Category : Facebook

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2019 trends

Social Media Marketing Trends in 2019

Depending on how you look at it, social media marketing (SMM) has been evolving for more than 20 years. Ever since the 1997 launch of the very first social media site, Six Degrees, marketers have considered how (or if) they can use platforms to engage target audiences. For the first decade, SMM was primarily organic, as marketers tried to connect the way we do with personal friends. It still works to a degree, if done correctly, but in the last 10 years paid advertising has taken hold and continues to grow.

Yes, SMM presents opportunities for brands and businesses, but also tough challenges. The many platforms evolve independently, with changing algorithms, technologies, audience behaviors and preferences, and the occasional government regulation. That pace can be head-spinning, at times occurring abruptly or within a short span of months

Of the many resources that help us understand the SMM landscape, one of the most insightful is the 2019 Social Media Marketing Industry Report, directed by Michael Stelzner, co-founder of Social Media Examiner. The longest-running study of its kind, this 11thannual edition surveys how more than 4,800 marketers worldwide—representing all industry sectors and organizational sizes—currently use or plan to use social media.

The 2019 report is available to download, and we’d like to share here some of the interesting trends that it reveals, as discussed by Michael Stelzner on the Social Media Marketing Talk Show…

Facebook is trending down for the first time in five years. In 2013, Facebook was the most important marketing channel for 52% of survey participants, steadily rising to 67% in 2018 before slipping back to 61% this year. Why? Stelzner suggests that almost all organic activity is being repressed, perhaps in response to Facebook’s privacy and politics concerns of the last few years. According to 77% of survey participants, the platform is getting more complicated and providing diminishing returns on the effort.

Instagram continues to grow. In 2015, only 2% of marketers said it was their single most important marketing platform. Since then it has climbed respectively to 4%, 7%, 10% and now 14%, earning a rank only slightly above LinkedIn. Moreover, 69% plan to increase their use of Instagram. Marketers are especially interested in the popular Stories feature (reportedly, 100 million are consumed each day). Yet they are also still learning that Stories require well-planned, consistent, attention-getting content. Time will tell whether organic content continues to be effective on Instagram, or whether algorithms shift, pushing marketers to rely increasingly on paid content, as they have on Facebook.

Live video is weak, and will remain so without planning and investment. Much like Stories, the effective use of Facebook’s live video requires significant resources, time and patience to realize a return on investment. Meanwhile, the algorithms appear to be repressing the content. No surprise then that only 35% of survey participants use it, and 44% want nothing to do with it. Conversely, Stelzner notes, low utilization rates may create opportunities for those who can do it the right way.

Interest in Messenger bots is fading. Facebook launched Messenger’s chatbot feature in 2016 and by 2018, 70% of the survey pool wanted to learn more about them. This year, just 14% actually use them, 45% care to learn more, and 53% have no plans to use Messenger bots. As it turns out, the programming them is quite complicated, and marketers still question whether their audiences seek or expect meaningful engagement with bots, at least with current AI technology.

Diversification is critical.Some businesses may do well by marketing on just one or two social media platforms, but that is becoming increasingly difficult, especially on Facebook. Stelzner says the future there about privacy and groups, as exposure and reach become harder for those who don’t invest heavily. Thus, as they have since long before the dawn of social media, marketers must continue to innovate, strategize and discover the channels where they can best engage and serve their target audience.

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Social Media

Customizing Your Message to Your Social Media Audience

Your business has several different social media channels – but that doesn’t mean you should be posting the same content on each of them! Different social media platforms attract a variety of users so you should have individualized strategies for each with how, when and what you post on each.

Instagram

This channel has over 1 billion account users on it and is considered a prime platform to reach 18-30 year olds globally. Since purchasing it in 2012, Facebook has rolled out significant updates to this mobile app to help businesses see demographic data of followers and post performance. This platform is primarily visual with more time being spent by users on their Stories and IGTV function (newly launched long format video function) every day. It has even surpassed Snapchat usage.

Infographic: Instagram Stories Blows Past Snapchat | Statista

So what should you be posting on Instagram for your business? Stories about your company with a look at behind the scenes, employee spotlights or insights into your business culture tend to trend very well in popularity. Stories can be a combination of video and photos shared during working hours, Monday through Friday – one of the busiest times for Instagram traffic.  Don’t forget to add #Hashtags and use Emoji’s wisely in your posts & comments!

Facebook

Facebook has been adopted largely by the 30 to 65+ crowd over the past 5 years giving this platform the largest social media footprint globally with over 2 BILLION users. Many businesses adopted this platform and with the advent of Facebook Business Pages, have great insight into post performance, audience and other key performance indicators. With recent changes to Facebook algorithms, some business are finding it harder to reach their customers with their posts being served to an average of only 2% of their followers.

