The Matrix of Marketing: Michael Stelzner and the 2022 Social Media Marketing World Keynote
We’re in the Matrix of Marketing.
Or so it seems, if you were one of the attendees at today’s Social Media Marketing World conference keynote. Drawing on research from both the big platforms and their own survey arms, Social Media Examiner’s Michael Stelzner took conference-goers on a journey through the major social media platforms to see what they have been doing, and where marketers can go from here.
Social media platforms primarily operate on an S-curve, shifting from attracting users to extracting value from said users. Most (if not all) social media platforms these days are operating on the “extract” end of the curve; either readily maintaining user counts through new or “viral” elements (TikTok), or simply by virtue of being the elephant platform in the room (Facebook). Since platforms no longer need to focus on user attraction, they can instead focus on extracting value directly from users. Which creates a problem for marketers looking to get into that process.
The behemoth itself, Facebook has seen its fair share of changes made to the platform since its inception in 2004. In recent years, however, those changes have shifted away from being marketing-friendly, and have instead advocated away from content and more towards “meaningful social interactions”. Because of this, marketers have had to pivot to alternative methods for marketing their content, brand, and products/services to users. In a 2018 survey of social media marketers, 67% claimed that Facebook was their priority social media platform. In 2022, however, that number has been reduced to the 40th percentile. Since the 2018 “Facebook apocalypse”, focusing on Facebook groups and “connections” seems to yield less and less results. Fan growth, according to Stelzner, is now an “outdated metric” and can only be used for “social proof”.
The solution, Stelzner says, is to focus on essentials. Creating a simple, visual post asking a question to create a form of “Q&A” among users is a great way to boost your engagement. Consider crafting a post, then placing a link within your comments section to boost link-clicks as well.
Another way to increase brand visibility and engagement is to post native video on Facebook; videos posted directly to the platform (as opposed to linked from another site) consistently have better views and likes; one can even cross-upload the same video from YouTube and Facebook for extra exposure.
This Facebook-owned company is fast seeing its use and primary content formatting change with every passing year, and 2022 will be no different. Bolstered by statements from Instagram’s own executive team, Instagram is bound to see massive changes in what exactly posits for content on the platform, and that will be video. With the rise of Reels and video views on the platform, Instagram is shifting into becoming an entertainment company. With their algorithm finding views for their creators, views will become the new social media metric to watch for this year.
In this new maze of shifting platform use, content is fast becoming king again across multiple platforms. Marketers need to find out where the creators are going, as that will prove to be where the next marketing opportunities will arise.
The vertical video platform (originally launched as musical.ly in the US) has seen exponential growth in the last few years, with 2021 crowning the site as the most-visited website in the world, ahead of Google. With this kind of growth and user retention, marketers will be hard-pressed to find reasons why they shouldn’t post videos to the platform. Creators on the platform, however, find the growth and user-base to be one half of a double-edged sword; Tiktok revenue shares are incredibly low for the industry, and are not feasible for exclusive income generation for its creators. Rather, marketing research seems to show that Tiktok creators are flocking to Youtube to cross-post content.
Youtube has long been the home for both long-form video content, as well as happy creators: Youtube’s revenue sharing on the site is the highest for any video platform in the industry. Marketing research indicates that social media marketers will be increasing their use of the Google-owned platform, and will be focusing efforts on educational content, live shows, and podcasting. Stelzner especially recommends considering Youtube as a critical part of a podcasting game-plan.
While audio podcasting continues to keep a high profile in content consumption, video podcasting (“vodcasting”) is starting to show itself as a prime option for expanding audiences and engagement. Surveys of content consumption show that vast numbers of podcast listeners utilize Youtube for both searching and listening to episodes. This creates a new outlet for creators and marketers to utilize in growing their audiences.
Stelzner finished his talk by giving a small preview into the growing popularity behind web3.0: a “new web” where open protocols and decentralized sites and networks will power the next generation of websites, platforms, and even currencies. While still in its infancy, web3.0 elements like cryptocurrencies, NFTs, and other decentralized platforms will pave the way forward in how the internet, at its core, will work.
Michael Stelzner and the SMMW team painted a picture of a shifting world in which most of what worked for marketers in the past simply will not work anymore. The encouragement Stelzner provided at the end of the keynote was to embrace what has been proven to work, and to proceed into this new world of marketing with confidence.