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Life After Social: Study Proves Brand Building Must Happen Outside of Facebook

Larry AltonBy Larry Alton, Freelance Writer

As a marketing professional, it’s easy to find yourself in a bubble. From the people you hang out with to the websites you surf, the conversation always revolves around social media. But the truth is that social media isn’t everything—and one recent study proves this to be true.

The study, conducted by Bridge Ratings, finds that Facebook usage is declining for both millennials and users in the 35 to 44-year-old age range. Among the older age group, 41 percent report not using Facebook as much as they did in 2016. For millennials, 35 percent say they don’t use the platform as frequently.

“The Bridge Ratings numbers suggest social media use may be reaching a level of maturity, with users feeling less compelled to check-in repeatedly throughout the day,” marketing consultant David Kirkpatrick surmises.

“The findings could also be reflective of a growing sense of dissatisfaction with social media in general among some consumers who are taking extended breaks from the space or intentionally trying to check their timelines less frequently as a way to avoid what is perceived as incendiary and low-value content.”

Either way, the study proves that Facebook—along with other social networking platforms—won’t always have the same influence and power they’ve enjoyed in the past decade-plus.

Discovering Digital Marketing Nirvana Outside of Social Media

From a marketing standpoint, the takeaway is clear: You need to be pursuing brand-building strategies outside of social media. Here’s some advice on how you can best do this:

1. Publish More Useful Content

One of the things people love about social media is that they’re able to interact with brands in a very raw fashion. It’s important that you’re able to do this outside of social media. As digital marketer Eric Siu notes, this is something JetBlue Airways does very well.

Whether it’s their Twitter feed, blog, or emails, JetBlue is all about publishing useful content. “Make it a priority to balance self-promotional materials with information that followers can actually use, and respond to users whenever they interact with your web profiles in order to boost rapport and consumer confidence,” Siu says.

2. Build That Email List

Many marketers have stopped building email lists. Instead, they’ve poured all of their energy into social media the last couple years. The danger here is that businesses own no part of their social media presence. If Facebook suddenly decided to shut down, poof! Your profile, followers, pictures, and content would all be gone.

An email list is different. You actually own and control the list. This means it’s a low-risk investment that generally produces sizeable rewards. It’s time to get list-building!

3. Invest in Sustainable SEO

There are a lot of SEO scams out there, so you should proceed with caution when approaching this issue. However, you really need to pay attention to optimizing your websites and content for search. As the internet becomes increasingly crowded, you have to find ways to stand out. A sustainable strategy that’s built on white-hat concepts is the way to go.

Balance is the Answer

It’s an overused expression, but try to avoid putting all of your eggs in one basket. Social media is a fantastic digital marketing medium, but it isn’t everything. We’re already seeing declines in Facebook usage and it’s possible that we’ll soon reach a point where the average person becomes fatigued by other social networks as well.

Include social media in your plan, but heed the advice of industry professionals and balance your approach to digital marketing by including other elements. That’s how you can simultaneously hedge risk and grow your brand.

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