Make your content more social

Ever get the feeling that nobody reads your message on social media any more?

In April this year, social media networks got a collective shock. The UK-headquartered cosmetics major Lush announced it was dropping out of its social media accounts in the UK.

Lush UK’s announcement on Instagram said, “Increasingly, social media is making it harder and harder for us to talk to each other directly. We are tired of fighting with algorithms, and we do not want to pay to appear in your newsfeed.”

Which means the cosmetics retailer walked out from all posting/advertising on most of the social networks in the UK. Ironically, the reason was “….increasingly finding it difficult to talk to customers directly.”

Just think of it. Here`s someone, not just an individual but a cosmetics brand, that claims it`s no longer possible to have a direct conversation with its community members on the social networks!

Social networks starting arriving on the scene about a decade ago. Over time, they became a popular online marketing channel. With the addition of more and more platforms like Snapchat and Instagram, marketers were a happy bunch. What a terrific way to get a message across, they gushed.

Lush, and a few others, are now telling us the “message” is falling on deaf ears.

Ask yourself this - when was the last time you actually clicked on a link in a post or an update in any of your social media accounts?

Saturation, fatigue, content explosion, call it what you may, has got to you.

You, the consumer, is being inundated with not only new social networks, including instant messaging apps, but also with the copious amount of content posted on them. Almost as soon as you access your accounts, your eyes start to glaze over. You pause at a particular post or status update, ONLY if it interests you, or continue scrolling. Even then, 9 out of 10 times, you DO NOT click on the link given. Most read the few lines posted, and go on to just click the ‘Like’, ‘Retweet’ or ‘Share’ button.

So what’s happening here? Nobody is reading the original content. The 280 + characters seem sufficient to form an opinion or judgement. The intended message, if not entirely lost, has reached the audience in a truncated form. Analyzed another way, it also means your Site has started getting lesser traffic from your social media channels.

There are surveys out there that show that marketers have started getting that creepy feeling that the social media space is stagnating. No growth means less RoI.

Perhaps Lush and some other brands realized this and decided to move out, saving themselves funds which could be better utilized.

So is it curtains then for social networks where marketing/branding is concerned?

Before I answer that, here are some rather interesting findings from the Buffer`s 2019 State of the Social report:

  • After all these years of being on social media, only about 29% of those surveyed said they found their social media marketing efforts to be “very effective”, while as much as 43.4% said it was “somewhat effective”.

  • About 58% of the respondents agreed that social media was important to their over marketing strategy, while about 30% said it was “somewhat important”.

  • At least 50% of the respondent companies still did not have a documented social media strategy.

Other surveys show that even today, between 40-50% of small and medium businesses are NOT using social media at all as a marketing tool.

The end is near?

As a digital marketer, I would say no.

But brands need to take remedial steps or they, too, may have to follow Lush.

Here’s the thing. Marketers have moved on from vanity metrics like ‘Likes’ long ago. What should matter to them is “interaction with the brand”.

Community building, interaction with the brand, one-on-one communication... these are some of the keywords that every social media marketer must focus on.


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Help, what do I need to do?

As a brand manager or a marketer, you need to do two things immediately to rectify the situation - re-validate your follower base, and re-think your social media content strategy.

I`ve always maintained this from the early days of social media, and I still say so: The total number of your business account followers is irrelevant. What matters is who they are. Playing with numbers for bragging rights is passe.

Here`s an example: would you want your message to go out to a 100,000 followers whose individual profiles do not match up to any degree with your brand's intended audience? Or would you want to send it out to a 1000 “right” people? Brand Boast may thump its chest and crow abut its zillions of Twitter fans but end up selling nothing to them, while Brand Clever may have just a thousand followers, yet be able to convert many of them into leads, and then into customers, eventually.

Targeting the right people, that`s the mantra any marketer HAS TO FOLLOW. Even on social media.

So put your followers through whatever acid test you want to, and delete those who do not resonate with your brand.

Now that you have the right target audience on your social media accounts, it`s over to your content provider and content marketer. I would say write up your content to make it read or sound like a direct message to your followers.

Such “personalized” content definitely works. Evidence of that is the fact that more and more social media marketers are gravitating from generic social networks to Instant messaging/chat apps.

Messaging marketing is picking up. Brands have just about started looking at messaging apps like FB Messenger, Slack & WhatsApp as an alternative to the larger social media networks.

Let your message be interactive, and in real time. It can be used for getting your marketing announcements across, for customer service, and a whole load of things.

But content here needs to be carefully crafted, with an eye on brevity and individuality. Personalization comes with its own set of problems.

In only so many words you need to tell your story. You may even use rich content to get your point of view across. All this “working on a personal level” can make a marketing team sweat, but believe me, the returns are more and instantaneous

Image by analogicus from Pixabay