As every business knows, the world of social media evolves quicker than we can sometimes keep up with. The trends can be overwhelming, and not actually applicable to the everyday. So, we’ve waded through the hype, to give you the trends, changes, and tactics that you can action today.
1. Organic Reach Continues To Fall
We’re going to get the negative bit out of the way first. Organic posts are going to continue to decline in reach and impact. A study from EdgeRank Checker found that an organic Facebook post’s reach could be as low as 2%. For businesses, this means that there’s no guarantee that your Facebook audiences will actually see your content; a frustrating fact for any marketer.
This trend, combined with the recent announcement from Zuckerberg that he plans on making the Facebook newsfeed more ‘personal,’ means that the Facebook landscape for brands is a little unpredictable.
However, it’s not all bad news. Many industry experts believe this will be beneficial in the long term, as it will force brands to create more engaging content. The new algorithm will prioritise posts that “encourage meaningful interactions between people.” For brands, this means that your content will have to resonate with your followers and drive higher engagement rates to secure better visibility in feeds.
Understanding your target personas will allow you to create more ‘personal’ content, and in turn, develop a more meaningful connection with your Facebook followers.
We’d recommend getting smart with your Facebook advertising to improve your reach- thinking about where, when and who you want to see your content.
Promote posts that are already doing well. If you know a piece of content is resonating well with your followers, promoting it is a great way of increasing the post’s reach to more of your audience.
Plan AB tests for your adverts. AB, or Split Tests, are a great way of finding out which elements work best in your social campaign. Facebook allows you to quickly test multiple ad designs and target audiences to uncover the most effective ones.
Quality over quantity- Be picky with what pieces of content you promote. Invest your advert spend into hero pieces of content that are likely to create a conversation with your audience and generate higher engagement.
With new GDPR regulations coming into effect on 25th May, it’s important to understand how these changes will impact Facebook Advertising regulations, and in turn, what that means for you.
- Your targeting may be affected: Facebook is shutting down the Partner Category functionality in its advertising targeting to eliminate third parties storing personal data. This means you’ll have to rely on Facebook’s behaviour, interests or customer audience targeting to build audiences.
- People can now opt out of seeing your brands adverts: Users are now being asked to review how Facebook use their data to display ads from their partners. For marketers, this means that your audiences can now choose whether or not they want to see your adverts in their news feed.
2. Instagram Stories
Did you know that over 200 million people use Instagram Stories every day?
This type of short-lived, ephemeral content is extremely popular with audiences today, as it reflects our desire for varied, fast, short content.
Why is this important for B2B brands?
Firstly, Instagram Stories are an excellent platform for authenticating your brand’s presence on Instagram. This video-centric format gives new and existing customers an insight into your brand and a feel for your personality. After all, 39% of B2B purchase decisions are driven by brand attributes compared to 27% of people that are driven by price. An authentic identity encourages B2B buyers to see you as a long-term partner, rather than as a supplier.
Customers across both B2C and B2B industries want to see more transparency, authenticity, and openness from the brands they are purchasing from, and ephemeral content is a great way to demonstrate this.
Secondly, Instagram Stories can increase visibility and attract new clients. Stories are now discoverable which means that users can see your content even if they aren’t following your account. Plus, for those lucky enough to have over 10,000 followers, you can add a link into your story directing users straight to your site.
Instagram have been investing in improving the functionality and creativity of their stories over recent months, which is great news for your design and social team. You can now post any image in your stories, no matter the orientation, and use their Type tool to create copy that suits your brand.
We recommend using Stories for videos/photos around themes like: behind the scenes, offers/ promotions, live streaming events, office culture and sharing case studies/ customer reviews. Stories only last for 24 hours so are a great tool for testing what type of content works for your brand.
3. Instant Messaging
Over the last few years, social media brands have been investing heavily in instant messaging platforms within their apps to grow and improve user connectivity. Many B2C brands have tapped into this trend and have launched chatbots in spaces like Facebook Messenger and Whatsapp, to serve as a 24-hour customer care line. Mark Zuckerberg predicted this would happen in 2016 when he described instant messaging as “the next big platform for helping you connect with all kinds of services in new ways".
