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Why Your Brand Still Needs Social Media

Why Your Brand Still Needs Social Media

New reports show an overall decline in social media use. With dropping numbers, why should businesses continue to use social media use? Here’s seven reasons why your brand still needs social media.


Highlights:

  • Social media usage has seen a steady decline in usage over the past two years.
  • Having a presence on social media shows that your business is current, approachable, and interested in meeting their customers where they are.  In fact, it is often more noticeable when a business does NOT have social media accounts than when they do.
  • Success should be determined when a marketing strategy delivers against business goals, where social media is a part of the overall strategy. It is a classic case of the whole being greater than the sum of the parts.

Marketers have been speaking anecdotally about the decline of social media for a solid year, but now we have data to support our instincts. The Infinite Dial 2018 report, which explores consumer usage of media and technology, has found that for the first time ever, both Facebook and Twitter use declined in 2018, from 67% to 62% and 23% to 21%, respectively. Overall, social media usage has decreased from 80% in 2017 to 77% in 2018. To put that in perspective, social media usage has increased an average of 7.77% over the last 9 years.  Experts predict that we will likely see continued decline in 2019.

So, given those statistics and predictions, why should businesses continue to use social media? In a saturated market with declining audience interest, what’s the point?

Here are seven reasons why social media is still worth your time and effort

1. It’s expected.

Much like consumers expect any company worth doing business with to have a well-thought out, updated, user-friendly website, they also expect to be able to find them on social media. Having a presence on social media shows that your business is current, approachable, and interested in meeting their customers where they are.  In fact, it is often more noticeable when a business does NOT have social media accounts than when they do.

2. It’s a branding tool.

Social media allows consumers who otherwise wouldn’t know about your business to discover it and learn what it’s all about. Consistently publishing to social media results in your brand remaining top of mind when a potential buyer is looking for your product or services.

3. It’s a way to build authority.

Social media isn’t just a way to tell consumers about your brand; it’s a way to show your audience that you know what they care about, what resonates with them, and that you are a trusted source of information.

4. It boosts organic visibility.

The keywords used in social media and the backlinks acquired send signals to search engines that your content is relevant for a certain subject. According to Search Engine Journal, “Google has repeatedly said that social media likes, favorites, shares, backlinks, etc. are not direct ranking signals — but there is a correlation between social media activity/popularity and how/why it is ranked by search engines.”

5. It allows for easy communication.

Whether it’s to network with industry professionals, provide customer service, or influence potential customers, social media provides a free, easily accessible way to do so. And more and more customers are expecting to be able to communicate via social media with brands.

6. It builds your brand’s reputation.

All of the above reasons factor into your brand’s reputation. By delivering resources and information to customers and potential customers, providing great customer service, increasing your visibility, and being authentic and transparent, your brand is building up an online reputation that can impact your company’s future.

7. It provides an avenue for thought leadership and acts as a distribution channel.

You’ve invested plenty of time and resources creating thought-provoking content on your website, but if you don’t share that through social media channels, how many people will find it? Social media provides an avenue for your content to be distributed and, better yet, shared with networks that you wouldn’t have had access to otherwise.

The question remains, how do we measure social media success? What does success look like?

Unfortunately, many brands fall into the trap of trying to associate an increase in sales with their social media efforts. However, more and more, marketers are realizing that this is a flawed view of what social media is all about.

We have stated before that social media should be measured in terms of potential, rather than dollar amount. A recent article on CMS Wire interviews several professionals who agree: “Alban, the founder of Your Virtual Assistant Service, said the focus of social media should not be on ROI but on growing your following to increase brand awareness, engaging with your customers to create raving fans, and educating your potential customers about the benefits of your product.” The article continues, “Social media may or may not lead to an increase in sales, but it will give you the opportunity to build relationships with your audience and deliver ‘amazing’ customer service.”

Likewise, Ben Ricciardi, CEO of the full service agency Times10, explains , “’There is no easy way to financially quantify what each social media interaction is worth. It’s much more effective to take all the marketing channels you’re budgeting for and compare it against the general lift or decline you see in sales.”

Success, therefore, should be determined when a marketing strategy delivers against business goals, where social media is a part of the overall strategy. Click To Tweet

Success, therefore, should be determined when a marketing strategy delivers against business goals, where social media is a part of the overall strategy. It is a classic case of the whole being greater than the sum of the parts. Vanity metrics — such as likes, follows, reach and engagement — are still important to help measure brand awareness and brand loyalty. However, given the overall decline in social media usage, these metrics must be taken with a grain of salt.

Social media is an important component of a complete marketing strategy. Despite recent declines in its use, there are still an estimated 2.77 billion people on social media worldwide. Nowhere else can you as quickly, easily, and cheaply have access to your audience. And most importantly, your audience expects you to be there.

