The Future of Social Media After Covid-19, and Why Now is the Time to Upskill Yourself

As you may have read (elsewhere on this site), Social Media enjoyed a real surge, both within New Zealand and globally, during the assorted coronavirus phases and alerts: quarantine, lockdown and stay-at-home.

Ryan Holmes, chairman of leading social media management software Hootsuite, provides some numbers:

A study of 25,000 consumers across 30 markets showed engagement increasing 61% over normal usage rates. Messaging across Facebook, Instagram and WhatsApp has increased 50% in countries hardest hit by the virus. Twitter is seeing 23% more daily users than a year ago. When it matters most, people (even #DeleteFacebook diehards) are turning to social media for updates and connection.

Businesses, as well, have found renewed value. We’ve seen a 15-20% increase in posts from our 18 million users, as companies reach out to customers and employees. Moreover, how they use social media is changing. Our data shows marketing and ads have given way to direct engagement — one-on-one interaction with other people.

Social Media Usage Up,  as well as AdSpend

Not only that, but in Q2 (April-June) 2020 Social Media was the only NZ ad medium to grow, up 11%  when compared to Q2 2019.

That’s despite overall digital advertising expenditure for the quarter being down 9.8%.

Most of that social media spending would have been earned by Facebook, either on its Facebook or Instagram platforms.

Globally, over the same second-quarter, Facebook saw a similar increase, up 10% year-on-year.

That’s in line with increases in usage:

  • Facebook daily active users (DAUs) – DAUs were 1.79 billion on average for June 2020, an increase of 12% year-over-year.
  • Facebook monthly active users (MAUs) – MAUs were 2.70 billion as of June 30, 2020, an increase of 12% year-over-year.

Facebook, in its latest quarterly report, had this to say about the increased usage:

Engagement

Facebook DAUs and MAUs in the second quarter of 2020 reflect increased engagement as people around the world sheltered in place and used our products to connect with the people and organizations they care about.

So what happens next? Will Social Media continue to shine in this New Normal world?

Here are eleven predictions from leading marketers ( this first set curated by Social Media Today):

1 Social media jobs and creativity skills will be valued more than ever.
“My prediction is that social media content from businesses will become more creative and the digital strategy will be better than ever. The businesses that pushed up their sleeves and got to work on social media marketing efforts during a major crisis will reap the rewards when the crisis starts to fade. — Anna Rudicel, Marketing Director of Cyclone Social

2 The more authentic the content, the better.
“Since the lockdown took place, it’s been really nice to see the human unfiltered side behind brands. Whether that’s videos in the kitchen, with kids and without dressing up, it’s been great to see authentic content.” — Neil Sheth, Digital Content Strategist

3 Honesty, empathy, and social consciousness will win on social.
“So much has already changed over the past few months. Many have adjusted their messaging to align with what’s going on in the world and within in their organization. I predict that messaging will soon focus on offering hope and positivity to counterbalance the sadness and uncertainty.” — Rachel Strella, Founder, Strella Social Media

4 Social listening and community engagement will be at the forefront of marketing strategies.
Deborah Sweeney, CEO, MyCorporation.com, predicts a new era of brand-consumer relationships and engagement behaviors on social. “In a post-COVID world, I think there will be a continued emphasis on the needs of the consumer. Social media will become what it has always meant to be: social. Brands will ask consumers for their feedback on how they are doing and what they can offer that has the ability to make the consumer’s life easier.”

Stuff adds:

5 Kiwi businesses will need to step up.
Digital and social media are now in a position that parallels the importance of traditional advertising. As Kiwis are demanding more transparency, honesty and authenticity than ever before, businesses and brands need to step up to the mark. We’re now entering an era of community-driven focus, that extends into an always-on approach to communication and content. In a post-Covid world, Kiwis want to feel appreciated, respected and supported. Social media is the only place that offers this intimate space, where consumers can interact and feel part of a community – social-first thinking should be front of mind. – Geoff Holmes, UNCO

Convince and Convert offers these tips:

6 Listen Harder
In times like these, everywhere you exist in digital is a potential customer service channel. You simply must expand your efforts to find, engage, and answer customers everywhere online. In fact, more than half of the 500 attendees to a Convince and Convert webinar said that customer communication via social media had increased since the Coronavirus outbreak.

