6 Ways to Improve Engagement on Social Media for 2020
[30 Minute Webinar]

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All right. Here we are in Portland, Maine. I started out this webinar thinking that I was just going to do six ways to improve your engagement for 2020 but I’ve switched it up and I’ve added 10, so hold onto your seat. If you’ll stick with me to the end, I will provide those for you.

Happy to see some people from Portland jumping in already. Let me know where you’re from. I’d love to do a shoutout to your city. I think that’s going back to old concert days: “Yo, Cleveland. Yo, Detroit.” All right, here we go. Sarah, thanks for joining us. Sarah is from Portland, Maine as well. I see Kate is with us. If you remember romper room when you were a kid, if I was looking in a mirror, I could call out your name. Hello, Jeff. Belfast. Nice. Way North.

All right, let’s get going, because I know I promised you only 30 minutes to join us and want to make sure I get in all of these points. Glad to have you with us. This is what it looked like for me this morning when I came to work. Portland, Maine is snowy but sunny right now and I’ve got an O’Chang Comic there. If you don’t know O’Chang, that’s a local Maine comic and pretty funny stuff talking about some Mainers up North.

We are in Portland, Maine. I am Liz Bell. I’m director of marketing at flyte new media. I also work with Rich Brooks and some of you may know him, particularly if you’re from the Northeast area. He has his own podcast for agents of change as well as working with Fast Forward Maine brand. That is a think tank for businesses in Maine and is powered by Machias Savings.

I started out in Silicon Valley owning my own ad agency. I worked for several Fortune 500 ad agencies in the Bay Area. I started out in nonprofit and I’ve advised small businesses along the way from financial to even software and development of other local businesses from San Francisco, Chicago, South Carolina to Maine. I started marketing when desktop publishing just came out. I got my first Mac in 1990. I used to spend about 800 to $1,500 a month on dial-up for AOL because I was addicted to their social media. I’m currently at flyte. That’s flyte new media in Portland, Maine. Happy to be here and happy to join with this great marketing team that I’m working with.

I’d like to do this again, but I’d like to have a little more focus. Next time we do this, I wonder if you could just send us your ideas as you listened to the broad range of channels and platforms that we’re going to talk about today. If there’s one that you really want to drill down to, just let me know and I’ll give you my email address at the end.

Also, if you’ll excuse the term “customer” and “clients,” I’m going to use those interchangeably today. I don’t know if you’re serving clients as a marketing firm or if we’re talking about customers for your businesses, but you can use those interchangeably, so you’ll hear that during this presentation.

All right, here we are in 2020 and these are the things we’re going to cover today. We’re going to look at the trends in social media as well as branding. We’re going to look at third-party apps and templates, going to offer some points on LinkedIn, and we’re going to go over the four P’s of marketing, which I think are changing. That’s my prediction. Certainly willing to have discussion on that, but I’d like to go over those with you.

My first prediction for 2020 is that brands are going to become thought leaders. This is an opportunity for you as a marketer or as a business owner to consider yourself a teacher. You’re not just selling software or an app or body products or body lotion. You’re selling something that makes a difference, so you need to know your product and know why people want it.

It’s a good time to check yourself. Are you following trends? Are you listening to podcasts? Do you read books? Amazon, when it was created, didn’t even think about competition. When he had his vision for Amazon, there was nothing like it out there. If you’re keeping up with Amazon lately, you know that he is only one in the business that is doing as well as he is. Take some time to have vision. I try and take a couple hours a week just to sit and think about my clients, think about my career, and have that opportunity for time and space to really reflect on how you are promoting products, reaching customers, and talking with your clients.

All right, the four P’s of marketing. If you started out in marketing, when I did, you know that SWOT analysis was a really big deal. Now, it’s changed. I think SWOT is a little out of date just based on where digital marketing is right now, but according to Bernhard Schroeder who wrote the book, Brands and BS, he’s saying that products, place, price, and promotion are different now. They’re not just the four P’s. I was looking at this morning and I decided to call it SAVE: solutions, accessibility, value, and education.

Customers don’t really care about your product features. It’s about how the product is going to solve a problem and if it can help a pain point for your client. Focus on your customer’s needs.

Place and accessibility is different now. It is no longer about place because any business is always on and place is now irrelevant. Now, it’s about timing. What can you give me right now? Clients want you to gauge right now so that they know you’ll be there when something goes wrong. I put this to the microwave test: We love microwaves. We can get something done in about three minutes what used to take hours. We are a society wanting immediate results.