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Facebook Announces 3Q Earnings, LinkedIn Offers New Integration Tools, and More Social Media News

Facebook Announces 3Q Earnings, LinkedIn Offers New Integration Tools, and More Social Media News

Also in social media news, November 2018: Instagram tests options to promote stories on business pages, Pinterest unveils updates to self-serve ad tools, and Facebook tests advanced analytics for Instagram.

November was the month of social media updates and the development of new tools aimed at helping brands. Though Facebook has vowed to boost content for individuals – think posts from friends and family – they are also making significant strides in helping businesses gain reach and increase engagement after a slow start to the calendar year.

For example, Instagram tested options to help promote Stories on Business pages. What does this mean for your company? Soon brands will have the ability to get Stories in front of new audiences, increasing followers and engagement. Building lasting relationships with prospects on social media means presenting your brand in a visually engaging way while linking them to useful and relevant information.

Building lasting relationships with prospects on social media means presenting your brand in a visually engaging way while linking them to useful and relevant information. Click To Tweet

Here’s your social media news for November 2018.

Facebook announces third-quarter earnings report

Facebook just revealed it has 1.49 billion daily active users in its quarterly earnings report. When you combine Facebook, Messenger, Instagram, and Whatsapp, monthly active users total 2.6 billion. Though these numbers are the highest of any social media platform, Facebook significantly dropped active users in Europe last quarter.

Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook CEO, noted a growing shift in social media engagement including an increased focus on private messaging and stories. Another shift? Video. “We’re seeing video grow dramatically across the ecosystem, and while Watch is now growing very quickly, we’re well behind YouTube and still working to make this a unique people-centric experience.” writes Zuckerberg. Facebook will also continue to improve safety and security measures to address increased threats.

YouTube premieres now available to all users

YouTube premieres is a feature that lets you and your viewers watch and experience a new video together, much like a movie or TV show premiere. Premiering your video allows you to schedule a video upload and to create buzz around the video with a shareable watch page. Premieres originally debuted to specific creators but is now available to all users. Businesses can invite fans to use Live Chat as it counts down to the premiere of a new video that users can watch together while answering questions and responding to comments.

LinkedIn offers new integration tool with Google Campaign Manager

LinkedIn announced a measurement integration tool with Google Campaign Manager, a part of Google Marketing Platform. This new tool allows businesses to see LinkedIn ad performance alongside other paid advertising, and get attribution for LinkedIn ads across all impressions and interactions. “Earlier this year, we launched this integration for a few ad formats, but today – we are launching it for Sponsored Content,” writes LinkedIn.

Instagram tests Promote: a new way to share Stories on business pages

Instagram is giving businesses a new way to share Stories without much effort. Promote, a new ad type, allows admins to “auto-target users similar to their followers, specific locations, or use all of Instagram’s targeting parameters to inject their stories into the queue of more users.” The ads will also link back to a business’s Instagram profile or webpage. Instagram confirmed to TechCrunch that Promote for Stories is similar to Facebook’s Boost option that lets businesses pay to show their posts to more users instantly.

Facebook tests advanced analytics for Instagram

Facebook introduced Instagram Analytics, a new part of Facebook Analytics. With Instagram Insights, businesses can already see how audiences interact with posts and Stories, but what happens next and what does that mean for your business? Now with Instagram Analytics, businesses can track “lifetime value and retention rates for people who do or don’t interact with their content and create audience segments to see if people who commented on a particular post generate more value for them.” They can also analyze how audiences overlap with website visitors and Facebook followers.

Pinterest updates self-serve ad tools

Pinterest is working to make it easier for brands to reach the right audiences with their ads. In October, Pinterest unveiled updates to its Self-Serve Ads Manager to streamline the campaign creation process and give companies tools to track their progress on the app. “Over the past year, we’ve used your feedback to redesign our ad tools so businesses on Pinterest can define and size audiences, create ads and pull reports with ease.” The new features are currently available in English-speaking markets with a Pinterest business profile.

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Instagram Founders Leave Facebook, LinkedIn Overhauls Groups, and More Social Media News

Instagram Founders Leave Facebook, LinkedIn Overhauls Groups, and More Social Media News

Also in social media news, October 2018: Snapchat partners with Amazon on visual search tool, Google Plus is shutting down, and Instagram adds Quick Replies for business accounts.

With the arrival of Halloween, we know that the holidays are quickly approaching. Consumers will be busy making plans and diving into holiday specials. But social networks will also be hard at work trying to stand out against brick and mortar stores as an alternative for holiday preparations.

