What is your brand strategy for 2018?
Being a content creator takes more than talent. Social media is becoming crowded with newcomers competing for the high follower counts needed to attract sponsors. To stay on top, influencers need to be business-minded as well as creative. Let the business side of the house slip and you’ll find your influence waning, too. If you don’t have a strategy for 2018 yet, now is the time to put one together. Feeling stuck? Take a look at these ideas for staying relevant in 2018.
Prioritize video content
If you aren’t already posting videos, you should be. Video is the most-engaged type of content on social media with 500 million daily views on Facebook and 5 billion views on YouTube. Snapchat gets a whopping 10 billion views every day. Even Twitter has a heavy following: 82% of their audience uses the platform to watch video content.
Social media users are four times more likely to watch a video than read a text post. Video is more engaging, creating opportunities for fans to interact by creating GIFs and memes. It’s also easy to enjoy while doing other things since there’s no scrolling involved.
How can you make the most of your video content? Consider using captions. Besides scoring a point for accessibility, you’ll appeal to the 85% of Facebook users who watch video without sound while doing other things in other windows.
Watch the length, too. Different platforms have different “sweet spots” for length. On Facebook, the most watched videos are under one minute while YouTube’s target is 2-5 minutes. Check your data to find what works for your fans on each platform you use.
Create shareable visual content
Memes, GIFs, emoji, and stickers are spreading through every demographic. 90% of internet users use at least some emoji on a regular basis (most popular are the face with tears of joy and the red heart).
GIFs are a common type of visual reply on sites like Twitter and Tumblr. They’re the only file format that can easily display animation without other plugins being installed, so they’re the go-to method of sharing visual jokes. GIFs became so popular that Facebook even enabled embedded playback, which users had been demanding for a while.
Making shareable content extends your influence beyond your followers. You become part of conversations that aren’t about you, which increases your share of voice and your worth to potential sponsors.
Don’t just create to create branded content, though. Make visuals that you find interesting and use them on your social media. Once you know what fans like, offer a fan-only set in your app library (if you have a custom app).
Use your data
58% of creators say that figuring out which content performs well and which doesn’t is a priority in 2018. The best way to do that is by making good use of your data.
Data is key to a savvy influencer’s success. It’s the tool needed to prioritize platforms, identify underperforming content, and refine post strategy. Data spots problems before they have a lasting negative impact. It highlights the best times to post, types of post that get high views, popular keywords and hashtags, and more.
In a nutshell, with the right data you can stop guessing and start working your channel like a business.
Use whatever you can get from social media platforms and your own app to learn more about your followers. When you understand who your audience is you’ll be able to provide more targeted content. You can choose sponsors that speak to your audience instead of ones that could damage engagement. There might even be some opportunities for collaboration or new projects hiding in your data.
Collaborate with other influencers
Working with other influencers is a win-win situation. Everyone involved gets a boost in share of voice, as well as exposure to the other fanbase. The result is a boost in both followers and engagement.
Collaborative projects tend to perform better than the average solo video. They have an extra boost to early viewership from both groups of followers tuning in, which raises their rank in newsfeed algorithms. Your sponsors will also enjoy the opportunity to reach viewers in related fandoms.
Create ephemeral content
Ephemeral content is short-lived content that disappears after a set period of time. The best known platform for this is Snapchat, although Instagram has introduced a similar Stories feature.
What’s the draw to ephemeral content? The obvious answer is the same FOMO - fear of missing out - that makes livestreams so popular. It feels authentic and urgent. Fans also tend to watch it as soon as they find it while saving recorded videos for later.
The less obvious reason fans love ephemeral content is that it’s often a lot of fun. The content won’t last forever (in theory) so creators are more willing to be spontaneous. They try new things without hours of practice, just for fun.
Livestreams are taking off as the breakaway new social media tool. Three times more Facebook users watch Live videos than recorded videos. 81% of people watched more live content online this year than last year, and that number will rise through 2018. In fact, experts predict the live streaming industry will reach $70.05 billion by 2021.
There are a lot of advantages to going live. Live content appears near the top of newsfeeds, and users get twice as many notifications for live events. Those are enormous benefits when organic reach on social media is so low.
Livestreaming provides an engagement boost as well. Besides the boost in viewership due to FOMO, viewers comment ten times more on live videos than on recordings.
Stay on top of trends
It’s easier to prepare for upcoming obstacles than be blindsided or try to adopt new trends on the fly. Those who saw the Adpocalypse coming, for example, saw less disruption in their income.
Treat your channel like a business. Watch for trending hashtags, keywords, technology, styles, games, and anything else relevant to your brand. Subscribe to newsletters and follow useful feeds. Follow your competitors, too, even if you use a side blog.
Most important, always look ahead to the next big thing. Next year augmented reality could be really cool if social media platforms offer custom filters, as rumor suggests. Virtual reality won’t be mature enough to be a factor in 2018, but will it be in 2019? Make it your business to know.
Experiment with new platforms
Everyone has a “main” social media platform, but a cross-platform presence gives you stability in case something happens to that main platform. Social media networks rise and fall in popularity, after all, and you don’t want to lose 10 million followers because a platform goes out of style.
Some platforms are trying to become unified social areas, hoping they can abolish the need to juggle multiple accounts for different content. A few examples:
- YouTube is testing community features allowing creators to share text and image based posts (like Facebook).
- Facebook is making a push for news updates and trends (currently Twitter’s domain).
- Instagram has ephemeral messages (like Snapchat).
- Twitter (and everyone) is pushing live video.
- Facebook is testing ephemeral content in Messenger.
As an influencer the safest play is to keep several social media accounts and analyze data to tell which are paying off.
Secure your audience
Times change, but if your followers are loyal you can change with them instead of becoming obsolete. That’s why securing your audience should be a high priority. A simple way to do this is to consolidate fans from different platforms under a custom mobile app.
Apps increase engagement and raise individual fan value. Checking your app becomes part of your fans’ daily habit, putting more of them on the path to superfandom. Most importantly, custom mobile apps allow you to keep the followers you have no matter what other platforms you use.
Have you secured your audience? Talk to FanHero about how a custom mobile app could be your key to longevity in social media.