Social Media Marketing: How It Has Evolved and How Businesses Can Keep Up

Noah Rue talks about how social media marketing has changed and how businesses can adapt
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Social media marketing is an integral part of your digital marketing strategy. Or at least it should be.

By showing an ability to help brands build up their online presence, social media blossomed into more than just platforms to keep people connected. But its ever-changing nature can, at times, be overwhelming for marketing professionals to navigate.

Businesses that want to leverage social media for marketing purposes need to be able to adapt as it continues to evolve.

Let’s explore how social media marketing (SMM) has evolved over the years, ways businesses can stay current with social trends, and a few insights on the future of SMM.

The Evolution of Social Media Marketing

First, take note of the difference between social media marketing and traditional marketing. By analyzing and comparing the two, you’ll quickly see how marketing has creatively expanded its toolkit to include social media over the years.

The basic difference comes by way of delivery mechanism: social platforms themselves vs. traditional offline mediums like print and ratio advertisements or billboards.

Social media is one of the most popular online activities for people today. Because of this popularity, consumer behavior is becoming more aligned with social media usage.

From Facebook’s launch in 2004 until today, it has grown to reach over 2 billion users on a daily basis.

Instagram users share millions of photos every single day. Twitter users send thousands of tweets per second. The numbers can be staggering for those of us who are unaware of the momentum these platforms have built.

The continued growth of social media marketing remains contingent on:

  • The creation of new platforms and tools on those platforms
  • What people do on social media and their need for more functions on their social media platforms to accommodate their always changing behavior
  • What content people are consuming and how

It’s safe to say that social media has become a focal point for nearly any successful marketing organization.

How Businesses Stay Current With Social Trends

You should absolutely prioritize staying up to date with social trends if you want to stay competitive in your industry.

How can businesses keep up with constantly-changing social trends?

The first step is to know your audience, very well. In conjunction with intimately knowing your audience, your own marketing team can stay current with social trends by:

  • Keeping up with events and information trending all over the world
  • Connecting with key influencers in your industry
  • Researching social media marketing trends and social media trends in general
  • Diving into analytics
  • Signing up for email updates or notifications to receive updates as they become available on social platforms
  • Thoroughly engaging on your social platforms, including daily posts, community engagement, and fresh campaigns
  • Paying attention to algorithm updates
  • Educating yourself on paid and organic trends

The Future of Social Media Marketing at a Glance

With fake news accusations and media distrust on the rise, marketers need to focus on building trust-filled relationships with their followers, regardless of the direction they go with their social media efforts.

You need an engaged online community. With this in mind, social media marketing may look like this in the near future:

A brand’s social responsibility will be more important to social media users

Prospects are less likely to engage with your brand if you’re silent on important social, political, and/or environmental issues. So use your platform to address these issues and inform your customers on how you’re getting involved.

Social commerce will be a focal point

People will be purchasing right from social media platforms more frequently. It’s important to use store features and swipe up capabilities that take your user right to your purchasing platform.

This creates a seamless user experience, which in turn will encourage buying behavior. Why send shoppers to your website if they can buy right from your Instagram post, Facebook shop, or Pinterest catalog?

Also, with ecommerce comes ratings and reviews. Don’t be afraid to use them as content on your social media platforms for testimonials and to show how your customers are enjoying your product or service and how it’s improving their lives. People believe other customers.

Influencer relationships will be a key to success

Social media marketers don’t just need to build a relationship with customers. They need to build a relationship with influencers as well.

I highly recommend integrating micro- and macro-influencers into your social media marketing strategy moving forward.

You can employ livestreaming for influencer takeovers, interviews, and behind-the-scenes content on collaborations.

Influencer marketing agencies are growing. You may want to build a relationship with one or more of them for possible help with your own internal influencer outreach efforts.

Being able to master social platforms’ algorithms will be the key to gaining visibility

The point of an algorithm is to provide relevant content to users in addition to targeted paid ads.

To organically boost your posts to the top of your users’ feeds, you’ll need to provide regular, relevant content to them that results in them engaging with your brand and content via likes, comments, and shares.

The more engagement your content receives, the more favorable results you’ll get from the algorithm.

Your chosen content marketing strategy will depend on your choice of platform(s)

Users are looking for meaningful content to share and educate. What content are you going to post and how will it resonate with your audience?

Your strategy will require you to use different media types like video, lives, reels, and so forth to engage your followers. Video content is increasing in popularity as well as live streaming on social platforms.

Lean less and less on sales and promotional content, more and more on relationship-building content.

Organic reach will continue to decline, so a paid strategy in addition to churning out relevant, valuable content as an organic approach will become a requirement.

New social media platforms will emerge

Tik-Tok’s huge success recently is inspiring companies and developers all over to create the next best thing in the digital social space. Platforms on the rise include Clubhouse, Byte, and Twitch.

Gen Z will have the biggest impact on social media and marketing, and it already does

Learn how people in this generation share and absorb information, on what platforms, and how you can successfully tweak your social media strategies to reach this audience as they will become a part of your business’s target audience.

Conclusion

If one thing is for sure, it’s that social media marketing will continue to evolve. And businesses and marketers will be required to adapt to continue leveraging social media as a useful marketing tool.

Storytelling and being human-centric are key. Redefine your social media influence and don’t just use social media for promotional or advertising purposes. Use it as an arena to build relationships.


Feature Image Credit: CC 0; Public Domain. Image sourced via Wikimedia Commons.

Disclaimer: The views and opinions stated in this post are that of the author, and Return On Now may or may not agree with any or all of the commentary.

This guest post brought to you courtesy of Return On NowProfessional Austin SEO and PPC Services Company.

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Noah Rue

Noah Rue is a journalist and a digital nomad, fascinated with the intersection between global health, personal wellness, and modern technology. When he isn't searching out his next great opportunity, Noah likes to shut off his devices, head to the mountains and read novels based in the American Southwest.

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