How to Future-Proof Your Social Media Weaponry

future proof social media

What are your social media weapons?

You might have HootSuite or Buffer for scheduling out messages. You might use Trello or BaseCamp to collaborate on media projects. You might even have the recently hot BuzzSumo for content ideas and influencer tracking.

Heck, if you’ve been following my column at Maximize Social Business, you might be a ninja IFTTT user.

The social media landscape is constantly changing, with new upstarts and features being unveiled every month. It’s daunting even for users to keep up with the capriciousness of social media. For social media marketers, it’s especially important to keep their finger on the pulse of what’s new and rising in social media, since timeliness and relevancy are the most influential factors on campaign success.

In all honesty, future-proofing your social media weaponry will probably last as long as future-proofing a gaming PC. Maybe 2 or 3 years to stay capable, but after that it’s time for a complete tune-up.

So how do we exactly future-proof our social media weapons?

We utilize the criteria for milestones in social media statistics, reports, and marketing strategies.

For example:

Twitter Is Reaching an Older Demographic

twitter old jump

It seems that the older demographic – particularly the 45-54 year-old age bracket – is taking a liking to the 140-character sensibilities of Twitter.

The demographic has jumped 79% since 2012.

With much of social media – like Facebook and Vine – outputting content at an overwhelming pace, the slowed-down concise nature of Twitter should be used by social media marketers to tap into an older demographic.

This aligns with the basic grounds for Twitter – instant and concise broadcast messaging that anyone can use; however, like with most social media platforms, the initial trend setters were in the 15-28 age group. Twitter is fortunate to be less personalized than Facebook, where it’s common to see sighs of “oh god, my mom’s on Facebook.”

As marketers, appealing to an older generation that was raised by down-in-the-dirt workers, they have more respect for traditional storytelling/reporting and clarity. I say clarity to emphasize not using a plethora hashtags, acronyms, or other norms.

If you’re planning to tweet a promo such as “#Amazing #Savings with our BBMD Super Sale [strange link] $55.00 OFF Orders over $250. Don’t #missout #yolo”

Maybe try this instead “Save $55 on orders over $250 for our Best Buy Mother’s Day Sale. Check our Mother’s Day lineup here: [brand link]”

LinkedIn’s News Feed & Publishing is Becoming More Engaging

linkedin publishing

Many mistakenly regard LinkedIn as a social media source exclusively for job & talent seekers. That represents a large contingent, but there are many LinkedIn users who use the site’s newsfeed to check on relevant industry news from their connections. One can infuse their brand into their LinkedIn presence by posting industry-relevant news stories that are engaging, while following up in the comments how it relates to the brand in question.

Still, it’s also worth noting that LinkedIn has less of an active presence than Pinterest, Twitter, Facebook and even Google+, so quality over quantity – specifically in correctly targeting users – matters when promoting on LinkedIn. However, forming a LinkedIn group can aid in this targeting.

Interestingly, LinkedIn has begun to grease their publishing arm, attracting professionals and fostering engagement with renowned entrepreneur authors. Folks such as Richard Branson, Martha Stewart, and even Bill Gates have published their advice.

Although we don’t have the klout of these business titans, we can still reach a vast, targeted audience with modern article creation tactics. This includes crafting numbered list headlines, providing actionable business/career advice, and including relevant images/screenshots/media.

Extending Customer Service With Friendship

friendship button

Propaganda-rich social media profiles are the demise of campaigns. It’s surprising to think many businesses still treat their Twitter and Facebook feeds as an RSS for promotions.

Moving, innovative businesses that recognize the utility of personalized social media channels have been extending their customer service arm

Having problems with a product? Post a picture on our Facebook page and someone will sort it out for you.

Wondering when a popular item will be back in stock? Tweet us and we’ll let you know.

The symbiotic relationship is customer service & engagement.

Service demos are an industry standard right? But how many services demo their work on social media? Career Pro Plus is one of the leading resume services in the career industry but they have a unique approach to this traditional demo format. They feature examples on their website which is the norm, but they differ by linking relative career-building sources on their Facebook feed in the mix of their demo. This helps fans by providing fresh advice on a consistent basis, but also opening the lines for any demo inquiries. In a way, it’s a trust-building tactic.

By holding contests, asking questions, posting niche-related links and participating regularly in user discussions, brands can make a bigger difference in positive sales than if they were to force items by the “excessive route.” The excessive route is basically a number around 17, where a customer will convert after having been pitched 17 times. It’s one of the oldest tricks in the book, yet still remains widely in use by every major brand, no matter how frustrating or invasive it actually is. That can be left up for debate in the social media marketing forums.

Memeification Is Going to Outlive Us

In the past few years, Internet users have become enamored with the concept of digitized memes, popularized by crowd-sourced sites like Reddit and 4chan. This form of meme is typically a commonly-recognized internet photo where the text is altered while still sticking to the format of the original meme. Some of these examples include the “Most Interesting Man in the World” or “Bad Luck Brian” photo memes. Many brands are seeing huge engagement results when they create a clever meme related to their brand or product in some way, with Oreo and Taco Bell setting many trends in the meme space.

