This Hootsuite content: How Companies Will Use Social Media in 2017, has been written to induce you to use the company’s social media management services. I’ll stand aside from the sales message within the article, and encourage you to read it for observations about social media marketing trends.
There’s nothing too revolutionary here — we all know that the freewheeling early days when you could win traffic and following by building “likes” on your Facebook pages are gone; because free access to commercial sites have been throttled. This means businesses need to pay for advertising (including natural-looking “native” advertisements), though you can also induce traffic through employee and client referrals. (The erosion of natural rather than induced or paid social media reach has been described as the “Reachpocalypse” in this Convince&Convert article.)
Hootsuite writer Ryan Holmes notes the importance of employee engagement in social media:
Unleash the social media army on your payroll
Paid ads offer a surefire way to reach a desired audience on social media—for a price. But there’s another critical and generally overlooked route to getting the message out that comes with no extra cost: your own employees.
Employee advocacy—inviting coworkers to share brand messages on their own social media accounts—can have a range of benefits. For starters, you expand your reach, often exponentially in the case of large companies. Plus, because messages are being shared from personal accounts (rather than the company’s), they generally reach a higher percentage of followers. Not to mention that content shared by employees reportedly gets eight times more engagement, on average, than content shared by brand channels—and is re-shared 25 times more frequently.
But there’s a right way and a wrong way to encourage employee sharing. It should never be obligatory, for starters. Employees have to actually want to share company news, and it needs to be relevant to their own followings.
(He wants you to use Hootsuite’s systems to manage these relationships.)
The argument for social media paid advertising, of course, is its ability to be exceptionally well-targeted. And at present, relatively speaking (gulp, since our business sells advertising as its primary revenue source, so it is awkward speaking of any competitive media), is quite inexpensive — if you have a targeted audience, message, and a solid “native” advertising design.
Another relatively inexpensive approach to drawing traffic includes systems where you autofeed links to your content to social media. We do this through our regional construction publication sites, where individual articles are autoposted to Twitter and Facebook.
The “throttling” means that few people read these articles except individuals and organizations directly interested in the topic, but that is where it gets interesting. If these businesses and individuals decide the stories are worthy of republishing, they hit “send” and there is a surge of visitors and views — sometimes massive. In other words, our readers leverage our audience through social media. If we aren’t paying for this publicity, we cannot directly control when and how this happens, much as you cannot control the conventional media through publicity strategies unless you pay for the advertising. But it is deadly effective and absolutely inexpensive.
Do you need Hootsuite or other social media leveraging services to manage the process? I’ll stand aside here as I haven’t used these tools recently and, simply by setting our systems to autopost relevant content, without artificial traffic priming or paid advertising, we are seeing an exponential surge in relevant social media traffic.
However, I suppose the analogy could be: “Is it wise to hire a public relations or communications specialist to help your business?” and the answer generally is “yes”. So I’ll give in to the company’s sales pitch here.
Do you have observations of how your social media marketing is working these days. Please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or post your comment here (or on social media of your choice).