Many businesses, like many people, will probably be looking forward to making a fresh start in 2021. Given everything that’s happened over 2020, a lot of businesses are probably going to want, or even need, to make a flying start into the new year. With that in mind, here is a quick guide to the digital marketing landscape in 2021.
Search engine optimization is the way to get your own company website in front of potential customers. Social media is the way to get access to a platform’s user-base. You may be able to convert some of this user-base into customers for your brand. Ideally, you want to be active on multiple platforms. In practice, however, this will depend on your resources.
For practical purposes, SEO comes in two forms, regular and local. Regular SEO essentially hinges on establishing a niche for your company. Once you have this foundation, your aim is to make yourself the go-to resource in that niche. Local SEO has an in-built niche because it focuses on a specific geographic area. Even so, it often helps, a lot, to narrow the focus.
SEO matters because your internet site belongs to you and nobody can take it away from you (as long as you remember to renew your domain). As a corollary to this, the success of your website is entirely separate from the success of any social media site. This may become an increasingly important point in the future as the major platforms fight for dominance.
Using social media effectively can massively amplify the benefits of your search engine optimization. Use it incorrectly, however, and you can quickly drain your marketing budget without seeing any meaningful benefit. This is exactly why it can make a lot of sense to team up with a reputable social media marketing agency.
In brief, however, what you need to understand is that social media platforms are essentially self-publishing platforms funded by advertising. This means that to survive, they need to attract an audience for adverts. To attract an audience for adverts, they need to provide the sort of content that the audience wants to see or, more accurately, get someone else to provide it for them.
This means that there are basically two ways you can gain visibility on social media. You can create content or you can pay for adverts. All other options are basically variations on these two points. For example, chatting in comments is one way of creating content. Working with influencers is essentially a form of advertising.
Over recent years, there have been some interesting and significant changes in the social media space. In particular, the main platforms have all, to some extent, taken steps to expand the range of content they support and the way it is delivered. They have also worked to make it easier for content creators to identify the target audience for their content.
The end result of this is that social media platforms are being defined less by the content they host and more by the demographic(s) they serve. Depending on the platform, this demographic may be defined by social factors such as age, gender, and income. Alternatively, it may be defined by interest.
This is good news for brands because it offers them more flexibility to go where their audience is. For example, if you don’t have the resources to create great videos, you can still use YouTube. You would create podcasts instead. By contrast, if you want to create videos but reach an audience on Instagram, you can do that too.
Brands can benefit from social media even if they never create any content for it. At a minimum, they can listen in to relevant chat. That could be from (potential) customers, from competitors, or from general industry sources to name but a few possibilities. They can get even more benefit if they join in the chat, as long as they do it respectfully.
Getting the most benefit out of social media generally involves creating content and promoting it. You can promote content through paid adverts/sponsored posts and organic outreach. You’ll get the best results by doing both effectively. The key word in that sentence is “effectively”. Getting this wrong is one of social media’s most expensive pitfalls.
If you pay for your posts to be promoted to the wrong audience, you will simply have wasted your marketing budget. If you go about organic promotion in the wrong way, you will have wasted your marketing budget and possibly damaged your brand as well. Remember, social media is about social interaction. Overt marketing should only be done with great care.
For the most part, therefore, you should be looking for conversations where you can naturally slip in a mention of one of your posts. You can start conversations with the aim of directing people to your post (or to your website). If you do, however, that conversation starter needs to be absolutely relevant and engaging for that audience.
Social media influencers are simply people who have developed their own community on one or more social media platforms. They use that influence to sell products and services. Some influencers create their own products/services and/or collaborate with brands to produce their own collections. Some influencers sell other people’s products/services. Many do both.
There are several major differences between buying advertising space and working with influencers. Most hinge on the fact that adverts are not endorsed by the platform whereas products and services are effectively endorsed by influencers. This means that credible influencers tend to be very careful about what brand deals they accept.
Influencers also tend to produce their own content rather than just publish material given to them by brands. This means that brands need to communicate very clearly with influencers so that they know what is and is not expected of them and by when. In other words, brands should think of working with influencers as a collaboration rather than a simple advertising campaign.