Well, the industry’s mega-show, Social Media Marketing World, is over for 2018. I went to all the keynotes, attended as many sessions as I could… and chit-chatted with the throngs of avid social media-ers (if that’s a word). Here are my top ten take-aways from the show –
#1 – Facebook is dead! Long live Facebook. The industry’s frustration with Facebook continued. Organic reach – long dying, now seems all but dead. So the days when a Brand could post junk to Facebook and get “amazing reach” are over, but even really good posts are hardly seen (organically) – so what is is to be done?
#2 – The Rise of the Superfans. Pat Flynn gave an amazing keynote – funny, insightful, engaging about the importance of Superfans! A superfan is a person so engaged, so enthralled, so motivated by your brand that she tweets it, she YouTubes it, she writes you a Yelp review, she word-of-mouths you, she eWord-of-mouths you. She spreads your message FOR FREE because she LOVES YOUR BRAND. So cultivate those SuperFans!
#3 – SuperFans plus Facebook = Success. Superfans, working with (not against) the Facebook algorithm can bring you success. So, posting to your Brand page and then encouraging your SuperFans to share your content is the only real path forward for organic reach on Facebook – and it really is the “future” of Instagram, LinkedIn, etc. as well.
#4 – LinkedIn is Back (as if it Never Left). Many presentations emphasized the rising importance of LinkedIn as a medium that is essential for B2B and increasingly – as Facebook has its travails important. But LinkedIn is a “team sport” so you gotta get those employees to help your Brand on LinkedIn. Employees as Superfans?
#5 – SnapChat vs. Instagram: The Hunger Games. SnapChat continues to duke it out with Instagram, and my tea-leaf reading is that SnapChat is in trouble. Instagram offers everything that Snapchat has, but easier. So Snapchat is rolling out some new advertising features, but it’s gotta do something – quick – to remain relevant, not with teens, but with marketers who are frustrated with its interface and with its advertising (and ashamed to admit it, as they don’t want anyone to know that only teenagers seem to “get” SnapChat). Related to this, Instagram is THE medium that everyone wants to use these days… perhaps even more important than Daddy Facebook.
#6 – Influencers Influencers Influencers. This continues a trend from years back… it’s all about the influencers, but the dirty mess here is do you pay them, or do they work for free? A big, powerful brand might get influencers to “work for free” but a smaller brand may not be able to do this without payment.
#7 – Video (Especially, but not only on LinkedIn). LinkedIn is allowing “native” video (as has Facebook for some time), and they want it. So produce video content. The world continues to move away from text and towards images or video.
#8 – Network Jealousy. Networks – like LinkedIn or Facebook – favor their own content and do not want folks to leave. So they deprecate the content of others on their network (e.g, a YouTube video as opposed to a Facebook- or LinkedIn-native video). So you need to “go native” to avoid network jealousy; this includes outbound links. It’s no wonder that Instagram doesn’t allow outbound links!
#9 – Advertising or Bait and Switch. Facebook is probably just the precursor to more emphasis on each network. We (as marketers) want the free stuff, the organic reach, but the networks want us to advertise, so this trend will only increase. First, we build our “organic reach,” only to have them “take it away” and then encourage us to “advertise.”
#10 – Twitter’s Dead. Long Live Twitter. Twitter is undergoing a bit of a renaissance, so while SnapChat seems to be following in Twitter’s footsteps (it’s not a bit in the “valley of tears”), I think more and more folks are cautiously optimistic about Twitter as a long-term social network. Is this the Donald Trump effect? Or just the realization that Twitter is where journalists, bloggers, and influencers hang out.