Get Ahead: The Future of Social Media Marketing

Social media, like technology, is everchanging. The industry evolves every day, and it can be difficult for companies to keep up. However, digital marketing is crucial for the ongoing success of businesses. “Social media has undoubtedly become a critical platform for marketers,” said E.J. McGowan, vice president and managing director of Campaigner. According to a digital marketing forecast survey by Campaigner, 73 percent of digital marketers believe it was a top strategy in 2017. It’s important to leverage these trends as they’re occurring and to anticipate any new ones. Doing so will prepare your company for competitive marketing strategies and set you apart from other businesses. Here’s what the future of social media marketing looks like.

Video

Video is a growing marketing strategy that fares well on social media. Consumers would much rather watch a short clip than read paragraphs of text, especially while browsing social platforms. “Video creates a longer lasting engagement and is generally more familiar to advertisers,” said Ian Wishingrad, founder and creative director of BigEyedWish. “They like buying it because it feels like a TV-buying experience – it’s familiar and therefore more brands/advertisers want to be a part of it.” Video also personalizes user experience, helping you connect with your consumers on a more relevant level, said McGowan. “In their easily digestible format, videos serve as an excellent way to convey a brand’s message in a creative and interactive way,” McGowan added. “As a result, social networks and other media have made it easier for individuals to consume and broadcast video. As video continues to grow at a prodigious pace, marketers must learn to adopt this disruptive technology or risk falling behind to competition.”

To attract and retain attention, you can implement video on your business’s website, Facebook, Instagram or Snapchat, but recognize which integrations work well and which do not. Don’t expect as much success with video marketing on LinkedIn as you would on more informal platforms.

Endorsements

A popular way for companies to promote their brands is to get someone else to do it for them. These people are often well-known personalities or even celebrities sponsored to endorse a business’s products or services, often on Instagram, Facebook, Snapchat and other social media. While you might think that you’ll find more success with more renowned endorsers, statistics prove otherwise. Companies experience a higher level of sales when they sponsor individuals with a smaller, yet notable, following.

Typically, lesser known influencers attract more relevant consumers than celebrities, whose audiences are primarily attracted by their fame. To this end, Courtney Reum, co-author of “Shortcut Your Startup” (Gallery/Jeter Publishing, 2018) and co-founder of brand development and investment firm M13, advised shifting endorsements to these micro-influencers to personalize the experience for potential customers.

Social media and email marketing integration

According to McGowan, one trend on the horizon is social media integration, which leverages two or more media or marketing tactics at once. “While the concept itself isn’t entirely new, the benefits have gradually proved effective, and its implementation has only become even more seamless with new technology,” McGowan said. The idea is to combine marketing strategies to impact a broader audience. For instance, you can broadcast your Twitter feed on the side bar of your website, or include a video of your brand’s mission on your company’s Facebook page. The most crucial integration this year, however, is social media and email, said McGowan.

“When leveraged correctly, social media and email marketing can have a synergistic relationship for brands, with social media driving email subscriptions and emails bringing more followers to social channels,” McGowan said. Marketers should coordinate the timing and content of posts and emails, and ensure congruent messages are being sent across all channels, McGowan added. “This will, in turn, maximize reach across the customer’s journey.”

Social media platforms

The Campaigner survey outlined which sites marketers would most likely be willing to invest in, which they ranked as so:

  • Facebook (48 percent)
  • Twitter (12 percent)
  • LinkedIn (11 percent)
  • Instagram (8 percent)
  • Google+ (2 percent)
  • Snapchat (1 percent)

The remaining 18 percent do not plan on investing in social media. It’s important to note that each channel is different from the next and is intended for different purposes. Snapchat and Instagram don’t have the same level of broad search functionality that Facebook does, and are geared more toward friendly connections than professional ones, said McGowan. But this doesn’t mean you should write them off entirely. “Marketers can leverage these social networking sites in 2018 by crafting media campaigns that highlight the strengths of each site,” said McGowan. “For instance, video may fare very well on Facebook; however, marketers should pivot back to text content when launching campaigns on LinkedIn.” Reum suggests keeping up with platform innovations and priorities, and any incremental changes. “Figuring out how to capitalize on these small edits, in addition to keeping an eye on major trends, will be key to successful campaigns going forward,” he said.

