Think with Footprint: The Social Landscape

Published on 26th February 2018

23rd February 2018 marked the first Think with Footprint of the year, presented by Alex, from Born Social. As we’ve seen in one of our recent blog posts, social media for businesses is a hugely important way to connect with audiences. Alex gave us a bit more insight into how the landscape of social media is changing, and how each platform can be used for different effect.

Since Born Social began, six years ago, they have seen huge shifts in the way that social media can be used by businesses. Back then, there was no advertising on these platforms – now, advertising is where it’s at. Back then, smaller and challenger brands had the most opportunity to grow on social media, because the lack of advertising made it a level playing field with the big guys.

Over the last couple of years organic content has become less and less useful on social.

Its now all about optimising your content for ads.

Facebook – Embrace the Ugly

facebook screen on an Iphone

On Facebook, everything worth doing is now paid and organic reach has become almost non-existent.

In 2012, organic reach was at about 16% but by 2016 this had dropped to 2%. However, this is not necessarily a negative. Although its harder to reach audiences organically, it has meant that Facebook had to up their advertising platform game, so social marketing on the platform is now much less fluffy. Essentially, paid media introduced science to social media.

With Facebook, it is important to ‘Embrace the Ugly’. Facebook is not a pretty platform; people don’t care what things look like on Facebook. Memes are not pretty, they are relatable.

Don’t worry about how something looks, worry about how it will engage people.

Instagram – Start with Stories

Instagram images

Instagram is the ‘perfect’ platform – whilst Facebook can be ugly, Instagram absolutely cannot be.

That was one of the problems Instagram was facing – their platform was so ‘perfect’ that it was putting people off. They felt daunted by how the platform looked.

When Snapchat came along, Instagram had a problem because people felt that Snapchat was for everyday images, whilst Instagram was just for beautiful images and not too many beautiful images as it was important not to over post as this could make your grid look messy – which meant people were using snapchat much more regularly.

Hence, Instagram Stories was born in August 2016.

Instagram said:

‘Instagram Stories…lets you share all the moments of your day, not just the ones you want to keep on your profile. As you share multiple photos and videos, they appear together in a slideshow format: your story…With Instagram Stories, you don’t have to worry about overposting. Instead, you can share as much as you want throughout the day — with as much creativity as you want. You can bring your story to life in new ways with text and drawing tools. The photos and videos will disappear after 24 hours and won’t appear on your profile grid or in feed’.

By introducing this feature, Instagram were able to win back the users who had started dabbling with Snapchat for their ‘every day’ images. Now, stories are the new newsfeed and are often where people go to first on Instagram (although, it would seem the Footprint Digital team are bucking this trend – we like the feed!)

Build for the Scroll

Alex suggested that whilst Instagram Stories has brought an element of the everyday to Instagram, it is still vital that we keep our profiles highly aesthetically pleasing.

Our profiles serve a different purpose to stories. They are for first impressions and a place to demonstrate your brand identity. Visuals are so important here – and all of your images should work together to create a striking and in sync grid.

A strong profile can convert a view into a follow.

Work with Influencers (properly)

2017 was the first year that people really started to understand that they had to work with Influencers on Instagram. This has often been seen as a deceptive type of advertising, and immoral because a lot of users didn’t know that Influencers were being paid to promote products to them through their own profiles. A study showed that not long ago, around 77% people didn’t know that #sp under a picture on Instagram meant that it was a sponsored post. Similarly, a lot of people didn’t know what #ad meant.

Paid Partnership Tags

The informality of adverting on the platform had to stop. There were no regulations, no native platform features for adverts, and a lack of solid measurement tools.

In June 2017, Instagram announced that it would start adding paid partnership tags to sponsored posts and stories after the Federal Trade Commission sent letters to lots of celebrities about their advertising infringements on the platform.

Is Organic Posting Still Worth it on Instagram?

Facebook have owned Instagram since 2012, so it’s very likely that Instagram will go down the same route of paid posts being the only way for businesses to make an impression. Alex said that they are already seeing a drop in organic, with people having to pay more for their posts to be seen. On Instagram it is also harder to optimise posts for likes so it’s very difficult to prove with the ROI is.

Twitter – If Nothing Else, Respond

Twitter on Iphone

Twitter has had a very up and down 18 months and could potentially be having a crisis of identity. Brands are finding it hard to build value on Twitter, and it is only really valuable when you are reacting to an event, rather than proactively trying to push new content.

Twitter isn’t about setting the agenda – it’s about reacting to one that’s already been set.

The problem with Twitter is that its also incredibly easy to create content – a post of a few words takes a few seconds. This means that new content is being churned out by the second and your post will be a proverbial needle in a haystack. In fact, studies suggest that every second, around 5,787 tweets are tweeted. Your tweet will be visible in feeds for a few hours at most, but more likely only for a few minutes (or seconds).

Alex suggests that businesses, especially small ones, shouldn’t invest too many resources into Twitter.

If anything, Twitter is a good customer service tool, and is a place where people can ask you questions, complain about services, and ask for things. If you’re using Twitter at all, you need to make sure you’re active enough to interact with these people and answer them.

If nothing else, respond.

LinkedIn – Create Career Enhancing Content

Linkedin - create career enhancing content

Alex explained that LinkedIn really is the B2B playground in the social media sphere.

It’s not a platform for fun and frivolity – it’s a place for people to progress their careers, so all of the content that you push out should be trying to help them do this.

Businesses can utilise your internal Influencers on LinkedIn to build a presence. Think about the people that you have on your team and use their LinkedIn for the brand’s advantage.

The important thing to remember with any social media platform is to:

  1. Hit the right people
  2. With the right content
  3. At the right time

If you want to find out more about Born Social, then visit their website. Born are an award winning social media agency in London, focusing on ‘David’ brands, rather than ‘Goliaths’. They offer three tiers of service, so there’s a package for everyone.

Written by Alexandra Eade, Content Manager.