If recent years have been classed as a period of change for ‘traditional’ SEO practices, 2018 is definitely the year of social disruption for small businesses. With both Facebook and Instagram restructuring the way content is prioritised on their platforms, businesses can no longer rely on these popular social media channels as a source of ‘free’ marketing. So, how are Australian small businesses going to survive in this new era of social media marketing?
Accept you need to pay to play: Whilst small businesses are understandably limited by budget when it comes to marketing, paying for reach on social media is no longer an option - it’s a necessity. With both Facebook and Instagram limiting organic reach, even amongst those who already follow a business’ page, paying for exposure is now essential if you want your content to appear in front of both existing followers and your awaiting target audience. This ‘pay to play’ social media model isn’t all bad for small businesses, as paid advertising is a useful marketing tool if you’re looking to target a specific demographic and interests. These tailored targeting tools give you the opportunity to get your content in front of the right people, in the right place, and at the right time - a massive advantage when it comes to improving your ROI.
Choose your channels: With social media giants now forcing businesses to adopt a ‘pay to play’ strategy, it’s time for your small business to consider which platforms are most worth your time and money. By measuring engagement levels across different channels and identifying the platforms that generate the best results for your business goals, you can spend your resources on the most effective and relevant channels, ensuring you’re getting the most bang for your buck from your social media efforts.
Focus on engagement, not clicks: If you’ve been relying on ‘clickbait’ to encourage users to read your content and click-through to your website, 2018 is the time to re-prioritise your metrics and rethink your content strategy. Social media giants such as Instagram and Facebook have noticed that the overabundance of content on social media has been leading users to passively consume as opposed to actively engage with their channels. In fact, it was the mission to encourage users to actively interact (both with online content and each other) that sat at the core of Facebook’s decision to prioritise ‘personal’ news feeds in early January. With this shift in focus from content that entertains to content that provokes a human interaction (i.e. a comment/conversation amongst friends), businesses will need to focus on promoting content that encourages engagement as opposed to clicks if they want to be seen organically.
Consider influencer marketing: Given their relatively small following compared to bigger brands, small businesses have been struggling the most to reach users organically with new limitations on content. However, this isn’t to say your business can’t leverage other people’s networks… introducing ‘influencer marketing’. Getting others to share content for you is a great way to overcome the organic hurdle of modern marketing and tap into new networks without paid boosting (although most influencer marketing will be paid nowadays). If you do plan on going down this route, focus less on the influencer’s number of followers and more on their engagement rate and relevance to your business; whilst you want your content to be seen by as many people as possible, remember engagement is what gets your content circulating.
Make use of relevant Facebook groups: Much like influencer marketing, there is a little ‘organic’ hope for small businesses in the form of Facebook groups. Facebook groups are a waiting network of Facebook users who have already showed a specific interest in given activities or trends, so take advantage of this by becoming an active member in groups that are relevant to your business.
Warning: don’t use these groups as a new sales platform for your product, use them to share relevant content that may be of interest to fellow members (i.e. a blog on kid-friendly activities in a Mum’s group).
With the world of social media marketing constantly evolving, it can be time-consuming and stressful to keep on top of the latest social media trends whilst running a small business. At Undergrnd Marketing, we specialise in social media marketing for small businesses. We can help you create and adapt a social media strategy that meets the needs of the modern market whilst ensuring you get the most bang for your buck from your social media efforts.
Contact our small businesses marketers today to organise a social media consultation.