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Get Ahead: The Future of Social Media Marketing

Social Media :: The World Cafe

Social media is transforming the way we connect and communicate with each other, and the following locations provide opportunities for the international World Café community to meet, engage, inspire, and learn from one another.

We invite you to join us in creating and nurturing a warm, welcoming, hospitable environment, wherever we gather – online, or face-to-face.

The World Café Online Community
There are currently almost 5,000 members in our global community of practice and it’s growing every day. Share your stories, resources, and media mentions and join us for ongoing interest groups, conversations, and events announcement (membership is free, but moderated to protect us from spam; you should be accepted within 24 hours).

The World Café Community Blog
Stay connected to community news and learn about upcoming activities as things happen (if you’re interested in joining the blogging team, contact us).

The World Café on FaceBook
The FaceBook phenomenon continues… and offers an excellent opportunity to check in, connect, and show your support.

The World Café on Twitter
If you prefer short headlines and the ability to sort your news by topic, Twitter is a great option for staying in touch.

The World Café on LinkedIn
Join the active group of professionals on LinkedIn to explore a wide range of relevant topics in an easily manageable format.

The World Cafe on Flickr
Plug into the stream of World Cafe images from all over the world. Make us a contact and tag them “theworldcafe” so we can see yours too.

The World Cafe in Second Life
There has been a World Cafe presence in this virtual world since 2006; join us there for an “in-World” Cafe experience.

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Social Media

The Science of Social Media Marketing: Dos and Don’ts for Business

If you haven’t noticed, social media is pretty much everywhere these days. Despite what some might think, it’s not shrinking – in fact, it’s growing. And not just on a personal level, but for businesses too.

Social media marketing has become a large component of a company’s overall marketing strategy. Did you know that approximately 43% of online customers are directed to a product or service that they want to buy from social media?

Social media is an attractive tool for any brand promoting their products and services online! And if you’re using social media marketing correctly, you’ll be not only be creating awareness but enhancing your overall sales too.

However, it’s important to note that social media can be a double edge sword for businesses & organizations! Regardless of all the positives benefits, without a proper strategy, social media can often do more damage than good.

Let’s take a look at a few Dos & Don’ts in the infographic below:

Keeping up with social media is no walk in the park, the rules are often changing, platforms continue to evolve, and new social networks pop into the mix. Regardless of what platforms you choose to use for your business – never start without creating a social media marketing plan first.

Although it’s important to consistently focus on creating good shareable content, it’s just as important that you analyze, prioritize and diversify your content. Measurement should be a key factor in your plan. Not only should you have a reason for doing what you’re doing – a Goal. But you need to be measuring your results, to determine what’s working and what’s not. So that you can keep improving on the parts that are working.

No matter how much you know – there’s always more to learn. No matter how many strategies you implement – you need to remember that it all takes time. Be consistent – be patient – be real and authentic – have fun – measure your results – rinse and repeat.

If you’re needing some guidance on developing your social media marketing strategy, we’re happy to chat. Contact GILL Solutions today for a no-obligation consultation, to discuss your Social Media Marketing and other Digital Marketing needs, to help you grow your business.

Join Over 5,000 Businesses and Grow with Strategic Marketing!

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Social Media Marketing: Dos & Don’ts for Business

Book Burnings & Social Media “Feeds”

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In preparation for an online course Social Media Marketing, I selected four articles that answer some common questions about social media SWOT analysis.

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3 Social Media Marketing Tips that Get Results

Whether you’re selling a product or service or simply inviting people to your church, these tips will help you get results in your social media marketing efforts.

1. Tell your Story

If you don’t post anything, you won’t get any results. Ok, maybe that’s a little obvious. But I’ve seen so many ministries and businesses that have awesome products, an incredible message, and great content, but they don’t do anything with it. Guess what happens when you don’t share that content. You guessed it. Nobody sees it. If nobody sees it, you’re not growing your tribe. And most importantly, your message doesn’t reach as many people.

