It is often said that change brings opportunity, and perhaps nowhere is it more clear than in the world of social media marketing. Words like chatbots augmented reality, and hashtags, which would probably be considered pure gibberish twenty years ago, form the backbone of social media marketing today. Let's explore some for the emerging trends in social media so that you can get a head start and discover new ways you can connect with customers online.
Keep up with the Algorithm Changes
Social media algorithms decide what users see whenever they log in to their accounts. Since the algorithms are always changing it is important for marketers to keep up with these changes so that you can optimize your content. The main focus of social media algorithms is 'meaningful interactions.' In a nutshell, the algorithm seeks to put the 'social' back in social media. While this may seem like bad news for digital marketing, Facebook's Head of News Feed Adam Mosseri suggests that you should focus on posts that generate conversations among users.
Paid Advertisements equals Precise Advertising
Even though, indeed, the algorithm changes focus more on personal interactions and content, you should never underestimate the outreach of paid advertisements. The best thing about running paid ads on social media platforms is that it allows you to target specific audiences and demographics. Apart from that, many social media platforms allow you to customize and set your ad budget and choose the type of ad you want to run. Given that social media advertisements will quickly surpass newspaper ad spending, it is time to put your money where your ad is.
The Value of Video Content
The Book vs. Movie debate may never reach a satisfactory conclusion, but it does highlight the shift from the written word to video content. Even a cursory survey of social media will make it quite clear that most people would rather watch a video than read a social media post. To put things in perspective, it may be worth mentioning that last year, branded video content saw a 258% increase on Facebook. Live streaming videos on your social media page is sure to boost your presence online and helps you connect with a wider audience.
Sharing Social Media Stories
Once upon a time... stories were told about beautiful princesses and enchanted castles. Today social media stories have taken on a whole new meaning, one that presents a brilliant opportunity to create new content and engage users daily. Social media stories, which first started on Snapchat, are very easy to create and have tremendous outreach because they are so convenient for people to watch. Studies suggest that close to 500 million people watch Instagram stories on a single day, and that's only Instagram. Given that more and more social media platforms are jumping on the Stories bandwagon it's time to get creative and tell your story for your own happy ever after.
The Real Benefits of Augmented Reality
Do you know those cute little filters available on Instagram and Snapchat? Well, the technology behind those filters can do so much more than creating a funny picture. Augmented Reality is earmarked as the future of social media marketing because of the practical purpose it serves. Whenever users may find themselves wondering how they will look wearing those cool shades they saw online, AR will step in to make that look a reality. Facebook already announced the introduction of AR ads that allow users to experiment with different products at the click of a button.
Increasing Influencer Marketing
Cannot afford a hotshot celebrity to market your product? Well, there are other ways you can 'influence' your target audience. A social media influencer is a person who has access to a wide audience and has managed to generate significant credibility within a particular industry. Many businesses and brands partner with social media influencers to market their products and connect with new customers. Given that social media influencers have higher social engagement than your average brand account or celebrity influencer, it certainly pays to sponsor influencer posts on social media.
Keep it Transparent
Over the past couple of years, some of the most popular social media platforms were hit with serious privacy and data sharing concerns. Considering the data scandals of the past, it is no surprise that transparency is an important factor for many social media users. A recent study suggests that close to 73% of consumers are more comfortable purchasing products that ensure a high level of transparency. Honest responses to consumer questions and genuinely admitting any mistakes are some ways you can make your brand more transparent for users. Transparency will go a long way in building trust in your brand and your products.
Chatting up with Chatbots
Chatbots are an innovative way to communicate with customers and respond to user's queries more quickly. While it is true that chatbots will never be able to replace real customer support representatives, many businesses are using chatbots to channel conversations and provide solutions for users in real-time. Chatbots use advanced deep learning technology to provide relevant and accurate answers to a user's queries. Facebook announced that its Messenger platform had over 100,000 active chatbots that send over 2 billion messages between customers and brands, every month. With the growing popularity of chatbots, perhaps the only thing we need to worry about is the possibility of the movie 'Her' becoming a reality.
Perhaps the best way to sum up LinkedIn, in the words of founder Reid Hoffman, is to think of it as a powerful network of people who want to help you and who you want to help. Close to 97% business to business marketers use a strong LinkedIn strategy for lead generation. Using hashtags with your content, being active on groups, and uploading informative and creative videos are great ways to boost engagement on LinkedIn. With an impressive growth rate of two professionals joining LinkedIn every second, the business-oriented social media platform is a vital part of any marketing strategy.
Ironically, when it comes to social media, the only certainty is change. The evolution of social media means that the trends mentioned above will keep evolving and changing. As marketers, it is important to identify the current trends in social media so that you can capitalize on them and expand your business. In a world where opening a bottle cap can become a trend, it may be quite difficult to predict what the next best thing will be. However, one thing is clear; social media trends present a unique opportunity for you to display your creativity and explore new marketing paths.