Education is one of our core values at TEN31 Marketing. We are not like other marketing companies who come in and do all the work for you, while you feel left in the dark as to what’s happening and why. We will educate you through every step of the process explaining what you need, why you need it and most importantly – how to execute it. We also try to make education a priority for ourselves. We strive to carve time out of our calendars on a weekly basis to read articles, listen to webinars and podcasts, watch videos, and browse social media to learn more about our industry, our competitors, the ever-changing internet, and key thought leaders. A couple weeks ago, this discovery time lead me to a webinar powered by Hootsuite. Hootsuite is an online business dedicated to social media management and we actively use Hootsuite on a daily basis. The webinar was titled, “Social Ads 2017” and discussed the landscape of social media advertising and how it will impact businesses in 2017. Knowing that social media marketing is a core service that we provide, I was extremely interested in this topic. Below I will highlight my takeaways that I thought were the most relevant for TEN31 Marketing and our clientele. Takeaway #1 Only 2% of a brand’s audience sees their organic posts on Facebook Insert my shocked face here _ ! I knew that the percentage was pretty low but to be reminded of this statistic again was jaw-dropping. Companies and businesses put in so much work, time, and energy into social media strategies and to know that only 2% of a business’ audience actually sees the posts is definitely deflating. Hootsuite reported that in 2012 it was 50%. This is a drastic decrease in just 4 years which shows me the magnitude of social media’s impact for businesses and how saturated Facebook has become. What does this mean? Your social media roadmap has to be very strategic and researched. It can be easy to put a ton of work into something and have it be a complete waste of time because no one will see it. You want to focus your energy on what will get you the biggest bang for your buck and will be the most effective for your business. Takeaway #2 Integrating social media advertising will be necessary to any effective strategy Because only 2% of your audience is seeing your business’ organic posts, it doesn’t seem logical to continue posting only organically. This brings us to social media advertising. This is something you can layer into your organic posting strategy that will help to supplement your overall social media impact. But where to start? Hootsuite outlined 4 steps: 1) Define Goals 2) Learn About Your Audience 3) Build Your Digital Marketing Strategy 4) Measure & Learn Facebook is making the rules and if you want your business to utilize social media effectively and produce ROI, you have to play by their rules. This means you have to start paying to play. Yes Facebook is a free tool for businesses and there is a lot that you can do for free but it will only be able to take your strategy so far before you hit a plateau. In order to continue growing and leveraging your impact, putting money into advertising is the logical next step. Takeaway #3 Metrics are shifting from likes, comments, and shares to in-store visits, sales, and ROI. Remember the days of getting a ton of likes or comments and thinking that your post was a hit?! Well those days are almost behind us so wave bye! It’s great that your posts are engaging and people are responding to them but if that’s all they are doing, those likes and comments don’t mean anything do they? For example, say I create an amazing graphic with a link to my website where a customer can sign up for a 50% off coupon to use on their next purchase. It looks amazing and I just posted it to my business Facebook page. In 24 hours, I get 40 likes and 10 comments – so great! But I go to my website and see that none of those people actually clicked on the link and signed up to get the coupon – fail. The purpose of my post was to drive more traffic to my store but if no one is interested in the coupon, it’s not really helping my business at all. Those likes and comments aren’t driving sales. Bottom line: you have to look past some of the fluff metrics to understand what’s really effective. That doesn’t mean likes, comments, and shares are pointless now. They still drive engagement and push your content to be seen by more people which can drive people back to your Facebook page, increase your audience, etc, etc. But you have to take a deeper dive into the analytics of your social media strategy to understand your customer behavior and ensure your goals are actually being accomplished. Hopefully you learned a few new things. Are you interested in social media marketing for your business but need help? Contact us to help you get started! We specialize in social media marketing and have the tools and expertise to make social media effective for your business.