Video is now favored by Facebook over regular, static posts and it also has a Stories function as well. While FB Stories is not as popular as Instagram’s, any video post will be served up to followers more frequently than other posts within the normal news feed. Facebook is also a great platform to post static announcements and events! Facebook’s event spin off “Local” app is quickly being adopted by businesses to promote webinars, special events or sales with Facebook’s geo-targeting capabilities. Utilize Facebook for important company events, post videos (again behind the scenes or LIVE events are popular), integrate some #Hashtags and again include a few Emojis for best results.

LinkedIn

Considered the “professional” virtual networking platform. LinkedIn is a great source for B2B business building and recruitment. LinkedIn was purchased by MicroSoft in 2016 and has since made several other acquisitions to become an important recruitment tool in the business world. So what should you be doing on LinkedIn?

On your personal page, you should be reaching out to new connections on a regular basis to grow your network. Giving and asking for skill endorsements as well as recommendations are important to increase your profile’s credibility. Additionally, posting articles and news feed items that your connections like or comment on raises your profile’s visibility.

On your Company page, posting articles will again raise the profile of your page. Ask people to follow it via your personal page and monitor the insights available on the company page. What are people liking / commenting on? Continue to serve up content that will attract more followers. Making it a mix of other content sources and original content (like from your website’s blog!) will again help your company’s overall SEO.

Google+

When coming up with a marketing strategy, working to boost your company’s social media profile and boosting your company’s website SEO can be accomplished by utilizing Google+. Who uses Google+ still? Well, there are some die-hard communities that still utilize this platform, like Social Media Professionals, but when Google looks for search results for your query, it likes to look at its own properties first – like Google+ and Google My Business. By posting on Google+, your content is going to be picked up on relevant searches before other external sources. The content doesn’t have to be different from items you are posting on other social media platforms either – you just need to post it!

Bottom line is, a majority of Americans are now engaging on-line everyday with one or more social media platforms. Having a specific strategy to reach your specific audience is crucial in today’s busy Social Media realm. Reach out to Social Thrive today to get started on your social media strategy plan!

 

 

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Social Media Legal Matters and Copyright Questions Answered

We can all agree that Social Media channels are among the most informal spaces for users and marketers. With that comes a much more relaxed attitude about certain things, including Copyright, Trademarks, and other legalities. We often receive questions from clients regarding these topics and so we decided to lay it out on our blog.

Often times clients confuse what’s OK for individual users to post on Social and what’s LEGAL for business to post.

There really is no right answer, and we are not lawyers, but we can offer up some best practices and rules of thumb to help keep you on the safer side. Any look on Google for “answers” (because well it’s 2017 :P), most “answers” you see are very confusing and far more complex and in-depth than most marketers and business owners expect or would like. Here are the top three concerns we often talk about with clients:

  1. Trademarking Logos
  2. Stock photos
  3. Music

Trademark

Trademark laws typically cover anything that might be used to identify a company, so of course, most logos are created entirely for this reason, which means logos are generally protected under Trademark Laws. You might ask why larger companies don’t use the TM or R symbols across their platforms and the answer is simple, a large company known by millions is not going to have as many people trying to steal their logo or use their logo in an inappropriate way. For much smaller companies that may not be the case which is why our research leads us to one thing: be proactive, adding the TM or R symbol to your logo is a great way to help prevent others from using your logo.

Photos

“If it’s on the internet it’s fair game.” We hear this a lot. While in many cases using images you don’t own on Facebook is common, given credit to the owner of the image is always recommended. Anytime you are using someone else’s image you are using property that THEY own, not you. However, DO NOT, in any case, use any image you don’t own on a business website. Even with giving the owner credit, this could get you in big trouble. Be sure to purchase or get written consent before publishing images on your website. The biggest distinction is to think of it this way: if you’re using someone’s creative property to sell or make money (whether in an ad or on your website (a place of business), and the person can sue you. Unless there is a Creative Commons License stamped on the image, it is royalty-free, or you have paid for a stock image, you do not have rights to those images.

If asking for permission or buying the image is not an option, there are plenty of great FREE stock photo websites.  One royalty free website we can confidently recommend is Unsplash. Facebook also has a massive stock library of photos free for you to use if you are advertising on their platform. *OR* be original and create your own custom images. It’s the best way to 100% avoid any issues with Copyright laws and is the best way to personalize your brand!

Music

Another common concern we hear about is using or creating videos with music. Facebook is going to much greater lengths to control what videos are put out on Facebook and many of you have probably run into this in the past with YouTube already. If you try to create a Facebook Live video and Facebook bots hear copyrighted music they will stop your video immediately.

Just like images you use on your pages, you must have rights to the music you use. Ways to avoid running into an issue like this would be by getting your music through websites such as https://audiojungle.net/ or the YouTube music library if you’re on YouTube. It might not be as great as your favorite Beyoncé single but in the long term, it can prevent any potential lawsuits.