2. Give Something of Value

One of my favorite social media experts, is Gary Vaynerchuk. In his book, “Jab, Jab, Jab, Right Hook”, he teaches that you have to consistently give value to your tribe long before asking them to buy your product, service. Whether you realize it or not you’re in a relationship. If you do all the talking and don’t listen to what your followers want, you won’t make it past the first date.

The incredible brand awareness and bottom-line profits achievable through social media marketing require hustle, heart, sincerity, constant engagement, long-term commitment, and most of all, artful and strategic storytelling.

Gary VaynerchukJab, Jab, Jab, Right Hook

3. Engage your Audience

Now that you’ve got quality content that you’re sharing, don’t leave people hanging when they leave comments. Remember, people on social media are still people. Nobody likes to be ignored. Engage your audience, respond quickly, and genuinely care about people.

The post 3 Social Media Marketing Tips that Get Results appeared first on Reign 7 Studios.

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3 Social Media Marketing Tips that Get Results

Social media and boycotting relatives

BOYCOTTING relatives and sometimes parents is a major sin in Islam. When I say ‘boycotting’, I mean, it is a time when relatives do not call or visit each other or even ask about each other. They do not share good moments with them or even condole one another in the event of deaths in the family. In addition, the ostracizing, in nearly every case, comes with the harboring of great hatred against the other and his family with some even going as far as intending or just wishing harm on the other relatives.

The reasons that could lead to this great sin vary. There are those who simply envy their relatives, there are those who are so gullible that they are easily poisoned by rumors to hate other relatives, there are also inheritance or business problems between relatives and then there are those who make a mountain out of a molehill over trivial matters that leads to the boycott, in addition to many other reasons. While there were many reasons in the olden times for enmity and hatred, but, ironically, the one that is causing a host of issues in recent times is the smartphone. Recently, the social media applications that pervade the smartphone have played an important role in fueling hatred between relatives and even friends.

I am not making this assertion lightly. For only after observing the tendency to overuse our smartphones and hearing stories of how the smartphone had triggered spats between dumb people, who take everything at face value, I have come to the conclusion that it needs personal smarts to deal with this device that can prove a boon and a bane at the same time.

I was at a group gathering with friends of mine recently, and as usual it proved to be a platform for discussing various issues that bordered on the serious and to the trivial. As usual, during a brief lull, the discussion veered to the personal issue of a friend that was aired with suddenness and vehemence that caught most of us by surprise. One of my friends angrily shouted that he was done with his cousin, whom some of us knew in passing. When queried what happened our friend kept shouting that he would never greet him or ask about him or even sit with him in any gathering until he apologizes first.

We all thought that his cousin must have done something awful to him to deserve this much angst and hatred, even to the extent that our friend was ready to bring the issue out in the open, away from the family arena. When I asked him what he (the cousin) had done to him he said that he (the cousin) had kicked him out of a WhatsApp group. I could not believe how silly this reason was and how a petty issue could lead to this boycott and hatred between relatives. I learned later that this was not the only case but there are many and it is a growing phenomenon.

When I spoke about this to another friend, he too agreed that social media is slowly turning people anti-social, and relayed another example that, when thought about, would make everybody scratch their heads and wonder whether people are plain bonkers. The issue happened between two brothers, with the elder, after seeing an Instagram posted by his sibling about the food laid out at a party for friends, commenting that he was never treated to such lovely sight and food whenever he visited. This innocuous comment (without the smiley) was not taken as a joke, and the younger brother then broke out into a litany of complaints against the elder. That was the spark that lit a family fight that’s still raging, with relatives and friends taking sides. Food for thought, isn’t it guys.

But jokes aside, there are many a slip ups in these messaging services with wrong clips and messages going to wrong people, all because of similar names and pressing of wrong groups. Our instant gratification of sending these messages to many people could end up in the wrong place or viewed wrongly leading to major ramifications.

It has become common that in social application discussions rooms, such as in WhatsApp, or a message that was sent on Twitter could lead to close relatives or friends not talking to each other. I have witnessed and have seen and heard from my friends many times over the years on how relationships end because of silly issues, and lately add to the reasons — social applications. Instead of reconnecting people with each other, it is separating them.

