I covered SEO and Content Marketing for 2017. Here we go with Social Media Marketing. Think about this: 10 years ago, in 2006, when Facebook, Twitter even companies like HubSpot were in their infancy, who could have imagined that 10 years later, 2.3 billion people would be active in social media? (See more stats in #10 below.)
If you’ve been ignoring, afraid of, or otherwise not doing any social media marketing, well, continue ignoring it at your peril. Yep. If you want to succeed in 2017; because you want new business; if you want exposure, you need to embrace social media marketing.
Here’s what’s going to be HUGE in 2017 in Social Media Marketing
1. Facebook Video
“Facebook’s been refining their focus on video for some time, and you can expect this to continue into next year.” ~Social Media Today
Live and Native Videos get more exposure on Facebook than plain posts. A Native Video is one of your videos uploaded directly into Facebook not just a YouTube or Vimeo link shared on your page.
What You Need to Do: If you remember anything from this post it’s VIDEO FIRST on Facebook!
2. Facebook Search
Imagine this: 2 billion searches daily! And they are constantly changing their algorithm in order to “improve” search. Facebook is getting like Google. They want the most relevant content to come up when someone searches for something. On Facebook, that can be posts, pages, videos, people, shopping, places, groups, apps, anything!
So, it’s crucial that you rewrite your Facebook business page descriptions and make them keyword-centric. Create unique keyword-rich using descriptive content. This also applies if you are an ecommerce site.
“Ignore Facebook at your peril — even if you’re B2B!” ~ Brian Sutter, Forbes
What You Need to Do: Apply the same keyword research you did for your website to your Facebook page. Fill in ALL the boxes.
3. Facebook “Seeking Recommendations”
“Whether traveling to a new place, looking for a hair salon, or searching for the perfect place to eat, people already turn to their friends, family, and local Groups on Facebook for advice. We’re rolling out a new tool that makes it easier to get and organize all those recommendations in one place.” ~ Facebook
Finding local events is going to be part of this service. So, if you have an event, set it up on Facebook from your business page. Make sure your graphic is of good quality and you have the description with all the relevant keywords. They’ll be rolling out a new version of the event dashboard in the next few weeks. (“Rolling out” means that not everyone sees the new format at once.)
What You Need to Do: Make sure your Facebook business pages are setup nicely with good graphics and a call-to-action.
If someone is recommending your services or products, you don’t want to miss out on a potential customer because you’ve been neglecting your Facebook page!
4. 360° Video on Facebook
Talk about changing perspective! How cool is this!
What You Need to Do: Investigate to see what’s involved with producing 360° video.
Get started with this article from Search Engine Journal.
Enough on Facebook! No, back up. The new Facebook business page design makes it easy for a visitor to message you from Facebook. If you have a fast response time – that is, within hours, not days, you’ll get a badge to display on your page showing you have a quick response time.
Twitter is another one. When people are not happy with customer service, they’ll tweet out their frustrations. It’s up to you to be monitoring any mentions or hashtags and respond quickly. Do not do automated responses. Recently, a certain insurance company was trending on Twitter (thousands of people were talking about it) and one person mentioned @Geico. Well, Geico’s automated response system replied to their tweet, with “We’re here to help! Let us know what we can do for you!”. The funny thing is, they were just mentioning it. They weren’t complaining. Instead, Geico, should have picked up on what was going on and used it to their benefit. What happened was, that lots of people were retweeting that tweet and making fun of Geico’s auto response. Not good.
Social Customer Service is expected by consumers however, not many companies are using it.
It’s all about building relationships. Of course, relationships can’t be built if you automate EVERYTHING!
What You Need to Do: Make sure you check your social media at least once a day and monitor your mentions.
5. Twitter will Become more Powerful
News no longer breaks, it tweets.
And our incoming president, Donald Trump knows it. Like him or not, he knows the power of Twitter. He’d rather tweet out an announcement before informing the crowd of reporters waiting in the lobby of Trump Tower. Tweets come up in Google search. Because Twitter goes so fast — like a never-ending news ticker — you can easily share 10-20 posts a day. Use a tools like HootSuite (ad link), Buffer or TweetDeck to schedule content out. However, when sharing pictures, make them “native” on Twitter by uploading them directly on Twitter proper or using TweetDeck.
What You Need to Do: Learn Twitter’s Culture so you can use the Tool Properly and Effectively.
6. You’re Going to Have to Pay to Play
Furthermore, online ads will be more expensive. In other words, your $25 a week will buy you less reach and keyword bids will be higher in pay-per-click (PPC). My advice still is NOT pay for advertising until you’ve tried doing it “organically” (not paid) for 3-6 months. Although, you can continue to avoid paid advertising, but more than likely, your competition hasn’t. You’re going to have to pay to get extra exposure — especially on Facebook. That’s how Facebook makes money. They fix their algorithm (search engine) to show less from business pages that don’t pay. Nevertheless, there are still ways to get exposure on Facebook without paying and it’s with videos. (See #1 above).
What You Need to Do: Familiarize yourself with the Best Practices of PPC and paid online advertising.