While this topic is complex and ever-evolving, we believe some of the best practices we listed above will help you to steer clear of any legal troubles you could come across. Knowledge is power, here is a link from the government to learn more about copyright and copyright laws. If you have further questions about topics we didn’t cover in this blog, just reach out to us!

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Social Media on your Brand

Social Media Impacts Your Company’s Brand

Nowadays, it’s incredibly common for people to check out an organization’s Facebook page before buying its product or service. As we know, first impressions are crucial even on the web! The messages an organization frames on social media can receive heavy traffic so they must accurately portray it.

Branding in the Age of Social Media

Facebook has become a mecca for updating where you are and what you are doing there. You might discover a new restaurant when your friends tag themselves there for a romantic dinner. You may learn of a new place for your kids to play when a fellow mom posts pictures of her kids having fun there. Now more than ever, we have access to information on organizations.

We want to go to a company’s Facebook page to find out more about it. We can read reviews, see images, and find links to its website.There is this increased desire to share our experiences, good or bad, with each other. People can get passionate about their like or dislike for a brand. With the help of social media people can share those strong feelings. An online review and rating can make or break a person’s decision about a brand.

So does this make branding easier or harder?

The answer is not so simple. The ability to build brand awareness may be more achievable. However, it is challenging and time consuming to maintain relationships with the public. Studies done by the Pew Research Center say that 69% of Americans use social media.  These numbers continue to climb. According to a survey by Cone Communications, 93% of those people expect companies to have a social media presence. 

This doesn’t just mean Facebook. It includes all of the main social mediums, Twitter, Snapchat, Instagram, and LinkedIn.

It’s not as simple as having a social media presence. The goal is to use each form of social media in the best ways to frame effective messages that reach consumers. There is a science behind when and what to post. It’s usually connected to an overall larger communication plan that is carefully crafted based on research. Social media also provides an opportunity to connect with the public in a personal way and respond to customer complaints.

This is why it is crucial for an organization to have a social media expert on it’s PR team to represent the brand.

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social media

Optimizing your Social Media Presence

Effective use of social media is a necessity in today’s business landscape. All forms of social media provide opportunities to get in touch with customers in a quick and relatively inexpensive way. Jayson DeMers recently wrote about optimizing social media profiles for Forbes. In this post, we’re going to share some of his tips, as well as our own, to help get your social media presence on Facebook into tip-top shape.

Visuals
The cover photo is the perfect place to get creative and to express the essence of your business. For example, restaurants might want to choose a picture that features a signature or popular dish. It is also important to consider that mobile devices account for 65 percent of all digital screen time. Therefore, be sure that your cover photo will format well on computers, 828 x 315 pixels, as well as smartphones, 640 x 360 pixels.

Information
Customers will often seek out information about a business on social media before using any other avenue. Use the ‘About’ section of Facebook to your advantage by providing as much information as possible in a clear and concise manner. Include any external website addresses as well as hours of operation and physical location. In regards to content, don’t just share products or services. Add value by sharing articles, videos and photos that relate to your business and its lifestyle.

Interaction
Creating an online presence for your business does not have to be time-consuming. Set aside a certain amount of time each day or week to respond to inquiries and schedule posts. Interact with your followers by sharing behind the scenes information and company news with them. Respond to comments and questions with an upbeat and friendly tone and re-post positive reviews from satisfied customers. In order to encourage more interaction from your followers, consider running a social media contest or creating a unique, business related hashtag.

Remember, it is worse to have an inactive social presence than none at all! Starting with these tips should put your business on the right track. Feel free to reach out to us on social media for guidance or help getting started.

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Facebook: Sneaky Ad Updates!

YIKES! Facebook is rolling out more and more monetizing opportunities on users newsfeeds. When you work everyday in Online Marketing like us, you can easily spot updates to a social platform that haven’t yet been announced.  A few times recently, I’ve noticed that Facebook has a way to identify if a congrats is in order to your friends… and subsequently prompts a gift purchase. Not only am I assuming that algorithm is triggered to surprise your friend who is mentioning a life event (without technically adding a  life event to their profile), but it’s also surprising the end-user because it isn’t technically your typical ad location seen on Facebook.

We’d like to see the stats of which Facebook users have taken advantage of this prompt or even the conversion rates of that oh-so-convenient “Birthday” gift.  Amazon, Starbucks, and Target are all mainstays in these monetizing strategies, but do you eventually thing this will get more niche?

We also surmise that the opposite will occur when a tragic event has happened:

“I hate men – single life here I come again!”

—-> surprise your friend with flowers from Edible Arrangements!  <—-

Check out an example below:

Facebook Advertising