Upcoming Social Media Changes You Can't Miss
With social media reigning supreme today, it's difficult to remember that there was a time when it didn't exist. Yet, that is the case. As far-fetched as it may sound now, social media actually dates back to the 1980s via a service known as CompuServe, according to Digital Trends. This service allowed members to not only share files, news, and events, but also to communicate via electronic mail and chat on discussion forums. Of course, the modern version of social media that we know today vastly differs from this early form. Social media has certainly evolved significantly over the years and will continue to do so well into the future.
With that in mind, it is important to consider the ways in which social media could be changing yet again, and what you need to do in order to prepare for the next version of social media networking.
It's No Longer a Free Lunch
At one time, social media was touted as the best solution for marketing because it was not only effective, but also free. While it is still technically true that social media is free, this is not the case with social media marketing.
For instance, SnapChat recently jumped into the paid advertisement arena with the announcement that it will charge $750,000 for a disappearing ad. Many in the industry were shocked, but the announcement serves to underscore the fact that 2015 will be the year of the paid amplification for social media.
Moving forward, you need to be prepared to pay. Of course, you can still open free accounts on platforms such as Twitter and Facebook, but the trend is definitely moving toward paid advertisements. Both YouTube and Facebook have developed excellent ad platforms. If you are not taking advantage of them, you are likely falling behind the competition. The key to success is ensuring that you are producing and quickly disseminating highly shareable content. Additionally, you will need to take steps to analyze your ads to determine which ones were most effective. Facebook is willing to help your brand with this process through the release of a conversion lift measurement that will provide data on the number of people who saw your ad on their platform, and then made a purchase, either online or in store. So while the focus this year might be on paid social media ads, TechCrunch reported that the new tool is one way in which Facebook is ensuring its paid advertising is at least accountable to brands who are shelling out money.
Content Must Be Better
If you're going to advertise in the social media sphere, your content must be engaging. You may have already noticed that Facebook has made a practice of reducing business pages' organic reach in an effort to enhance user experience. Make no mistake about it; this move was entirely intentional. If you post content that is boring, bland, and a blatant advertisement, expect low engagement and poor reach. The most important step you can take to get around this problem is to create quality, shareable content. If you are not able to accomplish this, invest in hiring a content creator, preferably someone who already has an established following on Pinterest, Twitter, Vine, YouTube, etc. If he or she has a large following, you can be assured that it is due to their quality and shareable content.
Let's face it, unless it is highly creative, ads do not get shared. Informative, relevant content gets shared. Content most likely to be shared includes:
- How-to posts that provide a solution
- Lists that focus on a specific topic
- Why-posts that provide details explaining a specific topic
Why-posts and lists tend to have the most reliable social traction and achieve an average of 21,000 shares monthly.
Increased Preference for Visuals
The major social media platforms, including Facebook, will begin demonstrating an increased preference for content containing visuals this year. If you feel a little out of your depth creating visuals for your social media content, consider taking advantage of one of the many great tools out there, such as Canva, an image creation tool that works intuitively. Get creative and consider ways in which you can embed video and images into your social media posts this year to make them more effective and drive engagement. Just how important are visuals in your social media posts? Kissmetrics reported that photos receive 104 percent more comments, 84 percent more click-throughs, and 53 percent more likes than posts that are text-based.
Increased Emphasis on Social Media Signals
The great debate regarding the importance of social media signals on search engine results has raged for a while, but it can no longer be denied that they play an important role in rankings. Factors such as how many shares and retweets a page receives can play an important role in indexing content. The good news is that you can take definitive steps to improve your social signals by asking your followers to share your content. When you want to boost engagement even more, ask your followers a question.
It has always been important to ensure that your tweets are optimized. Now that Twitter has released a search engine which is even more powerful, it is crucial to ensure that your tweets are optimized. With the new search engine, users will be able to search every tweet that has ever been published. In order to ensure that your tweets are found, it will be vital that you include images, hashtags, and links.
Social media is continually evolving. It is crucial that you stay on top of changes as they occur, and remain flexible enough to adapt your social media marketing strategy. Doing so can make the difference between staying ahead of the competition and falling behind.
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