Approximately 68% of Americans use Facebook and 73% use YouTube according to the Pew Research Center. Over time, social media has evolved into a great tool for marketing. Just like other forms of marketing, the social media landscape is changing at a quick pace. This makes it important for you to keep up with the latest trends.
You also have to future-proof your social media strategy. It requires to be examined to discover what works for you personally and what doesn’t. This assists you optimize it to find the best results possible.
So, which trends might affect your own future on social media?
1. Influencer Marketing
Influencer marketing is becoming popular on social media rapidly. It has actually beaten print marketing when it comes to popularity on Google Trends. People who have a large number of followers can leverage their audiences and collaborate with brands.
Influencers receive a commission by the brands to market their products with their audiences. Brands, however, are searching for reliable influencers to collaborate with to attain their target customers.
However, it’s not merely the influencers with massive fan-followings who can reap the advantages of influencer marketing. As it’s popularity soars, big influencers are becoming expensive for SMEs.
So, what can small businesses do?
This has led to the rise of micro-influencers.
The micro-influencers have fewer followers than big influencers but they have the advantage of higher engagement among their audience. Additionally, they charge significantly less than popular influencers for their sponsored content. This makes it affordable for SMEs to collaborate with them and promote their brand to their audience.
Exactly like micro-influencers, additionally, there are nano-influencers. These influencers possess significantly less than 10k followers. While brands might not be in a position to reach an enormous audience, they are able to take advantage of the tightly-knit audiences of nan0-influencers. And it doesn’t need a large budget to collaborate with these smaller influencers.
As they may just be setting out on their influencer marketing journey, they may seek a stable partnership. It could be a great indicator to take up a long-term partnership with the influencer.
However, finding reliable influencers could be a challenge given the number of fake accounts on social media. You have to completely analyze each profile and find out if it’s genuine or not.
So, what is it possible to do to create this process quicker?
To avoid this issue, you can use influencer discovery platforms. They can make the entire process of finding an influencer extremely simple. I recommend using Fourstarzz Media for the same.
It has a database of over 750K influencers and you can search for them predicated on hashtags, username, location, engagement rates, niche, and more.
2. Chatbots and AI
Chatbots are among the latest trends on social media. It is becoming increasingly simple for folks to attain out to brands through social media.
This helps it be very very important for brands to react to their queries as fast as possible. While it could be a difficult task to obtain a human to respond instantly, chatbots will come to the rescue in such situations.
AI may be the potential of social media and with it, you could have conversations together with your customers. Chatbots powered by AI is being applied to Facebook Messenger by many brands to promote their products and even resolve customers’ issues.
A great chatbot you can use for your business is Collect.chat. This chatbot can help you schedule meetings and collect leads with ease.
You don’t require any technical knowledge to build this chatbot. It can be built using its easy-to-use drag and drop chatbot builder.
Mastercard, for instance, has its own chatbot that talks to you about your expenditures and finances.
Image via Mastercard Newsroom
Due to improvements in AI, more brands are switching to this mode of customer service to improve customer satisfaction levels. It can come in handy to answer common questions that may not require any human intervention.
At the same time, the quick responses also result in immediate problem resolution for the customers.
With a lot of ongoing development in the field of AI, it could be safely assumed that chatbots are here to remain.
3. Employee Advocacy
With the rise of influencer marketing, there’s been a growth in the number of fake influencers too. These folks fake partnerships with brands to market themselves and be real influencers.
Brands have to put a whole lot of assets and periods into analyzing influencers to determine their authenticity. In a period when it could become difficult to trust influencers, employee advocacy will rise.
Your employees may become influencers for your brand amongst their circles. You can encourage your employees to speak about your brand on social media to market it amongst their own groups.
One method of doing this is giving some share-worthy content material to them. Alternatively, you can give them some incentive to promote your brand on social media as well.
So, how can you get your employees to post about your brand?
You can employ tools like DrumUp. This platform lets you release company updates to employees and makes it easy for them to share them on social media. Employees can schedule the posts with a single click and help spread the word about your brand online.
This platform also helps you incorporate an industry news stream so that you can keep your employees updated with the latest news in the industry.
Employees can be viewed as trusted sources of information for a brand. Getting them to promote your brand can help you gain traction on social media. This trend may dictate the future of social media marketing and influencer marketing.
4. Driving Sales Through Social Media
While social media is definitely used to create engagement and sales, the latter is now a good trend. Brands are given with the required tools to market their products on social media to obtain sales.
With advanced tracking tools like the Facebook Pixel, you’ll be able to chart out the customer journey as well.
However, because of this, you should keep publishing very good content regularly.
So, how will you achieve this?
To simplify publishing on social media, you can leverage platforms such as for example HubSpot. It enables you to develop and publish your campaigns directly. You can also schedule your posts well in advance so that you can publish them exactly when you want them to be posted.
Using the tool, you can also monitor your social mentions and engage with your audience. This can help you increase your sales.
According to Kleiner Perkins, about 55% of people who found a product on social media purchased it later. Among social media channels, Facebook is the leading platform for product discovery. Instagram and Pinterest are closely catching up in this trend as well.
This means that you can promote your products on these social media platforms to generate consistent sales. It is not necessary to rely on sales pitches anymore.
