It’s no secret that the social media landscape has shifted dramatically over the last several months. Throughout 2022, Elon Musk’s acquisition of Twitter was noteworthy enough, but his recent policy decisions and, most importantly, the rebranding from Twitter to “X” have highlighted something many e-commerce and other brands have known for a long time: social media marketing is tough, and it’s only going to get more difficult.
In fact, the recent Twitter drama might serve as an important wake-up call for brands that previously focused a lot of their ad spend on social media marketing. In truth, there might be better ways to maximize your marketing bang for your buck. Let’s take a closer look. Brought to you by your favorite neighborhood SEM Agency in St. Augustine, Full Circle SEM.
Musk’s Recent Shakeups
As a quick recap, Elon Musk’s campaign to take over Twitter – one of the largest social media platforms ever developed and still running to this day, even with all the changes – began in April 2022. By this point, Musk had purchased over 9% of the open market Twitter shares available so far. He made an offer to buy the platform, and by April 25, 2022, Twitter accepted the offer.
After a lot of back-and-forth and confusing negotiation, marked by Musk’s apparent attempt to back out of the deal, Musk took over Twitter on October 28, 2022, starting his reign over the social media giant by firing CEO Parag Agrawal and policy director Vijaya Gadde.1
Experimentations with subscriptions, requiring users to pay for blue checkmarks or verification signals next to their profiles, and more eventually culminated in arguably the most dramatic and out-of-the-blue rebranding in history. Musk changed Twitter’s company name and masthead to “X.”
This has quite reasonably shaken up many social media marketing agencies and brands that rely on platforms like Twitter to reach out to new audience members and communicate with current customers. But there could be some valuable lessons gleaned from all the chaos.
The Inherent Volatility of Social Media
Make no mistake; social media is an inherently volatile, constantly evolving platform. It has been since its inception, but many brands are only now realizing that there’s no real taming the social media marketing industry.
Social media dies or strives based on the user engagement it cultivates. To that end, new platforms are constantly looking for ways to engage with their visitors, get them to create new content, and dominate a particular niche of the social media sector, whether it’s short posts like Twitter or image posts like Instagram.
Even with the assistance of SEM agencies in St. Augustine, this inherent volatility is not good for long-term marketing. Why?
Brands must constantly strive to identify, respond to, and then abandon emerging trends on social media. In other words, they constantly have to keep up with the rapidly shifting social media landscape if they want to advertise effectively on platforms like X, Facebook, and TikTok.
Many brands now indicate that identifying and responding to emerging trends on social media apps and websites is incredibly challenging, even just for maintaining a social presence (e.g., having an accessible profile for customers and prospects to visit, never mind active marketing).2
Additional Challenges with Social Media Marketing
That’s not the only wrench that social media throws into the marketing machine. More recently, advertising revenue outlook has significantly deteriorated, particularly on social media platforms.3 On top of that, despite 70% of businesses relying on social media for customer engagement, fewer than half of those companies know that their social media strategies are very effective when it comes to strengthening brand image, boosting sales, or other positive developments.4
Put another way; it now seems clear that social media marketing isn’t necessarily the best way to spend one’s advertising budget. Constantly chasing new trends and competing with other brands directly in the digital public square may not be the best way to capture new customers or convince current customers to retain their brand loyalty.
Alternatives for Digital Marketing
In this way, Musk’s recent antics with X might be a blessing in disguise. It may give companies the inspiration necessary to look into alternatives to achieve their digital marketing goals; in some cases, it may cause them to look into alternatives that they’ve already used or that they may have overlooked previously.
Generally, advertising on Google is a much more surefire and effective strategy compared to marketing on social media, at least on a dollar-versus-dollar basis. Google Ads are flatly more effective because:
- Despite Google’s changing its rules and algorithms from time to time, those rule changes are not nearly as temperamental or dramatic as the shifts seen on social media networks these days
- Companies still rely on Google to get new traffic to their websites, and that’s especially true for e-commerce brands that operate mostly or entirely online
- Advertisers oftentimes only have to pay for ads that lead directly to traffic (e.g., PPC or pay-per-click ads) rather than paying for ad space that only results in hypothetical exposure
With the faltering confidence in social media marketing, brands might choose to focus more of their ad spend on Google advertising than ever before.
Furthermore, website SEO could become even more important than it currently is. Tailoring a brand’s web content, like its product descriptions and landing pages, is a good way to boost traffic and ensure that customers come to your company when they input the right keywords.
Knowledgeable agencies like Full Circle SEM are also well-equipped and ready to help brands that don’t have a lot of experience with search engine marketing. These agencies are much better equipped to produce real, measurably positive results in a matter of weeks or months compared to the ambiguous, amorphous changes in traffic or conversion that social media marketing might inspire.
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Overall, perhaps Musk and the X rebranding has only accelerated a trend that has been growing for some time. The era of social media marketing might be going away. While social media will never truly die out, brands might benefit from adopting more targeted methods of getting digital traffic and boosting brand awareness through the stable, consistent search engine that it’s all built on.
Full Circle SEM is an SEM agency in St. Augustine that can help your brand grow faster than ever, taking advantage of new digital trends and maximizing the effectiveness of your marketing budget. Contact us today!