimized to be viewed correctly on all devices
- High resolution
- Matches the platform you intended to use
- Include all the desired elements
In its study, Sprout Social also indicated that video is valuable but underused by marketers. The most valuable content that helped achieved their goals primarily used video (54%), next are images (53%) and text posts (30%). Despite this, the common practice is still in favor of photos and posts containing links.
Bring value to whatever you post
Publish posts you’d like to read. Audiences are bombarded with so much information nowadays, so cutting through the noise is a challenging but necessary task. Your audience may be looking for more than just generic information, and always ensure you have a takeaway.
- Instead of simply posting a photo of a dish, share the recipe.
- Rather than just listing your brick-and-mortar store’s location, provide a map and directions.
- Linking to an app? Take screenshots, use customer submissions, or creative images instead of the usual URL
- Increase impact of a fact with data from a verifiable source, brand ambassadors’ anecdote, or social proof
Verify the quality of your audience
Social media enables consumers to engage and interact with brands and companies with at least two in five reports that they engage with a brand or company by ‘liking’ its posts or following it on social media. A third leaves a review, and about one in four share content.
When content strategies fail, it may not be the content or communication itself that is the problem – it could be the audience that you are trying to reach. In developing your social media strategies, always keep your buyer personas in mind.
Design your audience based on their characteristics and interests. Though your content may be of high quality, if it does not resonate with your followers they won’t be interested in what you’re offering.
Follow your social media strategy
Your social media strategy is your roadmap for all your social media posts. Problems arise when there is a lack of strategy, or from publishing whatever and whenever something comes to mind. Developing a social media strategy is an essential task that promises to optimize content performance.
In creating your social media strategy:
- Align it with your business objective or if you’re running a particular campaign thematic
- Choose the proper KPI for your objective, ie awareness (reach, impression), engagement (engagement rate), conversion (ROAS)
- Determine optimal post time and frequency
- Conduct periodic competitive analyses
- Regularly review your strategy to see what worked and what didn’t
Diversify content types
Try to diversify your content to bring freshness to your communication. This also creates an impression that you are one with the times, and stays current with your customers’ journey.
You can test various combinations of content and see which ones work best for your audience:
- Make a photo collage or post a carousel instead of a single photo
- Offering discounts? Ditch the graphic with a discount code, run a post using the Offer format on Facebook
- Instead of sending your followers to YouTube or Vimeo, trim your videos and publish it natively on your social media platform
- Similarly, use Story or Reels as an alternative
- Will your brand benefit from going Live? Try it!
Testing is an integral part of social media work. What’s effective for one segment may not be for another. Content that is attractive, catchy or trendy for Millennials may be off-putting for the rest of your audiences. Truth is, there’s no magic formula in social media content and different platforms may have different engagement results.
Add calls to action in your posts
While most consumers today see social media to connect with friends and family, at least one in four use it to discover, learn, purchase, or recommend products, services, or brands. Hence, each piece of content should have a goal behind it via a call to action.
CTAs are not always buttons or elements of a graphic design. While an image is eye-catching, CTAs can also be the final sentence in your posts telling the audience what you want them to do and how they should respond through completing a specific action.
Personalize the experience
Make your social media followers feel special, talk to them directly. There’s no comparison to content that makes readers feel like you took time to get to know them, using words they understand and images or videos that they will appreciate.
There will be times when you will run out of material and that’s okay. You can try reposting from user reviews and tap influencers.
According to Sprout Social, customer reviews and company website information lead the list of most influential sources for making purchasing decisions, followed by social media posts by friends and other ads. To evaluate products or services before buying, nearly two in three consumers read reviews on a company’s website and about one in two read reviews on forums or social media.
Hard Selling is a “NO” on social media
Sprout Social also stated that the use of social media is clearly on the rise across all aspects of the customer lifecycle. Compared to a year ago, about two out of five consumers increased their use of social media to discover or learn about new products, services, brands — an increase expected to carry on in the next three years.
Simply put, they know what they want and where to get the information. There’s no need for hard selling, which almost always put them off.
Content should be tailored not only to your business objectives but more so, to the needs of your customers. Solve their problems, make the content useful.
Talk about your products or service’s values and benefits; don’t result to cliches.
Use social media tools
Social media tools are created to make the management of your social accounts easier.
From design to scheduling, CRM to analytics, the tools are there to help social media managers to optimize a few of the processes and free up time for creative and strategic thinking.
Sprout social, Hootsuite, Hey Orca are some of the widely used tools. And don’t forget that most of the platforms have also upgraded their account dashboards, e.g. FB Business Manager, and therefore gives better analytics since its internal – and FREE.
Moving Forward in Social
According to Sprout Social, most businesses acknowledge social media as the popular external communications channel. A strong majority (84%) expect their company’s use of social media for
communications to increase over the next three years. Nearly one in two businesses consider it their primary channel now and even more–58%–anticipate it to become their primary channel.
Although business executives generally feel that their company’s current social media strategy is effective, fewer than half consider it very effective on any measure. For nearly half of businesses, engaging with customers is the main goal of their current social media strategy. Increasing sales and growing their customer base are leading the list of priorities for the next three years.
Virtually all executives share the sentiment that companies will rely more heavily on social data to identify business opportunities outside of marketing. They also anticipate increased use of social media data for Product, R&D, Sales, HR and Data Analytics departments to inform strategy and business decisions.
As social media has the capacity to enable consumers to engage and interact with brands and companies, at least two in five report they engage with a brand or company by ‘liking’ its posts or following it on social media; nearly one in three leave a review and about one in four share brand or company related content. Hence, because the audience has gone completely mobile—regardless of generation—social media investment remains feasible in the long run.
Consumers are expecting brands and companies to interact with their customers in meaningful ways, and businesses agree that creating interactive experiences for customers is critical for their success as over half consumers say that they find it to be more engaging to connect with a brand or company on social than to visit a physical store. Therefore, it comes as no surprise that most anticipate social media to be the main channel for brands and companies to reach out to their customers.
That said, consumers also expect companies to use customer social data responsibly and to have transparent privacy policies. Around six in ten customers report that responsible use of their social data and transparent privacy policies are essential in creating a positive experience with a brand or company on social media.