In the last five years, social networks have acquired about 1 billion new users. Over one third of the world’s population is now accessible via social media, and companies have gone from being skeptical about social media marketing to seriously investing in it.
In this social media dominated world, marketing is heavily reliant on technology, but that technology remains focused on people. This year’s trends will help marketers reach and engage their audience on a more personal level, over social media noise. Companies will be able to fine-target their niche communities, with increased support from software solutions.
Social Media Marketing Trends and Tips
The following is a list of trends and tips for social media marketers to leverage now.
1. Investment in Visual Marketing Will Increase
Most social networks have already launched their versions of live-streaming. Twitter has Periscope, Facebook’s Live, and other networks like Blab and DubSmash support live video sharing. Live-feeds are becoming the “in-thing”. Even the US Presidential election updates were broadcast live by BuzzFeed on Twitter.
You can use live video platforms to engage you audience will near-tangible experiences. If you don’t have a Facebook Live strategy, now is the best time to get one.
With social feeds growing crowded and viewer attention spans growing shorter by year, you’ll need powerful graphics to captivate your audience. In the last five years, the graphic design software market has expanded, giving marketers extensive options to choose from. You can put together graphics on a drag-and-drop editor to simplify your content creation process.
2. Personalization Will Become Priority
Today’s social media users are faced with ads and commercial content on multiple fronts. The receive information from multiple sources, and breaking through that barrier is becoming a tough task for brands and marketers. Personalization will help marketers slice through the chaos and reach only the people who matter.
Tracking consumers’ behaviors on social platforms and targeting them based on interests will become an essential part of marketing. Some social media marketing tools and apps are already incorporating features to support personalization and targeting. More technology solutions will appear in the time to come. You can target your high-potential market by posting content that only they can relate to, or by targeting them using data pulled from tools.
3. Brand Advocacy Will Grow Popular Among Marketers
Ad saturation is driving brands to look for alternative means to reach their target markets. Investment in advocate marketing has seen a steep increase (by about 191 percent) in the recent times. Micro-influencers could be the key to increasing your brand’s reach on social media, because they are more influential and credible than your brand can be.
Employees, customers and social fans are among the micro-influencers that brands are activating. There a quite a few great employee advocacy guides and case-studies that you can look at for inspiration in building your brand advocate outreach programs. You can use an advocacy platform to build and run your brand advocacy program.
4. Native Content Promotion Will Expand
In Joe Pulizzi’s words, native advertising is content marketing’s “gateway drug”. The modern audience is wise to commercial ploys, and traditional advertising alone may not be a great option for branding your company. Native ads help you create awareness without disrupting users’ activities. Content delivered in this manner can help you connect with your audience without being too pushy. According to a study, native ads are set to to grow to $21 billion by 2018.
Content discovery tools, content distribution platforms and content amplification tools are interesting means to having your content shared organically on social media. You could use one of these solutions to have your content positioned where it can earn you some traction.
5. Marketing Automation Will Go Mainstream
Companies with constrained marketing budgets may have not used marketing automation until now, but according to a study, 92 percent of these companies are losing revenue because of that decision. 2017 may see business of all types and sizes adopt marketing automation. 91 percent marketers are convinced that automation is an indispensable part of marketing.
Each social network is unique in terms of demographic and use-cases. This may force businesses to be present on more than one of them to keep consumers and prospects engaged. Managing social pages can be a time intensive task, without the assistance of a supporting social management tool. The idea is to use the tool to automate tasks that don’t require personal attention – like posting created content to multiple accounts and catching mentions of your brand. You can also curate content with a tool and take the final call on what to share. It all comes down to the extra-time that you can save to better invest elsewhere. Managing content on a central platform can also help you maintain consistency across different pages.
Social media marketing is set to evolve into a highly tech-focused and detail-oriented effort. To succeed at reaching and engaging your target market, you need to explore and stay abreast of the latest developments and technologies offered for social. The areas mentioned on this post are good places to keep tabs on.
Social Media Photo via Shutterstock
As someone that works in social media, we often hear how “noisy” it is.
Naturally what follows next is people wondering how to cut through that, how to get heard in a social media atmosphere that more people are delving into each day with their own messaging.
Personally, I don’t find social media to be noisy – if you’re analyzing your data and joining the communities you truly fit into, as well as spending the most time in the communities where you want to be heard, you won’t find it noisy at all.
But for many startup companies, the “noise” they experience can be overwhelming. Brands and people often come to social media with no concrete plan or strategy, and that’s when I recognize noise. That’s when social media turns from a WE activity, to a ME activity.
Here are some tips I’ve found to help combat some of that and work towards joining a community where you can be heard, as well as hearing others:
1. ABT (Always Be Testing)
Your analytics are a goldmine of information. Paying attention to them will teach you when your target audience is online, what posts you put out get the most attention, and what topics your community responds best to. You can use that information to then tailor your content to fit into what your audience and community wants more of, which will in turn help them see you as a key resource, garner you more attention an reputation.