Businesses looking to gain traction during the holiday season will reap the benefits of social networks, which are including new features and updates that will help brands connect with new (and existing) users. Click To Tweet

Businesses looking to gain traction during the holiday season will reap the benefits of social networks, which are including new features and updates that will help brands connect with new (and existing) users. With a heavy focus on customer engagement, these new options help businesses stay connected with new features like Quick Replies on Instagram. These small but helpful updates will allow companies to have a greater reach without extra work for their marketers.

Here’s your social media news for October 2018.

Instagram founders leave Facebook

Kevin Systrom, CEO, and Mike Krieger, CTO, resigned from Instagram this week amidst rumors of tension with Facebook founder and CEO, Mark Zuckerberg. “We’re planning on leaving Instagram to explore our curiosity and creativity again. Building new things requires that we step back, understand what inspires us and match that with what the world needs; that’s what we plan to do,” writes Systrom in a statement for Instagram. Bloomberg News reports that tension between co-founders grew over the direction of Instagram. These departures create an opportunity for Facebook to oversee Instagram more directly.

LinkedIn updates Groups

LinkedIn Groups now offer more engaged conversation tools including embedded videos, images, and updates to posts, alerts, and much more. “Over the past year, we’ve focused on bringing conversations to the forefront on LinkedIn, adding new features to make it easy for you to talk to your professional communities. The new Groups experience helps you take advantage of all these conversations tools with a seamless, faster experience so you can easily participate in your groups,” writes Mitali Pattnaik for LinkedIn’s blog. All groups are currently being updated with these features.

Snapchat Partners with Amazon on visual search tool

Snapchat users are going to have a new way to search for products on Amazon, one of the world’s biggest e-commerce corporations. Using the Snapchat app, users can point their camera at a product or barcode and, once recognized, a link will appear to that product (or a similar one) on Amazon. Though the update is currently only available to a small group of users, Snapchat is hoping to roll out the new feature to all users shortly.

Instagram rolls out Quick Replies for business accounts in direct messenger

Instagram introduced Quick Replies for business accounts in direct messenger this month. The new feature allows businesses to create quick responses to frequently asked questions, like shipping rates and contact information. Quick Replies will help businesses communicate quickly and efficiently with users. Instagram tested the new functionality back in May, but just made the update available on all devices and the web.

Google Plus shuts down

Google Plus, Google’s social network, is shutting down for good after a security breach that exposed up to 500,000 users between 2015 and 2018. Ben Smith, Google’s vice president of engineering, acknowledged that Google detected a security issue back in March, but immediately addressed it. In a blog post on October 8, Smith writes, “A review did highlight the significant challenges in creating and maintaining a successful Google+ that meets consumers’ expectations. Given these challenges and the very low usage of the consumer version of Google+, we decided to sunset the consumer version of Google+. “

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New Survey Shows Facebook Users are Changing Their Habits, Snapchat Announces Webinars for Advertisers, and More Social Media News

New Survey Shows Facebook Users are Changing Their Habits, Snapchat Announces Webinars for Advertisers, and More Social Media News

Also in social media news, September 2018: Twitter launches audio-only live streaming, and Facebook Creator Studio is going global.

The kids are back to school, football is back on tv, and the leaves are starting to change colors. This can only mean one thing: fall is officially upon us. What does this mean for our most popular social media platforms? Similar to battling dropping temperatures, it’s time to heat things up to keep users engaged and active.

Especially for Facebook. In a new survey by the Pew Research Center, users revealed how their engagement with the social media platform has changed in the wake of privacy and security concerns. Most notably, 44% of Facebook users ages 18 to 29 reported deleting the Facebook app from their phone in the past year. Despite the fall chill, Zuckerberg and his crew need to continue heating up their security updates and find new ways to gain user trust and ensure user privacy.

Here’s what else has been happening in September with the hottest social media platforms and how the latest updates help businesses gain exposure and target new audiences.

Here’s your social media news for September 2018.

Facebook Expands Ad Pixels to Group

Facebook will now allow pixels to be added to a brand’s Facebook Group. This expanded feature will enable marketers to track user growth, activity, and engagement with their websites. Facebook is hoping the new update will boost attention for Groups as an advertising avenue. “Facebook Groups are the new email for brands. They get push notifications. The engagement rate of Groups is extremely high. It makes sense they’re going to put a pixel in there, just like you would with email, because now through groups you can track conversions,” says Nik Sharma, Director at Hint Inc.

Snap Inc. Announces New Webinars for Ad Tools

Snap Inc. announced two upcoming webinars that provide more insight into how Snapchat can boost marketing campaigns for advertisers. These webinars are “for advertisers who want to learn more about the Snap Pixel. From how it differs from other pixels, the optimizations and attribution it enables, to implementation and troubleshooting, we’ll cover everything you need to know to power your eCommerce campaigns.” Though Snap’s niche is young adults, the app is working overtime to provide more advertising options, including performance tracking and user engagement.

