Engage Bali Takeaway: Know Your Audience

Some of the brightest minds in social media gathered last week in the Asia-Pacific for Engage Bali, for our two day conference. Everyone was talking about the importance of truly understanding your audience.

We saw the hottest topics in social media come to light and learned bulletproof strategies to overcome the challenges marketers are facing today. Here’s a glimpse of the 3 most important takeaways from Engage Bali. Socialbakers kicked off the conference with the latest developments plaguing every one of the 300 marketing professionals in the room - what the Facebook News Feed changes mean for marketers

1. Remain authentic 

The industry felt the waves with a 43% increase in ads costs in Quarter 4. In January, advertisers were met with the announcement of Facebook’s change to the News Feed that is now prioritizing friends and family over brands and publishers, which ensues an unprecedented expectation for social media marketers to create even MORE engaging content - and that lies in authenticity. People don’t want to engage with ads, they interact with content that resonates with them - and marketers will have to meet that demand. Think about it this way, every time a user writes a comment on your post, it’s a way to start a conversation. This is one way you can give your brand a voice and build trust with your community. 

Tina Moore from New Zealand and Media Entertainment said it best in her presentation, “Zuckerberg has clearly signalled that this year is the year of TRUST. The latest algorithm
change is taking aim at brand and media pages that are producing garbage content.”

We now know that the changes to the News Feed did not only affect organic content, but the number of published ads decreased as well. We shared how the culmination of rising ads costs and Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg’s post resulted in panic and brands started promoting less. The lesson?

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Here’s what our Socialbakers Founder, Jan Rezab, had to say as he introduced the chart above and emphasized:

If we look at the average paid reach, it jumped down a lot. It has declined significantly. So again, if you’re a marketer making decisions - what this tells you is that it doesn’t mean you should advertise less on Facebook. In fact, on the contrary; most brands need to still double up on their social media investments, but it means be smart about it."

In short, marketers will need to put their data to work to create authentic and engaging content for both organic and paid social media. And how do you achieve that? By knowing your audience and customizing the content based on their interests and behaviors - which brings us to the second point. 

2. Know your audience

Digital audiences are difficult to track which is why marketers are struggling to gain a comprehensive understanding of their audiences’ personas across multiple channels. Imagine that you have different audiences across multiple social media channels with various interests, and that engage with different content types.

You constantly hunt for the right audience, those that are familiar with your brand and others you want to reach. The most challenging aspect of social is that all this data is across different places, and aggregating this information can take weeks, if not months. Socialbakers CEO, Yuval Ben-Itzhak, announced that this will be a major focus for our company this quarter.

Knowing your audience - by their interests and behaviors - can help you fine-tune your Facebook audience targeting. This will enable you to go beyond demographics and empower you to craft content with knowledge around topics you know your communities engage with.

Now just think, when you have knowledge of your audience, you can make well-informed decisions from data to create content that they will love and get the social media ROI you expect. The better your posts perform, the more you will improve your Facebook relevance score which will result in lowering your ads costs in a landscape that is becoming increasingly more expensive to advertise.

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Ben-Itzhak emphasized that no matter your ad objective, social media marketers need to grow their customer base, and ultimately sparking conversations should be the primary goal of all your social activities. So how can you do that effectively? 

3. Embrace influencer marketing

We heard from several speakers - both in the workshops and the main conference day - and a common thread that ran through their speeches and audience conversations was incorporating an influencer marketing strategy. This is is one way brands are combating the changes in News Feed visibility.

It’s no wonder, influencer marketing is projected to become a $5 to $10 billion market within the next 5 years. When it comes to Instagram alone, 70% of brands across industries are working with influencers. We know that audiences are looking for authentic forms of content, and influencer recommendations are becoming the new currency of transparency to build consumer trust. With 47% of online consumers using ad blockers, influencers are helping brands get heard without the use of ads.

However, though influencers can be a great way to tell your stories in a more authentic light, brands need to be careful with who they work with. First you need to understand your audience to see which influencers would be the right fit. Moore from NZME highlighted, “Influencers must be carefully selected, managed, trained, vetted and supported to ensure they are genuine and authentic and don’t bring you or your clients into disrepute.”

We caught up with Wendy Cheng aka Xiaxue, one of the most popular online personalities in the Asia-Pacific region, and Philip Kitcher from StyleHaul to discuss how brands can create a winning strategy when partnering up with influencers. 



Ben-Itzhak discussed the challenges of finding the right influencers for brands that are serious about implementing an influencer marketing strategy. He announced the latest Socialbakers innovation that can help our clients identify the top-performing influencers that match your audience's’ interest in each region so that you can effectively measure their performance and have a full attribution flow to measure ROI. This is going to be a true game changer for companies looking to work with the influencers that will inspire meaningful conversations and have the best impact on their audiences to drive engagement with their brands.

The most valuable asset social media influencers provide is the trust and loyalty they have established with their audiences. In a time where only 4% of consumers declare trust in marketing and advertising, the ability to communicate to your audience through someone they trust is an essential marketing tool.


The Takeaway

This is the second time we held the Engage Bali social media conference. It’s two days packed full of networking, education from workshops and speeches from international and regional leaders from organizations like Peace Innovation Lab at Stanford, the World Wildlife Fund, NZME and so many more.

We heard about the latest trends in social media, such as how brands are shifting a larger portion of marketing budgets to Instagram and how the changes to the News Feed present new opportunities and demand for higher quality ads from advertisers. Discussions flourished around the biggest challenges facing marketers today and the tools and strategies to overcome them from content types to social media products. They key to building any strategy starts with data - and the savviest marketers are using data-driven insights to inform their strategies to stay ahead of the game.

We learned about analyzing audiences to understand their personas and interests to craft more relevant content, decrease ads costs and various ways of engaging communities through innovative content formats like video and live broadcasts. We saw the best practices for partnering up with the right influencers to reach new customers and keep existing audiences coming back for more.

We know you’re bummed you missed it! But we are already packing our bags for Engage Prague, a 3 day social media conference with two full days of hands-on workshops and one day dedicated to presentations from industry leaders. This year, we will be talking about “The Power of Conversations”.



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