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state of social report

Carefully cultivating a social presence online is no longer a quirky extra for a brand to offer, if it ever was. And any brands still devoting half-hearted efforts to their digital marketing really need to read The 2019 State of Social Report, as it offers game-changing insight for (and from) small, challenger and top-performing businesses.

Making It Matter

Building an online persona for a brand is important, as is getting that persona in front of the right audience, which is not an easy task with all the competition for consumers’ attention online.

Not only that, but online “must know” offerings and technologies change often – not to mention which channels your audience is frequenting. Being an occasional participant online is just not good enough, and neither is selecting a tool and putting your social presence on auto-pilot. Someone needs to be manning every instance of your brand online, every social channel – and they need to know their stuff.

What “stuff” exactly? Primarily, they need to understand who your audience is, how to speak to them (in your brand’s voice) and what to watch for on a daily basis – they need to know what matters to your brand and what doesn’t. And lots more besides, which is all covered in the report, including:

  • Social media trends—what really matters, and how to know, plus what happens when you miss the mark
  • Social channels—which are having the most impact on business and why, plus how to differentiate audiences and engage per channel
  • Social influencers—how to identify them, why you must, and things to watch out for
  • Real-time content caveats—how audience segmenting and social sentiment keep you from blowing up your brand
  • Monitoring brand health—how, why and what’s at stake

Staying ahead of everything is super important – and it’s a full-time job in itself, even when you have the best tools at your disposal. And you can thank consumers for that . . .

Consumer Marketing Opportunities & Challenges

Marketing has never been an easy gig, as any marketer will tell you – but of late, particularly in the past three years, marketing has been stuck on warp speed to keep up with social media changes, opportunities and challenges.

It’s not social networks working collaboratively to make our jobs harder, it’s in response to consumer-driven demands for more choices, better user experiences and more privacy controls. And these networks have been quick to adapt and comply to user needs, as the 2018 social ad spend was more than $23 billion USD — greater than double its numbers from 2015. So, if baby wants changes, baby’s getting them!

Social networks love brands, but they also know that their sites won’t exist, nor be attractive to brands, without consumers – so their first priority is keeping them happy. And happiness for consumers is a social network that isn’t overwrought with promotions they’re not interested in. This is where targeting becomes key not only for social networks, but for the brands hoping to collaborate with them.

Brand Marketing at Its Best

Brands capable of creating highly personalized ads for segments are loved best by all social networks. It’s whey they offer so many segmenting options on their sites. But beyond paying for advertising, deriving insight for the social posts themselves helps brands create products and services that consumers not only want to see but crave more of.

Social platforms continue to tighten algorithms to limit organic reach, and it’s not for purely selfish reasons, it’s because consumers demand greater authenticity, personalization, and transparency from brands. Paying for advertising keeps everyone honest, and filters out a lot of the noise.

But even brands able to pay for advertising are ill-advised to do so as their main mode of marketing, as relationship building is the most important indicator separating successful businesses from those pushed out of the market.

Savvy brands are building relationships with consumers online, instead of just creating ads for them, as it increases overall, long-term customer satisfaction, loyalty, and sales, not to mention significantly reduces costs associated with lead generation, customer retention, research and ecommerce. It’s really a no-brainer, when considered in that light.

How are they doing it?

Many brands are turning to influencers – identifying and partnering with targeted ambassadors that have trusting relationships with their target audience and help build brand loyalty through conversation. It makes sense – social consumers trust other consumers more than they trust brands.

But that’s not the only way brands are engaging with consumers. Some social networks offer such high engagement that many brands are doing their own outreach, based on insight gleaned for independent research around unmet needs consumers are sharing web-wide. It’s amazing to see it in action and inspiring to consider the potential it offers.

Though it doesn’t require much imagination to have a sense of social’s overarching importance – just over a decade ago, social media didn’t exist, and today we have more than a billion daily users on Instagram. One platform. Incredible.

The 2019 State of Social Report will help you grab your share of the number – and a demo of our best-in-class tool will help you hone your targeting to dominate in your vertical. Reach out and we’ll show you how!

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