Gone are the days of relying on hashtags, searching for hashtags, and trying to create a trending hashtag. So where does that leave brands and users who are looking for specific content?
Keywords have now entered the social media marketing mix!
Before we get into that here’s a peek at what’s to come:
- Subscription services are on the rise
- Micro-influencers are returning macro results
- Artificial intelligence (AI) is taking over another human role at Facebook, but this time it’s for the best.
To #KeywordSearch Or Not To #KeywordSearch
Invented on Twitter in 2007 and falling out of fashion in recent years, we have seen a downturn in the use of branded hashtags, trending hashtags, and searching for content through hashtags on Twitter.
But hashtags have yet to become fully passée; on Instagram, hashtags are still trendy, but…
They are trendy in the same way your favourite Hawaiian shirt is… (sorry Ross.)
They have their time and place….
Anyway, according to Later.com’s Ultimate Guide to Instagram Hashtags in 2021, Instagram posts with at least one hashtag, gains 12.6% more engagement than posts without.
But following in Twitter’s footsteps, Instagram is moving away from hashtag reliance and is making way for keyword searches. Instead of using hashtags to identify your content and only allowing users to find your content by a specific tag search, Instagram has created a new SEO-friendly route.
Now people can search for keywords, meaning posts relating to a topic should surface upon a search of the term. It is still unknown how exactly Instagram links keywords to a post but it is known that they scan captions as a source of keyword identification (and likely use machine learning to scan photos).
During the early stages of this rollout, not every keyword will be available but as time goes on, Instagram’s searchable keyword library will expand. Similarly, not every country will have access to the keyword search functionality as it is currently only being introduced in six English-speaking countries.
For Instagram branded and owned hashtags are still valuable, using hashtags when running competitions are still valuable, and using hashtags to keep your posts trending is still an opportunity. But it’s definitely time to stop abusing the hashtags.
Does this string of hashtags look familiar:
#marketing #b2bmarketing #businesstobusinessmarketing #SaaS #Softwareasaservice.
Oh… wait. They don’t work in email yet…
And they aren’t working on Twitter either, yet we still see people stuff their tweets with them.
Well, I hope in 2020 we have all learned that hashtags serve a purpose but they must be used intentionally.
- Hashtags work to communicate with your audience
- Hashtags are becoming passé for increasing your audience reach
- Instagram is becoming far more search-friendly and is making way for SEO
Apple Subscribes to Subscription Services
In an effort to compete with their music streaming rival, Spotify, Apple is increasing the value included in their subscription services.
Apple One bundles six subscription-based services into one subscription fee, including Apple Music, Apple TV+, Apple Arcade, iCloud, Apple News+, and Fitness+. Each subscription is still available on its own but this service offers the best bang for your buck.
All the above-mentioned apps come preloaded on every iOS device but provide the most value with a subscription. The subscription offering adapts well to any Apple device and is seamlessly integrated onto the platform, making Apple One an easy upsell.
And so far it has proved to be successful.
There are currently over 585 million total paying subscribers (on any of their subscription services) and this is expected to grow to 600 million subscribers before the end of this year.
We have seen success for subscription services over recent years from companies such as Adobe and Grammarly, and Apple is banking on experiencing the same success.
By bundling their subscription offerings, is Apple really providing this service at the best price?
In typical marketing fashion – it depends. In this case it depends on which services you were originally looking to purchase.
The “individual bundling plan” is only worth it if someone is already set on purchasing Apple Music along with one other subscription service. If someone is not interested in Apple Music, this bundle provides no savings and leaves the user overcharged on a monthly basis.
The latter is how Apple will see profits rise out of offering this subscription bundle as people choose to purchase the bundle thinking it is the best value when really it is not.
Similarly, in 2014 Adobe began offering their Creative Suite offerings on a subscription basis, which has resulted in shares increasing by 370%.
Just like Apple, Adobe provides a bundled option for its Creative Suite offerings.
Adobe’s bundle provides great value to those looking to purchase a monthly subscription to all 20+ apps offered, otherwise, people are going to fall prey to their bundle pricing strategy.
Buyer beware of the bundle! Marketers rejoice and revel in utilizing bundle pricing!
