Facebook, Meta, and the Future of Social Media

Woah. Facebook just went Meta. 

If you’ve paid attention to the news recently, you may have heard about Facebook’s rebranding. Let us clarify this right off the bat, the parent company that oversees Facebook, Instagram, WhatsApp, and Oculus has rebranded itself as “Meta”, not Facebook the website/app itself. Do not worry, you will not be posting any updates on Meta.

This rebrand came after Facebook received increasing pressure particularly from whistleblower and former Facebook data scientist, Frances Haugan, who filed complaints that the social media platform’s empire knowingly amplifies hates, misinformation, and political unrest. 

Then, Facebook and WhatsApp’s infamous day-long shutdown increased speculation that the company was scrubbing unscrupulous records. Facebook, of course, denies this. 

So, what the heck is going on and what does that mean for those of us in marketing and advertising?

Facebook’s Algorithm.

In a previous blog, I wrote in-depth on Instagram’s algorithm. If you wish, you can read it here. Suffice to say, it’s no secret that social media platforms do everything they can to keep consumers on their apps and websites. It’s likely you have seen the research, or perhaps even the documentary The Social Dilemma, that gives details on how these companies operate. Social media gets consumers hooked, keeps them engaged for long periods of time, gets them to come back frequently, and make the company increasing amounts of money. Your time is up for sale and a slot machine of entertainment is at your fingertips. Unfortunately, as much as we know about media, the efficacy of such practices and their effect has only recently begun to be explored. 

This is where Frances Haugen’s testimony comes in. Appearing before the US Senate Congress Committee on October 5, 2021, she uncovered a number of issues with Facebook’s dealings, having previously leaked files of the companies findings. You can read her article on the subject in a Wall Street Journal article, or, if video is more your speed (looking at you Gen Z), you can watch her 60 Minutes interview. The summary is this – that there are two competing factors at work: what’s good for Facebook and what’s good for their consumers. Haugan found the data showed that Facebook often amplifies hate, enables misinformation, creates division, and aids in political unrest. Studies also found that Instagram is harmful to teenage girls. This is because, generally speaking, negative and divisive content performs better than the opposite. And because this is the case, the algorithm works to enable such content. Rather than protecting its consumers, Facebook promotes the thing that will get the most clicks.

At The Post and Courier, we’ve found this troubling statistic to be true. When boosting stories from the paper, we noticed a trend: crime pieces perform better than anything else. In fact, each week our best performing stories are almost universally about crime or policing. It creates an ethical dilemma for a company. Do what’s best for the consumer or do what’s best for the bottom line? And where do you draw the line? Can we create a more gracious, optimistic, and equitable society, or do we work to sow division by promoting what audiences want to click on? Questions worth pondering for any advertiser. 

On the Metaverse

One last thing of note. Facebook also introduced something called the “Metaverse”. You can watch the entire 75 minute video on their website if you like, but believe me when I say it’s straight out of Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World, or for the modern reader something out of a film like Wall-E. Facebook’s parent company, now named Meta, is beginning to focus on the future of the internet in Virtually Reality (VR) format. Instead of going into the office or talking through a 2D screen on Zoom, they are working towards a future where people will hold meetings in a 3D VR world. Meta announced the advent of this Metaverse, an augmented reality experience where you can also meet friends, play games, watch movies, and generally spend time in this virtual world. 

Mark Zuckerberg’s postings got immediately panned with comments like “this is an episode of Black Mirror I swear.” But, interestingly, Adam Mosseri, the head of Instagram, got much more favorable comments on his less aggressive video post. Regardless, it seems as though the future is here, however long it takes to actually become fully realized. We certainly don’t know the implications of this new interweb, but it’s best to start preparing now.

Get ready, it’s a scary world out there.

 

Why You Are Not Reaching The Right Audience

As any good business owner knows, your audience drives your success. Why? Because without an audience, you are not selling anything. Therefore, you do not have a business.

It is a simple equation that even the best entrepreneurs and business savvy individuals miss the mark on.

