As we are approaching the end of the year, I thought it was a good chance to look back on the role social media marketing played and what proved the most effective in building your brand, generating leads and generating loyalty in 2017.
The use of social media continues to grow.
I am sure you don’t need me to tell you that social media was big in 2017. More and more businesses are putting their time and money into social media marketing and less in the more traditional channels (such as flyers or ads in the local paper).
The reason for this is simple – people are spending more and more of their time on social media. According to Sensis in 2017, seventy nine percent of Internet users now use social networking sites, which is 10 points higher than last year. Frequency of use has also grown with 59% now accessing these sites daily or more which compares with 50% in 2016. This number has almost doubled since 2011 when it was 30%. The proportion checking social media more than five times a day has increased from 26% to 35%.
The social media landscape
It should come as no surprise that Facebook is still the most popular social media platform.
Based on the Sensis 2017 report, Facebook remains almost universal (94%) among social media users in Australia. However, the average number of times people access Facebook has fallen from 32 times per week to 25, while the amount of time spent on each occasion has not really changed at just over 23 minutes. This means users are averaging almost 10 hours a week on Facebook, compared with twelve and a half hours last year (it might have done down a bit that is still a lot of time spent on one network).
This drop may be because of the increasing popularity of other social media channels. Instagram has risen from 31% to 46%. Snapchat has almost doubled in popularity, jumping from 22% to 40% of social media users. Penetration of LinkedIn has dropped for the second year in succession, down from 28% in 2015 to 24% last year to 18% now. Google+ (10%) was unchanged.
Social Media Advertising
There has been a dramatic decline seen in organic reach of posts (this just means how many people you can reach for free by posting to your business page) so paid ads are almost now becoming a necessity. As a result businesses are investing more and more money into social media advertising to reach their audience.
So if you haven’t tapped into Facebook or Instagram advertising, definitely look at putting some strategies together as this is one of the most cost effective ways to reach your target audience. Online ads also have a lot of additional advantages compared to TV, radio and papers – you can better target your ads, you have more control of the costs, plus you can change your ads at any time while they run
Facebook Lead Ads
Facebook lead ads are a great ad option to help you in your lead generation efforts. When a person clicks on your lead ad in Facebook, they are taken to an on-Facebook form (likewise with Instagram). On this form, you can edit and confirm their pre-populated information (name and email) and ask any additional questions before the person clicks the “submit” button.
It has been proven that a higher percentage of people will fill in their details within Facebook than if you sent them outside of Facebook (such as a lead form on your web site). For more on Facebook Lead ads, read my previous blog.
Accessing social media on mobile devices through apps and websites is increasing. According to the latest Sensis research, those who use social media platforms to research on products or services, are more likely to be done on a mobile device than a desktop computer (52% vs 35%).
So what does this mean for you? Well more people are looking for you on their mobile devices than anything else so:
- Make sure your web site is mobile friendly
- Consider creating an app for your business
- Mobile-only social media and messaging platforms like WhatsApp, Snapchat, and Instagram will evolve and grow further in the future
- Mobile site speed plays a crucial role in customer experience and Google is very serious about this. Websites that load faster will not only give a better customer experienced but will also get your business ranked higher on Google
Telling your Story
Copying directly from Snapchat, Instagram introduced a new feature – Instagram Stories. Instagram Stories can include multiple photos and videos that combine into a slideshow format – then they’ll disappear after 24 hours rather than showing up in your profile.
So how could you use this feature for your business? How about:
- Show a “day in the life” of you or your business
- Turn your blog content into mini articles
- Tease a Facebook Live broadcast
- Show a class in action
- Celebrate a milestone
- Use for a flash 24 hour sale
Ready to go LIVE!
Facebook, Instagram and Twitter all brought out live video platforms which allows you to connect with your fans, friends and followers by sharing real-time video of what you’re seeing and doing.
Going live adds two unique elements to video on social media: urgency and interactivity. Even if a live video is saved on a platform for future viewers, the unique experience offered by live video is available only at the time of broadcast. It’s an event during which anything can happen.
As well as being a lot cheaper than TV, another big advantage live social video has is that the audience can participate. Viewers watching a live stream on a social media platform can write in their comments. The broadcaster can then read and reply to comments, and allow the audience to influence the content of the live video as it’s being created.
Search Engine Optimisation is still critical
I run my own PT business and when I meet a potential new client for the first time, I always ask how did you hear about me? Pretty much 9 out of 10 times, they will say through searching for local trainers on Google.
In the old days (OK my days), people would turn to the Yellow Pages to find a gym (probably only a few in those days). Today people simply go to Google, type in gym or personal trainer, and up comes an almost endless list of businesses. So it pays to invest in SEO strategies that will help you get on the first page as the higher up you are, the more likely the person will contact you and not someone on page two. For more tips on SEO, read my previous blog on the secrets of SEO for your business.
So make sure you are covering some or all of the above topics as these are the areas where you can really make a splash with social media.
Look out for my final blog for the year – what I expect to be big in social media in 2018.