Now, I specialize in non-paid, organic social media and SEO marketing. That being said, if you’re thinking of doing paid advertising, here are a few articles to guide you…
- Why Small Businesses Need to Use Instagram Sponsored Posts In 2017
- Facebook Advertising: How to Get More for Your Budget
- SEM’s legit: Our top paid search columns of 2016
7. Social Conversions
Get them while they’re hot to buy! Those impulse buyers. They see something they like and have to have it now! Social conversions is a feature that many of the social networks are offering. Pinterest has it down with their Promoted Pins. You pin something from your shopping cart and people can purchase it without leaving Pinterest. The idea is to avoid a shopper having second thoughts or being distracted when they go to your online ecommerce site to purchase something.
Facebook, SnapChat, Twitter and Instagram are all working on providing this service. It’s part of PPC or “pay-to-play” that I wrote about above. The networks are attempting to make it easy to pull in your ecommerce products into their systems, but it may take a little programming on your part. Moreover, ecommerce sites like Shopify and Etsy have tutorials on how to integrate your store in the social networks.
By the same token, on the non-paid side, the new redesign of Facebook’s business pages improved on the call-to-action (CTA) button. Make sure you’ve got yours leading the visitor to the right place to get the most conversions.
What You Need to Do: Familiarize yourself and keep up with the latest new ecommerce in social media features.
- Instagram Adds ‘Shop Now’ Button for In-App Impulse Buying
- How To Sell With Facebook Buy Button
- Buyable Pins on Pinterest
8. Email Matching with Paid Social Media Advertising
Another feature that the social networks are offering is “Email Matching”. You upload your customer email list to the network and when someone on your list logs on, they’ll see your ads.
What You Need to Do: Again, do your research. Learn before spending money.
- An Inside Look at Snapchat’s New Advertising API Technology
- Google Adwords “Customer Matching”
- Facebook “Custom Audiences”
9. Big Data, Analytics and Insights
Going along with all this advertising comes tracking what’s working and not working. Enter Analytics! Analytics aren’t as scary as they seem and you don’t need to hire an analyst to understand them or to get valuable information from them. Besides Google Analytics, each of the networks has insights and analytics available even if you don’t pay for advertising.
You must check these at least once a month so you can judge which posts were effective and what isn’t bringing you business or doing what you expected. [Related: Determine Your Key Metrics Before You Start]
All the networks also use the data garnered from users to help you find your target market niche. Additionally, they assist you in targeting your perfect customer. That’s why you need to Define Your Target Market first and then do some research on them. For instance, if you’re on Snapchat trying to reach Baby Boomers, you’re not going to be successful. If you want to reach 12-24 year-olds, then yes, Snapchat is a tool for you.
What You Need to Do: Get into the habit of checking your analytics at the end of each month.
10. Social Media Statistics You Can’t Ignore
In conclusion, here are 10 of 2016’s Big Data stats that should open your eyes to the power of social media marketing.
- Close to 2 billion people are active mobile social users (Vendasta). This means that people take their social media with them wherever they go. They access it at all times of the day. This is why it is so important that your website is optimized for mobile (and I wrote about this in the 2017 SEO post) so when a mobile user goes from your social media page to your site, it’s a smooth transition to a conversion.
- 84% of Internet users are on Facebook (Vendasta). Even if you’re a B2B business, you can generate leads on Facebook. That’s where the people are! That being said, with more and more businesses, both B2C and B2B, marketing on Facebook, it behooves you to have a distinct strategy to reach your specific target market. Without a good strategic plan, you’ll be wasting time, effort and money and not getting the results you want.
- Over 40% of Twitter‘s 317 million active users learn about products and services via Twitter (Vendasta). I recommend using Twitter daily for brand exposure and SEO. (See #5 above)
- 7 out of 10 professionals describe LinkedIn as a trustworthy source of professional content (SmallBizTrends). In addition, 50 percent of B2B buyers use LinkedIn when making purchasing decisions. Even for B2C businesses, both your personal profile and company pages on LinkedIn boost credibility. In case you didn’t know, Microsoft bought LinkedIn so look for some big changes to the platform in 2017.
- There are 540 million active users on Google+, 62% of them are B2B marketers (Vendasta). Believe it or not, there are active users on Google+. The power of G+ is that everything posted “public” gets indexed in the search engine.
- 60% of millennials have an account on Instagram and they hit 500 million active users in 2016 (Vendasta). They grew by 100 million in one year. Facebook owns Instagram and they’re only going to be making it a better user experience.
- Pinterest has more than 150 million monthly active users (HootSuite). 60% of pinners are under 40 years old. Though the majority of Pinterest users are women, the male population on Pinterest has increased by 120% in the past year. (Must be all the DIY stuff!)
- 50% of young adults in the US watch videos on Snapchat (Vendasta). They hit 200 million users in 2016. 60% of millennials in America use Snapchat. If you’re trying to reach the younger market, you need to consider Snapchat.
- There are 900 million unique visitorss to YouTube every month (Vendasta). They are the most visited online platform with 8 out of 10 Internet users visiting YouTube monthly.
- Almost 90 percent of marketers say their social media marketing efforts have increased exposure for their business, and 75 percent say they’ve increased traffic. (SmallBizTrends)
What You Need to Do: Stop procrastinating and get your social media act together NOW!