When it comes to social media, there is never a shortage of new platforms, trends and tools to measure your efforts. It’s easy to jump on the bandwagon only to later realize you spent a lot of effort and got very low ROI.
So, I’d like to suggest three social media trends you can leave behind in 2019 to focus on activities that matter in 2020.
Every year, dozens of new social media sites try to make their way onto your radar. Whether they are based on video, graphics, gaming, community, or communication; a theme like music or sports; or a combination, they all want to be the next big thing.
Sure, you want to test new platforms to see if that’s where you’ll find new customers. However, give a new site time to find its footing before going all-in. There’s something to be said for being an early adopter … and you could discover the next big thing. But not every website becomes a Facebook, a WhatsApp, or a LinkedIn.
And even when an awesome new social media site bursts onto the scene, it may not be right for you, your customers or your business. For instance, TikTok (founded in 2016, launched in 2017, and one to watch in 2019) ended up being the No. 1 most downloaded app globally this year, but it was not necessarily a big platform for marketers.
Primarily adopted by users under 30, TikTok is like a mix of Vine (short-form videos on a loop) and Musical.ly or Snapchat (where you can add fun special effects).
Personally, I deleted my TikTok account and removed the app from my phone once I saw the growing buzz about U.S. investigations into data, privacy etc. Also, user growth finally plateaued.
Takeaway: Beware of flashy, trendy sites. Test them but spend your time sparingly until it’s been fully vetted, you find it has a proven track record with your demographic, and/or it serves a business purpose.
2. Obsessing Over “Likes”
It’s no secret in the social media marketing space: likes on posts are the least-relevant way to gauge audience engagement. Double-tapping or clicking to heart/like a post is the laziest way to interact with a post. When someone is willing to take the extra effort to write a comment or share a post, it indicates your content connected with them. That’s much more relevant.
To test this theory, Instagram is expanding its test of hiding like counts. Facebook is jumping on the bandwagon by testing hiding like and reaction counts (and video views too). Note: Publishers/account admins can still see this data, but the information will no longer be public-facing.
These tests are designed to shake out fake followers, encourage meaningful engagement, and, as a bonus, promote mental health and well-being. A quantifiable metric, such as like counts, leads to competition, which is stressful. Social media should be “social,” interactive and fun, not something that invites stress.
Takeaway: Embrace the change. You shouldn’t be focusing on like counts regardless. Instead, get to know your audience. Create content that speaks to your clients, prospects, and followers in a way that encourages them to meaningfully engage with your posts.
3. Doing Influencer Marketing … Without Proper Research
Influencer marketing happens when people who have an expert level of knowledge, lead a community and/or possess social influence in a certain area endorse a business, service or product. Although influencer marketing has been around for a while, in many ways, it’s still in its early stages.
Legitimacy is key when it comes to influence, and there’s a big industry-wide shakeout going on. Too many businesses and brands jumped in too quick and got blindsided with dismal results.
Now, businesses are tired of investing in posers - so-called influencers with fake followers and no real platform. Influencers who overcharge for little or no results will soon be a thing of the past, paving the way for influencers who have actual influence.
For influencer marketing to truly work, brands and businesses need to find better ways of identifying and collaborating with influencers. Remember, even a big-named expert will not get results when paired with an incompatible product or service.
When identifying influencers, search databases, but also get referrals and introductions from peers. Then, check their social media platforms, watch videos, and review posts to ensure their values and personal agenda align with your company.
Most importantly, make sure your influencer’s audience is a match for your audience. Don’t be shy to ask for case studies, examples, metrics, etc. The right influencer will be happy to accommodate you, since they are looking for amiable partnerships too.
Takeaway: The right influencer can make a huge difference for any company. It’s up to the businesses to get referrals and do the legwork to find the right match, and ultimately create a mutually beneficial situation.
Recommended reading: How to Vet Influencers for Your Small Business
Enter 2020 thinking forward. Leave flashy platforms, likes, and amateur, fake or over-priced influencers behind. Spend your time on the best social media sites for your business, creating content that encourages real interaction and is bolstered by the right influencers for your company or brand.
Happy New Year!
About Mari Smith
Often referred to as “the Queen of Facebook,” Mari Smith is considered one of the world’s foremost experts on Facebook marketing and social media. She is a Forbes’ Top Social Media Power Influencer, author of The New Relationship Marketing and coauthor of Facebook Marketing: An Hour A Day. Forbes recently described Mari as, “… the preeminent Facebook expert. Even Facebook asks for her help.” She is a recognized Facebook Partner; Facebook headhunted and hired Mari to lead the Boost Your Business series of live events across the US. Mari is an in-demand speaker, and travels the world to keynote and train at major events.
Her digital marketing agency provides professional speaking, training and consulting services on Facebook and Instagram marketing best practices for Fortune 500 companies, brands, SMBs and direct sales organizations. Mari is also an expert webinar and live video broadcast host, and she serves as Brand Ambassador for numerous leading global companies.
Bank of America, N.A. engages with Mari Smith to provide informational materials for your discussion or review purposes only. Mari Smith is a registered trademark, used pursuant to license. The third parties within articles are used under license from Mari Smith. Consult your financial, legal and accounting advisors, as neither Bank of America, its affiliates, nor their employees provide legal, accounting and tax advice.