So, why are you not reaching the right audience?

Your Content Falls Flat

Content is key. So, why is your content not everything?

Perhaps you pour a significant amount of money into content creation, but you still are not seeing the results you desire. It may be you

r messaging.

Does your content reflect your business? Does it tell a stranger everything they need to know to entice them to engage with your advertising or business?

Your content should tell a story without overwhelming a potential lead.

Check out this way to be seen by 1.8 million people

Your Audience Is Not Defined

Identifying who you want to sell to is going to benefit your business and save you money overall.

If you do not have a defined audience, you could be overspending on advertising. Your advertising may be getting seen, perhaps skyrocketing with interactions. But the leads are minimal.

Why? The money you invested in digital advertising is being fed to the wrong viewers.

People are seeing your ad, maybe interacting with it, but a target audience was not defined. This causes Google, Facebook, Instagram – whatever the platform – to focus on one goal: spend the money it was given.

For example, Facebook and Instagram ads are great ways to reach people and grow your business in a digital space. But, if you do not identify who your audience is, target the right interests, income, area – you may be reaching the wrong people and wasting money.

Without a deep understanding of your audience and digital advertising, you are nurturing an expensive brand awareness campaign. Brand awareness is great, but leads are better.

You Do Not Know Who You Are Selling To

As a business owner, you engage with customers, know who they are, and can determine any customer’s needs. But do you know your community, the place where you are offering your services/business?

A common mistake business owners make is that, while you are passionate about your business, does your potential audience feel the same?

Take the time to research your local community. Find out the median income, are there more families or single individuals, what is the most common pastime? Questions that resemble a dating profile should be the questions you ask yourself when determining your target audience.

If you have a better understanding of who the audience is that surrounds your business, the better you can tailor content, spend your ad dollars, and grow your business.

The Post and Courier knows the community and has built up more than 250 years of trust within that community. Better yet, the community knows The Post and Courier. We have developed a trustworthy, affluent, and statewide audience over the years. With that, The Post and Courier has developed a team of knowledgeable experts that efficiently tailor your message into captivating content for digital advertising and print advertising campaigns that help you tap into THE audience.

Why You Should Implement Video Into Your Marketing Strategy

Let’s be honest, it’s not the year 2005 anymore. Fifteen years ago if you were looking for video marketing implementation, you’d likely find it in TV advertising or on a web browser. Today, however, video is available everywhere: on our phones, laptops, TVs, tablets, and even on our fridges! If you’re not using video as a part of your marketing strategy you’re missing out. Below are a few ways to begin implementing video right away:

Branding

In the ever-changing and tumultuous environment created by social media and COVID-19, video marketing presents a clear outlet to establish and maintain relevance for your brand while respecting safety guidelines. Regardless of whether you’re on a B2B or B2C platform, video marketing is generally agreed to have a great ROI. Video allows you to be much more personal than other mediums. Presenting your product or service over video allows you to build brand awareness, build loyalty and is an excellent avenue for presenting value proposition. Think: why is YOUR brand better than your competitors? Videos are an excellent opportunity for your company to shine through, for you to distinguish yourself, and to separate yourself from the pack. 

One of the simplest ways to promote your company is to include clips of employees or satisfied customers talking about your business. Remember with branding to tell a story and to aim for the heart. If people can put a face to the company then they will much more easily connect with what you’re doing.

Advertising

When it comes to paid advertising, video is an easy way to present your product or service. In particular, tailoring your video to platforms like YouTube which has over 2 billion active users a month, gets your company before a huge audience quickly. Most social media platforms include paid opportunities to promote a business via videos. These include YouTube, Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, Twitter, Snapchat, Pinterest, Vimeo, Reddit, and TikTok. Before choosing a platform to promote on, make sure you’re familiar with what will be best suited for your needs. Our guide on picking between Facebook and Instagram is a helpful resource

More traditional television advertising is also a great way to promote yourself too, but you certainly need to take cost-efficiency into account before going that route. Social media can be a simpler and much cheaper alternative.

