How can businesses tap into the evolution of social media?

By March 31, 2017Stories

Social media has come a long way from the family and friends communication tool it was once used for and is now one of the main components of an organisation’s marketing strategy.

The evolution of the internet and social media has led to mass convergence across multiple social media platforms. Convergence, being the interconnection of content, computing and communication, has not only altered the way we, as consumers use social media, but dramatically changed the way in which organisations output.

From live streaming to social eCommerce advertising, many social media trends took 2016 by storm with Instagram and Facebook further increasing their dominant stance in the online advertising world.

The introduction of Facebook Live has enabled companies to give real-time insights into events and even day-to-day activity. However, while this is a new feature for Facebook, live streaming was first introduced by Periscope back in 2015.

Live streaming is something that companies of all sizes are taking full advantage of as the instantaneous Q&A aspect available instantly builds the opportunity for excellent customer service while giving your brand a voice and increasing reach.

These features were certainly used to their full potential when Grazia (UK) Magazine held a series of behind the scenes live streams. Working alongside Facebook, Grazia created a week of videos and streams that sucked their audience into the collaborative project. Their most prominent being a roundtable Brexit debate which reached 72k views, The stream generated conversation and fed inclusion throughout, something that businesses usually harnessed through Twitter.

While platforms such as Facebook, Twitter and Instagram have become leaders in the social advertising industry, one network that has made incredible developments is Snapchat.

Starting as a simple app used by thousands of millennials to share photos and videos that self-destruct, Snapchat is now a billion-pound business, with companies advertising their products and services via both free and paid for “Stories” to reach a now impressive 150 million daily users.

While the results are impressive for B2C brands, getting your strategy spot on can also translate to those targeting the B2B market too.

As we’ve already established, video content vs. written content is a winner in most cases. And while inclusion is something an audience craves, sharing video content, particularly live, can add a priceless level of authenticity to your business.

Are you hosting an event with guest speakers and valuable presentations? The chances are there will be people that, although they would like to, cannot attend. However, live streaming an event can break down these barriers and not only open up your event (and ultimately your business) to a wider audience but also show transparency.

A more casual approach can also work well for businesses. Sharing ‘Top Tips’ or even staff introductions can work well for increasing those engagement levels. With real-time interactions, you can offer Q&A sessions and show the ‘human’ side to your business.

Of course going live can be risky, but providing there is a combination of planning and integrity, you can reap multiple benefits. There’s nothing wrong with shouting about what you’re doing. It helps to drum up interest as you build up to the main event. Like any other video uploaded, your live stream can continue to be promoted or even sponsored online, generating likes and comments.

Research by Insivia found that 96% of B2B organisations use video within their marketing strategies and 73% report ROI. There is a clear positive correlation, further amplifying the need to update your social media marketing strategy if you haven’t already.

With so many avenues for businesses to experiment with across social media, it is sacrilege not to explore. Although, future proofing your strategy is crucial, don’t put all your eggs in one basket, find what works for you, where your demographic is and what they want to see. From that forward thinking and strategic planning, you can ease yourself into the evolving world of social media for business.

This content was first published in Topic UK, March 2017.