Social Media, Not a Baby Anymore

by Lola Rain, Director of Social Media for Eskaton

Social media matured significantly between 2015 and 2016. Experts emphasize building community engagement strategies using new technologies to measure success and deliver better ROI. This year’s trends are around hyper-focused, relevant content delivered to the right audiences. The most important Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) include time spent watching videos, shares and comments. Companies must deliver content to where the people are already engaged. Consumers are now smarter and trust rich, engaging content over advertising.

During a February 2015 Social Media Summit in Las Vegas, people from around the country called themselves “Pioneers”. They shared metrics along with internal and external barriers to launching strategies and campaigns. By March 2016, the NYC Digital Marketing Innovation Summit was dominated by global attendees discussing social media success.

The contrast between 2015 and 2016 in this sector is mind blowing. Social media now falls deep into the “digital marketing” category and is no longer a standalone. Every online component is now integrated. The user moves seamlessly between platforms completely unaware if they are on a social site, a webpage or in an app. The fact is, today, 60% of consumers use smart phones and most digital consumption happens within apps says Scott Stanchak of The New York Times. No longer are marketers focused on the form factor of the device, they should be focused on the content delivery and the end-user experience.

With 40 minutes a day spent on Youtube by the average mobile user, and 41,000 Facebook posts per second across the globe, social media consumers have blossomed into everyday media moguls and peer influencers. Because of this consumption and influence every digital marketing strategy must include social. But social media is no longer a free way of advertising. AdAge predicts 2017 will be the first year digital marketing dollars will exceed TV advertising.

60% of users are now on mobile

The top three reasons someone selects one brand over another are:

#1 Access to detailed information – People will go to four websites on average looking for detailed information. They will even pull out their phones while standing in a business to get more information.

#2 Online reviews – The number one reason a person recommends a company is because of outstanding service; 90% of people believe recommendations over advertising.

#3 Price – Price is not the top objection, especially when competitively priced.

 

2016 TRENDS

  1. It’s the year of the video. Facebook changed the rules with instant watching. It’s not all about Youtube anymore. There are many video platforms now and videos should be developed to scale over all platforms.
  2. Social has aged up. Older audiences are now average users.
  3. Live streaming is growing. MeerKat and Periscope have changed the landscape.
  4. Blogs are more relevant than ever. Content drives decision making. Articles must be engaging and emotional. Blogs make it easy to publish articles and other content in a timely manner.
  5. Paid influencers are declining. Influencers are everyday people.
  6. Facebook’s Instant Articles now allows anyone to publish interactive articles quickly.

 What type of content is being utilized?

81% Articles          76% Videos        62% Infographics      61% Webinars   22% Podcasts*

*Podcasts are being underutilized

Key Takeaways from 2016 Digital Marketing Innovations Summit NYC

  • “Social is the fuel of the new marketing engine,” said Tami Cannizzaro from Ebay marketing.
  • 70% of Tweets go unanswered. Not answering a Tweet is like leaving a caller on hold. (Ebay)
  • Social media has moved to a pay to play format in just 2 years. Companies pay for written content, sponsored content and influencers.
  • CMOs are investing in social marketing with budgets and staff.
  • Understand how your content is being engaged with. “Sharing at the end of the day is the ultimate KPI,” says Ken Nelson, Odyssey’s Chief Strategy Officer.
  • “Build brand and earn your [online] citizenship at the same time,” said Alexander Chung, BuzzFeed. Co-exist traditional advertising with new Internet communities.
  • “If you don’t have something worth sharing, it isn’t going to go anywhere,” said Chung.
  • Make small bets with lean production, share as an insider (not outsider) and create a feedback loop for learning. Test, fail, test. Let data drive content.
  • 73% of consumers prefer to get content from articles not ads. (Time Inc.)
  • “There is no such thing as good content. There is only content in context,” said content strategist Melanie Deziel (@mdeziel), formerly of NYT and Huffington Post.
  • The funnel does not dictate the path to purchase.
  • Master the emotion, not product conversation.
  • Know your audience: Where do they hang out and who do they trust? We have so much detailed info about customers, but what drives them? How do they use content?

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