Events

For events, videos are an excellent option as well. Before an event include clips from a previous event, you can also show location and venue. These will preview the audience to what they will experience when they attend. It can help with other things too. One of the most useful benefits of video is it can help your website with SEO. If you’re having trouble getting your event to show up on search engines, embedding a video could be just the trick to get you at the top of the page.

When the event is over make sure to follow up. Give a recap of what happened; interview attendees. Make sure to maximize the event to its full potential. Make sure you’re collecting new leads, creating a newsletter, and offering sponsorships. An after-the-event video can be a great opportunity to generate future leads for those who were unable to attend. 

Product Demos

Product demos can be one of the most effective ways to market yourself. HubSpot recently noted that 73 percent of all US adults are more likely to buy a product after viewing a product video.

These videos can be simple and silly! Some great ideas include filming a live video showing off the latest inventory, or filming someone on your phone and posting to your feeds. Obviously, product demos can be highly produced affairs, but they don’t have to be! Get creative with your presentation.

Lastly: Go for it!

We know making the step into video marketing can be a scary thing. Many people don’t ever do it for fear of producing something of poor quality, or for fear of failure. If you need help getting your plan off the ground the team at King + Columbus would love to help. K+C has some of the top professionals in the industry and is well equipped to help your business grow wherever in the process you might be. No need to wait, go ahead and start implementing video today!

 

Spring Cleaning your Brand in 2021

The early part of a new year is great for more than just cleaning out your house. The spring season is an ideal time to revitalize your brand as well. And in 2021, the need to take a fresh look at your brand image is made more important by the evolving state of the pandemic.

So what are the most important aspects of your brand to reimagine, and how should you go about rebranding?

Logo and Brand Identity  

Your logo is a customer’s first impression of your brand, so it should feel modern. You want your customer to feel like they are interacting with a brand that exists in the current landscape. 

While not everyone is a graphic designer, there are still subconscious impressions that customers have about modern style and design. People know a logo from the 90’s or early 00’s when they see one.

Evaluate your creative assets. A strong logo is the pillar of your marketing efforts and is essential for building brand recognition. 

Companies are constantly evolving, and a refresh keeps your brand from feeling or looking old. On average companies update their identity every 7-10 years. Renew and refresh your company’s vibrancy and set yourself apart from the competition with an updated logo.

Popular website builder tool Wix identified the following styles as top logo design trends in 2021.

  • Hand-drawn imagery
  • Back to basic shapes (with a twist)
  • Overlapping text
  • Bringing classic symbols back to life
  • Optical illusions
  • Analogous color schemes
  • Breaking the rules of composition
  • Incorporating nature imagery
  • Using emojis

Brand Values

The next point should inform every decision you make about your brand when doing a refresh in 2021. Your brand values affect everything from how you should conduct your social media, to your advertising messages, all the way to how you run your business operations.

Your company’s acknowledgement and awareness and adaptability to COVID-19 is the most important “value” to work on. Even though we are nearly a year into the pandemic and vaccines are rolling out to more people every month, customers need to know that you’re still doing what’s best for everyone’s safety. 

Take a look at the first places people see any messages you put out. Think about your instagram bio, your facebook featured image or description, the front page of your website. These are all places that people should see something about your response to COVID. Even something as simple as stating that you’re requiring masks in person, or sanitizing your offices or store. 

If this is something that you haven’t already done over the last year, it’s not too late. Make COVID considerations a part of your entire rebrand as you go about planning it.

Take this time to also consider what social movements might be important to you. Black History Month and Women’s History Month are on people’s minds during this part of the year,  with February and March being dedicated to the movements, respectively. Build out plans to celebrate the messages that are important to you.

Social Media

Evaluate the social media accounts you are currently using and make sure they are updated with current logos, images and links to your website. Review and refresh your social media strategy, set goals, examine analytics and build robust content calendars. 

