We believe the next social media revolution has started – and it will take place on brands own websites! Let us explain why.
As Social Networks like Facebook and Twitter have become more influential, brands have shifted more and more resources towards them, often at the expense of their own websites.
We have now reached a turning point in this trend. Its time for brands to put their own digital assets at the heart of all their online and social marketing campaigns and Hubb Media was established to help them do this.
Towards the end of 2014, a market research report from Forrester Research entitled “Social Relationship Strategies That Work” advised brands to move away from Social Networks in favour of branded websites and email marketing. This report and others gave the Hubb Media team the hard numbers they needed to validate their business idea.
Why Hubb Media came about:
- Facebook announced that changes to their algorithm meant that the organic reach of brands posts would “see a significant decrease in distribution.”
- 12 months ago only 2% of fans were seeing brands posts – this number is fast approaching zero.
- Engagement rates amongst big brands fans have been measured at 0.07% on Facebook and 0.03% on Twitter, less than an average email campaign would achieve according to an earlier Forrester survey.
- The same survey found that consumers were more than twice as likely to engage with a brand via email than a Facebook post.
- On social media, brands do not own their community or the data collected from them.
Social Networks are fantastic tools for marketers; but should be treated by brands like any other paid marketing channel. It was inevitable that Facebook would eventually start charging brands to boost the visibility of their posts and we believe over time, other Social Networks will apply algorithms and follow suit.
So what should brands do now? They’ve spent large sums of money building communities on Social Networks but they neither own those communities nor the data gathered from them.
How do they transition them back to the brands own digital assets?
We believe this transition should take place in stages and there are a suite of tools to help brands do this.
Step 1: Curate all of your social media content on your own website.
It might seem obvious that if you’re sending time and money creating great content, it should be curated on your own website but globally, the vast majority of brands do not yet do this. There are numerous platforms out there including our own Social Hubb that allow brands to curate, moderate and publish their social media content in a matter of minutes.
Step 2: Publish all content on your website first and then share on Social Networks
All content, stories, competitions, promotions and giveaways should be built on your website. This content should be exclusive to your website for a period of time before it is shared out to Social Networks. This strategy can be achieved via most existing CMS platforms like WordPress or via our Content Hubb.
Step 3: Drive traffic from Social Networks back to your website
All links on your social media posts and advertising should drive traffic back to your own website, not your social media pages. There are many new tools out there to help brands convert this inbound traffic including the excellent Instapage and HubSpot tools.
Step 4: Stop advertising Social Networks on your ATL marketing campaigns
Social Networks have never been big advertisers, and why would they when brands do their advertising for them, adding social media URL’s to print, radio and television campaigns. Replace these URL’s with your own website address and start generating longer term brand equity.
Step 5: Engage your community
Maintain and grow your own community of fans by engaging them on a regular basis through content creation (blogs, newsletters, videos, articles, reviews, polls and surveys) and gamification strategies (competitions, giveaways, rewards and achievements).
Perhaps the most important strategy of all is to encourage user generated content (UGC) and social proof in the form or reviews, tweets, photos and blog posts. UGC has been measured as 30% more memorable and 50% more believable than other marketing content.
Step 6: Use new and old technologies to bring your community back on a regular basis
While people visit multiple social networks on a daily basis they are unlikely to be such frequent visitors to a brands own website – so how do you maintain engagement rates? Email marketing and newsletters remain a very effective, yet under appreciated marketing tool.
One of the most exciting emerging technologies is the web push notification which allow brands to send updates to web browsers on any device (laptop/desktop/mobile). Safari users have already been enjoying this service for over 1 year and it’s only a matter of time before other web browsers catch up. Roost allows a website to engage users via push notifications.
Brands should think of this in terms of rent vs own. By investing in their own digital assets they will enjoy immediate benefits as well as generating longer-term brand equity.