To say this year has been hard is an understatement. It was unprecedented, uncertain and down right bloody difficult. But one positive thing that you can take with you into #2021, is the growth in digital marketing, and specifically social media channels this past year. Here is our summary of the good, the bad, and the ugly for LinkedIn, and our predictions of what will trend next year.
LinkedIn has really rocked this past year. Many people have been complaining of huge drops in algorithmic reach and engagements. At ZoecialMedia we are a bit skeptical about this for a few reasons. 1) Our data tells us differently. Across all our client accounts we see continued YoY growth, even with the difficulty presented by the pandemic.
2) We believe there are just many many more people online, pushing content and consuming content, so your share of visibility just got harder, that is all. But that is why you need to be engaging and engage more to be seen.
Some of the reasons LinkedIn has really upped its' game are:
- HASHTAGS: #hashtag #hashtag #hashtag - the first 3 you use in every post are the most important ones. In fact when you copy link to post and paste it in WhatsApp or another forum, LinkedIn now includes these hashtags as part of the link. It's how you find interesting people and content, and how you optimize your feed, and how you filter what you see. HASHTAG!!!!
- DOCUMENT UPLOAD: Swipe through carousels are the bomb! We love them, people love them, and the ROI on visibility and reach is huge!
- PRODUCT PAGES: This feature is still a WIP but we believe these are really going to be a game changer next year and it starts with those companies who are already have them.
- EVENTS: They started out really badly, but now LinkedIn have really invested in the feature, not only do you get real lead generation with them, but some of our clients are reporting 3-5x the event registrations using this feature.
- POLLS: Do it! try one but remember to be engaging.
We put together a guide for LinkedIn Product pages and one for Polls that will help you be strategic with them next year. Here you go!
Let's talk #LinkedInPolls: Here is a summary of how they work:
- Questions can only be 140 characters long.
- Answers can only be 30 characters long
- You can only have up to 4 answers
- A poll can run for 1 day, 3 days, 1 week or 2 weeks, you decide
- You are not allowed poll questions related to political opinions, medical information or other sensitive data.
- HOT TIP: Once a poll is live you can edit the actual post above it but not the poll - so if there is a mistake you will need to delete and repost!
- YOU CAN notify employees of a post using the button on LinkedIn.
- YOU CAN PIN a post to the top of your profile.
- YOU CAN link to a post - so you can share it among your staff, friends, partners and advocates.
Get creative with polls: Here is a nice example we did for our client Deep Instinct
- YOU CAN put a link into the main poll post.
- YOU CAN geo-target by language, job function, university, seniority, location, company size or industry
- YOU CAN only post a poll natively, so no social posting tools and no reporting tools, you will have to do reporting manually!
- FINALLY: You cannot promote a poll on a paid campaign!
Growing on LinkedIn is HARD. If you want thousands of new followers for your company profile each month on LinkedIn - STOP ... doing this one thing!!
Expecting to get thousands of new followers on #LinkedIn each month. The harsh reality is that there is no "magic follower pill" you can swallow. It takes:
PERSISTENCE: Regular cadence of good and engaging posts.
DEDICATION: You need dedicated advocates and followers who will engage with your brand and like, share and comment to get you more visibility.
TIME: With more visibility comes more followers. You cannot buy them and if you think you can, you might be in for a shock. We ran a $3K campaign for brand awareness for a client in India, the goal we set was "engagements" which is one of the few LI goals that has a "follower" button on it. Guess how many followers came from that $3K spend?? LESS THAN 500!!!!!?
Change your goals, align your expectations, put in the effort to engage and build a dedicated following and stop expecting it to happen overnight. Unless you are Microsoft or Apple, which you are NOT!
STORIES: Our initial few observations about the new #linkedstories feature. after posting consistently for days on end....
1. You still cannot save a story.
2. About 30-35 unique views of each story, but all except one person were in my 1st degree connections, so not really getting outside my existing following.
3. There is still no way for people to like a story.
4. You can still only write a private message to the story author. You can also "unfollow" them
5. The "mention" feature only currently allows mentioning people, NOT COMPANIES.
6. Still only available on mobile, not on desktop.
7. Still no hashtag support on Stories.
8. The stories expire after 24 hours, and no way to see "old stories"
9. Still almost no analytics on story (other than how many people and who viewed it).
10. No live links
For Company Profile Stories:
1. You cannot like a story.
2. The share button allows you to send the story via messenger to people.
3. You cannot save a message
4. You cannot tag another company
5. Also only available on mobile.
6. If you go to the company profile, no way to view their stories (this to me seems the most illogical of all the non-features).
The point is, no need for #FOMO if you don’t have it yet, it needs some work.