Regardless of the reasons close relatives and friends not talking to each other — be it because of social media or any other real problem — there is no purity in the heart of people. It seems as if people are waiting for an excuse to distance themselves from close relatives and in extreme cases, even parents. Although in the past, there were mostly selfish people who distanced themselves from family ties, people were pure and asked about one another.

Whenever there was a misunderstanding, in olden times, the first thing they would look at is whether the statement is with good intention. Even if ill intention was meant with a comment or a behavior, they tended to ignore it, to prevent any cracks in the wall of relationships with relatives and, of course, seeking reward from Allah.

The Holy Qur’an states, “Would you then, if you were given the authority, do mischief in the land, and sever your ties of kinship?” The Prophet, peace be upon him, said, “He who believes in Allah and the Last Day, let him show hospitality to his guest; and he who believes in Allah and the Last Day, let him maintain good relation with kins; and he who believes in Allah and the Last Day, let him speak good or remain silent.”

My father always reminds me to connect with relatives even if they are boycotting me, and reminding me with the prophet’s saying, Uqbah ibn Amr reported: I met the Messenger of Allah, peace be upon him, and he said to me, “O Uqbah ibn Amr, maintain relations with those who cut you off, give to those who deprive you, and pardon those who wrong you.”

As for my friend who had an issue with his cousin, I simply advised him to get a simple Nokia, if his mind was so narrow, so he would use the phone for what it was meant for — talking. Even with his cousin.

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http://saudigazette.com.sa/article/530210/Opinion/OP-ED/Social-media-and-boycotting-relatives

How to ensure social media marketing for 2018 is on track?

There are plenty of challenges to be met with regards to social media marketing. It is necessary for the entrepreneur to review the social strategy. Necessary adjustments are to be made to make sure that every social platform is being used effectively.

Checklist to review social media marketing

  • Analyze audience: is the business able to reach its targeted audience? Looking closely at the Audience Insights on every platform is sure to help understand if there is required to narrow or expand the reach.

  • Measure existing ROI: It is necessary to evaluate the existing social media ROI. Does it match the desired results? The ROI is to be analyzed upon without delay.

  • Analyze platforms being used: To evaluate effectiveness of every platform, it will be necessary to use insights from previous year to help reach the goals. There is no need to stay active on each and every social network, in case, it is found not to work properly. This is the right time to access, in case, the desire is to dial back on specific platforms or avoid using them completely.

  • Organize new social calendar: Updating the social calendar with upcoming campaigns will be useful. Time is to be saved during the year and this can be performed by keeping overview of things coming up.

  • Review KPIs: KPIs should fit perfectly the 2018 goals. It is high time towards updating the KPIs if social media strategy and marketing is desired to be changed. Last year is to be used as benchmark. Aim is to set more realistic and ambitious targets.

  • Review social posting frequency: Is sufficient content being generated? Is too much being created? Explore if quality is to be focused upon than quantity. For instance, when compared to Instagram or Facebook, more content will be required by Twitter. Still testing is to be done to find out if the posts offer desired engagement level. If not, then their frequency is to be reduced, thus leading to further interaction with the posts that is being generated.

  • Organize new social calendar: This is the correct time to make future plans and to update the social calendar with upcoming campaigns. Keeping overview of what is to come ahead, precious time can be saved throughout the year.

  • Mixing up content: Is different types of contents being generated? It is possible to make 2018 the time to make investments in video or to experiment with the GIFs in brand marketing. Trying to mix up content types could liven up social presence and to benefit from the trend towards web based visual content.

  • Optimize social content for search engine optimization: For SEO, social media might not be regarded as official ranking factor. However, it could contribute towards the person’s authority. Develop social presence, add authentic value to the content and aim for more engagement.

The above are few of the tips with which social media can be kept on track this year. Following the tips offered by the is sure to benefit the business immensely.

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How to ensure social media marketing for 2018 is on track?

10 Ideas that will drive the future of social media marketing

I recently debuted a new speech at the Social Media Marketing World conference in San Diego. This is a grand global event and I’m proud that I have given a speech all six years it has been in existence.

