Bear with me for 5 minutes (I know, long time in today’s instant non-existing focused attention) .
Read the full article here, in the meantime, highlights:
Social media is changing.
It used to be a one-to-many channel. Businesses would publish links, photos, and videos on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, hoping to reach as many people as they can and drive a high number of leads and sales.
When marketers first started using social media as a marketing channel, there was less content, less noise, and people were willing to click on almost everything they saw on their news feed.
Then, we hit content shock.
There is now more content on social platforms than people can consume. If a post doesn’t look interesting or useful, people just scroll past it.
Social media is no longer a megaphone.
It is now becoming a one-to-few — and often one-to-one — channel. Businesses and organizations that are succeeding on social media now are the ones providing personalized social experiences to their fans.
Social media is becoming a conversation. Here’s why…
Social media is incredible for some things but not all things
Social media is often seen as a solution to every marketing problem. And, of course, it’s great for certain aspects of marketing including brand awareness. But the truth is, social media probably isn’t going to help you achieve every business or marketing goal you have.
I believe social media is no longer a great traffic driver for most businesses. The strategy of batching and blasting marketing messages across various platforms might have been an effective way to drive clicks in the past, but not anymore. And, in mind at least, that’s not a bad thing because:
Social media is becoming an engagement channel.
And with this shift comes new opportunities, such as incredible customer service and one-on-one conversations, which major social media platforms are embracing more and more with platforms and features like Messenger, Instagram Direct, and Twitter Direct Messages.
Engagement is also about the content you create and share across social platforms. Is it entertaining, useful, or unique? Does it encourage your audience to respond? Or is it just there to drive clicks back to your website?
The future of social media is about deepening your relationships with your fans by engaging them and not simply pushing out marketing messages.
4 reasons why engagement is the future of social media
- Low organic reach and referral traffic
In recent years, organic reach on social media has fallen so low that social media is becoming a less viable channel for traffic.
Businesses are reaching fewer people on social media and getting less traffic from social media through organic means. Many major publishers have been seeing a fall in Facebook referral traffic — some as much as 50 percent.
As the amount of content on social media increases far beyond what we can consume, each social media post becomes less and less likely to be seen.
The reality is that as more content is published on social media, organic reach will naturally fall.
- The rise of social messaging
The top four messaging apps are now bigger than the top four social networks
The rise of social messaging signifies a change in people’s social media behavior and preferences — towards more personal, one-to-one communications. A company that is at the forefront of this change is KLM Royal Dutch Airlines. Apart from posting interesting content on their one-to-many channels, they have invested a lot in one-to-one channels.
Businesses that only push out marketing content on social media will miss out the opportunity to serve customers in meaningful ways and might be left obsolete on social media.
- People use social media to reach brands
Social media is the first place most people turn to for customer support, as Sprout Social has found. And more and more people are using social media to get help from brands.
Social media is the top customer service channel
There’re benefits to helping customers on social media. Sprout Social also found that being responsive on social media prompts customers to purchase while ignoring customers causes less brand loyalty.
At the same time, it’s becoming easier to help your customers on social media. To meet this trend, social media platforms are developing more customer service tools to help businesses respond to their customers.
Businesses have to change their approach towards social media and go beyond just publishing content. You’ll have to be there and help your customers when they ask for help.
- Algorithms prioritize engagement
Besides engaging customers through customer service and one-on-one conversations, engagement is also about the quality of your content. To be seen and heard on social media (organically), you need to create content that engages your fans. The number of engagement on your social media posts influences the number of people who would see them.
If your ultimate goal is traffic, leads, or conversions, then the more of such results you can potentially get. Interactions correlate with site visits
What’s the value of engagement?
I believe businesses will no longer join social media because they see it as a strong referral source or direct revenue channel. The primary reason to be on social media will be to build your brand through engagement.