Social Media Is Still Charming in 2020

The number of social media users was 373 million people in 2007. This figure exceeded 1 billion in 2012 and reached almost 3 billion in 2018. Facebook alone has 2.1 billion members.

95 million photos are uploaded to Instagram every day and those photos receive 4.2 billion likes. Today, more pictures are taken every two minutes than were taken throughout the 1800s.

500 million tweets are posted on Twitter every day.

As their target audiences continue to use social media, brands are motivated to use these platforms. They try to achieve commercial results by communicating with their target audience every day.

However, they are still not sure about what to do to achieve conversion.

Achieving High ROI and Formulating Strategies Against Declining Organic Reach Will Be Key in 2020

On one hand, brands post entertaining content, thinking that this is the structure of social media, on the other hand, they complain about not getting enough commercial results (ROI).

According to the “State of Social Marketing” report conducted with 2,738 social media professionals in 111 countries in 2017, 58.7% of agencies and brands stated the biggest challenge in social media as conversion measurement.

33.6% of the participants stated the biggest challenge as linking social media to commercial results and the other answers remained below 30%

Brands will try to formulate strategies against declining organic reach.

A study by Social@Ogilvy revelaed that average organic reach of content published on Brand Facebook Pages decreased from 12.05% to 6.15% in only 5 months (Oct. 2013 – Feb. 2014)!

This decline in organic reach and engagement we experienced with Facebook, now hits Instagram.

Especially since the beginning of June 2019, Instagram posts have significantly lower organic reach and the hashtags seem to have lower importance.

Social Platforms

When you decide to use social media for your business, you need to specify which social platforms you will use.

Social media sites usually have different audiences, or the same people may use different social media sites with different perspectives.

Brands generally publish the same content on all social media sites. However, it is important to act in accordance with the structure of each site. Therefore, although the main perspective is similar, I will discuss the strategies for each platform in a different section in the following pages.

Looking at the trends, Internet Trends report revealed that people use YouTube and Instagram in an increasing pace. The ratio of people who use selected platforms at least once per day is stated as follows:

                                 Q2 2017                     Q2 2018

Facebook                   31%                30%

YouTube                    22%                27%

Instagram                  13%                19%

Twitter                         9%               11%

Sprout Social Index stated that users spend more time on YouTube, Instagram and Pinterest, and less time on other social networks

Facebook Success Strategies

New social media sites emerge from time to time and some of them grow rapidly with significant media exposure. However, it does not seem to be possible to replace Facebook in the short term, especially when you want to reach to a large audience

Having reached 2.1 billion users worldwide at the end of 2017, Facebook enables you to reach your target audience in almost every country. 1.4 billion people log in to Facebook every day

Organic Reach is Below 5%

Facebook has grown so big that the number of potential messages that can be viewed in a user’s news feed has reached thousands.

Facebook stated even in 2014 that, there are 1,500 stories that could appear in a person’s News Feed. For people with lots of friends and page likes, as many as 15,000 potential stories could appear any time they log on .

Facebook looks at the interactions of each user and tries to show the most relevant content to that user.

For this reason, it is very important to achieve high engagement with your Facebook posts. High interaction will positively affect the organic reach of your posts.

In the past, the organic reach of Facebook posts was around 20% of the page fans. You could communicate with your fans. Today, this figure is usually less than 5%. In other words, Facebook has pretty much become a paid platform for brands.

How Can You Achieve Success in the Renewed News Feed Algorithm in 2020?

Facebook has updated its news feed algorithm in 2018 and announced that it will reduce the reach of low-quality viral videos and links from sites with low-reliability.

This update, realized with the goal of increasing “meaningful” interactions, makes it unavoidable for the Facebook pages to create high engagement.

The new algorithm does not favor unnatural techniques used to provide interaction (engagement bait) and aims to create a natural and meaningful interaction that brings people together.

With this new algorithm, it became meaningless to publish general posts to unsegmented wide audiences.

Using Divide and Conquer mentality, it becomes more important to give the right message to the right people and produce meaningful interaction.

You should act accordingly.

For example, if you are managing a campaign for a diaper brand, you can encourage mothers to share their experiences with other mothers.

Reach the Right People through Post Targeting

In an environment where the organic reach of the posts decreased severely, you can use Facebook post targeting to benefit the most from this structure.

After segmenting your target audience using Divide and Conquer method, you can target specific segments for each post. This way, you will be communicating the most relevant messages with each segment.

This will improve your reach, help you to gain the attention of these people and increase your engagement. This seems inevitable, especially with the new algorithm.

For each post that is published on Facebook, segmentation can be made based on age, gender, interest, location, languages, relationship status and level of education.

Optionally, you can choose to limit your target audience by excluding certain groups based on age, gender, location, and languages. 

