2019 was another major year for the array of Social Media platforms now coming into fruition. Instagram celebrated 1 billion users, with TikTok closely on its heels with an estimated 750 million users.
Facebook continued it's battle with privacy data, whilst rolling out improved Ad tools, platform specific certification, balanced with their ongoing focus on building viable communities.
As we head into 2020, the need to build meaningful communities will continue to grow. Customers will be seeking out smaller communities which are aligned with their beliefs, choosing to support businesses who can engage on a more authentic level.
What does this mean for business?
Before I answer that question, It is important to realise that this is no longer a big numbers game. During the past 10+ years, building big platforms has been the main objective, the more customers who followed you online, the bigger opportunity to convert them into paying customers. However as Facebook, in particular, began to play with their algorithm constantly, the number of customers seeing content in their newsfeed and having the opportunity to engage decreased dramatically. Businesses have been left wondering how to navigate the constant changes and worse, if Social Media is even an asset and should be considered as part of their marketing strategy.
I fundamentally believe that Social Media should play an integral part of your marketing strategy, I always include the platforms that are relevant to the business within my marketing reviews and strategy proposals, however my goal is also very clear. Build a community in the place where you can hold meaningful conversations with your customers. Outward platforms such as a Facebook Page or an Instagram feed is great for building awareness for your business. Platforms such as Messenger, WhatsApp, Stories, Facebook Groups are amazing to build online connection and conversations through.
However there is a small snag, the ability to measure your success on platforms such as Messenger and WhatsApp is incredibly limited. There is no way to measure, if a consumer picks up a link to one of your articles and sends it via WhatsApp to a friend or if an ongoing conversation happens between friends on Messenger about your product or service. Hence the reason that these platforms are often referred to as dark social.
Social Media is returning back to its roots, away from a mass marketing approach to a personable, relatable approach, where the strength of community can be found in the conversations you build around your business. The platforms you choose are more important than ever. My advice would be to choose 1-2 platforms and "do them well" before expanding outwards. Go where it makes sense for your business and most importantly where it makes the most sense for your customers.
Effie Moss is a Multi-Passionate Entrepreneur, Founder of the Handmade Association, a Small Business Cheerleader and a Marketing and Community Strategist. Having grown communities with a conversational reach of 7 million a week, across many different industries, she spends her day helping people realise their business potential.