The 2019 Marketing Planning Series: Social Media Tools and Trends

By December 4, 2018 No Comments

The 2019 Marketing Planning Series.

There’s no question that the use of social media in your edtech marketing strategy is a must. In fact, we’ve been preaching that message since 2009. The question edtech companies must answer now is: how can we use social media effectively? There’s no better way to start answering that question than being aware of the best tools and trends at your disposal in 2019.

Trends

Social media advertising

We all know that simply posting organic content on social media is no longer enough–there are too many brands and companies competing for attention. If you want to play, you will probably have to pay. Depending on your goal, there are several flavors of social media ads to consider:

  • Prospecting ads build brand awareness and teach prospects about your product or service.
  • Retargeting ads reach people who have visited your website or know about your product/service.
  • Lead generation ads allow you to offer eBooks, free content and other resources that will encourage people to sign up and share their information.
  • Direct sale ads are available on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram to help you sell more things to the right people.

Retargeting

Social media retargeting (primarily on Facebook) allows you to reach people who have visited your website and expressed an interest in your brand or product. When visitors return to your site, you can segment them, develop custom ads for each segment and display ads to those visitors.

In addition, you can create “lookalike audiences” on Facebook–a group that is similar to an existing audience (website visitors, current Facebook fans) because they share the same demographics or attributes. Retargeting is a popular ad vehicle as it often has a lower cost-per-click and a higher conversion rate than other forms of advertising.

Facebook Pixel

A string of code you can easily install on your company’s website, Facebook Pixel tracks conversions from Facebook ads, builds target audiences you can reach in the future and can focus on people who have already taken some kind of action (downloading an eBook, watching on a product demo) on your website.

By placing (and triggering) cookies to track users as they make their way through your website and interact with your Facebook ads, Facebook Pixel provides detailed insight on the actions your prospects take, which you can use to further refine your ad strategies.

The Facebook Pixel is a free tool to implement, but to leverage its insight and data collection, the Pixel must be tied to a social media advertising campaign

Live Video

Facebook, Instagram and YouTube all have “live” video, and while each platform has its own features and benefits, the benefits are worthy of the buzz. First, there’s the urgency that surrounds live video. It’s happening right now, and if the platform notifies users when someone they follow is live (Facebook and Instagram do a great job of this), your videos have a golden opportunity to stand out.

Similar to the Facebook Pixel, publishing live video is free. For budgeting purposes, you will need to consider any video equipment, such as a camera, lighting accessories or props necessary to create the live video.

Less Organic Content on Facebook

Many brands have been publishing less organic Facebook content in 2018 and we predict that the trend will increase in 2019. A far-reaching Facebook algorithm change occurred in January 2018, when Facebook began prioritizing content from friends and family over content from marketing brands. This intensified competition among brands to appear in the Facebook News Feed, and advertising has increased.

What does this mean for your 2019 budget? You may need to earmark a portion of your budget to explore social media tactics beyond organic content creation. From basic boosted posts to sophisticated campaigns, advertising on social allows you maintain visibility and drive the desired results.

Tools

Publishing Tools

If you’re a medium- or large-size company, you’re likely already using a social media publishing and tool like Sprout Social, Hootsuite or Buffer. Each of these platforms offer packages in a variety of sizes and price points to best accommodate your team. We recommend that you periodically assess whether your preferred tool meets your future needs. We recommend looking for these features:

  • Ease with publishing, monitoring and responding to comments: Social media professionals spend a large percentage of their day doing these three things. A tool that’s intuitive to use, and gives your team time back, will be welcome.
  • Robust collaboration tools: Social media community managers and customer service representatives work hand-in-hand to deliver a superior customer experience on social. Confirm your tool can provide a seamless experience for both teams to funnel communications back and forth.
  • A comprehensive editorial calendar: Access for multiple team members to an all-in-one view of content being scheduled for a particular week or month will keep everyone on the same page.

Analytics

Many social media publishing tools are equipped with robust reporting capabilities. Reporting on the ROI of your social media efforts to your leadership team, analyzing top-performing posts and hashtags, and embarking on social listening campaigns to uncover insights about your audiences, are all critical to achieving your goals. Additionally, the act of tracking which channel(s) produce the best results can allow you to adjust your social media ad spend accordingly.

Employee Amplification

Employee advocacy is very similar to customer advocacy–it’s the promotion of a brand or company by its most valuable asset–its employees. GaggleAMP and Dynamic Signal are among the firms that have created employee amplification platforms to enable their staff to connect Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn accounts and easily share curated messages.

It’s no secret that your customers are on social media. As a brand, it’s your job to find them in the most efficient and effective way possible. By taking these tools and trends into consideration in 2019, your edtech marketing strategy will reap the rewards. To learn all you need to know about creating a marketing budget for 2019, check out our free, comprehensive eBook here. To read our fourth post in the 2019 planning series on content tools and trends, click here. Stay tuned for the final part of our series!