7 Only Post with a Purpose
This is not the time for frivolous posts that are sent because they are “due” per the social media editorial calendar. That doesn’t mean you can’t be lighthearted, or even funny. It does mean, however, that you must carefully consider WHY you are posting in social media:

    • For whom is this post intended?
    • How does it entertain, inform, educate, or benefit that audience?
    • What specific behaviour change or thinking change are we trying to effectuate with this post?

8 Make it About People, not Logos
This was true before coronavirus, but it’s especially true right now: we care about and trust people more than we care about and trust companies or organizations. Every business and every organization is comprised of exceptional PEOPLE and now is the time to showcase that. Use humans in as much of your social media as you possibly can right now.

9 Elongate Your Sales Funnel
Maybe people don’t want to (or cannot) buy from you right now. But that doesn’t mean they don’t want inspiration and education. How can you spotlight previous customers and how they use your products and services? How can you help your customers and prospects think about what and how they are going to do with you when they are allowed to do so?

10 Repurpose Your Winners
You may already have winning social media content. Maybe it was from last month. Or last year. Maybe it’s a big piece of content like a report or video series. One of the best ways to succeed with social right now is to deconstruct, repackage, and republish those winners (assuming the content is still valid, and contextually appropriate).

PLUS, in our view the single most important piece of advice for marketing today, tomorrow and into the far future:

11 Focus on Helping, not Selling
Several clients have asked us if they should “stop selling” right now. And while our answer varies a bit by industry, in general we’d tell you this: Helping Beats Selling.

Youtility says that the best way to sell is to provide as much value as you possibly can – for free – and that as a consequence of your munificence, a percentage of the people you assist will become customers eventually. It’s never been more true.

 

Why Now is the Time to Upskill Yourself on Facebook and Instagram

It’s more challenging than ever to market to Kiwis. They simply don’t hang out in the usual places anymore. Newspaper circulation continues to dwindle; television viewing remains high but audiences in 2020 are spread across the free-to-air networks, tens of Sky channels and the commercial-free streaming services such as Disney+, Neon, Lightbox, Amazon Prime, Apple TV+ and of course Netflix.

In 2020, by far the most powerful social media channels for NZ marketers are Facebook and Instagram.

That’s where Kiwi audiences are, and that’s where YOU need to be.

  • Facebook has more than 3.3 million New Zealand members and most visit that social network in a typical month (a great many of them on at least a daily basis). Average time spent on Facebook per month: 9 hours and 55 minutes.
  • Instagram has 1.7 million Kiwi members, around two thirds of whom are under 35.

(In case you were wondering about TikTok, it gained great notoriety and media coverage during lockdown but its current Kiwi membership numbers top out at 1.1 million, 78% of them aged 13-17. Unless that’s your core target audience, we recommend sticking with Facebook and Instagram.)

Social Media Training

We have a number of social media marketing courses available already but, in recognition of the combined strengths of Facebook and Instagram, we’ve taken the best of our popular Facebook and Instagram courses, and blended them together into a powerful thirteen-part Mastering Facebook and Instagram Marketing online training course.

This combined will bring you up to speed with what’s required to make your social media marketing on Facebook and Instagram really work for you in the year ahead.

(And see below for a very special offer saving you $200).

Here’s what the Mastering Facebook and Instagram Marketing online training course covers:

PART ONE: FACEBOOK MARKETING

LESSON ONE: AUDIT AND MAKEOVER

In this first lesson we invite you to audit your current Facebook presence. Who have you attracted so far to your Facebook page, how much are they interacting with you and what do they get to see when they arrive at your Facebook Fan Page anyway? Then we show you some of the ways that leading brands and organisations have set themselves up on Facebook and identify the key elements you’ll need to include if you want to increase your success on Facebook. You may even find yourself rethinking your current Facebook activity entirely.

LESSON TWO: ENGAGEMENT

Know anything about Facebook’s algorithms? These not-very-well-known formulae determine exactly how visible you are on Facebook, especially to those who say they like you. We peek under the covers and show you exactly what you need to do to prosper under the algorithms — and how important it is to engage in particular ways with your fans and followers. A word of advice: don’t post anything more to Facebook until you’ve completed Lesson Two.