I always try to do something special to bring the thunder at SMMW because so many people travel from around the world to see me speak. This year, I riffed on some of the ideas I’ve been thinking a lot about lately: Over the next few years, what’s going impact our field, and our careers, the most? What do we need to know to remain vital and relevant?

Here is the countdown I presented in my talk.

10. Artificial Intelligence

Undoubtedly AI is going to touch everything we do, but I suggested three ideas to consider in terms of impacting our careers.

  • For this reason, AI is not going to arrive with a thud, but instead will sneak into our lives on cat’s paws in millions of small ways. Everyday tasks will become faster, more accurate, more integrated, more personal.
  • AI will usher in “The Age of Assistance.” Companies will differentiate themselves by how cleverly they apply layers of AI to make their customer experiences more exciting and even entertaining.

future of social media marketing 9

9. Smart speakers

Consumers are increasingly discovering new ideas, content, and products on smart speaker systems. In fact, most analysts project that the majority of search activities will be conducted through products like Alexa and Google Home.

Since much of what we do in the world of social media and content marketing is geared toward helping people find our products, this is a vital trend. When we ask Alexa to find an answer, we don’t get a list of blog posts, videos, or research reports to choose from … we get the ANSWER.

So this is a profound development for marketers.

I asked a developer on IBM’s Watson project how they regard content. After all, content is sort of the engine behind search results today. She said “We don’t really think of it as content … we think of it as fuel for Watson.”

An interesting perspective, don’t you think? We’re now in the business of creating Watson Fuel.

I don’t foresee most households having multiple speaker systems. We won’t want to develop our favorite routines on Alexa, for example, and then another set for Google Home. So we are on the cusp of a war for the very heart of eCommerce. The smart speaker system that prevails will be used in our homes, our cars, and our offices. An incredibly fascinating battle for the heart of eCommerce lies ahead!

8. Virtual spaces

In 2017 Facebook provided a glimpse of what the world might look like when virtual reality and social media converge, in a new product called “Spaces.”

We have a long way to go to make this a mainstream meeting place, but I pointed out in my talk that this evolution can help resolve a huge marketing problem: Cocooning customers.

People are overwhelmed with information today so they tend to set up filters to keep a lot of information out. Some of this is automatically done for us, through Facebook and Google who decide what we see and hear based on our history of stored preferences.

So for example, if I often search for information on BMW automobiles, Google remembers that and probably sways my search that way. Receiving information from a competitor like Audi would be a filter fail.

So how do we invite people out of their filter bubbles? By serving them opportunities to immerse themselves in our fun, immersive AR experiences. Would I want to “test drive” an Audi through the Alps from the comfort of my home? Heck yes!

This technology has a way to go but maybe 2019 will be a critical year for widespread use in marketing.

7. Public to private

In the fourth quarter of 2015, something remarkable occurred. In fact, it was one of the most important milestones in the history of social media.

For the first time, the number of people using private messaging services such as Messenger, WhatsApp, and Snapchat exceeded the number of people using public social media platforms such as Facebook and Twitter. The use of social media is still growing, but the use of these private networks is growing faster.

I find it strange that this is not a major topic at every marketing conference, but nevertheless, it is an absolutely critical development in our field for three reasons:

  1. People are losing trust in social networks and are tired of being scrutinized, judged, and bullied.
  2. Much of the information being shared on “dark social media” (like text messages and email) are moving onto Messenger and WhatsApp … owned by Facebook. Facebook now has the ability to data-mine the richest source of consumer information and insights in the history of the planet — our private messages. Significant!
  3. And, of course this presents and incredibly rich opportunity for Facebook to monetize and provide more marketing opportunities for us, and soon.

future of social media marketing 6

6. Conversation marketing

The number one topic at Social Media Marketing World was chatbots. There was an almost over-the-top, breathless hype about the subject.

I’m more rational in my view of this trend. The insiders actually developing this technology tell me that unless you’re in a very high-transaction business (like hotels or airlines), reasonable chatbot applications are probably out of reach for most businesses for the next two years or so. Sort of reminds me of the days when every company thought it needed a smartphone app. Maybe, maybe not.

