On May 15th 2017, social media expert and trainer Andrew Davis joined us at Raise the Bar HQ to host our latest webinar. Andrew focused on Putting the ‘So What’ into Content Marketing and how content marketing trumps all areas of digital marketing. In this latest blog post, Andrew is going to share his insight into social media, the changes we have seen over the past few years, and the most important aspect of social media in 2017…
I have been fortunate enough to have spent the last 16 years working in the digital industry and what I am about to say now may surprise some of you… nothing has really changed. What I mean by that is these 3 main principles still apply:
- You still need something to sell
- You still need somewhere to sell it
- You still need someone to sell it to
These principles have been around before the Internet and will be around for a long time. However, what I have heard a lot over the years is that things are always changing, and changing quickly. What I have come to realise is, when we are talking about change, we are really only talking about 2 things…
- The change in our behaviour as humans
- The change in technology
When we look at some aspects of the change in our behaviour, it’s clear that our attention span has decreased drastically. You have 5 seconds to get to the point in a YouTube ad. Twitter made a business out of our short attention span. If you look at our behaviour when it comes to sales, typically we would have a sales funnel like this:
But now it looks something like this with multiple touch-points on how people can enter the funnel and 2 types of people that come out of the funnel: Buyers (someone who buys your product or service) and contributors (Someone who tells loads of their friends and some of them enter the sales funnel). Both are important to your success.
When it comes to tech, disrupting industries with technology has become very important over the last few years. Look at the quick success of companies like Uber, Airbnb and Spotify.
Also when it comes to technology and the social media space, there are established platforms like Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Pinterest and LinkedIn but also emerging platforms that are dictating the next phase of social media. For example:
- Snapchat: Disappearing content and augmented reality
- Periscope and Facebook Live: Live broadcasting
- Whatsapp: Messaging
- Instagram: Short form content
- Slack: Collaborative working
The most important aspect of social media in 2017
Regardless of behaviour and technology changing, the most important aspect of social media in 2017 is justification.
We must link what we do in the social space to a business or a department objective, otherwise you could spend a lot of time doing ‘stuff’, but eventually, that same question I hear over the years will keep coming up – so what?
As a trainer and keynote speaker, I get to hear first hand from people and organisations about their challenges, needs and wants. My job is to look at these and add a ‘digital lens’ Ie, what does this look like in a digital world. So with that lens in mind, here are just some of the reasons most organisations are justifying the business case for social media:
- Generating leads and/or sales: Using social media as part of the sales process is priceless if you know how. Using it to generate awareness or to help in the consideration phase, many organisations have done this effectively.
- Research or gathering data: What is available now for free or low cost, about your customers and market, you would have had to pay a lot of money for only a few years ago. Many organisations are taking advantage of the data available.
- Building relations with media companies: Getting your content on platforms that has the attention of your end user is key and social is a good way to build these relationships with large broadcasters, publishers and influencers.
- Building your own community: Improving communications will be a part of everyone’s strategy and to do this you will need a community. You can either build your own community or you will have to leverage someone else’s community (this usually would involve time or money).
- Helping with events: All events have 3 parts: Pre, During, Post. Social media is great for engagement and spreading the word during the event and also helping promote the event. What some organisations are doing is using the promotion from post event as the promotion for the next event and social media helps facilitate this.
- Awareness for campaigns: Social media is a great way to grab attention and distribute your content to the right people for every campaign you run. Tied in with building a community, this can also help with relationship marketing.
- Thought leadership / Positioning: How can your organisation be seen as the key organisation in your sector? Using social media, you don’t have to rely on large publications and broadcasters to get your opinion across
- Getting traffic to your website: Using social media to get more people to your website as you may convert better there or have more detailed information.
- Customer Service: People go online for answers and help and this is increasing daily. Can you offer the support people need? If not, your competition might.
What is important to note is that first deciding on the reason/s why will dictate what you do online.
If you wanted to use social media to become a thought leader then you need to create longer, thought provoking content the right people can easily find. If you want to gather data research or customer support, then you need to master monitoring and listening. If you want to get traffic to your website and generate leads then you’re social needs to be attention grabbing with a strong call to action.
Social media is as strong and powerful as ever which is great. The challenge now is that everyone is doing social media. What is key for any organisation is knowing how to execute your plan and the first part of any social media planning is about putting the ‘so what’ into social media.