When the Wu-Tang Clan released their new album in 2015, ‘Once Upon A Time in Shaolin,’ it was met with an immense amount of hype. The year prior, a double CD of the album was stored in a vault at a hotel in Morocco, you know, as one does with a new album. But this wasn’t any album drop – they only released one copy. ONE. And that single double-disc sat inside of a vault in northern Africa until a rich kid bought it at an auction for $2 Million. It was unattainable to the nth degree. It was as much an innovative music launch strategy as it was a wild PR and marketing stunt. And it got people to notice, with social chatter skyrocketing for several months after the album’s initial announcement.
Consumer brands on social media are not a new thing, in fact, the brand “boom” on channels such as Facebook and Twitter was about seven years ago. In those seven-ish years we’ve seen social platforms grow up, go public, and become huge legitimate businesses. Their users have grown up and adapted as well, as have those users’ expectations and behaviors, how they consume content, and where and when they consume it. So it comes as no surprise that brands have had no choice but to keep evolving on social media, too, if they want to reach the right people with their messaging, stories and content, and make those stories matter.
Over the last few months, a lot has changed on the beloved social network known as Instagram. Unfortunately for its 400 million users, most changes have been made without the actual experience of said user in mind, or at least that’s how it feels. Instagram likes to say things that sound nice and fancy – things like they’re enhancing the Instagram app, or making things more relevant for people, or a bunch of other things I typically block out. But what’s really happening is very apparent, and it doesn’t bode well for the future of Instagram.
There are three quite different areas that fall into what we once knew as “social media”: content marketing, social advertising (paid social display) and community engagement.
Let me break these down for you…and hopefully add a little clarity to the mysterious world of “social media” for businesses as it sits in 2015.
Over the last several years, the success metrics that have told us if social media is doing a “good job” for a company or brand have fluctuated more than Chandler Bing’s weight in the last few seasons of “Friends.” A few years ago we were all very proud of ourselves as social media managers and marketing organizations if a Facebook post we put out there got a lot of “likes.” Or if a tweet got a bunch of favorites. Because, that told us that the stuff that we published had people clicking a thumbs-up or a star. And of course, that meant success.
This is a fun article for me to write; I’m making fun of not only myself and what I’ve mainly been doing for the last half-decade, but also of the people that regularly work with social business folk. There are a lot of different titles that involve social media for a job, and none is more vague than “social media manager.” This could mean so many different things: community manager, social strategist, content marketing, social advertising, analytics and insights, creative services, media marketing, channel discovery, campaign development, and many, many more things.
There are plenty of coined phrases out there that signify different elements of the online world. Things like earned media, conversions, click-through-rate, or optimization . Those of us that work in the digital space have all used them. In fact, we say them all the time. They become so commonplace that the actual meaning behind such words sometimes gets lost, or we so deeply know what we think they mean that we don’t often look through the lens of those that don’t speak our language.
News Flash: It’s no longer 2012. Well, it’s not even still 2013. Oh, wait, we were two years behind?!
When I say it’s no longer 2012 I am referring to the fact that the landscape of social and digital media has been rapidly changing, but brands and industries everywhere are still looking at social media data for success the same way we did a few years back. Last year, 2013, was about a very gradual shift in the way brands analyzed social media data, but I wouldn’t go as far as saying it changed.
We’ve been hearing this for a few years now, and it always seems to get progressively more intense and negative with each passing update to Facebook’s algorithms. As brand social media marketers we hear that content needs to be really “high quality” in order to reach more users organically. And that “virality” will play a role in how many unique eyeballs see your brand’s posts. We’ve understood that text posts on Facebook have greater reach but receive lower engagement, and that image posts get the most engagement, but don’t necessarily generate that organic reach every time, and even those ‘rules’ continuously change. It’s been a tough formula to crack and there hasn’t been a perfect answer. And now Facebook is blatantly admitting that organic reach is falling off.