Twitter Rolls Out Audio-Only Live-Streams on Twitter and Periscope

Twitter launched a new audio-only option on its app and Periscope. The popular feature, available on Facebook since 2015, has been heavily requested by users for years. “Broadcasting with audio only in Periscope is something the community has been asking for, and have been doing already by covering the camera lens. Sometimes people are not comfortable being on camera, but they still want to broadcast and interact with others via Periscope’s powerful chatroom feature.” writes Periscope engineer, Richard Plom. The new feature allows users to hear content without being locked to a screen. This will help businesses tap into the podcasting trend (streaming without video), creating new ways for users to tap into a brand’s content.

Facebook’s Creator Studio Launches Globally

Facebook officially launched Creator Studio globally, “providing one central place for Pages to manage their entire content library and business.” Publishers and account managers can now manage content, interactions, insights, video publishing, and much more in one central location.

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Snapchat Drops Daily Users, Workplace for Facebook Acquires Redkix, and More Social Media News

Snapchat Drops Daily Users, Workplace for Facebook Acquires Redkix, and More Social Media News

Also in social media news August 2018: Twitter releases an ads playbook, Snapchat introduces a private ads marketplace, WhatsApp launches a Business API, and Facebook makes updates to its video metrics.

As kids gear up for back to school, social media platforms are busy making updates with a focus on business pages. Facebook, Twitter, and WhatsApp are all releasing updates and features, including playbooks, to help advertisers increase their brand awareness and user reach. Facebook even created updates to its metrics to help advertisers produce better reporting around usage.

Here’s what’s been happening in August with the hottest social media platforms and how the latest updates are aimed at helping businesses gain exposure and new audiences.

Your social media news for August 2018.

Facebook Q2 earnings show increased user growth but slow revenue growth

Facebook just released their Q2 earnings report showing that the social media giant now has more than 2.5 billion people using at least one of its apps (including WhatsApp, Instagram, and Messenger) monthly. The report also showed declining revenue growth, despite efforts to rebuild trust among users. Mark Zuckerberg reiterated his commitment to user privacy and security. “We continue to invest heavily in safety and security. This quarter, our systems identified and removed thousands of fake accounts, pages, and groups.”

Snapchat drops user count in Q2

Snap Inc. released its Q2 2018 Financial Results revealing a three million daily active user drop in its user base. With a recent redesign to the app, Snap Inc. was aware usage would be down. Co-founder Evan Spiegel states that “the company has been working to improve Snapchat based on user feedback” and is “eager to make more progress on the tremendous opportunity we now have to show more of the right content to the right people.”

Facebook’s Workplace acquires Redkix

Workplace for Facebook, an interactive tool for coworkers, acquired Redkix, an email software that combines email, messaging, and calendar features into one app. Recode reports the acquisition took place so Facebook could create its own communication system within Workplace. Facebook has been working overtime to beef up its Workplace platform to compete against Slack, a messaging app with almost 100 million paid users.

Twitter Business created an ads playbook for businesses and brands

Twitter Business released a Playbook for Agencies, a new document created to answer the most frequently asked questions by businesses about Twitter ads, client strategy, and more. “We compiled the most asked questions from agencies, partnered with our customer service team, and synthesized six months of Twitter research to create this guide which will help agencies guide their clients toward Twitter success,” writes Twitter.

Snapchat creates private ads marketplace

Snapchat is offering more ad tools to “premium publishers and advertisers – offering brands ‘unskippable’ slots and experimenting with a private marketplace (PMP) that lets Discover media partners take greater control over their inventory.” Starting in August, the app will give 100 randomly picked brands the ability to buy ad programming against TV-style content, including a wide variety of programming from scripted drama to comedy.

Facebook updates video metrics

Updates in the past year gave users the ability to rewind and re-watch parts of video ads, leaving advertisers with skewed reporting numbers. Facebook recently updated its video ad metrics to account for re-watched ads, removing any redundancies in reporting. The new metrics will automatically remove any three or ten-second views that are watched after rewinding.

WhatsApp launches Business API

Looking to expand its business tools, WhatsApp launched Business API, allowing medium to large business to manage and send non-promotional messages to customers. These messages include appointment reminders, shipping information, event tickets, and more for a fixed rate. VentureBeat reports all messages sent through the API will be free for the first 24 hours, messages sent after that will be charged. Though currently only available to select businesses, including Uber, Booking.com, and KLM Airlines, Business API will eventually be available to all more customers.

Facebook no longer permits cross-posted tweets

In light of recent Facebook platform and policy updates, users can no longer automatically cross-post their tweets or retweets to Facebook. As of August 1, users will have to copy a tweet’s URL to post a tweet to Facebook.

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