LESSON THREE: PLANTING VIRAL SEEDS

“Viral” is one of those magic qualities to which most marketers aspire. Alas, many are called but few are chosen. In this lesson we look at the principles behind some of the most effective viral campaigns of recent time — and show you how to harness those concepts to reach out to influencers and consumers alike. We’ll also discuss how you can (legally and legitimately!) make Other Peoples’ Content actually work for you!

LESSON FOUR: CREATING EFFECTIVE FACEBOOK POSTS

The biggest challenge for any business using Facebook pages these days? Creating Facebook posts that get noticed and get shared.

So this lesson tackles this problem head on, identifies the secrets of effective Facebook posts and shows you exactly what you need to do to stand out on Facebook.

LESSON FIVE: FACEBOOK ADVERTISING

Even with what you’ve learned in Lesson Four about creating effective Facebook posts, you’ll still need to master the art of paid Facebook advertising — that’s just the reality of social media marketing these days. In this lesson we explore what you need to know to achieve significant success promoting your organisation on Facebook.

LESSON SIX: FACEBOOK REMARKETING

Remarketing — adding a Facebook pixel to a website outside Facebook, so that Facebook can track the journeys of those who click on your ads — is the key to truly understanding and segmenting your prospects. In this lesson, we give you a solid understanding of the benefits of remarketing and share how you can:

  • use remarketing to truly customise your Facebook Ads for your visitors
  • reach out again to prospects who visited your website but didn’t buy
  • follow up with prospects who made an enquiry or downloaded an ebook but have yet to buy

 

PART TWO: INSTAGRAM MARKETING

Lesson Seven: Getting Established on Instagram

In this lesson, we discuss how important both pictures and video have become when it comes to getting noticed. We then explore the specifics of Instagram, including its background, the demographic profile of those most likely to use the social medium and how Kiwis are using  Instagram.

We also look at some of the leading Kiwi Instagram practitioners (a topic which we will return to in more detail later in the course) and how they are using Instagram effectively.

Lesson Seven includes:

  • The Power of Pictures
  • Instagram: a History
  • Who Uses Instagram
  • Instagram in NZ
  • Your Ideal Instagram User Name
  • Your Optimised Profile Picture
  • What You Should Feature in Your Instagram Bio

Lesson Eight: Instagram for Business

Do consumers actually connect to businesses on Instagram? Yes, according to at least one study, 80% of users follow brands on the Instagram platform.

Why? The usual reasons that consumers give:

  • they like the brand and want to show their support
  • they want deals and discounts
  • they like to receive insider knowledge about the brand
  • FOMO (Fear of Missing Out)

In Lesson Eight we discuss how to set yourself up with a Business Account on Instagram, we show you the stats on the percentage of businesses currently using Instagram, and we reveal some of New Zealand’s most popular brands on the platform.

Lesson Eight covers:

  • Setting Up a Business Account on Instagram
  • What You Need to Know about Instagram Stories
  • New Zealand brands on Instagram
  • What you need to know about Instagram Shopping

 

Lesson Nine: Posting to Instagram

Why do some Instagram posts go massively viral (effortlessly, it seems) whilst others are just meh? We’ve done the homework so you don’t have to, identifying more than a dozen secrets of powerful Instagram photos and videos.

We also discuss the best ways to attract followers, and how to really engage with them.

Lesson Nine features:

  • The Most Effective Instagram Creative Approaches
  • The comparative effectiveness of photos vs. videos
  • The photo content types that attract 38% more likes
  • Posting Mistakes to Avoid
  • How often you should post
  • The strategic importance of Location Tagging
  • The power of emojis
  • How to Set Up and Use Instagram Live

 

Lesson Ten: Hashtags

Hashtags are the lifeblood of Instagram. They’re the equivalent of keywords on Instagram, except even more so: they’re a way of getting found, a rallying point for people, brands and causes and a way to reach out to your constituency in a highly-targeted and shareable manner.

In this lesson, we examine the hashtag phenomenon, show you how brands and leading Instagrammers are using them effectively and help you to identify the best hashtags for your products and services.