Creating Effective Posts and High Engagement in 2020

You should use effective visuals in your Facebook posts. Looking at over 100 million Facebook updates, BuzzSumo found out that updates with images had 2.3x more engagement than those without.

Along with effective visuals, it is a good idea to ask the opinions of people to create high engagement. For example, you may present two dresses, one black and one red, and ask people which one they liked the most.

Regarding content, an article on Quick Sprout stated that shorter Facebook posts receive far more engagement than longer ones. In a study, posts with 50 characters or fewer received more than 400 interactions, and this number declined to 250 for posts with 100 characters or higher It is a good idea to use a clear call-to-action (CTA) in your content. This will increase your conversion.

As Facebook is a social platform, you should avoid didactic structure when presenting content. Many global brands emphasize the use of content that touches people’s lives, in their social media guides. You should act the same way.

You should talk less about your product specifications and more about the effects of your products on people’s lives.

For example, instead of using a content like “The speed of our modem is …”, saying “Watch your favorite videos without interruption!” yields a far more effective result.

In order to achieve high conversion, you should include a direct link to your website in your posts and you should not be reluctant to use words such as “Click, Get, Buy, Shop, Try, Discover”.

Since you post every day, you can talk about different topics or talk about the same topic focusing on different aspects.

Instagram Success Strategies

Did yoou know that the human brain processes visuals 60,000 times faster than text?

Impressive, isn’t it?

Let me give you another figure: when people hear an information, they remember only 10% of this information after 3 days.  However, if the same information is presented with a visual, the recall rate increases to 65%

This is the value of Instagram for your brand.

Growing in popularity, Instagram has reached 800 million users in 2018. 95 million photos are uploaded to Instagram every day and these photos receive 4.2 billion likes. These fascinating figures attract brands to this platform. 25 million brands operate on Instagram.

Increasing Your Fan Base

In my 7 Effective Strategies for Brands to Increase the Number of Followers article, I addressed this topic in detail. You may read it here: http://korayodabasi.com/7-effective-strategies-for-brands-to-increase-the-number-of-instagram-followers/

Use Your Web Assets Effectively

Get Help from Email Newsletter

Consider Using Contests

Create High Engagement

Use Facebook Ads (on Instagram)

Benefit from Your Brand’s Power

Some Other Ideas

Achieving Success in the News Feed Algorithm in 2020

In theory, the maximum number of people you can reach on Instagram is the number of your fans plus the people you will reach using tags. However, in practice, it is not possible to reach all of these people.

Initially, Instagram was using a chronological feed system and the most recent posts were appearing at the top. In 2016, Instagram began to use an algorithm similar to Facebook.

In this algorithm, although the recency of the post is still a factor, other factors also play a role. Instagram tries to show each user the posts which they will be most interested in. With the algorithmic feed, Instagram claims that the people see 90% of posts from their “friends and family,” compared to around 50% with the reverse chronological feed (previous algorithm).

How to Create an Effective Post Structure?

People are interested in visuals and videos on Instagram, usually they only glance over the content. For this reason, using long content does not yield a good result. You may prefer a short caption with an effective visual to motivate people. If the post content is suitable, you may consider using emojis.

For certain cases, if people are looking for information such as a recipe and you have valuable content to offer, you may use long captions. The limit is 2,200 characters.

The tags used in the post content help you to reach out to people other than your fans. This is important especially for the pages with small number of fans. Using tags help them to present their messages to a wider audience.

However, using the tags does not guarantee extra impressions.

Because there are too many pages trying to access to a large group of people with the popular tags such as #love, #photooftheday, #instalike or #picoftheday, competition on these tags is very high. 

In addition to the difficulty of being found, it is almost impossible to reach to the right audience with this broad targeting.

Therefore, even though you may use some popular tags related to your sector, it is important to focus on niche keywords related to your products and services, such as #plussizedress, #longblackdress or #pinkpromdress.

Reaching the right people with this to-the-point targeting (even though it means fewer people) will enable you to produce higher conversion.

You may consider using branded hashtags. Using your brand name will make it easier for the people to find your brand. You may also use your slogan as a hashtag or generate a new hashtag to motivate users to share user generated content.

If you are working in a sector where large number of effective visuals can be produced (such as the fashion sector), this will provide a significant advantage.

If you work in a different sector, you may prefer to use stock photos. You should try to choose effective visuals.

You may benefit from user generated content.

Instagram Stories (&Facebook &Messenger Stories)

As social media users favor faster communication (remember what I explained in the first chapter of this book), stories format has increased its importance in the recent years

Since Instagram is a visual platform, using high quality and effective visuals and videos is important in stories.

You should capture the attention of users in only a few seconds. Your visuals should be easy to understand and even though you have 15 seconds, you should begin your video with a strong start.