However, I think the opportunity being overlooked by nearly everyone is what I call “conversation marketing.”

I may not want to go online and chat with a Nike algorithm, but I would LOVE to engage with a Michael Jordan simulation chatbot!

Chatbots will become our new celebrities and entertainers. Someday we’ll probably have awards for the most fun chatbots. We’ll have chatbot lists, and critics, and reviewers. While engagement may be in decline on other social channels, engagement will be red-hot on bots that can captivate and entertain us.

And all the while, we can be storing customer information obtained through the chatbot conversations. That’s the new conversation marketing on the horizon.

5. The talent gap

There is this weird thing going on. Studies show that CMOs cannot find enough talent to make their marketing dreams come true. And yet, there are still lots of marketing professionals looking for jobs.

There are plenty of marketers, but not enough marketers with digital skills. Unilever CMO Keith Weed said last year: “We have an entire generation of marketers who are faking it.”

In my estimation, here are the top three skills that will be required of marketers in the coming years:

  1. Data and analytics (Great marketing starts with data, not Facebook posts!)
  2. Digital advertising (the days of organic reach are over)
  3. An ability to quickly assess changes in the marketing world and adjust and adapt

We’re going to see more change in our marketing world in the next two years than in the last 20. Let’s get prepared to adopt, adapt, and embrace the chaos!

4. Government regulation

There is a growing cry from leaders inside and outside our industry calling for the regulation of the tech giants. Marc Benioff of Salesforce recently said social networks should be regulated like cigarettes — “They’re both bad for us and addictive.”

Citizens are increasingly concerned about the monopolistic tendencies of these companies, the way they can manipulate our behaviors, the privacy breaches, health concerns, and how they are damaging democracy through the perpetuation of fake news.

Mark Zuckerberg famously said that this is the year he will “fix Facebook,” presumably to avoid regulation.

Will it work? Can he do it?

No. As long as Facebook’s need to increase profits every quarter depends on exploiting our personal data, these issues will always be present. One solution, at least in part, would be to take the company private again to give it a chance to right the ship.

People hate hearing the words “regulation” and internet” in the same sentence, but I think it is unavoidable. Look for the early signs of tech regulation in 2019, perhaps beginning at the state level.

3. Personal branding becomes the company brand

In this section of my talk, I provided examples that illustrate how there has been a backlash against loyalty. Technology has dramatically changed consumer behavior and people are becoming less brand aware and brand loyal. This trend shakes the very foundations of what we are doing as marketers!

I related a story about how a young woman I know bought an artisanal brand of soap, not because of any product features or advertising, but because she “loved the hands that made it.” She then went on to tell a story of how the owners run their sustainable business and contribute to the community.

I think that is a profound indicator of where marketing is heading.

We don’t trust brands or companies any more. We trust people and their stories. In the past, our brands were built through an accumulation of advertising impressions. In the future our brands will be created by an accumulation of human impressions. It’s KNOWN at scale.

2. The power shift from Madison Avenue to Main Street

The whole idea of “influencer marketing” is a very new concept. When I wrote the first book on the subject in 2012, Return On Influence, nobody had even been using the term. Today, this is a very powerful marketing dynamic … and it is just beginning.

Now that anybody can create their own personal power on the web through a wifi connection and a smart device, there has been a massive power shift from Madison Avenue to Main Street. This is what is moving the needle today:

  • User-generated content
  • Reviews
  • Influencers

Take that in for a moment. The dynamics driving sales on the web have little to do with our traditional marketing functions! How do you organize and execute in that world? The foundations of marketing are shifting.

Increasingly, people are neither seeing, nor responding to, our ads. The are responding to their trusted friends on Instagram and Snapchat. The implications for marketing success are profound.

1. Content Shock

When I first wrote in 2014 about how the inevitable explosion in online content was going to jeopardize the content marketing model, some thought I was crazy. But by now the evidence is in, and cutting through this wall of content noise to somehow become the signal is the megatrend dominating all other megatrends.

