Being ‘Social’ In 2021

Social media is a term that can account for various objectives, and here in 2019, there likely is no concrete universal definition. One thing that has remained constant is it’s rapid & consistent innovation.

Did you blink? That’s exactly how long it takes for social media to take a sharp turn into a different direction.

Yes, marketing, in fact almost any industry (at least the ones that see relevant longevity) all have their fair share of innovation, and I’ve made this a vital point of emphasis in the “Effective Advertising” blog series in regards to curating an effective marketing campaign.

Social media takes innovation to an entirely new level. It’s an industry that remains relatively novel, so the innovation is not only constant, it shifts at a rapid pace.

Anyone remember myspace? Well if you don’t, no one could really fault you. After it’s initial launch in 2003, it was the social media platform that saw immediate success, and many can argue the true pioneer of the industry. At its 2008 peak, myspace saw over 75 million visitors per month. Then, in the blink of an eye, myspace was about as relevant as dial-up internet.

Prior to the network’s demise, myspace constituted the idea of sharing content with other users. In other words, it created the early concept of online engagement, an aspect still coveted by social media users around the globe.

Facebook officially launched in a limited capacity available only to certain university students in 2004. Why was Facebook able to distinguish itself from myspace so quickly? A relentless drive for innovation that still drives the platform today.

It not only opened access to new users, it provided new features, layouts, and different ways to connect with others on a monthly basis. So while myspace my have sparked the social media phenomenon it is today, Facebook was the one who took that spark, turned it into a full flame, and persistently added fuel.

I can sit here and write a book on how social media took form from its early stages, but considering many of you are likely reading this at lunch, or mindlessly scrolling through your phone to avoid that awkward conversation with Jeff in the elevator, I’ll fast forward to the vital elements that assert social media as the conglomerate industry it remains today.

Social Media Today

Nearly two decades later, social media continues to thrive, but not because it provides the same methodology it did back in 2004.

Facebook remains a social media giant (at least for now), but innovations & outlets such as Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat, Pinterest, & YouTube have established themselves as social media juggernauts.

In 2019, the term “social media” is almost ironic at this point, because most platforms have cleverly disguised themselves to be an efficient marketing tool. When I say efficient, I mean extremely detailed, powerful, and accurate tools such as analytical monitoring, demographic targeting, and more ways than ever before to reach an audience.

Snapchat initially pioneered the concept of creating a social “story,” but that novel concept has migrated over to Facebook & Instagram. In 2019, stories have become a vastly more used feature, while traditional posts are starting to seem dated.

Video Content Reigns Supreme

The most visited social media outlet is no longer Facebook. Anyone want to take a guess?

No, not Instagram either.

It’s YouTube, and the rise of YouTube directly correlates to what social media users expect in terms of content from any platform… Video content.

In 2019, if video content in some way, shape, or form is not being utilized as part of your social media strategy, I highly recommend you revisit that intended strategy.

Not only is video a point of emphasis, but we have hit an era where live streaming has become accessible without any professional equipment. Streaming live can be done simply by using one’s mobile device, or one of the many digital camera options available (GoPro, Mevo, etc.).

Social media users want to feel connected, they want to feel involved, and back to the point that essentially catapulted the entire social media concept, they want to engage. What better way to engage with an audience than by providing live coverage directly on their social media feed?

A Model Brand

One brand who effectively utilizes this tactic, as well as social media in general to their utmost advantage is the MLB (Major League Baseball).

The MLB… How should I put this…

They just get it. They understand what users want, and what they look for when they visit a specific outlet. They provide live games on Facebook, they implement contests on Twitter, they create engaging segments on Instagram, and they do it so damn well.

What do I mean by that? They not only provide the content fans are seeking, they’re also able to implement subtle promotions, ads, and partnerships harmoniously.

A huge key to social media success is finding the perfect balance on any particular platform. This entails content to ad ratio, post timing, content effectiveness, and of course, actually being social by engaging with fans (you know, “SOCIAL” media).

The MLB is probably one of the best in the business at articulating and presenting social media content because they have all content compliment harmoniously to the point where fans likely don’t even realize they are in fact seeing an ad, or paid sponsorship. It’s simply phenomenal.

A Guide To Adhere To

As a company/brand, you want social media to indirectly lead to some form of revenue/web traffic/an identified objective, and it’s always extremely tempting to post that straight forward ad claiming there’s a certain discount available, but balance is always a must.

A great food for thought when putting together a social media campaign, are you going to read a magazine that only presents ads? Are you going to watch a TV channel that only airs commercials? No way.

It’s the same idea when operating a social media account. Show fans/followers why they should visit a website, or why they should potentially purchase a ticket to the next event.

Don’t tell them, people don’t like being told what to do, but if you provide fun, engaging, and enticing content that they naturally become fond of, you don’t have to tell them to do anything, they’ll likely do it on their own.

Another point of emphasis that more often than not sees effective results, BE SOCIAL. I’m not talking about that mass message to a following of over 1 million people (yes, there is obviously a time & place for that), but I’m talking about taking the 3 seconds out of your day to the follower who consistently engages with your content to comment/reply a quick message of gratitude, or by simply just liking what they might have tagged you in.

With experience on both sides of the screen, I assure you those 3 seconds of interpersonal communication you take out of your day convert a lot more than those mass messages.

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