Having a strong social media presence is now vital should businesses wish to engage better with their audiences. Additionally, a strong social media strategy will help improve the bottom line due to the increased visibility leading to more prospects. As the current year starts to come in full swing, here are five social media marketing trends predicted to shape the online environment and improve conversion rates for businesses.
Video content is the fastest growing format on social media so many companies have started taking advantage of it more. This type of content format is easily digested especially for busier consumers who do not have a lot of time to scroll through long text. In response to this shifting tastes in media, social media platforms have started improving their avenues for video content.
For example, February 2019 saw the demo of LinkedIn Live, the social network of the corporate world. Launched as a beta in the US, the tool provides the opportunity for organizations and professionals to hold their own live streams on dedicated groups or the platform as a whole.
Through this avenue, live streaming is now tapping its way to the professional market. Even organizations can provide viewers with a backstage look at their operations in real time.
Another trend in live streaming coming up is the use of vertical video formats. Initially unpopular with consumers in the early days, vertical videos have started to make a comeback in popularity. IGTV, Instagram’s video application app allows users to upload vertical videos lasting from 10 minutes or 60 minutes for verified and popular accounts. Youtube likewise, has made improvements on their vertical video formats as well, eliminating the dreaded black bars when viewing.
Alongside these developments comes the consumer’s expectation for authenticity which in turn, makes the content more personal and more intimate. They want to connect with businesses not as mere clients but as peers. That said, this increased transparency may be daunting for certain sectors like financial and legal services but for other industries, authentic video content could be the leverage they need.
Augmented Reality or AR, is the act of taking the real world and augmenting it with virtual, computer-generated additions. Think Pokemon Go where players are able to see the titular creatures frolicking in familiar destinations when viewed through their phone screens. AR seeks to enhance the existing natural environment as opposed to Virtual Reality or VR which creates new worlds from scratch.
It has started making its impact in social media and further developments will only enhance the experience in the future.
Snapchat allows users to add features like virtual top hats and flower crowns on their photos without actually needing those items at hand.
And then there’s IKEA with their AR Place where users can view in advance how a particular furniture item will fit in their homes.
Sephora also has their Virtual Artist which allows prospects to try on makeup before purchase. This feature is helpful for those who want to see how a particular shade might look on their skin.
The response so far has been positive. In a study conducted by Digital Bridge, over 1/3 of consumers were motivated to make a purchase after viewing the product using AR. 56% of 18-24-year-old consumers were also more likely to use AR if it comes in the form of a wearable device i.e. Google Glass for convenience. From this, interactive content will be the new means of engagement for brands and marketers going forward.
Social Media E-commerce
With brands taking to social media to promote their products and services, it is no surprise to see transactions occur on these platforms as well. Facebook Marketplace allows businesses to integrate their store and social media. Instagram has also announced a feature that will let users purchase tickets and make reservations. This provides a big opportunity for many businesses like restaurants and theatres.
Selling directly on social media marketplaces has the benefit of having most of the functions on one page. They can run their ads on social media and take orders at the same time without going to another site. Signing up for social media sites is also free, making it a great alternative for new or smaller businesses.
The Growth of Influencer Marketing
Influencer marketing is projected to grow even further this year. This is despite experiencing its fair share of growing pains and scandals in the past year. Brett Hershman, contributor at Entrepreneur and other blogs projected this industry to grow up to 10 billion by 2020. As TV ads decline, brands are now clinging on to these influencers. Getting other people to promote their products makes it easier for brands to earn customer trust.
Influencers come in all shapes and sizes. The athlete Cristiano Ronaldo for one maintains a huge Instagram following where he makes sponsored posts for brands like Nike. On the other hand, Rachel Mansted became an influencer after she was fired from her job. She makes more than double her old salary through her posts and partnerships with brands like Wildscape Food.
Not all influencers have to be top celebrities with millions of followers. Some businesses connect with micro-influencers. Micro-influencers may not have large followings but they tend to be more engaged with their followers. This engagement can be handy for promoting a business’ service.
Instagram is the leading platform, recently hitting a billion active users in 2018. In addition, it is projected to bring more than 5.48 billion dollars in revenue this coming year. At the rate it is going, Instagram can overtake Facebook due to the latter’s falling figure due to privacy issues.
The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) has now started to seep into social media. As a recap, the GDPR requires businesses to protect the personal data and privacy of EU citizens during online transactions. Thus, non-compliance could result in sanctions by the regulatory body.
Consumers nowadays are very concerned about securing their data. Even targeting end users based on certain attributes like age or gender can be viewed as an invasion of privacy. To this end, marketers relying on paid ads will need to keep a closer eye on their campaigns. They have to ensure compliance regarding security and consent.
With all these social media trends emerging, knowing the audience will remain as the greatest prerequisite towards drafting a great social media campaign. Quick and comprehensive responses and interaction will only take these new innovations to higher levels if done correctly.
Of course, experimenting with social media strategies can be time-consuming enough. With routine tasks taking a large portion of time, there is usually not enough for testing different channels. To that end, outsourcing social media management has become a popular practice in recent years. Businesses can now avail of help for their social media while they figure out the best strategy for their audience.
If your business is struggling with multiple inquiries on social media, AGBI is here to help. Our agents are ready to meet your customers’ needs while you provide added value to their lives. Managing social media can be tough. To that end, we are always ready to extend a helping hand.