With social media, you can appeal to your target consumers and encourage them to obtain you. Paid promotions on social media for your products should become a part of your social media strategy.
5. The Need for Engagement
Engagement offers always mattered on social media. However, with the change in Facebook’s algorithm that emphasizes meaningful interactions, it is becoming a lot more important. This means that articles that start genuine conversations are becoming more favored.
So, what in the event you do?
To be able to improve your organic reach, your articles must be highly engaging. This means it must be interesting and attractive to your target audience too. It’s not enough to just ask people to like, share, and comment on your posts.
You have to change your approach and move away from engagement baiting techniques. Genuine content material is the key to success in the future of social media marketing.
6. The Growing of Groups
Groups on Facebook have new features such as live videos, story updates, and participation as a business page. With the changes in the algorithm of Facebook, Groups have become the go-to place to connect with your audience.
Through Groups, you can not only get feedback about your products but even generate additional engagement.
A similar effect has been noticed on Instagram where influencers have started building their profiles private. That is done in order to avoid the consequences of the Instagram algorithm.
An influencer, Sonny, turned most of his meme accounts private and discovered that the growth rate was greater than when he kept them open.
Instagram Stories likewise have a “GOOD FRIENDS” feature. Through this, brands can showcase their Stories to a select few visitors to give an insider appear. This may even give people a far more exclusive experience and they’d experience privileged in order to find these Stories too.
Such segmentation trends should be expected to grow and shape the continuing future of social media marketing.
2018 was a year filled with privacy issues on major social media platforms such as Facebook. GDPR also came into effect to protect the data that websites took from customers.
According to Sprout Social, only 55% of customers felt that brands were transparent to some extent on social media. On the other hand, only 15% of them felt that they were very transparent.
This powerful statistic demonstrates there’s a lot that brands need to do to grow their transparency on social media. And millennials expect brands to be the most transparent on social media. This means that you have to up the ante by admitting your mistakes or at least give honest responses to them.
The same survey also found the top desire of consumers is for transparency from brands. That includes business practices, the company’s values, and product adjustments. Meaning that you should share changes to your products and present a behind-the-scenes appearance of your company too.
The higher your transparency on social media, the even more consumers trust you. And trust can result in greater sales. Having said that, transparency certainly is the way ahead later on of social media.
Stories began on Snapchat. However, Facebook, Instagram, and WhatsApp quickly adopted this feature too. These primarily vertical Stories usually last a day and present people tremendous opportunities to develop different types of content.
About 500 million people watch Instagram Stories every single day. Similarly, Facebook stories can be seen on Messenger and Facebook on the desktop too.
They are highly engaging and due to their interactive nature, they have caught the attention of millennials. As much as 60% of these consume Stories on Instagram, 53% on Snapchat, and 48% on Facebook.
For this reason degree of engagement, they have grown to be a favorite marketing tool for brands. Additionally, they are easy to create and don’t need a large amount of post-processing.
The primary reason because of their success though is that they aren’t too much time to view. This helps it be very convenient for folks to view them on the run.
Recently, also LinkedIn joined the Stories bandwagon. This would go to display their effectiveness. It really is thus safe to state that Stories can be a robust trend in the future of social media marketing.
9. Live Videos
Live videos are another popular trend on social media. They were launched first on YouTube in 2008 and then on Facebook in 2016. Even Instagram added this feature later on.
A study conducted by Brandlive noted that about 95% of marketers were planning to add live videos to their social media marketing strategies. There’s a lot of things you can do through live videos such as launching new products.
You can even demonstrate your products and create how-to live videos. This can help your audience get acquainted with the product better too.
Tastemade, for example, used Facebook Live to create a how-to video for their products. A live video gives your audience the opportunity to interact with you in real-time and clear their doubts.
This can help generate additional engagement and make the interaction exciting for them too.
You can even give your brand a more human touch by creating Q&A live video sessions. These add a human element and allow the consumers to get their doubts solved during the video itself by talking to you.
Sephora frequently does Q&A live videos on Facebook to generate engagement and resolve their customers’ queries.
Image via Facebook
The rising importance of video marketing cannot be ignored and is definitely a trend that will define the future of social media marketing.
10. Importance of Messaging
Messaging apps have started giving serious competition to traditional social media platforms. People want to move beyond commenting on posts and want to interact with their close circles personally.
This makes messaging very favorable for them. WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger, and WeChat have garnered above 1 billion active monthly users.
Brands need to understand how people use messaging apps to get their desired reach and engagement.
Many brands have started sending out messages to customers on WhatsApp to build connections on a personal level.
This includes Absolut Vodka, which launched a campaign for an exclusive party. To enter the party, people had to message an imaginary bouncer and convince him to let them in. This resulted in over 1,000 unique images, videos, and audios targeted at convincing the bouncer.
Due to the ease with which you’ll be able to talk to near and dear ones, messaging will stay popular. There are lots of marketing avenues that are yet to be explored on it.
WhatsApp Business is only the beginning and this trend may as well become the future of social media marketing.
It is important to be as transparent as possible and build trust with consumers. With the rise of messaging apps, marketing on them may be a possibility in the near future.
Which trend do you think is definitely the most important to the future of social media marketing? Let us know in the comments.