NOW, WHAT SHOULD YOU EXPECT IN 2021:
- MORE P2P: People-to-People marketing will be the buzz in 2021. We are already seeing companies, and more importantly C-suite execs buying into the importance of active, engaged and thought-leading LinkedIn accounts this year, and it will only get stronger next year.
- PROFESSIONAL BRAND MANAGEMENT: With the need for more P2P marketing, comes the need for professional services to help you do this. We are currently managing 57 LinkedIn stakeholder accounts. From A-Z writing and posting content, engaging daily, strategically growing the network and connecting to new industry and ABM targets.
- LESS AUTOMATION: DON'T BOT!!! The appeal is real, and we understand, you are worried that investing in your employees is a waste of time and money, and they may walk out the door one day. So you set up fake accounts and bots on those accounts, or even WORSE, you run the bots on your employee accounts. But a robot can never properly emulate a thinking human. We are currently dealing with one client who has 6 blocked accounts of senior sales people on LinkedIn because they ran a bot on the accounts. The pain is real, those people can never ever connect to a potential client or person again, without first having to put in the person's email address.
- MORE VISIBILITY and CREDIBILITY. How? STOP LIKING
Don't be a 'like bunny' [Trademark ZoecialMedia], take the extra few seconds to really engage and show people your expertise, compassion, share your knowledge, friendship, support, shared interests, along with some respect.
Watch those visibility reach numbers climb for:
- more profile views
- more connect requests/follows
- more visibility
- more trust in your personal brand
- MORE ROI: Use Shield Analytics app. A full 360 degree view of your growth, engagements, reach. Like you have never before been able to get from LinkedIn. The ROI is there!
GOOD luck in 2021 and reach out if you need a hand!
By Zoe Bermant, CEO ZoecialMedia
People are often shocked when I advise them NOT to open a new Facebook page or start another LinkedIn Showcase page, stating "one is enough." But really, one is in most cases enough! It is hard enough to grow and get visibility for one page, and unless you have endless time and money, you do not need to have multiple multiple multiple pages for no reason. In this article I will explain why and also what you should be doing on your main company page so that you can optimize your posts to reach the right audiences:
Why don't you need another company page?
Getting organic growth is actually harder than you think. Even pages with tens of thousands of followers struggle daily to get their content seen. It is no longer a game of "post and they will come." Now you need to stand out, be engaging, be creative. I can guarantee you that if you don't post at all, you are lost to the world. I had a client with over 100,000 followers. Their growth was wild, and viral. Some of their posts had 80,000+ likes and comments on them - I kid you not. They had funding issues at the beginning of this year and let us go, they downsized their teams to just R&D and stopped posting on Facebook altogether. From June to December last year they had 5,168 new followers on their FB page. Since January they have only had 883 new followers. In 2019 in total they had 13,679 new followers, and that was mainly due to the HUGE visibility they got, not from constant posting, but constant viral content!
So let's for argument's sake say you manage 2 pages. Now you must create twice as much engaging and relevant content. What is your strategy? When you start with ZERO followers how does anyone see anything? If they aren't seeing it, do you have money to pay to play? Let's say you are one of those "Microsoft" brands, who can start a new page and have 10,000 followers in the first month - did you know that most of your posts will only reach a very small portion of your existing following, and ONLY if they engage with it does it get seen by people outside of your following, so now you don't only have to create content for 2 pages, you have to make it really GOOD and engaging content, so that people want to engage with it. NOW say you are neither popular nor do you have a willing gaggle of ready advocates who will all follow and engage with everything you post, do you have enough budget to "boost" or pay for a targeted audience to see your posts? If you answered NO to the above scenarios, read on to find out what you should do instead.
What should you do instead?
As you are able to geo-target by location all content on Facebook and LinkedIn, you are better off investing your time and money in bringing in a good/strong audience to your main profile so that you can simply post to your main page using audience segmentation. On LinkedIn you can even go further and segment by industry, job title, seniority etc... It means you have one really strong brand presence, but only people in that targeted audience will see the content that is relevant to them. NB: You need a minimum 300 people to be able to properly target on Linked in any specific audience, so rather spend your time and efforts bringing new followers to that main profile, so that you can utilize this feature.
Here is a short video I made that shows you how to post to LinkedIn using audience segmentation:
When DO you need another page or profile?
If you have multiple brands and they aren't all the same target audience, it makes sense to have a MAIN page for your company brand and showcase pages or separate FB pages for your sub-brands. For example you have multiple products, and one is B2B and one is B2C, they need different audiences AND different content. In this instance, be prepared and realistic - you need double the amount of time, effort and budget to make both successful.
When do you NOT need another page or profile?
As stated above, language or geo-location is not enough of a reason to need a separate page. Use your main page together with audience segmentation. You also 100% DO NOT need a separate page for corporate social responsibility, or careers posts, or employer brand. They are all part of your company DNA, they should be part of your main brand, just use audience segmentation. Consider starting a group or community for employer brand or corporate social responsibility. That is a better place to have it, as you do not face the same growth and algorithmic limitations of a page, it is more interactive AND you can invite people to be members.
