Starting 2018 on the Right Foot with Social Media!

Companies are allocating more budget to social media, whether to sponsor their publications or to create their own written content, video, audio, infographic or other. All indications point to this increasing in 2018.

But will organizations see a profit following their investment? Some will, others won’t. Why? Unfortunately, there are too few companies today that apply the basics of an effective social media strategy. We’ve outlined a few reminders below to ensure your social media strategy is compelling and successful.

1. See bigger. Social media serves as a function in the overall communications strategy. Each platform (Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram, Snapchat, YouTube, etc.) has a specific purpose. All the activities that take place there must serve that purpose.

Why are you investing so much on this platform? What is the goal of a particular page or account? What would you like to achieve from this? These are the questions to ask yourself before going further.

These goals are too often hijacked in favour of tactical targets such as the number of “likes” or engagement rates. A strategic approach involves business objectives, such as a conversion rate, an increase in reputation or a change of opinion. The evaluation of the effectiveness of a campaign on social media is therefore often done outside these platforms.

2. Hit the right target. Which audiences do you want to reach on each platform? Are they influencers? Or strictly consumers? A wider base of followers? The approach and the evaluation measures will be different.
You have to define targets with very specific criteria. These should come from research or interviews with your target audience. At the beginning of the year, make sure you have a clear idea of ​​the portraits of the people (personas) targeted by each of your platforms.

3. Be human. How will you communicate on social media? Are you going to leave that privilege to the “company” or the people who do it – employees, managers, customers, members? If you are a consumer of social media information, what is your preference? To ask the question, is to answer it. In 2018, companies that want to have a real impact on social media will have to put forward their best resources and bet on authenticity.

As the year begins, and the mad rush of content creation and production resumes, stop and ask yourself the right questions to make your social media activities even more strategic and relevant.

Prediction # 6- Resistance gets organized

A group of resisters made its appearance marked this year: the so-called traditional media.

At the beginning of 2017, The Public Policy Forum released its report “The shattered mirror” in partnership with the Canadian Journalism Foundation. They conducted an extensive research across Canada to provide a consumer perspective on news, trust and democracy in the digital age.

Their findings showed that although Canadians valued journalism’s role in democracy, they were also largely unaware that the news media is in a very difficult financial position.

Interestingly enough, they found out that 7 out of 10 users of online media were getting their news from the websites of traditional media organizations.

In short, Canadians value news and see it as an essential element of democracy. They acknowledge that content has value but because of the “free” culture of the internet, they just don’t see the necessity of paying for their news.

Their findings suggested that the news industry needed to educate their audiences but at the same time needed to develop new business models to adapt to the new digital conundrum.

In particular, in a context where Google and Facebook dominate Canadian digital advertising market, with  Canadian newspaper and tv revenue at about one seventh of the total of the two U.S platform giants, publishers and media organizations want to find ways to counterattack.

Last summer, The News Media Alliance, representing 2 000 publishers across U.S and Canada announced their plan to ask Congress for permission to join economic forces against Google and Facebook. The organization wants a new law that will let it bargain collectively when its members are up against Google and Facebook.

In short, inaction is not an option. There is a survival issue and it touches the very essence of democracy to have quality and independent journalism. It is our responsibility to ensure the credibility of the media and contribute to their sustainability.

In 2018, we predict a greater awareness of advertising purchases, even ethical advertising purchases.

 

Prediction # 5 – AI meets PR

The term AI deserves the “most popular” award of 2017. Not a day went by without the term being used by the media. Record investments and key players, such as Google, Facebook and Microsoft, are securing Montreal and Toronto’s reputation in this area, both in their own way.

Recent developments in AI have contributed to a hyper-personalization of communication between brands and their audiences. This takes place through different technologies, such as machine learning, which allow to assemble and present appropriate messages and multitudes of data analyzed in real time. By combining these technologies that accelerate analytical processes with fine strategies from the communication specialists who operate them, we achieve a winning formula. Brands have the opportunity to respond quicker and with greater sensitivity to the specific and varied needs of their customers and their communities.

In 2018, we predict that marketing communications specialists will increasingly use AI to create personalized and sustainable relationships for their clients.

Prediction #4 – The practical predictive analysis

While we are barely recovering from analysis in real time, here comes artificial intelligence’s (AI) new capabilities to predict future behaviours. More accurate than the tools used for weather forecasting, algorithms can build predictive calendars and determine the best times of the year, week or day to send messages. Others can predict the influence that a personality will have on his/her followers, or evaluate the impact and duration of corporate news.

Imagine the possibilities not only in marketing communication but, in crisis management!

In 2018, we predict the emergence of predictive analysis tools and programs that will be upgraded and become much more accessible to companies and public relations firms.

At the same time, in 2018, we predict that the fine experience and judgment of communication consultants will remain necessary to properly assess in advance the impact of communication actions.

Prediction #3 – The Invasion of Chatbots

Chatbots have become the most visible and even intelligible part of the presence of artificial intelligence (AI) in 2017.

These programs are increasingly integrated with messaging applications, such as Messenger. They can simulate a conversation with one or more humans by voice or text exchange. The word “simulate” is appropriate because despite the promise, there is still much to do for all this to reach the degree of sophistication expected. The replacement of business customer service by these “robots” will not happen tomorrow.

That said, chatbots can already set repetitive tasks for companies (Example: search schedules, answers to frequently asked questions, etc.).

In 2018, we predict that in a context where the number of active users of messaging applications is now outpacing those of social networks, the Chatbots invasion will be upon us.

Prediction #2: From “You” to “Us”

With the decline of the organic reach, companies can no longer broadcast content on platforms like Facebook hoping the universe captures it. They must promote it through paid publications to reach their target audiences.

By definition, social media connects people. The best corporate ambassadors are often the people who belong to them. Brands must seize this opportunity and encourage employees to become their faces on the web and proudly share their content.

To create content that attracts a good engagement rate, you need to be ready to listen, watch, and then adjust. Flooding people with blog posts, videos or photos is not enough to create an active community. By ensuring an effective analysis of the performance of its publications, we can then adapt to what works best with our audience and therefore, what interests our customers most.

For us, this is a wonderful playground. It’s very stimulating to identify and describe the customer/consumer personas, as well as to map out their decision-making paths.

In 2018, we predict that companies and brands will further develop their own content, but will increase the number of distribution channels and appeal more to their employees or ambassadors to do so. They will have to agree to operate in an exploratory mode and listen to their customers and consumers to offer value-added content and thus build lasting relationships.