LinkedIn and Twitter are the fundamental social accounts for financial services, but Instagram can bolster brand awareness and help you engage with clients. Sprout Social reports that Instagram passed the 1 billion user mark in late 2020. So you’ll be missing out on a massive audience by leaving this platform to gather dust. 

Your employees are also key in building your social media presence. Recommend that their profiles are up to date and connected to your business page. Encourage your employees to connect on LinkedIn and share your content. They are valuable to organically expanding your social reach and building brand awareness. 

Finally, don’t forget to clean out your messages and make sure you haven’t missed any questions, comments, concerns, or feedback. Clients expect instant responses, this is a chance to showcase exceptional client service in a public forum.

Importance of Newsletters For Your Business

“Sign up for our newsletter!” A phrase you hear quite often. But what are you signing up for? Depends on what site you are on and what that site may be offering to you. Have you ever wondered what exactly those businesses get from having a newsletter? Seriously. What’s in it for them?

The Post and Courier Newsletter Editor, Emily Daily, shares her insights and expertise in newsletters from her 15 years in media, marketing, and public relations.

 Leads to Clients 

Newsletters being sent to people that already have an established interest in the company or business. These leads come from website submissions, social media, and anytime a person reaches out to the company for more information. When a person signs up for a newsletter or offers their email address, this individual is considered a Marketing Qualified Lead (MQL) and is ready to learn more about your business. Now, you nurture your lead with follow up marketing emails, letting them know about special offers, information that only subscribers or MQLs would get to learn, and anything exciting that may be internally happening with your business.

“Not only is it important for marketing the business and sharing new product news or upcoming sales or events, but it’s also a way to connect with customers on a personal level. Many successful newsletters are written from a personal point-of-view, often from a business owner, CEO, or editor. This gives the readers a chance to feel like they have a true connection to the company.” 

– Newsletter Editor, Emily Daily 

Building Relationships

People want to feel like they are getting something from a newsletter. What information does your business offer that can be helpful to your target audience? What makes your business stand out? Offering knowledge and delivering it right to your lead’s inbox developing a personal connection that may otherwise have been lost. Newsletter Editor, Emily Daily, explains:

The advantage of a newsletter versus a typical marketing email is that companies can create an established group of readers who trust their brand and stay updated with their news on a consistent basis. Every time a reader opens a newsletter from that company, they know it won’t simply be a marketing push – it will have other content that interests them as well. Therefore, newsletters tend to have much higher open rates and click-through rates, especially when they’re sent out on a consistent basis.

If someone signs up to learn more from you, what will they be learning? Here are some options:

  • Awareness: New products or services? Perhaps a new team member! Let your audience know.
  • Expertise: What do you know that can help your audience? What resources do you offer? A guide? Article?
  • Promotion: What’s going on in your business? Having a sale? Special offer? Holidays are primetime to offer your loyal audience something special!
  • Coverage: Extra! Extra! Read all about it…in our newsletter! Compile a spot for readers, leads, clients to go to know about everything and anything that may apply to them. The Post and Courier often use this method with our niche newsletters – Breaking News, Sports, weather, climate change, food & dining, and so much more!  Instead of taking the time to search the website, we send you the links you want to know about it. A one-stop-shop of information!

Not Just Newsletters

A newsletter is not just an informative way to nurture leads and build client relationships. Newsletters are not only a great way to reach new audiences, but they are also a great way to advertise. Joining an established newsletter series can highly benefit your business. Each newsletter that The Post and Courier sends out has sponsorships. These are businesses advertising within a source that they know reaches their target audience and is a trustworthy, primetime, and amicable form of advertising.

“The benefits of being a sponsor for content like this are unique to broad appeal newsletters. The open rates will likely be higher percentages than general newsletters since the readers are specifically seeking out that content. This means they will also have higher trust in the content of the email. This makes your brand stand out even more.” – Marketing Coordinator, Michael Strong writing about Newsletter Sponsorships.

Adding newsletters and email marketing to your budget can significantly help you save in some areas while continuing to grow and nurture leads.