How to Succeed in Social Media in 2017
First things first: You are going to have to actually try.
Social media is no longer a novel game to prove your popularity. It is now an ingrained component of any successful marketing strategy.
As we all now know, the name of the game these days is change, rapid change. So you’ll never succeed in social media if you continue to embrace the past without looking forward to the future — at least not in 2017.
Don’t just sit back and hope your posts will go viral, sending so much traffic to your website it crashes. It’s that time of the year to look forward to where social media is going. Over the past decade, it has evolved from haphazard to sophisticated and nuanced. Fortunately, today an endless supply of information and ideas is available, free of charge, analyzing and dissecting what the future holds.
I’ve identified a few trends that I believe
are going to redefine social media in this year and beyond.
1- Employees will be your company’s most valuable branding asset. Over the past few years, the effectiveness of corporate social media accounts has declined. Prospects and clients want to interact with people, not the corporation. So what better way to meet this demand than to use resources, or your employees, that you already have? Don’t simply ban social networking sites and focus on your fear that your employees are wasting their time online. Hire and keep employees who are trustworthy and whom you can incorporate into your online marketing strategies.
Most professionals have at least some existing presence on a social media platform. Some may already be sharing your company’s message. These people are also the ones who tend to have an extensive network. Identifying and incorporating these individuals into your social media strategy and efforts are cost-effective ways of sharing your messages.
At the same time, it can enhance your employee culture and increase job satisfaction among participants. Be cognizant that while it is always good to guide your employees on how to be a brand advocate on social, don’t spoon-feed them material. By all means, do not require approval for sharing content.
2- Automation is the key to survival. In the parking industry, we see an increased requirement in company bandwidth – meaning new products and services are not necessarily replacing the old, but are being added to a suite of offerings.
For example, while mobile payments are an increasingly popular method to pay for parking, cash and credit card payments are generally still accepted. Instead of having just one or two types of payment methods, parking operations must now facilitate an additional payment method, not just a replacement.
Social media creates the same effect on your marketing efforts. You still need print advertising, trade show participation and other “old school” marketing methods. Social is an additional requirement to a successful marketing mix. Most companies should have a presence on multiple networks, so managing this at the same time as traditional marketing initiatives is virtually impossible.
This is where social media automation comes into play. Automation allows you to deliver the right information at the right time to the right audience. Today, there are actually hundreds of free and paid tools that will allow you to automate almost all of your activity. Such automation tools include platforms that pre-schedule content to post (Buffer and Hootesuite); deliver personalized curated content to your inbox (ContentGems, Feedly and Scoop.it); and provide “dashboards” and analytics that allow you to optimize your efforts (Tweetdeck, SocialOomph and Commun.it).
3- Pay to play becomes a necessity. With the maturation of social networks, along with their IPOs in recent years, comes strategic monetization of the platforms. As a result of their stockholders’ demand to make money and the immense volume of content published on these channels, organic posts are delivering diminishing returns. This trend, dubbed “Reachpocalypse,” means big bucks for companies such as Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn. This translates into a scenario that, for your brand to have the same exposure that it had in the past for free, you will now have to pay for it. Think less SEO (search engine optimization) and more PPC (or pay-per-click).
Paid social is the practice of paying to display advertisements (whatever the format – text, image, video, etc.) or sponsored messages to an audience based on user profile, such as demographics, or previous internet behavior.
One benefit of paid social media is the detailed analytics that accompany it. When using paid marketing, social networks give you much more complete metrics that will more effectively measure the ROI of your efforts (this way, you’ll continue to spend money with them). Additionally, through paid search, it is easier to reach new, specific audiences through granular targeting options both behaviorally and contextually. This results in exactly what you want – having your message in front of the right people at the right time.
So there they are, your social media trends for 2017. Can we all agree not to dig this up in a year’s time to find out how right or wrong I was? A lot can happen in 12 months.