Contrary to popular belief, memes in their traditional form have been around much longer than a few years. The Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines a meme as:

An idea, behavior, or style that spreads from person to person within a culture.

Those jokes or code words we created back in grade school were memes. The unique celebration in our local town was a meme. Catch-phrases and fashion are memes.

As to not confuse the difference with trends, think of memes as the literal unit of a trend.

For example, we have the “goth trend” wherein dark, morbid looking clothes are the meme.

So even though memes seem to be this new hot thing, they’ve actually been around for centuries. Depending on how you’d personally grant its classification, memes may as well be thousands of years old.

Getting back to present day, memes are are an attempt for your business to catalyze engagement in your community. They might derive out of your own community, which is even better.

For example, the popular U.S. animal control brand, Havahart, has been creating their own style of Facebook memes to increase engagement.

midweek mischief

The #MidweekMischief is one of their new memes, which is posted every Wednesday. Additionally, they have a #MondayBlues meme following the same format every Monday. Over time it’s natural for Facebook fans to solidify a personalized brand disposition. When I first liked their page it was because I was simply happy with one of their products. I only viewed them as a store and didn’t really think much of their page. This was about a year or so ago. As months went by I started seeing these funny/cute and most importantly, share-worthy content, in my newsfeed. Similar to what a friend might post, I would share their funny posts every so often. I’m sure many others felt the same way as their like, share, and comment counts continue increasing every day.

Paid Social Media Advertising 

Social media ads are the norm, whether it’s in the form of sponsored newsfeed posts or tweets. StumbleUpon, LinkedIn, and reddit also offer highly targeted advertising options.

Each advertising platform requires a deep understanding of:

  • social norms
  • content expectations
  • values
  • rules and regulations, specifically any content policies and guidelines
  • exemplary content (anything that has performed well) for benchmarking your ads

On reddit, an Amazon makes use of the gamedeals subreddit, regularly purchasing targeted ad space to display a run-down of the newest game deals. Not only is this original content that can’t be found anywhere else, it’s directly helping a targeted community with their primary interest; game deals.

I have not seen any other site that sells games make use of this ad space. This is an example of bringing a knife to a gun fight. A missed opportunity like this is most likely a result of unawareness. I say it’s unawareness because whenever I’ve written about reddit’s advertising platform I get many responses (and sometimes emails) from fellow social media marketers asking about its viability, tips, and suggestions. I’m happy to help answer these inquiries, but it just shows there’s a general lack of awareness of the variety of social advertising platforms current available. Furthermore, reddit’s ad platform just recently integrated location targeting, bringing it a few steps closer to Facebook’s customization options.

Free Branding

There are numerous ways to advertise for “free” – or at least, the worth of your own time. This can manifest as a well written blog post that goes viral, an image, or even a video.

I prefer to steer away from anything that uses the word viral. It’s simply too risky.

Instead, try doing something direct like adding a video to your about page. Coast Tec has an about page specifically for their smart ups 1400 service. A video clearly explains their primary service which solves most basic inquiries. Additionally, this video can easily be shared freely convert prospects.

Interactive Content Is Growing

BuzzFeed has latched onto the growing trend of interactive quizzes, where visitors can find out which Harry Potter character they’re most like or how much of a New Yorker they are. KISSmetrics has also recently embedded quizzes on their blog. It’s difficult for social media users – or internet users in general – to resist this type of interactive content, even if it’s somewhat mindless.

Ah, now we’ve hit the crux. How do we make whatever you’re marketing seem like the opposite of mindless?

Interactive content is probably the best shot a marketer has to literally set the (digital) stage for a new visitor. I’m not saying a static HTML page with a few CSS divs can’t deliver something relevant and timely, but media saturated visitors come with the expectation for something impressive.

As front end devs continue utilizing the growing JavaScript data manipulation and visualization options, visitors can enjoy cutting-edge content. Graphs have taken new shapes, becoming a complete interactive experience. Hover over a state and stats will appear while the surrounding states space themselves out. Visual data representations are excellent for business that may seem “boring.” For example, Olshan law can visualize anything relating to law, such as a history of cases in a certain practice or even extend into a timeline of crime rate on a state by state analysis.

As a marketer you most likely don’t have the technical skills to implement something this technical. However, you have a few options:

  • You have a design and development team that can create interactive content
  • You take online classes or go to code camp to learn yourself
  • You outsource someone with those skills
  • You team-up with another company that has those skills

To put it simply: you’re not limited. Your business can create whatever content is currently deemed “hot.”

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Jesse Aaron

I'm a blogger, homebrewer, and community manager. Aside from writing, I have a passion for music and design.

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