The New Social Media Marketing – Keys to the Kingdom in 2020
If you are looking for some “insider tip” on how this new decade of digital marketing is going to shape up, here it is: start shifting your strategy to be more social media-centric.
This isn’t about “optimizing hashtags,” “growing subscriber bases,” or any of that basic drivel. You already have plenty of bottom-shelf sites going on about those things that, at this point, should go without saying.
It’s about taking a ruthless cold-hearted technical approach to social platforms, and developing efficient systems that generate interactions that end up in sales. Cleanly and consistently. Simple as that.
Now, before you get too excited, know that I’m not here to tell you how to do that. There will be plenty of that once people start realizing this is where the chips are falling.
Rather, this is a nice, data-backed talk about why social should become one of your top concerns at the start of this new decade.
Social Media Transactions as a Major Business-Driving Force
The fact that social media has grown into a significant part of online business is no news by now. Thing is that most companies out there (much like it happened with mobile not long ago) seem unaware of how big it really is.
And, more importantly, how much bigger it’s going to get.
You see, even though we’ve done plenty with social already – demographic ad targeting was every marketer’s dream come true – research is showing we are just scratching the surface. Moreover, data suggests that social’s growth is doing anything but slowing down, so it doesn’t really take a genius to connect the dots here.
However, I’m all about data-driven decision-making, which is why we are kicking this off by talking about Wolfgang Digital’s 2020 KPI report.
If Data is the New Oil, Social Media’s a Barely-Tapped Reservoir
Before diving deeper into the findings, let’s get the scope of the study out of the way, which should lead us nicely into why you should care.
Sample Size & Findings
Wolfgang Digital’s study analyzed over 130 million website sessions, over €330 million in online revenue over the 12 months from November 2018 to October 2019, and surveyed over 300 people across Europe, the UK, and the US. All of it, with the intent of finding key performance indicators that marketers like us could use as early trend signals.
And, as significant as that data pool is by itself, the whole study becomes more attractive once you consider its track record. Just five years back, their 2016 report was already accurately signaling trends about paid search, mobile traffic, and conversion rates correlations.
And we all know how those ended up panning out.
The full thing is chock-full of interesting, actionable data, so I invite you to give it a read once we’re done here. Yet, we are going to focus on their “conversion correlation” section – which gleans into what high-performing websites (those ahead of the curve) are doing right now that others aren’t.
This section alone provides plenty to keep one entertained for a while, with strong signals pointing to display traffic’s appeal and the relevance of sessions per user. But our focus here today is the one sitting at the top: social media.
Conversions Through Social Media – The Way of the Future?
“The three strongest conversion correlations across the 4,000 data points were related to social transactions.” Translation: The best performing websites out there are doing social media right.
Not only are they ahead of the curve in generating traffic from social, but at attracting the type of traffic that converts. In fact, out of all the performance indicators they analyzed, a robust social strategy turned out to be the strongest point of differentiation between the high-performers and the rest.
And remember, similar indicators from past studies have turned out to be industry-shaping trends before.
Now, I hear what some of you are saying – I’ve had my social game in check for years. To that, I can only ask: Do you? Do you, really? Because according to Forrester’s recent social media report, there’s a good chance that you only think you do.
How Many Marketers Are Clueless About Social Media?
Certainly more than there should be, and probably more than you’d think too.
Forrester’s report asserted that about one in three CMOs out there have trouble showing how social media channels benefit their business. Let that sink in for a second.
The reality is that a lot of marketers and SEOs are chasing social. They have for years, jumping from one fad to the next. Hunting for a “killer strategy” when they should be figuring out how the mechanics of those systems play into their wider marketing goals.
The report goes on to say:
“[Marketers] had unrealistic expectations of social media, hoping it would be the key to unlocking massive profits in the digital age. When that didn’t pan out, they shifted 180 degrees to believe that social media’s only use was for advertising.
Although it’s true that Facebook’s primary business value is as an advertising platform, it’s a mistake to infer that advertising is social media’s sole opportunity.”
The report also emphasizes that instead of looking for “strategies,” marketers should instead be using the social ecosystem strategically. Synergizing it with other channels in a goal-oriented manner.
Does that sound familiar?
Participation-led campaigns, brand-sentiment direction, user-generated-content capitalization… all of these things are potential game-changers when used correctly. And yet you see few companies actually investing in novel ways to leverage them.
We’ve Only Just Begun
Most people in the game know that “social media ” was an unexpected and unprecedented phenomenon—much like how mobile and the internet itself were before it. Paradigm shifting breakthroughs took their time before completely reshaping the way we do business.
Studies like these are nothing but early salvos signaling the long campaign that’s coming once again to change the game forever.
So, as you set out to draft the foundations of your marketing strategy for the next five years, you might want to take a step back. Reconsider social under a different set of lenses, without the weight of your already-formed assumptions, and ask yourself what more could be done with it.
Because, unless you already have social as one of your primary revenue generation channels, I can assure you:
You are barely scratching the surface, and it’s only going to get more interesting from here on.