Things Have Changed: Social Media’s Relevance to Marketers Post-2018

Blue Flame Thinking Has Updated it's Story for Social in 2019

While social in 2019 may not have the cleanest reputation, it’s still the best place for B2B marketers to engage directly with audiences. In fact, your audience has even more expectations around your brand and its behavior on social than ever before. But, the rules have changed just since last year.

Hootsuite recently published its “Top 5 Social Media Trends in 2019 (and How Brands Should Adapt),” which offers several actionable items. One of the main takeaways is that users’ trust in sponsored content and advertising claims on social media has eroded significantly.

Trust Has Moved On

Fortunately, that trust left a forwarding address. It shifted to influencers, family, friends and known connections. The growing role these influencers play is great news for B2B marketers. It allows us to focus on a group of micro-influencers rather than on celebrities. The challenge, however, is finding and engaging these lower profile voices.

Hootsuite recommends doing this by moderating discussions in professional circles, creating private groups on select platforms and, if you’re confident in your own employees, activating them as advocates for your brand. Taking advantage of platforms that allow you to utilize stories is another way to do this.

Be in the Moment, Literally

The stories feature is one that many brands aren’t utilizing right now. Hootsuite points out that this is likely due to the “vanishing” nature of the posts. In the B2B space for financial marketers and manufacturers, especially, we think this has more to do with not understanding the medium or appreciating users’ growing consumption of this feature.

Need a proof point? Log on to Facebook right now and check out how many of your contacts are posting their updates as stories. This shift away from the feed is gaining momentum—and you need to move with it.

The Folly in Perfection

This leads to another point made in the article: the fidelity of the ephemeral. Since these posts are temporary (unless you pin one to your feed), brands now need to produce an exponentially greater volume of content. Additionally, many brands are experiencing better results with less polished content, which comes across as more realistic and relatable.

The social platforms continue to push brands away from the old model of spending three months creating each video or even more than three weeks for a single ad. More often, successful marketing is about trying to do 200 things 80% right, instead of 20 things perfectly.

Paying for Attention Is the New Norm

One final takeaway from Hootsuite’s trend article involves cost. Budgets rose roughly 32% in 2018 for marketers on social, with more ads than ever being run. Don’t expect this to change any time soon. If your budget didn’t increase for social this year, you can bet your competitors’ budgets did. Unfortunately, while spending is climbing, ROI is declining, meaning expectations may need to be reset.

Our New Reality

All of these trends create both opportunity and challenges for financial and manufacturing marketers. The ephemeral nature of stories may create compliance issues for both brands and advocates in financial marketing. And, the reduction in clear ROI vs. spend is likely to make even the most progressive marketer question the value of investing in social. However, being absent from these channels is no longer an option for any company.