Lesson Ten includes:

  • Optimising Hashtag Usage
  • Choosing Hashtags
  • Hiding Hashtags
  • The ideal number of Hashtags on each post
  • How to Follow Hashtags (and encourage others to do so)

 

Lesson Eleven: Instagram Advertising

If you want to take full advantage of Instagram, then at some point you will find yourself buying advertising on the platform.

Lesson Eleven to the rescue, with the key facts you need to know about advertising on Instagram, to ensure that you achieve maximum effectiveness.

Lesson Eleven outlines:

  • The Mechanics of Instagram Advertising
  • Instagram Advertising Options
  • Best practices for using video in Instagram ads
  • Boosting Instagram posts
  • Effective Targeting
  • Using Facebook Ads Manager

 

Lesson Twelve: Instagram Influencers

Did you know that 78% of social influencers prefer to partner with brands through Instagram, according to recent research?

That statistic makes it more important than ever to learn how to use Instagram effectively.

In this lesson, we talk about how to use Influencer Marketing effectively (and monitor results) and also sound some alarms to ensure that your influencers comply with their legal obligations.

In Lesson Twelve, you’ll also learn:

  • Why Use Influencer Marketing
  • Most Effective Influencer Marketing Strategies
  • Finding Kiwi Influencers
  • Notifications and Disclaimers you MUST use
  • Influencer Marketing Measurement & ROI

 

Lesson Thirteen: Instagram Tips, Trends, Tools

Finally, we cover some of the key tips and techniques that you need to know about to make the most effective use of Instagram, along with some of the recent Instagram developments and new feature testing.

In Lesson Thirteen, we cover:

  • Identifying the best times to upload to Instagram
  • How to Remove Inappropriate Instagram Comments
  • What you need to know about Instagram Rights Manager
  • The Best Instagram Tools
  • Instagram Trends to Note

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WHO WILL BENEFIT FROM THIS COURSE?
Any Kiwi marketer, or anyone who is responsible for marketing for their organisation, who is considering using Instagram or Facebook (or probably both) to promote their products/services.

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WHAT CUSTOMERS ARE SAYING ABOUT OUR COURSES

Here’s a sampling of the feedback we’ve received from those who’ve taken our courses:

  • Thanks for an informative and interesting [Facebook Accelerator] course. Your presentation held a good balance of theoretical and practical information and was clear and simple enough for a non IT Facebook novice like me to follow. There are many ideas that I have gained that I will attempt to incorporate in the overall marketing plan my team is currently developing for our brand. Facebook can offer so much more than I thought as a medium for communicating with our current and prospective customers. Julie D
  • I found this course fantastic, i started off knowing very little about facebook (just how to run my own personal page) to now having a thorough understanding of ALL the things you can (and there is a lot). The course format was great and allowed knowledge to be built up over time. Course length was great and this will definetly be something i come back to constantly as we develop our facebook pages more within my company. Aleisha H
  • I have really enjoyed the course and the way it was structured. It was informative and interesting – liked the way you incorporated slide-shows, video, statistics and different forms of media to provide information. Lisa C

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TIMING

This online training course begins on Thursday 25 July, 2024.

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INVESTMENT

If you were to take the Facebook and Instagram courses separately, it would cost you $994+GST. Sign up for this combined thirteen-part Mastering Facebook and Instagram Marketing course and pay just $897+GST. However we offer a $200 Special Discount — the course is just $697+GST for bookings made and payment received by 5pm on Thursday 18 July, 2024.

Bookings are confirmed on receipt of payment, which can be by bank deposit or credit card. We can raise an invoice in advance if you need it.

To reserve your place in this Mastering Facebook and Instagram Marketing course and SAVE $200, please pay by credit card through PayPal by clicking here:

Register Now for the next course

If you would prefer to pay by bank deposit, or require an invoice, please send an email to bookings@socialmedia.org.nz with your requirements.

WHAT HAPPENS NEXT?

You’ll receive our emailed confirmation of your booking. Then on the first day of the course we’ll follow up with details of your Login and Password, along with an Enrolment Key for the Mastering Facebook and Instagram Marketing online training course.

If you have any questions, or would like more information, please email us at info@socialmedia.org.nz

 

Michael Carney Written by: