The social media landscape has changed over the last decade. Social media used to be a platform for sharing content to drive people to your website. Nowadays people are given more content that they can eat, which means unless your content it engaging, it will be ignored.
Gone are the days of sending mass messages, it's now all about one to one or one to few individual and unique interactions. Here are four reasons why the future of social media lies in engagement.
1. Organic reach and referral traffic is on the decline
Logic dictates that consumers are eventually over saturated with information as the number of posts increase. They don't have time to click on everything and so will only choose to click on posts that stand out. As a result, businesses that heavily rely on web traffic coming from social media referrals are taking a sizeable hit.
If consumers only have the capacity to consume a set number of daily posts, a gradual increase in the total number of posts from businesses per day will reduce the chance of any given post being interacted with. Hence, organic reach and referrals will naturally fall. Brands must react to this trend.
2. Social messaging is becoming more popular
To achieve the best results with social media marketing, organisations have to find a balance between posting on their news feed (the traditional one to many messaging) and more personalised one to one/few messaging that is on the rise thanks to social messaging apps. Social messaging apps are instant messaging tools built around social media websites. An example is Twitters direct messaging feature.
An average social media user is not looking to just receive marketing messages from brands, they are also seeking personalised customer service from organisations through social messaging on issues such as ordering products and resolving complaints.
The stats don't lie. Business Insider explains how messaging apps are now bigger than social media networks.
3. Customers are using social media to reach brands
There are increasing amounts of people logging onto social media hoping to receive support from their favourite brands either by reaching for that direct message button or commenting on posts requesting help.
Helping customers out on social media is a priceless opportunity for brands to publicly show how great they are at serving their customers. Being responsive on social media increases the chance of a customer purchase, whilst ignoring them can sow discord and reduce brand loyalty.
Social networking sites themselves are reacting to these trends. Twitter now lets people direct message businesses without the business having to follow them and you can also send automated responses and welcome messages. Whilst on Facebook you can set up automatic replies to FAQ's.
4. Algorithms love engagement
The level of engagement on your posts is solely determined by the quality of your posts. And social networking sites will promote posts that have plentiful engagement.
If lots of people are engaging with your post, this will tell the social media algorithms that your post is interesting and useful, increasing the likelihood of the post being shown to others. On Facebook and Instagram engagement is based on likes and comments and on Twitter by retweets and likes. Furthermore, the algorithms also take into account the quantity of positive and negative interactions on the post.
On the other hand, if people are choosing to hide your post or aren't interacting with it whatsoever, algorithms will assume its irrelevant and will show it to less people. This further reiterates the original point that sending out generic or static marketing messages just do not work anymore.
The value of engagement
Creating engaging one to many posts and providing swift one to one support increases brand loyalty, customer retention and ultimately increases sales revenue. Positive engagement will position your brand as reliable and trustworthy and thus people will be more likely to recommend you to their friends and family.
If you're considering using social media as part of your digital marketing efforts or are looking to revamp how you use social media for your organisation, get in touch. Creative Digital offers bespoke social media marketing packages that are affordable and suited to your needs.