We’re in an era where we all agree that social media, SEO, Google Ads, live and fresh websites are essential to all businesses these days. It used to be consumer brands or FMCG brands that needed social media. 

Now we hear ads that do the best on Facebook relate to lawyers, retirement homes and solar power companies. Customers and prospects in all industries use their mobile phone as the start of the buyer’s journey when searching for a new product or service. People check their social media more often than their email. 

Where does this leave us in 2019 trying to resolve and understand all the digital clutter? We believe 2019 is the year of simplifying the digital clutter. In the article below we will cover the various tools and strategies needed to simplify and cover all the necessary bases. 

By simplification, we don’t mean taking away or removing any digital platforms but approaching it from a ‘lean’ point of view. Using tools and strategies will help declutter the digital mess.

Social Media

In the world of social media, we’ve seen a massive rise in bidding for ad space in the customers feed. A lot more businesses are advertising now and this is starting to drive up the costs of campaigns. Facebook reported that they have around 6 million active advertisers using their platform. 

Facebook’s easy to use ‘Boost’ button makes it simple for anyone to advertise. But we recommend never using that ‘Boost’ button. 

The options provided by this simple advertising interface, broadcast your post out to a general non-targeted audience and your ability to customise and test the ads are extremely limited. 

Although prices have gone up, platforms like Facebook and Google still want to show quality ads so they will lower the cost of ads with a high-quality score which is measured by the interaction the advert gets.

Last year, Mark Zuckerberg announced that Facebook would be reducing organic reach down to zero, and that every page will need to start paying for ads on their platform. This caused quite a shakeup in the industry and started seeing a dramatic increase in engagement within Facebook Groups. Mark Zuckerberg said they want more person to person communication and interaction and less business to person interaction. Groups are a great example of person to person interaction rather than business to person interaction.

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Last year we also saw Facebook integrating appointments into their business pages, making it easy for people to book appointments to see you. This works particularly well for dentists and doctors.

We also predict WhatsApp ads will soon be with us. 

Last year we also saw the roll-out of WhatsApp for Business which is still in beta version and only available for Android. The platform will be of great value as a live chat system for businesses connecting with customers, ideal for stores and any company which offers support as a service to its customers. 

Best times for posting on Social Media

It appears that there is the best time again to be posting on social media. 

But just some background into how we believe that Facebook works. We believe Facebook places people into pools. Pool A consists of people who always like your content and they will see your content first. Pool B includes people who are somewhat interested in your content, and so on. 

If Pool A engage with your content within the first 5 minutes, Facebook will open the content to Pool B as Facebook have good reason to believe the content is interesting and good quality. You will notice reach will go in batches of people. 

If you see the graphic below, Coschedule have recently analysed posts in each industry to try see if there was a relation to reach, engagement and the time of day.

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Using Hashtags

Hashtags when used well can be very effective, however if aren’t effectively used can reduce interaction as per Buzzsumo’s research in the graphic below. 

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Google

Google is showing that it really wants to keep people in Google with Google Flights tackling Skyscanner, Google My Business tackling platforms like Yelp, Google Hotels tackling hotel directory sites such as SA-Venues. Google has also rolled out position 0 (the top position) in a majority of their search results.  

This aims at answering user questions in a paragraph snippet taken from a website. Sometimes position 0 (top position) will take a website that ranks 4th and places it into this text box at the top of the Google search. 

There are various optimisation techniques to do get to position 0 such as lists and bullet points answering a particular question. If you are writing a blog on top ten restaurants in Joburg, we’d recommend bullet pointing them to help Google index this schema. 

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Mobile first and https have indicated to be a significant ranking factor. It is essential to make sure your website is mobile friendly or responsive and to ensure that your domain is secured with an SSL certificate. 

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Google launched RankBrain, and it’s only getting smarter. RankBrain’s sole purpose is to learn about your website. If your website can answer or provide valuable information to your users, sure RankBrain will also find it valuable.

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Google My Business

Google is fast becoming a competitor to TripAdvisor and Yelp. Already millions of people rely on Google Places in their maps and search results to recommend restaurants, hotels, fuel stations, and retail outlets. It is essential to use this tool and effectively manage it daily with promotions, events or announcements. 

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Digital Data and why it is so important in 2019

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Data intelligence stops you guessing, and helps you steer your marketing in the correct direction. At first, opening up a dashboard full of insights can be quite intimidating, like the data you see on your Facebook page or Google Analytics account, but after committing the time to go through it each day, you’ll quickly identify what to look for and what not to look for. 

2019 is also the year to stop looking at proxy metrics, such as page views or clicks. These don’t mean much anymore. 

With all the data we have now we are able to track sales and conversions. We are able to set up offline conversions. This happens when someone sees your ad on Facebook for example and then comes into your physical shop or venue. This triggers a conversion.

Our phones are always online and connecting through the GPS telling Facebook and Google exactly where we are. 

This is intended to help marketers like us accurately reach the correct target market, instead of spending R100 000s of rands on a campaign in print media. All these platforms are trying their hardest to deliver content that we will be interested in. The microphone, GPS and text conversations on your device all help advertisers deliver the content you will be interested in.  

Using Data for Competitor Analysis

 If we use a platform such as SimilarWeb we can look at our competitors’ websites and see where they might be ranking higher or doing better than us. If we look at Pirates Sports Club, we can see that the majority of their traffic is coming from Google. 

Nothing from social or email. If we look at the keywords used to get to their website they are not very relevant keywords such as ‘cricket logo png’ or ‘dank pirates club’, which is an old and discontinued music event held at the bowls club.

Tools to Create a Lean Strategy

A lean strategy is helped by automation tools. Automation tools give you the peace of mind that a funnel you have set up will work at all hours guaranteed. Machines are there to work for us!

HubSpot is an innovative customer relationship management tool which we believe every company should be using. It helps manage each customer or company you have on your books but most importantly new leads and prospects. Any form that is on your website automatically gets integrated into HubSpot. 

This helps manage all leads that come through your website. You can assign the lead to a particular team member, as well as create an automation process to automatically email to set up an appointment with the appointment URL built into the HubSpot system. The system also now includes a live chat bot which has a conversation with the customer to qualify them and get information from them, which gets passed onto the sales team. 

MailChimp acts as a great and basic CRM too, it is great for sending emails out but also for creating automation tasks. The tasks could include when someone fills out a lead for on the website, it will go straight to MailChimp and it will automatically email them a pricing document and a telephone number or appointment URL to link.

Zapier is the ultimate middle man between all these software platforms. It makes life easy and is one of those essential tools for saving you time. Zapier will take information from a Facebook ad and pass it onto MailChimp, email your sales team and update the information in Google Sheets. It can also be set up to automatically SMS or email the new lead any info you like! 

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