By adding UTM code to links, you can easily track the performance of your stories.

Instagram TV (IGTV)

You can use 15-second videos in stories, 60-second videos in your feed, and Instagram TV allows longer videos. Regular users can upload videos up to 10 minutes long and verified users can upload videos up to an hour long.

Although this is the case, Instagram is not YouTube.

Video title and cover photo are very important to grab attention.

You should focus on creating a strong title including keywords and using an effective photo. To achieve the best result, you should write a good description and use relevant hashtags.

User Generated Content (UGC)

Although the brands have concerns about the quality of UGC and they don’t like the fact that they don’t have full control over the visuals, videos and messages, UGC plays an important role in today’s digital marketing campaigns.

One thing to highlight here is that people do not trust ads, they trust people like themselves. Nielsen Global Trust in Advertising Survey indicated that 92% of people trust recommendations from people they know and 70% of people trust consumer opinions posted online, whereas trust in text ads on mobile phones is only 29%.

Another research on Hubspot states that 81% of people trust their friends and family’s advice over the advice from a business. 69% do not trust advertisements, and 71% do not trust sponsored ads on social networks

Shopify reports that placing those photos on product pages can increase conversions by as much as 24%

Twitter Success Strategies

Twitter has 330 million monthly active users as of 2018. 500 million tweets are posted every day.

The nature of Twitter is somehow different than Facebook and Instagram, and the brands should adapt the perspective in this platform.

Twitter is a platform where people express their opinions, and this often leads to conflicts.

Twitter might be a good platform to make short announcements and focus on customer relations support function.

It is important for the brands to keep their posts brief and focused. Twitter increased its 140-character limit to 280 characters towards the end of 2017. So, now you can tweet longer. However, many accounts still keep their tweets short.

Since Twitter has a fast-flowing news feed page, you may prefer to share different aspects of the same topic at different times. It is necessary to get the attention of the target segment quickly.

Using an active link in the post content will increase conversion.

Using visuals in tweets can increase the likelihood of retweeting by as much as 150%. Therefore, although Twitter is a plat-form where the text is used heavily, it is important to use effec-tive visuals as well.

YouTube Success Strategies

People are interested in watching videos since the early days of the web. YouTube has more than one billion users. One billion hours of video is watched on YouTube every day. More than 95% of American users below 35 years of age use YouTube.

The time spent on mobile will surpass TV as the medium attracting the most minutes in 2019.

YouTube reaches more American 18 to 34 year olds than any TV network, is the top iOS app, and 55% to 59% of the users increase their YouTube usage.

Corporate promotional videos and advertising videos naturally do not get much attention. Videos overlapping with the expectations of the target audience perform better.

For example, a hospital’s long corporate video will not attract interest, but the people having heart problems will be eager to watch few-minute-long videos of doctors talking about specific topics such as “What should you know about the bypass procedure?”.

You should give importance to video description and tags.

The video description should contain a short and to the point explanation of the topic, preferably including target keywords.

You should use relevant tags. It is better to use niche keywords such as prom dress instead of dress or business book instead of book.

Click through rate is extremely important in YouTube algorithm. You should focus on video title and thumbnail to increase your CTR.

YouTube algorithm is positively affected by the number of views of your video and by the high engagement it gets (comments, view time, etc.), especially at the first days of your video.

Therefore, it is a good idea to create traffic to your video by posts on other social platforms or from your website. You should show YouTube that your video is popular and people like to watch it.

YouTube suggests the relevant videos on the page of other videos on that topic. If people click on the relevant videos and express their interest, YouTube confirms the relationship between these videos.

YouTube also brings suggestions based on the previous video preferences of a user. Suggested videos can be other videos of the same channel or popular videos related to the interest area of the user.

LinkedIn Success Strategies

With 546 million members worldwide, LinkedIn is known as a platform consisting of a high-quality audience.

LinkedIn users are mostly white-collar professionals with high purchasing power and this represents a very attractive audience for the marketers. According to a study conducted by the Pew Research Center, 45% of online adults with an annual household income of 75,000 US dollars or more use LinkedIn. This rate is 21% for the people with an annual income of 30,000 US dollars or less

One problem for marketers is that LinkedIn is mostly used with the human resources perspective and the content you use on other social media sites is usually not appropriate for LinkedIn.

As the people on this platform are professionals, you need to share top-level content that will appeal to these people, such as detailed explanations about new technologies, application videos, information on new products or global trend analysis.

You may consider using expert opinions, Q&A with executives, events, projects. Standard marketing messages may backfire.

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I explain social media strategies in detail in Digital Marketing Strategies Book.

Selected as “Best Digital Marketing Books of All Time” get more information here: http://korayodabasi.com/digital-marketing-book/

See it on online bookstores: http://korayodabasi.com/#buy-the-book

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