Price and value. If your customer tells you that it costs too much, determine how you can increase the value. We had a great discussion at flyte the other day about this. Telling your customer that there’s so many ways that their product or their service is so important that with those clear benefits and storytelling, you can then gain your pricing power.

I’d also like for you to think about creating a bond with your customers or clients. Educate them, talk about the information about the product, give them something of value, and usually, before a purchase is even made, you’ve already started telling your story. If a client or customer has seen your logo before or they’ve heard one of their friends talk about you, before that conversion is even made, they have already heard about your features and what you offer as a service. Make sure that those points are clear and concise when you’re sharing those in the marketplace.

All right, number two. Number two is easy for me. Mark Schaefer, who spoke at The Agents of Change conference this past year says, “The most human company wins. Let people see you. Become transparent.” I’ve offered some ways here in which your company can become transparent. Businesses are no longer not online. Every single business, whether it’s B2C or B2B or tourism or real estate, manufacturing, whatever you are, you are online.

Also, the biggest growth stories of this past decade came off the back of customer experiences. Again, we’re going back to Amazon. Not changing with your customers is essentially disappointing them. I had someone say to me the other day that they don’t use social media at all for their business because it’s not relevant. Of course, I’m in social media and I did have some discussion with that point but saying “Social media is not us” no longer applies. Whoever you are, it’s simply not true. Find out which types of social media your customers are on and are engaged with and work with those platforms. I love humor.

In the terms of being transparent, it’s often good to be honest. If you make a mistake, engage with complaints or problems. I really like what McDonald’s did here. They’ve got a tweet that they put up and they were waiting for someone to fill in the copy and they forgot. I love what they said back: “When you tweet before your first cup of McCafé. Nothing comes before coffee.” I thought that was a great treatment.

A lot of times when a customer responds negatively, we tend to ignore it or maybe pass it on to someone else to deal with. It’s online. People can see it. It’s best for you to respond to that customer or client. John Paglio in my office says, “Engage once with them online and then take it outside,” kind of like a barfight. If you try and talk reason and nobody’s listening, take it out back. Take it offline, talk with them via email or on the phone, but make sure that you are engaging with that client or customer because people want to know that you are listening.

My next prediction: Things are going to get simple and clean. We are dealing with four generations that are coming together and all using the same platform. Gen X, Gen Z, millennials, even baby boomers are using the same platform. Each platform deserves a different message. Make sure you’re using those messages for that platform. Hashtags are different on Facebook, I mean, excuse me, on Instagram than they are on Twitter. Make sure you do your research to determine what those hashtags are.

I also put a bonus thing here for those that are running campaigns for 2020 I looked through the calendar to determine what weeks would be best to launch a big campaign and which the weeks would not be that good. Usually, it’s because vacation, school holidays, where your clients are, so you can see that in Q1 through Q4, I put in the best dates to launch your campaigns. If you don’t take anything else away from this webinar, that would be a good thing to jot down.

If you’re not on LinkedIn, get on it. Bang the gong for the old beast. She’s back. If you’re looking for industry news, you’re looking for a better search engine rank, a place to network. If you’re B2B and you spend 15 minutes a day, you can generate more business there than any other platform. Update your page and update your company page. This great quote by Agorapulse, LinkedIn, B2B sales: “80% of B2B leads come from LinkedIn.” Make sure you’ve got that on your daily search.

I’m going to give you a couple of tips to help you with your summary and your company profile. Your profile should be able to be skimmed in 30 seconds or less. It also should be personalized. A professional headline is below 120 characters. Make sure it’s career-focused. You can see that Rich Brooks and myself, those are the top two LinkedIn, those are social media profiles, and the ones below are company profiles.

Make sure you’ve got a professional headshot to place in your photo area. Customize your public URL and you can do that with linkedin.com, slash, your name. It’ll make it easier for people to find you and send out updates and make connections. Make sure you fill in all the areas on your LinkedIn profile.

Elaborate your work area and your experience. Try and use targeted keywords from your industry and make sure that you’re not inflating those titles or duties because it’s likely an old colleague might call you out and that would be embarrassing. Place your education there, of course, shoutout to your school. Then customize your skills and endorsements and you can ask a couple of people to recommend you.

You want to, like I said, spend 15 minutes there making those connections, networking with professionals, joining groups, sharing updates, making sure that you put a link in your update and or a picture to make sure that it’s interesting content. And I would say do it at least five days a week just to catch up on what’s going on in trends in your industry.