This imperative to stand out in an increasingly noisy world will impact our strategies, organizational charts, budgets, and even the skills we’ll need on our marketing teams.

In my speech, I explained how Content Shock comes in waves and that we can predict how this trend will ripple through many other marketing channels in the future.

To win, you must build a competency in not just content, but content ignition. The economic value of content that is not seen and shared is zero. We need to gear our teams to creating content that moves.

Going forward

I summarized my talk with the mindset change required to withstand these challenges and make them work for our businesses.

You will need to be first. Piling on to whatever everybody else is doing cannot be an effective strategy. Finding out “what’s hot” and repeating it has been a social media marketing best practice you need to end right now.

You will need to be superior. Even if you stand out and become part of the fabric of your customer’s lives, the moment you are not superior, you’ll be replaced. We must be in a state of constant re-invention.

You will need to be more human, and elevate humanity in your marketing mix. The rise of influencers and user-generated content illustrates how we are in an era of human-driven marketing. Your customers probably don’t trust you or your advertising (if they even see it!). How do we connect in entirely new ways?

Finally, you will need to embrace the chaos. No more whining about how Facebook is “punishing you” or that platforms are changing too quickly. You ain’t seen nothing yet. Strap yourself in and enjoy the ride. There has never been a more fun or interesting time to be in marketing!

Many people in the audience commented that they thought this was the best speech of the conference. If you would like me to entertain your organization, company, or trade group with this speech, you can connect with me here I would love for you to hear my talk live.

Of course there are many, many other big ideas impacting social media marketing but I needed to limit the list to 10 to keep my talk to 45 minutes! What would you add?

Mark Schaefer is the chief blogger for this site, executive director of Schaefer Marketing Solutions, and the author of several best-selling digital marketing books. He is an acclaimed keynote speaker, college educator, and business consultant.  The Marketing Companion podcast is among the top business podcasts in the world.  Contact Mark to have him speak to your company event or conference soon.

Illustration courtesy Unsplash.com

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10 Ideas driving the future of social media marketing

5 Harsh Realities of Social Media Marketing (And How to Deal With Them)

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It’s not healthy to eat stuffed crust pizza three times a day. Dogs get stressed out when we hug them. Beyoncé will never be your best friend.

Don’t shoot the messenger, I’m just here to remind you that reality can be harsh. And the reality of working in social media is no exception. Every job has its challenges of course, but as we all continue to ride the rapidly-evolving rocket of social media there are a few harsh realities we need to face. The good news is that it’s not all bad news. Here are five harsh realities of social media along with ways to combat and overcome all of them.

Harsh Reality No. 1:
Success will probably take longer than you think

No matter how many different Instagram hashtags you use or Tweets you send, you’re not going to organically gain thousands of followers in a month. Many of the brands that were early adopters of social media quickly gained huge followings and are still reaping the benefits today. However, social media is now saturated with businesses competing for attention and users are becoming increasingly selective about which businesses they decide to invite into their personal networks.

It’s going to take more than a handful of clever posts over the course of six weeks to start seeing the fruits of your labor. In fact, it might take years of creating and executing your social strategy (then tweaking it and executing it again…) before you really hit your stride. Remember, social media is all about community, and few communities are created overnight.

How to deal with it:

Be patient and consistent

Good things come to those who wait, they say (and by “they” I mean “my mother”). Success on social requires a long-term investment of time and energy, combined with equal amounts of patience and tenacity. Make sure you have a social media strategy you regularly review and analyze. Most importantly—stick with it. Don’t just hop on social media to yell loudly about your latest campaign for a week straight and then disappear for a few more months. Be consistent and give your efforts time to take root and be ready to manage expectations about how fast things should be happening.

Harsh Reality No. 2:
A lot of people don’t care about what your brand has to say

Listen, we told you these would be “harsh” realities. But it’s important to face this fact head-on, because the sheer scale of social media can inflate expectations about the amount of engagement your brand should be pulling in. Once you stop naively believing that every single human on earth innately cares about what your brand has to say and should be liking your Facebook posts, you’ll be able to better focus on the people who actually do.