2. Let Go Of The Ego
Remember, a group of like-minded goal oriented people will always accomplish more than the one person that thinks they know it all and can do it alone.
Grow your community by being the same person online as you are when you meet people offline.
You don’t walk up to potential friends and introduce yourself, then go on to pitch them on what you do for a living and how they can buy in, they’d get bored and walk away. Rather, you introduce yourself to people and ask questions about them, try to get to know them, see what they are interested in and where you have things in common.
3. Focus on the Consumer
This is a bit of a follow up to #2. When people feel that they’re important to you, they pay more attention to you.
Thank people for posts or sharing your posts. Ask questions that help you get to know people better, and when you are asked questions, answer them honestly, and as you. We all know there are faces behind each brand, let your personality come out from behind the brand as well.
Allow yourself to be the fun, engaging and relatable person you are offline, online.
4. Do More Than Just Listen
Active social listening is one of the most important items in any social media plan – but you have to do more than simply listen and place people into little persona boxes. You have to have open two-way, mutually beneficial conversations.
This is the only way to truly get to know people – find out what’s important to them and the ways you can help make their lives better.
You already know you’ve got the best product/brand/service in the market – how can you let your communities know that as well, without directly telling them?
5. Add Visuals
Look at your own timeline and take some time to scroll through. What catches your eye? The miles and miles of text, or a picture or video that pops out?
I’m willing to put my money on the visuals.
Use one-of-a-kind photos (best if you take them yourself!) that represent you or your brand and intersperse them with your text.
6. Be Consistent
Keep your core values top of mind through all content mediums and platforms. Each time someone has a touchpoint with you or your brand, they should be able to recognize it as the same from another medium, without thought.
Consistency also leads to reliability, and reliability leads to trust. And trustworthy people and brands always stand out.
When you’re able to put all or some of these items together, you can better create a top-notch user experience for your communities, consumers and potential consumers. People will begin to see you as helpful, responsive, as someone who cares about their needs.
When you speak to people as they like to be spoken to you’ll have no problem conquering the noise on social media.
Many businesses use social media to promote their business and engage with their target audience. They hire designers, writers and social media experts to build a strong brand through a creative communication strategy.
Social media provided a level playing field to small businesses and individuals to compete with established brands and make a name for themselves without spending a fortune on their marketing efforts. Over time, the platforms became highly competitive and cluttered.
Today, building trust on social media is an uphill task for new businesses. Not all new ventures can afford to hire the top rated professionals to develop unique messaging. And yet, they have to become a reliable brand on social media to survive and thrive.
When you don’t have deep pockets, time and patience become your best friends. In real life, you consistently need to do genuine work to win the trust of the people. There is no shortcut; you have to be patient, take a stand and sacrifice short term gains to become an authentic voice in society. The same goes for building trust on social media.
No matter what business you are in, there are three things that you must do to become trustworthy on social media:
1. Be Accountable
As a business or an individual, you must be accountable for your actions, policies, products, services, or communication. The accountability is not meant only for customers. You have to be responsible towards your employees as well.
Through social media messaging, you need to prove that you are accountable for any action you or your employees take. Admit your mistake when necessary and ensure that the same doesn’t get repeated. If you are selling products or services of other brands (if you are a trader or brokerage firm), you have to be accountable for whatever information you provide to your customers.
In certain cases, you may not control the behavior of buyers or sellers. However, you need to handle the situation with complete responsibility and show this to your social media audience through appropriate messaging.
2. Be Transparent
Transparency develops trust. Being transparent is the easiest way to build trust in real life as well as on social media. However, being transparent is also tricky for the business. You can’t be 100% open, as it will go against your business interest to share everything publicly. However, you need to decide the degree of transparency you are willing to adopt to build trust. Some companies publish their income reports on their websites to build trust among their target audiences. This is an instance of a high level of transparency. Some of the businesses show real working and internal processes through videos, images or blogs. They hide the critical parts whereas show what is relevant for end users. This is the middle level of transparency. You need to decide whether you want to show a low, middle or high level of transparency to build trust for your brand.
3. Be Authentic
This is the most basic requirement for being trustworthy. Being authentic means being true to yourself. The Internet is full of expert articles and contents that shows how to do everything in your life. However, readers believe very few of these blogs.
If you want your content to be read and liked by the people, then be honest while writing. Don’t exaggerate the benefits of your products or services. No one can advise you on how to become authentic. You simply need to write your feeling and experiences honestly to become a trustworthy person or business.
If you change your stand to please a particular audience, then you will be like the politicians; loved by some and hated by others but trusted by none. The choice is obviously yours.
It takes years to build trust — and five minutes to destroy it. Therefore, every word or graphic posted on your social media page should adhere to certain standards set by you. It doesn’t mean that you should be afraid of making mistakes. It simply implies that being original and sincere towards your customers is an effective way of building a brand.
You can’t buy trust. However, you can definitely sell a trustworthy brand at a premium price.
Have a long-term vision and be patient to deal with short-term hiccups and disappointments to build an ever enduring brand on social media.