How can you win at social media marketing when the odds seem to be stacked against you? The social media marketing environment is becoming ever tougher for brands to gain traction. Yet 58.8% of marketers indicate that social media marketing plays a very important role in their 2019 marketing strategies.
65% of the content that marketing teams create is wasted
Only 50% of all content gained 5 or more shares across the major social networks
Declining reach of organic posts
Recent data shows that brands are seeing ever decreasing engagement levels from content on social media platforms, leading to lower volumes of referrals to their websites. With fewer people seeing your content, and consequently fewer reading and responding to it, how can digital marketing specialists have so much confidence in social media as part of their digital mix?
Whilst the odds appear to be stacked against you, with an effective strategy and a well-informed approach you can still win at social media marketing.
Social media algorithms
The ever-changing algorithms of the social media networks are designed to give page content lower organic reach, which means that not even all of your page/profile followers will see the content you post.
Whilst social media platform owners will state that changes to algorithms are designed to ensure that users see more of the content they like, it is accepted within the digital marketing community that they engineer this disadvantage with the objective of getting page owners to increase advertising spend.
BuzzSumo analysed the top Facebook articles pre-2007, and found that click-bait style headlines routinely received over a million engagements. Post update these figures declined to below 250k. It’s good news that click-bait is being restricted, but content in general appears to be caught in this trap. The trend noted by BuzzSumo is mirrored by other leading online publishers. The only posts which buck this trend are music videos, political content, and those from reputable publications such as traditional news sites.
If the only way to ensure that your content is reaching your audience is to boost a post or place an ad, then the platform owners know that page owners will stump up the money. They want you to spend hard cash to get your message seen, although it should be noted that ad spend still does not guarantee good results. Many a boosted post has had zero engagement (for a variety of reasons).
Social content multiplication
One of the reasons for declining engagement is content overload. There’s simply so much content being shared that followers are bombarded with information, often on similar themes, day in day out.
Once a keyword or theme becomes popular marketers create similar content to capitalise on that theme. Based on the premise of replicating what is already working well, the outcome is that consumers start to see multiple posts on the same topic. The effect is that this multitude of content dilutes the results for that keyword, with everyone getting a smaller share of the clicks. Within this context it becomes harder and harder for brands to be seen as unique and be heard by readers.
Declining trust in social media content
Added to that mix is the rise of fake news, scams and misinformation which have led to a sharp decline in trust amongst consumers. Readers have rightly become cynical, and grown weary of click-bait style headlines where ultimately the content disappoints.
The result is a reluctance by them to click through to websites or landing pages. Readers have learned that the content they receive in exchange for their click and their time is not of high enough value, and have adapted their behaviour accordingly. The value exchange is not in their favour.
How to win at social media marketing
In light of these factors, how can you make sure that your content is viewed as authentic, gets seen and most importantly, acted upon?
Firstly, page owners must establish a reputation for reputable, valuable content. We need to ensure that the content we provide readers adds value whether that is to inform, entertain or educate. Our content should be original, authoritative and stand out from other content providers. The value exchange must be in the consumers favour so that we earn their click, their time, and their trust.
Secondly, we need to find ways to beat the social media algorithms, and ensure that our content gets seen. If posts receive early engagement they are much more likely to be prioritised by the algorithms and consequently shown to more people. Once your post is prioritised as interesting it should be a rise to the top as it will be seen, and engaged with more and more. Bear in mind that the median average of shares for a post is 4, so anything above that number should be regarded as a success.
Of course other criteria are crucial to gaining attention in the first place, aside from the value of the content. Strong creative execution, good use of native formats and accurate targeting of content to the right customer groups are all important factors not to be ignored.
For more social media marketing advice follow our series of posts on the topic.
For help with social media marketing please get in touch.
Buffer State of Social 2019
Buzzsumo Content Trends Report 2018
Twitter & Newscred – What brands need to succeed on Twitter in 2019