Getting Social with Your Network

 

Anderson|Biro has recently hit a landmark with our social media presence, 2,000 Followers on our LinkedIn page! To help celebrate we would like to chat a bit about social media in business. For most companies these days, and as the internet marketing landscape expands, it is widely accepted that a reasonable social media presence is necessary and expected by customers. With new platforms seemingly coming out every week, and with them a whole set of business strategy and ethics, it’s a perfect time to continue our conversation about social media. In this blog we will be discussing new platforms, existing modes of internet content, and the pros and cons of utilizing social media to effectively market your business.

Social Media Platforms – Socials are Assumed

Within the business world, there are about five widely accepted social media platforms: LinkedIn, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and YouTube. At this point, it is recommended that most businesses, small or large, engage with users on at least two of these platforms. The reason social media has become essential is the importance of branding and first impressions. The first thing people often do when looking to work with or work for a company is look at the company’s website and social media profiles. So, if you can have a strong social media presence, then you may increase your chances of forming a good first impression on potential clients, partners, or even potential team members. Conversely, if your social media presence is subpar or nonexistent, then you may run the risk of shaping a negative impression for those looking to work with your organization.

There is no doubt that the internet can be confounding. With a never-ending stream of articles, opinions, and new technical info, the act of mixing social media and business is difficult enough for the experts, let alone the average settlement services professional. So, before we get into the weeds of technical language and internet commentary, here are a few working definitions of key terms with which everyone should build some familiarity. If you keep these five terms close to your chest, you will be able to better understand when your SEO analyst starts their dissertation on ‘User Experience’ or ‘Content Engagement’.

  • Engagement: within the social media space, engagement is the name of the game. Engagement is how users of applications such as Linkedin, Instagram, YouTube, etc. watch, read, click on, like, or comment on web content. For Example: Bob is looking for videos on how to mow his lawn, he googles “how to mow the lawn” and he views the first video. Bob is Engaging with that content.

  • Web Content: according to Techopedia, “Web content refers to the textual, aural, or visual content published on a website. Content means any creative element, for example, text, applications, images, archived e-mail messages, data, e-services, audio and video files, and so on.” As an example; tweets, blogs, podcasts, Instagram pictures, TikTok Videos, newsletters. Anything that can be read, seen, or heard on the internet is Web Content.

  • Algorithm: Within the context of social media, the word algorithm gets used a lot. The Digital Marketing Institute defines an algorithm as: “A mathematical set of rules specifying how a group of data behaves. In social media, algorithms help maintain order, and assists in ranking search results and advertisements.” Platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, or YouTube will track what kind of content users like and put more of that content on their pages. The more that users like, comment, follow, or subscribe to a certain kind of web content, the more of that type of content the algorithm gives them. And to give and example let’s say Mary likes Comedy Sketches on YouTube.  More so, Mary only likes, follows, and comments on comedy sketch videos, therefore YouTube’s algorithm will suggest to her more comedy sketches to watch.

  • User Interface (UI): Interaction Design Foundation defines User Interface as “the process designers use to build interfaces in software or computerized devices, focusing on looks or style. Designers aim to create interfaces which users find easy to use and pleasurable.” UI is how designers of an app present content to users. For example, an application such as Instagram will change how their app looks or how users navigate their app in an attempt to increase how often said users click on their app and engage with web content. Theoretically, the better the interface, the more users engage with/use the application.

  • SEO: ‘Search Engine Optimization’ is a business strategy to actively manipulate Web Content that companies create to increase their internet engagement. As example, a company will use certain keywords or phrases in their web content that people often search for, so the algorithm of Google or YouTube or any social media site will send that content to users, resulting in users becoming aware of the company.

Existing Modes – Bullied by Bots

So, if customers, candidates, and clients alike expect social media presence from the companies with whom they partner, work, or buy from, then you might be saying to yourself: “What about TikTok, or ClubHouse, or Reels, or HouseParty, or Caffeine, and a multitude of other platforms?”

That’s a great question to be asking in this new golden age of social media. With the expansion of online platforms, businesses have the rare opportunity to market to both niche and broad markets. This increases their ability to make impressions on potential clients and candidates. Of all the many platforms currently, TikTok is one of the largest and most viral companies in the digital content space. One reason behind their meteoric rise is the functionality of their algorithm.

All social media platforms run their own unique algorithms, however what drives the success of TikTok’s algorithm is how it particularly targets audiences at an almost alarming accuracy. Using what some would call “invasive methods” to gather user data, TikTok can market effectively to consumers, nearly guaranteeing that the product offered will fit the demand of that exact consumer. In simple terms, based off the content you like, TikTok sells you things they believe you will buy; a process which can only be described as individual micro-marketing.

The success of TikTok’s algorithm has spurred internal marketing wizards and third-party media companies to take advantage, applying data science and SEO best practices to market their products at a viral level. To address this market, TikTok has released the TikTok Marketplace, a place where businesses can partner with content creators (TikTok celebrities) to market their products through ‘sponsored content.’ Having paid Tik Tok “celebrities” use and talk about your products may not be a great fit for every industry or product but the general idea of pervasive advertisement is what is revolutionary. Many individuals may not even be aware they ARE watching a paid ad when their favorite funny TIK TOKer tells them how easy it was to buy their new mansion with such and such company.

Pros and Cons – In Media Res

In Media Res is a term used by the Romans to describe ‘in the midst of things.’ Within the social media landscape, the industry is in the middle of a battle over how to get the most engagement from users. Since TikTok has seen a lot of success through their unique algorithm and sponsored content, many social media platforms such as Instagram, Twitter, and even LinkedIn have followed suit. TikTok’s competitors have stepped up their ability for businesses to market on their platforms by making their algorithms much more aggressive.

There is a notable problem with exceedingly aggressive algorithms, many users of these apps have complained at the number of commercials, advertisements, or ‘attention grabbing’ content they see on their personal feed. One only needs to look at the increasing number of political posts on platforms such as LinkedIn, which was traditionally aimed almost exclusively at professional networking, to see the changing tides of the app’s user interface and algorithm-based marketing. As the number of disparate platforms and the marketing industry around them grows, as does user reluctance to engage with marketing materials. If you are looking to get engagement on your posts, it is becoming increasingly more necessary to make profitable and controversial content; controversy can lead to likes and likes can lead to dollars in the digital media marketing space. However, controversy just for controversy’s sake is not always a great way to engage with clients and candidates who may have widely different thoughts and opinions. Alienating one group or attacking another in order to drive clicks to your posts may work for online streamers and influencers but businesses exist to do business not to get sucked into the culture war.

Authentic Authorship

As you may have experienced, despite the persistent and mostly positive growth of social media outlets, the very concept of sharing one’s life online, whether authentically or idealistically done, has been met with some reluctance from users and businesses alike. Along with revolutionary new access between clients, customers, candidates, and companies can also come the possible backlash of oversharing, the occasional faux pas, or the threat of an inability to occasionally disengage. Frankly, not everyone prefers public comments about a family tragedy from Wendy’s or their personal accountant. Many people in the digital content space have begun to ask how much is too much social media marketing? What is the line on marketing ethics? How can my company maintain an authentic online presence without getting drawn into battles or bombarding followers with unwanted content? For those answers perhaps it is time to revisit the aforementioned Anderson|Biro Oct 2019 blog on Authenticity.  In the meantime, please feel free to join the growing ranks of our network at LinkedIn, Instagram, Facebook and Twitter for more content, relevant industry topics and good clean fun.