Those who were active during the early days of SEO in Sydney will remember how easy it was to optimise a page for a particular keyword or phrase. Stuffing content with keywords was an effective way to influence what search engines thought you should rank for. This combined with an aggressive backlink campaign was all it took to send your page rocketing up through the search listings. But over time, the search algorithms that assign rank wizened up and became much more sophisticated.
A similar trend is at work right now on social media platforms.
Today’s social media platforms are much savvier than they once were, but this is good news for companies that are prepared to leverage these lucrative platforms to their advantage.
Here are four ways that you can use social media to amplify your marketing efforts this year:
1. Get Used to Paying for Visibility
With so many companies out there competing for visibility on social media platforms, the big operators have had to restructure how users’ feeds are populated. Simply having 1,000 followers no longer means that your latest post is going to appear in front of 1,000 sets of eyes. Instead, those social media algorithms are going to crunch the numbers with the hopes of determining how worthwhile your new post is – as well as whether or not each of your followers would be genuinely glad to see it.
Now that the social media giants are being more judicious in regards to who sees which of your company’s posts, it’s becoming all the more important to invest in sponsored advertising.
2. Plan to Invest More Heavily in Training and Development.
There’s a growing disparity at work in the realm of social media marketing. As organisations begin to see the value of investing social-media marketing, some are going to double down and start investing even more. They’re going to recruit key influencers and social-media gurus – elevating their game in the process. These same firms are also going to invest more heavily in training their existing staff to the same end.
As a result, the so-called social-media skills gap will continue to widen. Those organisations that aren’t actively working to improve their marketing tactics on this front are going to fall behind the competition. Sure, they’ll continue to update their profiles and post new content, but those posts are unlikely to resonate with their target audience – and they almost certainly won’t achieve their goals.
By intentionally and actively investing in training and HR development now, you’ll position your business to step out ahead of the competition in this regard. You’ll also reap the rewards of what amounts to being an early adopter – someone who saw the value of formalising their social-media marketing efforts when others were still floundering.
3. Prepare for the Chatbot Revolution
This is one of those trends that’s developing right now in front of our very eyes. Artificial Intelligence (AI) is now competent enough to field a chat line and answer a range of questions related to their account, their orders and your company’s products and services in general. At the same time, major operators are looking for ways to integrate this technology into their customer service channels. For many, this means integrating chatbots into messaging platforms like Facebook Messenger.
If your company is not equipped to deploy an army of autonomous customer service reps online, there’s no need to despair. In fact, plenty of people are already bemoaning the rise of the AI-fuelled customer service and what this means for consumers. And depending on how you frame it, this new trend could give small to medium-sized business owners a slight competitive advantage – at least in the eyes of consumers.
By making a point of having real customer service agents on hand to respond to private messages (or even to engage with followers in posts or call-outs for example) you’ll be setting your company apart as a more human operator. Your customers will see and appreciate the fact that you’re not trying to string them along with borderline nonsensical AI-drivel. Instead, you’re coming out to meet them on social media so that they can engage with your brand in a more meaningful way.
4. Activate Your In-house Ambassadors
A growing number of businesses are waking up to the fact that they have a group of in-house social media ambassadors just waiting to be activated. Each of your employees has their own organic social network, and there are plenty of ways that you can incentivise them to get involved in brand engagement on your organisation’s behalf.
Before we get into how to accomplish that, consider the following statistics:
- The average Internet user has just over 5.5 social media accounts.
- The average Twitter user has 208 followers.
- The median number of friends for a Facebook user is 200, while the mean is 338.
[Sources: Pew Research Center and Brandwatch]
And that’s without even considering image-based social media sites like Instagram or Pinterest, for which it’s more difficult to create meaningful and representative snapshots for user demographics. In any event, it’s safe to say that the collective base of followers and friends maintained by your employees is massive.
Tapping into that potential requires incentivising your staff to get active in the engagement game. Start by encouraging them to share the company’s posts on their own timelines and pages. Of course, it’s important that your company is posting meaningful, engaging content to begin with. And remember, this is only going to be effective if your employees actually want to participate – and if their friends and followers are your target audience.
If you’re looking for more inspiration, check out these other great Marketing.com.au reads:
- What Is Conversational Commerce and Why Should Brands Invest in Chatbots
- Protecting Your Brand
- The Importance and Benefits of Collaborations in Creative Business
- Visual Identity as an Important Part of Any Marketing Strategy
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