Usually, when I think of a business trend, I imagine some new flashy tech tool. Or a phrase from a popular book that everyone jumps on board with for a year, maybe two, then loses interest. However, looking at trends as the direction in which something is headed, gives something more solid upon which to build business strategies.
For the third year in a row, I attended Social Media Marketing World (SMMW) hosted by Social Media Examiner in sunny San Diego. (It actually rained most of the time I was there, but I’m not mad about it.) Maybe it was just the sessions that I chose, but last year’s conference seemed to revolve around the latest technology at our disposal. My takeaways (which I recapped here) were primarily a forecast into which technologies would see the biggest growth.
While these mediums are still important, this year my biggest takeaways centered around a trajectory that spans every social platform—focus more on connecting, less on broadcasting. What follows are the viewpoints from three leading social media experts that spoke at Social Media Marketing World 2019.
1. “Make a bigger impact on a smaller audience rather than a small impact on a big audience.”
In Michael Stelzner’s opening keynote that concentrated on Facebook™, he encouraged us to rethink everything. For so long, we’ve all thought that bigger equals better on social. More followers. More likes. More comments. Going forward, he proposed that we work to get better, not bigger. And by being better, he means a shift in objectives from broadcasting passively-consumed content to creating opportunities to stay in front of our audiences, interact with them, and connect.
By 2020, Facebook as we know it could be unrecognizable. We’ve already seen evidence that actions we used to see accelerating organic reach in the past (likes, short comments, and sharing) are losing their power. We’ve also seen signs that active engagement, such as meaningful conversations, is stimulating organic reach.
We can choose to ignore the signs and keep fighting the algorithms or choose to change for the better. According to Stelzner, “Facebook is [now] a platform that thrives on people connecting, NOT on content.” The platform values meaningful conversations over passive viewing. Our challenge as businesses is to make this work in our favor since interacting with people is truly the only way to connect and develop influence.
2. “Your main goal as a marketer should be to pull trust forward.”
This quote sums up marketing pretty darn perfectly and is one of the reasons I’m such a believer in content marketing and social media. It’s tough to create a business relationship built on trust when your only marketing tactic is direct advertising. Don’t get me wrong, advertising can provide tremendous results, but things like billboards don’t do anything to create trust. On the other hand, social media is a medium that provides an opportunity for conversation. And content marketing is a way to bring value to those relationships.
Robert Rose opened up his workshop on creating a successful content plan by asserting that, “Content marketing is a business strategy that marketing people happen to perform.” He also urged us to “get to a purpose” with your content marketing. Is your objective to earn trust? Evolve trust? Or deepen that trust? According to Rose, you can just pick one.
Marketing isn’t so much about closing a sale as it is opening a relationship. So, that “magical moment of content marketing is when it pulls trust forward.”
3. “At the end of the day, it’s not about you, it’s about your audience… Share with intention.”
Tyler’s session at SMMW19 was specific to creating Instagram Stories and how to make those stories lead to sales. And as anyone who follows Tyler on Instagram knows, he certainly knocks it out of the park when it comes to his Stories. However, so much of what he said relates to any social platform.
Tyler shared the biggest mistakes that people make on Instagram Stories. The advice I found most powerful was when he said the number one mistake people make is, “Sharing on [social]… without intention.”
There is so much noise in the world, especially on social media. It’s time we all stop posting because it’s another item on our to-do list and start posting with more intention. To do this, Tyler shared two questions to keep in mind whenever you post. First, “What do I want my followers to get out of this content?” Second, “What do I want my followers to do with this content?”
Do you agree with these trends or do you see social going in another direction? We’d love to hear from you!
Green Loop Marketing is a marketing agency located in Indianapolis, Indiana. We build intentional growth for mid-sized businesses through strategy and implementation in content, social media, email, and sponsorship activation.