In an ever evolving industry like social media, it is crucial to stay-up-to date on the constant changes and the implications of those changes for marketers and business owners. One of my most valuable assets in my toolkit for staying up-to-date with these changes is attending Social Media Marketing World, the largest social media conference in the world.
Social Media Marketing World (SMMW) consistently delivers quality education, networking & professional development opportunities. The conference is hosted by Social Media Examiner, my go-to resource for social media marketing education and training. I am lucky enough that this conference is right in my backyard in sunny San Diego, and it is an event I look forward to every year.
The big questions this year walking into the conference were “What is the future of social media marketing? Where are we headed as an industry?” Here is the answer to those questions as I reveal the 5 key takeaways from Social Media Marketing World 2017.
1. Less is More
Marketers and business owners continue to struggle with declining organic reach, meaning that less and less people are seeing our content on social media due to the dreaded “a” word aka the algorithm. The misguided answer to this problem is to produce and distribute even MORE content. Instead of posting once a day to Facebook, let’s post 7-8x a day, every day! That’s EXACTLY what every customer and client wants to see: an even more cluttered newsfeed with content from businesses and brands on what they think their community wants to see on their newsfeed. During his keynote speech, Michael Stelzner (Founder & CEO of Social Media Examiner) clearly stated, “Less is more with algorithms. In the past, it was all about scheduling content to show up at certain times. Frequency is no longer the answer to “breaking” the algorithm” which leads to my next point...
2. We need to shift our focus from content to community.
Marketers have been so focused on content that we have ignored the other important c word: community. How many of us post content on our social media channels but do not take the time to engage with our communities? Our community is the heartbeat of our social media strategy. No matter how great our content is, it will do nothing for us if we are not intentional about engaging our community and nurturing relationships. Mike challenged us to refocus on community development and stop worrying about the big numbers. For those of you, like myself, whose immediate response to that statement was “Tell my boss that!” Mike told us to have our bosses to listen to his keynote. =)
3. Can ads help with declining organic reach?
In July of 2016, the CFO of Facebook predicted that as of March 2017 (now), there will be no more newsfeed inventory for Facebook ads. The implication of that prediction is there is less room for ads and organic posts which means less reach for content, less brand visibility, less traffic to your website, less leads & less sells. Mike shared he was experiencing this himself with Social Media Examiner. He shared that their page fans increased over a two year period, but the traffic to their website did not change. Is that growth? If your fans are growing and your traffic remains flat, you’re actually getting less and less reach. That means those new fans never saw your content or there was less visibility in the newsfeed.
Ads can help with reach if we are targeting the right people. We will so start exploring ads in places other than the newsfeed such as within videos, Messenger, etc.
4. Instagram is HOT!
2 out of 3 of marketers say Facebook is the single most important platform yet 95% of marketers do not know or are certain that they are getting less exposure in the Facebook newsfeed. So then we turn to Facebook’s child, Instagram. Straight from the mouth of Mike Stelzner, Instagram is absolutely on fire! 54% of marketers use Instagram (that’s 18% more than 2 years ago), and 71% of marketers want to learn more about this platform. The star of Instagram is the visual. Mike confirmed how important visuals are to marketers and encouraged us to prioritize the visual in our Instagram marketing strategy.
5. There is a way to bust the algorithm.
Yes, we’re talking about that “a” word again. And no, we may never be able to completely break the algorithm. But there is a loophole to help beat it, and it’s called live video. With the introduction of a dedicated newsfeed to video on the mobile app last year, Facebook is pushing live video HARD. For those of you are already experimenting with live video and notice you are getting high reach, you can thank Facebook (for once). Facebook is boosting the reach of live videos because they want more of their users to interact and use live video. Live video is an opportunity to make your community feel special by providing exclusive behind-the-scene snapshots of your business. The number of marketers using live video has already doubled from last year!
BONUS PREDICTION: Facebook Messenger & similar apps are the next frontier.
Mike concluded his keynote speech by boldly stating, “Facebook Messenger and similar apps are the next frontier for social media marketers. Most of us are ignoring it because we don’t understand it.” According to Mike, there is big advantage with a private, closed network. You can set up bots to automatically interact with your customers and sell within Messenger. You can also host ads within Messenger. We shall see as the year unfolds if marketers choose to embrace Messenger.
The key takeaways from Social Media Marketing World remind us that we need to continue to evolve and adapt to the changing landscape of social media. What are your thoughts on these takeaways? What do you think about what Mike said?
Need some help applying these points to your business? Set up a time to talk with me!