How to deal with it:

Find your fans and focus on them

Instead of trying to be all things to all people, focus on the people that actually matter to your business—your customers, prospects, and brand advocates. Look at the people who are already responding to your posts and come up with ways to strengthen those relationships and give them more of what they’re already enjoying.

Commit to better content

When people follow your business on social media they’re giving you the green light to participate in their carefully curated personal feed. So, picture what you post on social media showing up in between selfies of their best friend and thought-provoking quotes from people they admire. Is your post equally as valuable, engaging, or entertaining—or is it somewhat of a boring interlude? Worse, does it stand out as a blatant sales pitch? An easy way to constantly check for quality is to ask yourself: “would I follow our company on social if I didn’t work here?”

Here are some resources to help you create better social content:

Harsh Reality No. 3: 

Social media will not effortlessly make your business a ton of money

Wouldn’t it be nice though? You post a few photos on Facebook and chat with a couple people on Twitter, then sit back and watch the dollars start rolling in. Unfortunately, social media doesn’t work that way (nor does any other type of marketing collateral or communication channel, really) and yet many still seem to expect it. Social media can help your business achieve a lot of things—it can even help generate leads that could eventually turn into cold hard cash—but it’s not a stand-alone investment just chugging along, generating a huge amount of perfectly attributable, easy-to-measure revenue for the business.

How to deal with it:

Align your social goals with business objectives

“How is social media helping us improve customer satisfaction?” is a much easier question to answer than “how much money are we making from social media?” Using social for a strategic purpose—one that aligns with real business challenges and objectives—is how you’ll be able to prove the impact it’s having on the bottom line.

Here are some business objectives you could aim to support through social:

  • Increasing web traffic
  • Generating and nurturing leads
  • Driving contest entries or signups
  • Improving customer satisfaction
  • Informing product research and development
  • Gathering competitive intelligence
  • Increasing brand awareness

Start measuring the metrics that really matter

If your social media goals are aligned to real business objectives, only reporting on the number of likes and comments your last Instagram post received isn’t going to prove much. The type of metrics that really matter are the ones that help you demonstrate the real value of your efforts on social.

For example, instead of only reporting on how many people click on the links you share on social, you should be tracking your click-through with bounce rate. This is the number of people who clicked on a link you shared on social, arrived at your website or blog, and then left without consuming any other content. Track this metric in comparison to other sources of web traffic, and if your social media bounce rate is lower than those other sources, you can prove that you’re targeting the right people on social and the traffic you’re driving is more valuable to the business.

Harsh Reality No. 4:
You might have to pay to play

Social media is no longer the wild frontier it once was. The organic reach that businesses were first enjoying on social has declined thanks to the sheer amount of content now being created and the way social networks like Facebook are choosing to curate the content their users see. Allocating some dollars for promoted campaigns and social ads is the best way to ensure your content makes as big of an impact as possible.

How to deal with it:

Give social ads a shot

There’s a big misconception that paying for promoted posts and ads on social is something only reserved for the brands with the biggest wallets. You’d be surprised how far your money can go, especially if you’ve done a good job targeting your campaign to reach the right audience. Here are some resources to help:

Harsh reality No. 5:
It’s a bigger job than you might think

“So you get paid to Tweet all day?” is a question you should never, ever, ask anyone who works in social media (here are four more, by the way). Because the reality is that helping a business be successful on social takes a lot more work than many people give it credit for. It requires solid writing skills with rigorous editorial oversight, short and long term strategic alignment with other business areas, and the ability to effectively interpret and analyze data. If you’re thinking that could be three different jobs for three different human beings, you’re right—but few businesses are lucky enough to have full-fledged social media teams at their disposal. And even finding one person who is equal parts creative and strategic who will also be the right culture fit can be challenging.

How to deal with it:

Invest in the right people

Have a clear idea of the social media skill set that is most important for your business, and make sure your job posting thoroughly communicates what you’re looking for.

Take advantage of education and training opportunities

Whether you’re hiring someone to handle social media or you’re looking to continually sharpen your own skills, Hootsuite Academy offers online training and certification that can help fill any gap in knowledge or expertise:

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5 Harsh Realities of Social Media Marketing (And How to Deal With Them)