In 2016, it was clearly the year of social media. However, not all social media channels were proving to be worth the effort as seen in the latest research from Pew Internet. As of December 2016, Facebook ruled the digital wave followed closely by WhatsApp with over 1,590 million and 1,000 million users respectively. Instagram, which is still popular landed well below with 500 million active users. More interestingly, a business targeting the US market would have struggled more if they chose to use Instagram because 80% of Instagram users are not from the U.S. Of US users, there were more women than men using this social media platform.
What does this all mean?
When creating your marketing plan for 2017, social media will still play a critical role in marketing but knowing what social media channel to pour more attention and budget into will affect the results of your marketing strategy.
The key word in social media marketing for this new year is: Messaging.
Marketing is basically communicating the right message to the desired market in a manner that prompts the preferred actions and results.
Creating a Social Messaging Strategy for 2017
- Start by reviewing your content from the previous years. Is your content one-track on the same topic or worse yet – duplicated from other websites? You need to look at your content from the point of view of a search engine and visitor. Too much information on the same topic or same content will lead to a drop in interest in your site. For instance if you are selling a product as an affiliate or trader, you might have just copied the product description from the manufacturer without making any changes – this will lump you in with all the other entrepreneurs selling the same product.
- Focus on the journey of your visitors or subscribers. For instance, not everyone who goes to your website is looking for a particular product. Some may be in search of DIY answers, repairs, insights, new technology and news, historical data, or prospects on the future of your product. Have content that will address every possible need and demand.
- Clearly you will have to engage and use the social media platforms. However, unlike 2016 where there was a trend towards posting and top social media platforms, this year it is predicted that the focus will shift on messaging apps rather than social networking. Last year, WhatsApp shot up to second most popular social media channel with Facebook Messenger, WeChat and Viber following suit. These messaging apps were able to overtake Twitter, Instagram, and LinkedIn in terms of number of users.
In addition, the use of Over-the-top (OTT) messaging skyrocketed and is estimated to be the preferred choice of more than 2 billion by next year.
- Step away from posting content that is even slightly false. The world has become weary of fake or inaccurate news and information. And it has become so much easier to validate any information you post especially among Millennials who relish the idea of investigating further to verify what they read before sharing or “Liking” content.
In 2017, marketing has to focus more on providing a “personal touch” with as much transparency. This means it is not good enough to just post your content on social media; you should be ready to chat and engage with anyone who expresses an interest in your business. Consider using chatbots and augmented reality to enhance your social media marketing – and see the amazing response from users!