Facebook Not Included:
Rethinking Your Social Media Strategy
Facebook can work for businesses. Facebook can generate leads, get audience engagement, more fans, more clicks, more views. As the largest social network, which 70% of the 1.35 billion monthly active users engage with daily, Facebook continues to remain untouched as a powerhouse of publishing. Facebook is a top influencer of purchases, and continues to increase its user base — in fact, if Facebook were a country, it would now be the largest in the world.
Why then, have advertising impressions decreased 56% year over year, despite a 247% increase in price? To me, Facebook’s idea to “optimize for user value” has actually done quite the opposite. Now, brands that can afford to pay pollute the News Feed, preventing users from seeing organic updates from Pages they actually like.
When brands first started marketing on social media, sure, Facebook was the way to go. Back when there weren’t other options, and brand pages weren’t forced to compete with other pages with bigger budgets just to hit the News Feed.
What should brands do? In particular, how can small brands, small businesses reach new fans and generate new leads without paying to buy Likes, or reach people that might like their page, but from then on will never see another update? Work smarter. Diversify your offering. The market has more micro-publishers now than ever before, many of which make more sense for brands. What Facebook has going for it is the user base, but as they tighten the grip on organic reach and advertising, it’s time for brands to embrace new audiences and newer, better ways to market.
Let’s look at a few options.
Pinterest: 53M users/month, Millennial & Gen X, 14.2 Minutes/visit
Works best for: Consumer brands targeting females, but really, for anyone with a website.
For online retailers, Pinterest drives the HIGHEST share of social revenue. Second to Facebook, Pinterest now drives more than 3x the traffic of Google Plus, YouTube, Twitter, StumbleUpon, LinkedIn and Reddit combined. Plus, thanks to the new Guided Search, users are performing 25% more searches, increasing the likelihood of finding Pins and sites they wouldn’t have otherwise.
This is all without the use of Promoted Pins, which have now opened to all US partners to impressive results. Brand advertisers achieved about a 30% bump in earned media (free impressions) from their campaigns. Pinterest isn’t just for ecommerce either, check out how NY Public Library uses it. You can read more about using Pinterest for your brand in my blog post here.
Snapchat: 100M users/month, Millennial & Gen Z, 1B Story views/day
Works best for: Brands targeting a younger audience with time and creative resources to invest.
For any of my regular readers, this is nothing new. Since the launch, brands have gone from 1-to-1, to 1-to-many, and now with Discover, media brands are producing original content, and users are embracing it 100%. Snapchat hasn’t released the numbers yet, but reports are saying millions of views per day, per publisher. Partnerships and advertising aside, brands with their own Snapchat accounts are paying absolutely zero dollars, for thousands, if not hundreds of thousands of views on their stories. That said, right now there isn’t a way for users to “discover” new brands, so it’s best for larger brands or brands with a presence on other channels. Here are a few tips to get started if you think Snapchat is right for your brand.
Instagram: 300M users/month, Millennial & Gen Z, 70% use daily
Works Best for: Brands with creative resources and a slightly younger audience.
Instagram is a game changer to me. With such a large percentage of users logging in daily, 70 billion photos posted daily, and only 25% of Fortune 500 brands using the platform, there’s a huge amount of potential for brands to be creative and grow. Between Hyperlapse, new Instagram looping videos, and an influx of power users with millions of followers to partner with, Instagram has opened a visual door to brands. Here’s some helpful tips for small to medium-sized brands to use partnerships and other grassroots tactics to build a following from SociallyStacked. Even larger brands like Tommy Hilfiger and Barney’s are taking advantage of Instagram takeovers to reach new audiences. Think Instagram is only for fashion brands? Check out General Electric’s profile.
YouTube: YouTube is a massive platform with 1B users uploading 100 hours of video per minute, and watching even more, while providing content to distribute on additional channels. Whether it’s vlogs or scripted, YouTube can bring a brand to life, and partnering with a YouTube talent can help your brand reach millions of people. 70% of marketers say video converts better than any other medium.
Blogs: 6.7M people blog. 70% of consumers learn about companies through articles, rather than ads. They can be long form or short, and even invite guest bloggers to drive more traffic. Blogs require much more content and time, but it’s the best way to provide value for your audience. Making blogging a priority for your business creates an open conversation with your audience, and the more you can blog, the better. 82% of marketers who blog daily acquired a customer using their blog, as opposed to 57% of marketers who blog monthly (which in itself is impressive). Small businesses with blogs generate 126% more leads.
Should brands leave Facebook? Not necessarily. I’m not suggesting that brands abandon Facebook, or that Facebook can’t work for brands. Studies continue to prove that Facebook’s audience will grow, and millions of brands make it work for them. Facebook just doesn’t have to be the first, or only choice. Marketers now have the luxury to try new things and re-evaluate our platform priorities to bring brands closer to the audience. Embrace new technologies like Yo, or Vessel, or take risks with your brands by creating a podcast, activating Twitter chats or Reddit AMAs.
Take the time to think about and create a content and marketing strategy that will optimize your available resources. Create the best chance to connect with the users waiting to hear from you.
Want to talk social & marketing? Tweet me @HillaryxFrazier firstname.lastname@example.org