Reach and engagement is going to change for Facebook and Instagram. One of the main reasons is that Instagram wants people to think about the value of posts for themselves and not be swayed by a general popularity contest. It’s also meant to encourage users to post more often. Given that we don’t need to worry about whether a post receives a bunch of likes or not, we stopped posting so much fluff. We need interesting content and I believe the shift is going to change to the amount and the types of content that’s shared. Maybe perhaps more often, we’re going to see original creative content and we’re going to get rid of everything that’s oh so fluffy.

Third-party apps will perform better and they are getting better and better all the time. I got to say that I did stay away from them for a long time, but again, this statistic really blew me out of the water: Posts in the third-party apps performed better by 22%.

I’ve listed a couple here. I’m not recommending these but I’m just going to tell you a little bit about them and what may be best for your company. Agorapulse is used mostly for social media marketers. HubSpot can help monitor. Publish is closed-loop reporting and actually takes you down into the sales funnel a little bit more than these other apps. MeetEdgar, the reason why I wanted to talk about MeetEdgar is they actually reshare evergreen posts. Who doesn’t want an evergreen post? Sprout Social, you can schedule content in advance. They have a really great reporting tool. SocialFlow, their algorithm analyzes user behavior and they optimize that based on real data. If you’re a data geek, SocialFlow might be for you. Iconosquare; if Instagram is a big part of your business, you might, you might want to consider that. They’ve got some pretty good analytics and they’re rolling out new features all the time.

The next trend that I think is going to happen, and now we’re moving in the seven, eight, nine and ten, these are the ones that I didn’t know I was going to talk about, but I’m happy to talk about them because I think these are your best bits.

Voice technology. Voice technology helps consumers who have lower levels of reading literacy. It’s going to make it a key technology for the next billion consumers that are about to come online for the first time. In fact, I predict that those users coming online for the first time will only know how to search for something by voice, so this is going to be a challenge for marketers to discover how we’re going to communicate through our social channels. This is a whole new set of digital behaviors that we’re going to have to switch and pivot our thinking.

In prepping for this, we might consider how people are engaging now in video. 56% of internet users watch videos on Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat, and Instagram each month, so we know video is king. Voice may mimic video pretty soon. 81% of 55 to 64-year-olds are watching videos online each month, so those couch potatoes, I’d like to say, they’re watching videos, they are learning what we are putting out. While most brands do use the social videos, it does gain organic reach and it’s going to be a broad scoping change. Social video is moving quickly from being an algorithmic advantage to a table-stakes tactic. That means that’s going to have to be a must in 2020.

All right, number eight. Eight’s my favorite number. I thought this was a great one: You don’t have to be everywhere, but be everywhere your audience is. It’s important for marketers to focus on optimizing advertising content and personalizing their ads. Know where your audiences are. Are they on Instagram? “Are they a younger clientele?” is what I used to say.

This statistic tells me different. There are more 45 to 54-year-olds using Instagram than there are even 13 to 17-year-olds. Maybe your audience is on Instagram, maybe they’re on Twitter, maybe they’re on Facebook. I would say choose five that worked for you. I think it’s a stretch for us to be everywhere unless you’re a huge company. I do think we can be the places where our audiences are. Try not to set a blanket strategy if you’re going to choose five.

Make sure that your Instagram message is different than your Facebook message. Make sure that if you’re on Twitter, and Twitter has changed lately, make sure you’re using the right language there with Twitter and make sure that your audience is there. Otherwise, again, you may be wasting your time there.

Choose five. The way I choose five is I ask myself, “Does it drive traffic? Does it generate leads? What’s my time commitment on dealing with that particular platform? Do I have good engagement? For me, myself, do I enjoy doing it?” Part of our work is to enjoy what we do. “Am I good at it? Am I just throwing to the wall or do I know how to do it? Is my ideal client on it? What about evergreen content? Can I share it there? Is that something that’s going to stay there?”

Story, I haven’t talked about stories and I’d really like to go into that maybe next time, but stories and how fast they move and how long your content stays there, they can be very impactful for that moment, but that is not an evergreen post, so make sure you’re putting evergreen where you want it to stay.

Number nine: listen to your customers. LEGO started out as a wooden toy and they knew that they could grow bigger and they knew that they wanted adults to play in the same sandbox, so they talked with their marketers and their marketers didn’t really listen. They’re like, “Oh, this is just a wooden toy. I’m not sure where this is going to go. What are we going to do?”

Well, LEGO went back. They thought about it: “What do adults like? They like intricate. Let’s build intricate toys.” What have they done now? They’ve built a theme park, they just had a $400-million movie release. Listen to what your clients and customers are telling you and you’ll be successful.

All right, we’re on to number 10. I chose 10 because ten’s a nice round number and it’s way better than saying six. Number 10: tell your story. I looked back at the information that I’ve provided and each one of these tactics is about telling your story. Starbucks, when they first started, they delivered a whole new coffee category. Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak started out in their garage, FedEx started out as a college term paper.