Bundling subscription services is a classic marketing pricing strategy and one that proves to provide value to companies over and over again.
Though subscription services have also succeeded without bundling by offering freemium subscription services.
Grammarly, a subscription-based software service, started out by promoting their product to universities and other enterprises. After stabilizing in this industry, they noticed interest from other industries and moved to a freemium based subscription service available to the public.
After releasing a free Chrome extension, Grammarly has been downloaded 10 million times and has 6.9 million daily active users. This number continues to grow, doubling key metrics, users and revenue, year over year.
Offering a seven-day free trial of their paid subscription before moving users onto an $11.99 monthly paid annual plan, individual subscriptions outpace their enterprise contract and account for 80% of their total revenue.
When it comes to SaaS companies, offering a subscription-based platform is a lucrative strategy. In terms of content marketing efforts, you can opt to provide premium content on a subscription-based service.
- Bundled pricing structures benefit the seller not the buyer, subscriptions services are easily bundled for sales success
- Subscription services aren’t just for streaming platforms, there are ample avenues to monetize and create subscription services
- Subscription services can be a successful way to create a steady and predictable stream of revenue. It’s why the business model behind SaaS has taken off and created billions in terms of shareholder value
Micro Influencing Making Macro Waves
Instagram is not done rolling out new features. On top of releasing keyword searches, they have created a new feature allowing brands to post content directly onto their influencer’s page.
It’s now easier than ever to leverage influencers in your marketing mix. Gaining direct access to your influencer’s account removes friction and puts the controls back into your company’s hands.
As we have covered in the past, influencer marketing plays a role in B2B marketing but many B2B companies remain hesitant to invest large sums of money into it.
This hesitation is fair since influencer marketing returns aren’t always worth the spend—especially on big-name influencers who charge a substantial amount per post.
- An influencer with 10,000 followers will charge on average $250 per post
- An influencer with 100,000 followers will charge on average $2500 per post
- An influencer with 1,000,000 followers will charge on average $25,000 per post
This is why we support the rise of micro-influencers.
Micro-influencers have a following ranging from 1,000 to 9,999 followers. These influencers are charging less than $250 per post, on average charging $25 per 1,000 followers, and aren’t likely to be promoting more than one or two brands at a time.
Instagram has also begun favouring quality content within its algorithm, which benefits the micro-influencers as their posts become more visible within the app.
Compared to top influencers, these influencers:
- Bring brands authenticity
- Are easier to reach out to
- Provide deeper storytelling
- Deliver a unique point of view
- Will give your product more screen time
- Allow for the potential to reach a more tailored audience
For companies getting their feet wet with this form of marketing, micro-influencers are a great place to start! If you like the results you’re seeing, you might eventually be interested in moving up the influencer rank, but it won’t be for the lack of opportunity you have where you are.
And if you get in with an influencer at the start of their journey, there is the possibility to lock them into a set pricing contract allowing your costs to remain constant even as they grow their following.
- Influencer marketing is becoming easier
- Micro-influencers can return macro results
- Social media platforms are prioritizing influencer marketing
OTHER NEWS OF THE WEEK:
📈 Whoever said “get your head out of the clouds” wasn’t expecting “Cato Network to snag $130M Series E on $1B valuations as cloud wide-area networking thrives”
👾 Discord is getting “close to closing in a round that would value the company at up to $7B”
BRAIN FOOD OF THE WEEK:
Facebook has been under fire for the mistreatment of their human moderators with critics saying that have failed to provide sufficient trauma support services. Since this job involves looking at content that has been flagged by AI as harmful, this means these moderators are exposed to unfavourable content on a daily basis.
In the past Facebook has addressed all flagged content in chronological order, but now they have shifted gears to focus on content based on its virality and severity. In order to support this prioritization, Facebook is going to lean on AI technology. Right now the AI is not perfect, and it won’t be solely relied on for content moderation. According to Ryan Barnes, a product manager with Facebook’s community integrity team:
“All content violations will still receive some substantial human review, but we’ll be using this (AI) system to better prioritize [that process],”
TWEET OF THE WEEK:
ALBUM OF THE WEEK:
Originally Sent Out Thursday, November 26, 2020. Stay up to date with all of our latest findings by subscribing to our newsletter today.
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