Social Media Expert or Busy Fool – You Choose!

Social Media Marketing

In the last few years, social media has become an integral part of marketing. Helping businesses to connect with their target audience, working wonders for SEO and giving customers an invaluable research tool, social media has transformed the way that companies and customers interact for good.

But what is Social Media

According to Wikipedia: Social Media are computer-mediated tools that allow people or companies to create, share, or exchange information, career interests, ideas, and pictures/videos in virtual communities and networks. Social media is defined as “a group of Internet-based applications that build on the ideological and technological foundations of Web 2.0, and that allow the creation and exchange of user-generated content.”

Facts:

Twitter: Every second, on average, around 6,000 tweets are tweeted which corresponds to 500 million tweets per day and around 200 billion tweets per year.

Facebook: worldwide there are almost 1,550 million active users, 59% of the UK population have active social media accounts

Leading social networks worldwide as of November 2015, ranked by number of active users (in millions)

Social Users 2015

Social  Media Trends for 2016

To create an effective social media marketing strategy, businesses need to ensure that they are familiar with all of the most important platforms and that they are aware of current and upcoming social media trends.

By putting time, effort and energy into researching social media and the impact it can have on marketing, businesses can boost their income, increase their brand awareness and make 2016 a year to remember.

Increased e-commerce integration

A large percentage of users already use social media to purchase products and research brands. In 2016, we’re set to see increased e-commerce integration on social media platforms, making it even easier for users to buy products online.

Twitter, Facebook and Pinterest are already introducing ‘Buy’ buttons to their pages and other networks like Instagram are set to follow suit in the near future. For small businesses that rely on word of mouth and online sales to boost their income, this increased integration and ease of use will make a big difference.

Larger companies can also take advantage of this new form of internet marketing to create a buzz around their products. The tool can be used to advertise limited-time special offers, discounts and other deals, giving social media users exclusive access to a range of e-commerce benefits.

More targeted searches

With smartphones, tablet computers and the internet itself becoming cleverer and more intuitive to use, customers are expecting more and more from their social media network. In the coming year, the inbuilt search features of the biggest social media platforms are set to become even more powerful, giving users the ability to find specific products and services at the click of a button.

For example, Pinterest is set to introduce a feature that will allow the user to begin a new search by clicking on a specific element of a picture. So, if they’re looking at an image of a kitchen and like the look of the dining table, they can simply click on the table and start a brand new search for similar pieces of furniture.

Increased inbound messages

Customers around the word are increasingly using social media networks like Facebook as their primary means of interacting with brands. According to a report by Sprout Social, the number of inbound messages received by brands across all industries has gone up 32% in the last year.

However, the same report revealed that around 82% of these messages go unanswered, showing that businesses still haven’t developed effective strategies for dealing with social media communication. Companies that work on this during 2016 are certain to reap the rewards of improved customer service, communication and collaboration.

Live broadcasts

The increased use of social media around the world has already led to sites like Twitter becoming the first port of call for users looking to learn more about current world events. Twitter is often the first place reports of a natural or manmade disaster will appear, with eyewitness accounts on the site contributing enormously to news coverage of the event.

In the coming year, we’re going to see even more live reporting on social media, with real-time broadcasts set to appear across a number of platforms. Twitter users will be able to use Periscope to live stream events over the web, while Facebook is launching its own Facebook Live Broadcasts.

Mobile will be king

In 2014, mobile devices overtook desktop devices as the primary way users accessed the web. On average, adults now spend 2.8 hours a day, or 51% of their overall internet time, browsing the web on mobile devices as opposed to just 2.4 hours or, 42% of total internet time, on desktop computers.

By 2020, the number of smartphone users worldwide is set to exceed six billion, making mobile content king and forcing all businesses to create and implement comprehensive mobile marketing strategies.

Companies that fail to take advantage of this growing audience could well miss out on sales as

customers are increasingly using their mobile devices to make online purchases and research products. Businesses that do work to introduce mobile marketing strategies could well see visitor numbers soar over the next year, giving their company the income and the exposure it needs to grow.

Improved content quality

As customers use social media more and more to research brands and products, their expectations for quality content will soar. Over the coming year, customers will begin to expect incredibly high standards from their online searches, with the amount and accuracy of information expected to improve over time.

Businesses that want to take advantage of these high expectations need to find out exactly what their customers want and then give it to them. Recent research has shown that, on average, users prefer video to other types of content. Moving images average 62% more engagement than photos and are shared 43% more than other types of content.

By creating high quality, engaging videos, businesses can connect with their target audience and turn their customers into ambassadors for the brand. The more often videos and other content are shared on social media, the better it is for SEO and brand awareness.

Researching current and upcoming social media trends is an essential part of creating a comprehensive online marketing strategy. With more and more customers now using social media to buy products, interact with businesses and share reviews and opinions, companies that ignore this powerful platform could lose out on a huge amount of business in the long run.

Staying on top of emerging trends, on the other hand will give businesses the tools and the momentum they need to engage with their customers and drive their brand forward, something that could revolutionise their business and help make 2016 their best year yet.

Social Media Return on Investment

So you are aware of the trends, you have implemented all the industry best advice and you have launched into 2016 with vigour and excitement. But are you sure you have not left anything out, perhaps the most important ingredient?

How will you know if the work you are doing is of value or are you just a busy fool?

Very simply: ROI = (return – investment) / investment 

Step 1 – Quantify Your Return

Sometimes tricky to quantify as it means different things to different people basically it is a measure of what you are looking to achieve i.e. Goals

There is a great infographic from Neil Patel that details some possible goals (see complete)

Social Media Goals

Step 2 – Track Your Goals

There are a number of tools to track website actions (sales, downloads, signups, etc. ) the simplest being Google Analytics, for the measurement of shares and follows  simplest way is to use the relevant platform.

Step 3 – Assign a perceived or real value to each goal

  • Average Sale – what is a sale worth to you
  • Lifetime Value – How much do you earn on average from a customer? (There’s a quick calculator here and a helpful article here.

Step 4 – Calculate Your Investment

  • Your time – Multiply labour cost per hour by the number of hours you’ve committed over a given period.
  • Your social media tools – Do you pay a monthly subscription to the tools you use to measure social media.
  • Advertising spend – The amount you spend on social media advertising—boosting Facebook posts, promoting tweets, etc.
Conclusion

Researching current and upcoming social media trends is an essential part of creating a comprehensive online marketing strategy. With more and more customers now using social media to buy products, interact with businesses and share reviews and opinions, companies that ignore this powerful platform could lose out on a huge amount of business in the long run.

Staying on top of emerging trends and being aware of your return on investment, on the other hand will give businesses the tools and the momentum they need to engage with their customers and drive their brand forward, something that could revolutionise their business and help make 2016 their best year yet.

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Chris Wright
Chris Wright
Managing Director of Nettonic Ltd a Bedford based digital marketing company specialising in helping businesses to improve their online brand awareness. Linkedin

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