What else could you do to be smarter at optimizing your brand visibility?
People relate to people more than to brands. Your CSR, employer brand, careers updates are better spread by employees than just your company page. Onboard and launch an advocacy program and encourage, and incentivize your employees to be your brand ambassadors. I would recommend getting a tool like Sprout Social's Bambu, or Oktopost it allows you to manage your social media, measure success, and run and track results of an advocacy leaderboard. Speak to me and I can make a referral and explain why you need a tool like this.
I hope this article has given you food for thought. I cannot tell you the number of clients who are struggling to strategically grow their social media following and brand presence, and they are maintaining multiple pages at the same time. If it is hard with one, it is even harder with many! Focus on one, produce quality, put some money behind it and I guarantee you will have more bang for your buck and efforts!
Good luck! Reach out if you have any questions.
This week Facebook updated their app to include a button down at the bottom of the screen for their new Marketplace feature. Now people and small local businesses (and hopefully soon service providers too!) can sell their products through Facebook Marketplace.
Simply click on the + Sell Something button and fill in the details and add image.
Simply search by price range, distance you are willing to travel, or use the categories to filter to the products you want to buy.
Watch this short video clip we recorded for you to show you how it works >>
ENJOY! And remember, for anything social media related or to have us train you or manage your accounts, get in touch through zoecialmedia.com, @zoecialmedia.
THE SOMETHING OLD, SOMETHING NEW, SOMETHING BORROWED AND STICK IT ON BLUE STRATEGY:
Want a very simple, but effective, daily social media marketing strategy? One that assures you will not spend more than 20–30min a day on social media?Congratulations, you are getting married.
Just like when you get married you are told to have something old, something new, something borrowed and something blue, so too your social media marketing strategy should follow this pattern.
SOMETHING OLD: Each day your should take something you posted a few weeks before and repurpose it. You may need to beef it up or post it in a different format, for example a blog post that was on Medium you can publish on LinkedIn and then promote across all channels. Or you may simply write the blurb about it in a different way.
SOMETHING NEW: Each day find a new asset of yours to share with your audience. Like a new blog post, an upcoming event, a PR, or some product information. If you generate enough content you should ideally have more than one of these each a day. Try and target it to the audience that follows you on each platform. For example your audience on LinkedIn is bound to be more thought leadership/industry lead than Facebook which tends to be more consumer focused.
SOMETHING BORROWED: Finally for something borrowed, find an interest piece that someone else has written and highlight it as such. Try and identify an influencer or thought leadership piece that confirms a belief you support, or mentions an industry trend you are working towards, or even just something that someone else says that you either agree with or don’t agree with. Remember to add acknowledgement and emotion (the why should anyone care to read this piece) to the borrowed piece so that the source gets their due recognition and you explain why you are sharing it.
SOMETHING BLUE: Now post all of them on Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter (you may have noticed that all their logos are BLUE!). Remember that according to some sources the lifetime value of a social post is very short. In fact Moz claim that a Tweet is only actually ‘alive’ for 18min (unless you are Donald Trump and 1K people will retweet every word you say every 5 min). So post those tweets 2–4 times in the same 1 day period and make sure you repurpose your tweets.
NOW: You should have a minimum of 3 posts per day (12 on Twitter), combining a mix of something old, with something new and that also borrows from other people to give you balanced, interesting, and active social accounts.
USE IT OR LOSE IT: If I may, just one more piece of advice. If you don’t use it, lose it. There is nothing nothing nothing that says lazy and disconnected as a dormant social media account where the last post you created was several months old.
Let me know where to send the wedding present when the happy day arrives :)
It's Xmas, and you may wonder where all your followers/users are. Well wonder no more, they are NOT online and they don't care about you or your brand or anything you have to post (unless you are a retailer and they have a complaint about a product they bought or got as a present) so get offline and go enjoy your family time.
Seriously though. I am a social media consultant, mainly B2B, and NOT ONE of my clients showed more than 3-10 engagements across all social channels in the last 72 hours. Just as an example, one of these clients has a daily average of 100-200 social link clicks and well over 400-500 total engagements (shares/likes/comments) a day on LinkedIN, Twitter and Facebook combined. On Saturday they had 10 clicks and on Sunday 3. See the screenshots below (taken from Oktopost).
So... What can you do with this December bomb, and more importantly what am I going to recommend my clients do with it.
There is no doubt that people and their behaviour guide the way we use social media. But also nothing wrong with us using social media to set industry-wide etiquette for how and when social media should be used. So take a stand with me, and let's all #gosilent this coming New Years.