These companies are built on so much more than the specifications of their products. They are built on a story. Share your story. The story is the foundation for growth. The story happens when your customer or client tells a friend how your product or service made a difference in their lives.

All right, so that’s the end of 30 minutes. I thought it went pretty fast. I hope I gave you a lot of information that you can take with you. These are just little nuggets that I think if you just were able to take one or two things today, that you’re going to see a difference in your bottom line. I’ll be happy to take some questions if you’d like. Season’s Greetings from flyte new media and thank you for joining us today in this 30-minute webinar.

I’ve got a question from Maria has asked, “How often do you think we should be posting to Facebook for a business page?” I’ve always thought that Facebook was a daily post. I’ve heard two different sides to that. The same thing with Instagram. When you post a story and you post another one right after that, you start to compete with yourself. For Instagram, I’ve heard less is better, so maybe three times a week.

I think Facebook, if that’s where your audience is, people are expecting to see it. The algorithm on Facebook often hides your information, so the more people see it, the more your information will be seen. If you’re sharing something, I think you should do it. If it’s important content and not just fluff, again, we’ll go back to the fluff. If it’s not fluff, I would post it as often as you can once a day.

Any other questions out there? Ah, great. “What do you think about Twitter and where’s it going?” I’m not an expert on Twitter, but I think those people that are, they really like it. There’s a lot of people that don’t like Facebook because of where Facebook is going right now and where Facebook has been in the news. Facebook is going to make a lot of changes this year and it always makes people angry when Facebook makes changes, but hey, you’re getting to use it for free and you’re making all those connections. Personally, if I were just using Facebook to save all my photographs and things like that, I think I would keep those also on your file and not just use Facebook as a file cabinet for your memories.

All right. Stephanie wants to know, “What types of stories are important to share? Personal? What is a good example?” Stephanie, if you own your own business, the more transparent, the better. I really like sharing personal stories about your employees.

We have two clients in Maine where one company shared their family picture on Instagram and the response they got back was so great because the customer said, “Oh, it’s so great to see where our money is going and I’m so happy to see that we are helping your family.” They didn’t expect that at all, so I think that may be too personal for a big business, but for a small business, I think that’s okay.

Another one of our clients is doing a series right now on each of their employees and that’s getting a great response because people want to know the experience of employees, why they should hire you, and this information is evergreen. It’ll stay out there so that people can continue to find you.

John asked, “How do we use social media to promote our website?” Certainly, you can put it in every detail about when a platform is asking you about your personal information, there’s always a place to put your website. When you do promote your website, I would suggest not promoting just to the homepage. I would have a direct comment about what you’re trying to achieve with that post.

Say, if you’re trying to ask someone to shop for a product, send them to your shopping page. If you are looking for someone to sign up for a newsletter, send them to a landing page with just the newsletter signup. The same thing if you’re asking them to download a PDF, you want to have a separate landing page for that so that you’re telling your client, your customer, “Here is the direction we’d like for you to go in and we don’t want you to get distracted with anything else.”

Maria asked, “Does the 80/20 rule still apply on Facebook?” If you don’t know what the 80/20 rule is, that is 80% business and 20% personal. Maria, I think that has changed. I’m up to 70/30 now. I am happy. Particularly on Instagram, it’s a little more personable. You’re able to share things that happened in the office, changes, successes of clients. I think it’s changing to a 70/30. I mean, maybe even a little more because transparency is so key right now with any business because everything is accessible.

“What are your thoughts on blogging? Is it still important?” Absolutely. You can build pillar post with blogging in the sense that, and I’ll explain what a pillar post is, but a pillar post is the ultimate guide, the ultimate, all of the information about a particular subject. You’re going to want to post that and build off of that on your social media. That’s how your search engine rank is going to increase. You’re using keywords from your industry and you’re showing that you know your subject and you’re excited about it, you are an authority for that particular product business, and an authority for your clients if you’re working for an agency.

All right, I think our time’s up. I’ve gone over by three minutes. I really appreciate you all being here. I’m touched to see you all here. I see a few suggestions for what to do next. In the next webinar, we’ve got several people on staff that can do webinars. They can do them from anything from SEO to social media. Again, we could do a blogging. We’re working on how to do a podcast webinar. These are things that we’d love to hear from you.

Again, here’s my email address and I’d love to hear from you personally and really, we will set up the next webinar and we’ll let you know about it. Thanks for joining us today. Have a great holiday and we’ll see you in the new year.