Ask the Digital Doc: What’s hot and what’s not in social media marketing right now?

Social Media Channels which is best One of our Digiterati colleagues, Sarah Alder, is delivering some social media training this week and as part of her research she decided to ask the Digital Doc (in this instance Marie and Carlton are sharing doctorley duties) on our opinions on the latest state of play on social. Here’s the Q&A:

Which social platforms do you see as the ones to watch and which are the ones to stop stressing about?

Facebook may be a behemoth but it continues to innovate and with the latest changes to Messenger it will continue to build on its dominance. Facebook Messenger is looking increasingly likely to take over Twitter’s dominance in real-time customer support chat and direct messages in the medium term. The Messenger Platform also represents a huge opportunity for businesses to create what we call User Agents; smart, real-time agents (powered by bot and AI technology) that help people with anything they need. This tech is still raw and it’s early days, but we would place money on it.

Facebook Live is really hot right now and we can only see it getting bigger. Live video will become the norm very quickly so the early mover advantage window could close this year. That early advantage window not only gets you better reach with live video, but you also win on the novelty factor with fans. As an aside, we predict Facebook Live-exclusive TV shows appearing soon, and subscription/pay-per-view in the not-too-distant future. Netflix, HBO, Sky, Apple and Amazon had better watch out! We’ve written about Facebook Live extensively – round-up here.

Periscope is fast becoming less relevant. Facebook has effectively stolen it’s march overnight with its huge leap in functionality, wider availability and sheer scale – as well as the permanence of its videos. For now we’d suggest simulcasting on both platforms whilst ensuring to address the audience on both – but we predict Periscope will soon become an also-ran platform.

Instagram continues to grow and perform well but far too many brands ignore it. Despite the introduction of ads and an algorithm, both of which have contributed to a reduction in reach, it’s still retaining the attention of its 400M+ users.  Recent research highlights engagement is down considerably since the beginning of 2015 (when it was 58 times higher than Facebook and 120 higher than Twitter) but this is to be expected as the platform seeks to earn its keep within the Facebook empire. Our bottom-line view: it’s still a winner.

Snapchat is on the up, up, up! Almost overnight it has transformed from a place where teens hang out to a place where middle-aged folk are hanging out. Growth is challenging and needs to be hacked via other channels (e.g. Snapcode on your other social channels, email blast with your Add link) but once you’ve got the attention of your audience it’s a powerful, intimate and unique channel seeing massive engagement. Not so great for call-to-action uses (yet) but the (paid) Geo-filters represent a great opportunity for even the smallest of businesses.

YouTube is not just for the teenage vlogging media stars. It’s huge for findability but your content and your channel needs optimising. SEO for YouTube is a science in it’s own right (and something we can help out with via our Social Media Health-check service.

Twitter is becoming borderline irrelevant as a social platform for many people now but businesses must check where their audience’s attention is to prove/disprove this. It’s certainly the preferred platform of a lot of tech-types and for breaking news it’s hard to beat. See our earlier comments above re real-time customer support which to date has been a big advantage for Twitter.

Video on whatever platform is essential. It doesn’t have to be perfect – Facebook Live and Periscope are both very forgiving. B2B brands might like to explore Camtasia as a means for creating screen share videos of slide decks, walking people through websites etc prior to uploading (natively) to Facebook and YouTube. Twitter even allows for native video now.

Vine – as a social network we’ve never really rated it but as a tool to easily create short, fun videos to repurpose on other channels it’s great.

Google+ – frustratingly still relevant if for no other reason than to get content indexed and your presence showing up better in the right hand side of search results. For local businesses there’s an even stronger case. The future of G+is unclear but for now we say keep posting stuff and linking it to your site.

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Carlton Jefferis

About Carlton Jefferis

Carlton Jefferis is a senior consultant and trainer at The Digiterati. He has over 20 years experience working on pioneering Internet and digital marketing projects for a wide range of clients including Sony, AOL, Manchester United FC, Nationwide Building Society, AT&T, Autographer and a large number of start-up tech businesses. He advises clients of The Digiterati on commercial and sales strategy, digital marketing strategy, ecommerce and product development. As a skilled, active social media practitioner he delivers public training and bespoke in-house courses on social media marketing, digital strategy and digital transformation. He also blogs for leading global digital marketing publisher, Smart Insights.