Keeping Up to Date: The Future of Social Marketing

If you are engaging with your target market on social media, you may have already noticed a shift in how your prospective consumers are interacting with your status updates and announcements.

Ultimately, our society is entering an era of “non-selling.” Consumers, specifically millennials, don’t like to feel like they are being “sold to.” They notice immediately if a seemingly harmless viral video includes way too many Coca-Cola products.

They denounce a blockbuster movie if it contains too many subliminal advertisements. They will even boycott a product if the advertisements do not fit their narrative of what is right versus what is wrong.

Essentially, consumers, today are jaded by the traditional marketing practices of big conglomerate companies, and they are essentially taking it out on the smaller mom-and-pop shops, as well.

However, there has also been a shift in how interesting content is presented (as clickbait) on social media, and consumers are becoming jaded by that experience. If you aren’t already familiar with what clickbait is – clickbait is an article with an extremely catchy and engaging headline, such as “Her Boyfriend Left Her Because of Her Weight…

You’ll Never Guess Who She’s Dating Now!” Once the user clicks on the link to read the article, he or she is bombarded with advertisements and pop-ups for tons of different products and services that have nothing to do with the article itself. Unfortunately, beneath the layers of advertisements and pop-ups, the article is often lackluster or even nonexistent, as the point of getting the eager reader to the page was not quality content.

Social media platforms, such as Facebook and Twitter, have become hotbeds for this clickbait and fake news experience. Many consumers have a one-strike policy. Once a business or entertainment figure shares a clickbait article, they will unfollow them and possibly even give them a bad review. This adverse reaction is caused by the consumer’s innate desire to be the first to know something new. It is crucial for businesses to research thoroughly, rather than sharing blindly.

Tips for Social Media Marketing 

Since both traditional marketing and social media marketing are starting to repel consumers, it is important to stay relevant on social media platforms. With consumers getting pummeled with advertisements pretty much from the moment they are awake to the moment they fall asleep, you should make sure your marketing stands out from the crowd. Here are the do’s and don’ts of social media marketing:

Do:

  • Keep your information interesting and fresh. You want to share information that isn’t already the number 1 trending topic.
  • Make sure that what you share has a tieback to your products or services, and make sure that tieback is clear from the start. Consumers don’t want to feel like the punchline is them being sold a product or service. Consumers want to opt in to advertisement by choice.
  • Read before you share. If you see an interesting article title, don’t share it unless you’ve read it and know that it is consumer-friendly.
  • Fact-check before you share. If what you want to share can ultimately be disproven by a quick Google search, you shouldn’t share it. If it can be disproven that quickly, though, it may be worth sharing for the sake of noting that it is not true, if it has already been widely shared. Again, consumers want to like, share, and be the first to know something.
  • Use multiple forms of social media – especially platforms that do not have the negative connection with clickbait and advertisements. Instagram, Snapchat, and Foursquare are good options for these.
  • Reward your followers. Thank your followers by offering discounts that are only redeemable by followers on specific platforms. You can also cross-promote your special promotion on other social media sites to help you gain more followers across all the platforms you are on.
  • Share articles that are easy to navigate. The content should be easy to find and read. This will get you a “win” with your followers every time!

Don’t:

  • Don’t share a link just because the title seems interesting and relevant. Satires are a big part of interesting content these days, so while the headline may align with your philosophies, the content may be poking fun at the concept.
  • Don’t share articles that are in a gallery format. This means that readers are given a little bit of information on each page, and they must click “next” to get more information.
  • Don’t share politically charged or religiously charged articles that align with your personal beliefs – unless you want to alienate anyone that doesn’t agree with you. The exception to this would be if it has a direct tie-in with your products or services without you taking a side.
  • Don’t overwhelm your followers with information. The person managing your social media shouldn’t be spending all day sharing posts, posting updates, and uploading pictures. Consumers will unfollow you if you overload them with information (even if it is quality information). Instead, make no more than two posts or shares per day, and spend the remainder of the time liking and commenting other people’s statuses, as well as managing ad campaigns.

Ultimately, you want to make sure that you are engaging your audience in such a way that others become interested in your social media presence and, eventually, your products and services as a result.

What many consumers, especially millennials, enjoy shopping “local” is that they are spending money at a mom-and-pop store and thus directly affecting lives positively. When they shop conglomerate, they know that 90 percent or more of each dollar of profit goes directly to some bigwig in an office overlooking a beach or big city.

This experience alone has alienated the consumer base, and you may find big corporations desperately dialing back their aggressive marketing schemes. You will see more engaging comments (such as Campbell’s and Cheerios) directly responding to consumers. Because, ultimately, people want to see the human side of companies before they spend their money.

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