Take Instagram Stories for example, according to TechCrunch, 1 in 5 Instagram Stories posted by businesses receive a direct message reply. This ultimately is where natural conversations can start, and true engagement is earnt.
Instant messaging is also an excellent tool for B2B brands to communicate with future clients and existing customers. For example, LinkedIn has recently updated its messaging functionality so you’re now able to see which users are online and available to contact. Whilst this is currently only available for personal profiles, it’s still a great way for brands to reach out and develop relationships.
In the crypto community, Telegram is being used to bridge the gap between fintech companies and investors in a format similar to Whatsapp. It’s USP is that is works across multiple devices and is heavily encrypted for secure messaging and file sharing. Whilst Telegram builds momentum in the B2B sector, we recommend checking it out as a great internal instant messaging platform.
We recommend positioning a senior member of the team as a brand ambassador and thought-leader on LinkedIn through their personal account. This allows them to publish brand content and use this instant messaging tool to connect and communicate with relevant users, in real time.
4. 2018- The Year of LinkedIn
LinkedIn has always been notoriously slow with innovation, but finally, big changes are happening and we’re a little excited.
A. LinkedIn Video.
LinkedIn have finally rolled out their video function for app users. Whilst this is nothing new in the world of social media, it does reinforce how important video content is on all social platforms.Google has reported that 70% of B2B buyers are watching videos throughout their path to purchase. Similar to Instagram, LinkedIn have been working on their video functionality to make it more user-friendly; for example, they have recently introduced GIF searches, video filters and text options.
B. LinkedIn Influencers
LinkedIn’s influencer program is currently an invite-only group of top business leaders and innovators, like Richard Branson and Bill Gates, who discuss trending topics through articles and posts. This new platform reflects how important influencer content is in driving engagement across every social platform, in both B2C and B2B spectrums.
C. Discover Members Nearby
LinkedIn’s latest feature allows users to find other platform members nearby through your mobile device. Whilst it has been met with initial scepticism by some users because of its potential intrusiveness, it is an excellent tool to use at conferences and networking events to help facilitate conversations and meetings with other like-minded professionals. For peace of mind, LinkedIn have created it as an opt-in feature, which means you can turn it off when you leave an event.
Get ahead of the curve and start using video on LinkedIn - with not much competition, your content will immediately stand out.
5. Social Influencers
Influencer marketing will continue to grow in 2018, especially within the B2B industry. One of the biggest growths in influencer marketing has been a rise in employee advocacy programmes, which increased by 191% from 2013 to 2015. This is where brands use employees to create and share content from the brand. This is a great way to increase visibility and authenticity in new networks, as well as creating engaged thought leaders within your company.
This trend reflects how important thought-ownership and content-driven strategies are in connecting with new audiences. In fact, over 90% of marketers who employ an influencer marketing strategy believe it is successful.
When it comes to your brand’s content, look within. We recommend setting up your own employee advocacy programme, using your employee’s skills and passions to create content that’s completely unique to you.
Watch Out For...
Twitter had a challenging year in 2017 and failed to grow followers significantly, especially in comparison to the growth of competitor platforms. However, it’s not the time to give up on them just yet. Twitter have recently hired a new Head of Global Agency Development to evolve their relationship with brands and agencies on the platform. This investment demonstrates Twitter’s dedication to improving experiences and collaborations on the platform, something worth considering when planning your paid strategy.
They are also on a mission to tackle spam and bot content in 2018, and have recently announced new regulations that will ban users from posting simultaneous tweets across multiple accounts, containing identical content. For small B2B brands, this will have little impact, but those managing large media companies will affected, as it will make posting the identical content more time-intensive.
LinkedIn have launched their mentoring programme, matching members looking for career advice with relevant professionals. This is a great way for B2B brands to develop their presence within their community and can even have benefits for recruiting new talent.
If you’d like more support with your 2018 content and social media strategy, please email email@example.com.