Navigating the era of ‘Instants’: Mantras for millenials to ace the social media game

By Amrita Sharma

A decade ago, social media used to be a place where you could reconnect with old friends and distant family members. Over time, the dynamics have changed, and social media has evolved from being a platform for networking and building a virtual community to a vital business tool. With the emergence of digital-first and digital-only brands, digital marketing has become a key vertical within marketing in its own right. As an extension of this domain, unconventional career paths like influencer marketing and social media marketing, too, have become lucrative career options.

The numbers are a testament to the rising role of social media in the marketing pie. India reported 467 million active social media users at the start of 2023. Considering a wide range of affordable data plans, rising internet usage, high on-demand content, and a growing online consumer base, the average allocation for digital spends in India has risen to 30 per cent and social media absorbs most of it, followed by online video.

It is no wonder that brands are leveraging social media to scale up and achieve their core marketing objectives efficiently. But how can millennials, a generation of digital natives who have mostly used social media for personal interactions and networking, start using it as a tool to help build brand awareness, generate leads, and reach a broader audience? Here are four fool-proof strategies you will need to yield social media to your advantage.

Know what’s trending

Till a few years ago, Twitter was the holy grail of social media marketers. Soon thereafter, Facebook took over as the best social media marketing platform. In current times, most marketers seem to prefer Instagram and YouTube to reach target users. There’s no telling which new social media platform will emerge and seize popularity in the near future. Hence, it is important for social media marketers and agency owners to keep up with industry trends and make hay while the sun shines. However, moment marketing, at certain times, can also be a double-edged sword. Take the classic case of Clubhouse, a social networking platform that came into being amid the pandemic. Despite a high user base, the platform’s lack of coherent identity, flawed structure, and competition cannibalizing on limitations, resulted in its downfall. Being able to anticipate which platforms are likely to work well for businesses and preparing communication strategies to capitalise on their popularity is key to the success of social media business.

PoV: Understand who you are talking to

An important element of a successful social media marketing business is knowing your clients and their target audience. Being aware of this will help you tailor your strategy and drive engagement from users that resonate with the brand. As intuitive as it may seem, most brands don’t get it right. Most marketers struggle to attract and engage effectively due to their one-size-fits-all approach. For instance, a strategy that may have worked for a footwear brand on Instagram may not necessarily do justice to a real estate brand. For marketing the latter, the real estate brand will need to explore another platform to improve brand awareness, while also continuing presence on Instagram for relevance. What is even more important is identifying who is consuming the content, what kind of content they want to consume, and what social platforms they use the most. So, invest in market research tools and resources, and gain actionable insights.

Tools are cool

Imagine being on 10 social media platforms for 15 clients from different sectors and posting manually on each of them two to three times a day. Sounds like a nightmare, right? Whether it is Semrush for traffic analytics or Hootsuite for bulk scheduling, tools help automate tasks and improve efficiency. Most importantly, using these tools, one can plan their social media strategy ahead of time and schedule posts, pins, tweets, and hashtags in one go. This saves you time, helps you focus on capturing current trends, and leaves room for perfecting your strategies for clients. An even better addition can be AI-driven social media tools, as they are equipped with capabilities to generate content, engage with your audience, finetune your posts for maximum reach, and integrate with other social media platforms.

Make social media algorithms work for you

Algorithms are the mainstay of all social media platforms. It is because of algorithms that no two accounts get to see similar content on social media, even though they follow the same accounts. Let’s say, for example, Instagram currently serves you with a series of travel videos to tropical destinations. This is an outcome of your past interactions with accounts that feature travel content, which signals to the algorithm that you are interested in similar content. Facebook, on the other hand, shows a variety of content, even though you may not have liked or followed accounts serving specific content. Depending on the kind of content you engage with every time they appear, the algorithm signals to Facebook that the user wants more of that content. As it may seem, working with algorithms is a bit of art, science, and luck, and equal parts challenging, as some platforms create updates on a weekly basis. Thus, it is ideal to keep an eye on these changing algorithms and refine the strategy from time to time.

The social media landscape is changing at breakneck speed, and marketing tactics have to keep pace with them. The good thing is, these new trends will enable those who are able to ride the wave to attain strategic goals for brands far more easily. All you need to do is have a finger on the pulse, experiment with tools, and focus on content that users want to see. In an era of blink and miss, getting those eyeballs hooked is hard work. But the result is rewarding!

The author is co-founder and director at Mixed Route Juice.

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