01 Jun 4 Social Media Trends and How to Adjust Your Social Strategy
Social media has evolved over the years and in order to design a successful social media marketing strategy, you must consider the latest social media trends that are likely to have the biggest impacts. The audience is much wider and diverse and the way they interact with the various channels has changed considerably. For example, today’s audience is much more attracted towards visual content. So brands, both big and small, are leveraging visual content to allure prospective customers.
Another emerging trend that will become more prominent in 2016 is that Facebook will dominate the social landscape. So online marketers will be seen polishing their Facebook marketing skills to stay ahead of their competitors. Even though Twitter had gained a lot of attention, Facebook has surpassed it in terms of audience, engagement and all other aspects.
Even well-known brands like Coca Cola focus on Facebook marketing. For instance, Cola Cola has over 90 million ‘likes’ on Facebook but only above three million Twitter followers. If the brand does not post something new for days or even weeks on Facebook, the engagement is much higher on Facebook than Twitter (even though it posts regularly on Twitter).
So, if you are responsible for designing a successful social media campaign to improve the branding of your business, you must keep an eye on the latest and emerging social media trends and adjust your social strategy accordingly.
1. Live Video Streaming to Take Over
70 percent of businesses agree videos are the most important marketing tool; whereas two out of three companies expect to include videos in their marketing strategies. For instance, live streaming videos will take communication between the brands and their customers a step forward. Tools like Meerkat and Periscope allow business to stream live videos (unedited and unfiltered) to create customer strong relationships. In fact, it is so popular that even Facebook is joining hands with live streaming apps.
So how do you incorporate live video streaming to your social strategy? From providing live footage of events and broadcasting events you host around the world to running sponsored live streams and contests, you can simply get creative.
If used properly, they are more likely to work for your brand simply because people love the real-time effect of social media. When you combine this with their love for video, it becomes much easier to reach and influence your target audience.
Here are some tips to add live streaming to your social media strategy:
- Create a compelling video title to attract and engage users.
- Use scarcity to attract your audiences’ attention. The video broadcast expires in 24 hours on these live streaming apps, making them a brilliant tool to create the feeling of urgency.
- Combine live video streaming with other social channels like Twitter and Facebook. For example, use these platforms to make announcement about your broadcast; this will help you get maximum engagement.
- Archive your videos if you want to re-share, embed or repurpose them (especially if it really goes viral) by uploading them on YouTube and/or writing a blog post on the same.
2. It’s All About Facebook
This social networking site has been on rise for the past few years and market trends indicate that Facebook will continue to dominate the social landscape in 2016 as well. Facebook has been adding new features and tightening up the security to offer better experiences to its users, so long as it continues doing so, it will remain the most dominant social platform.
However, a survey found that 32.1million U.S Facebook users were between the ages of 25 to 34 years. Moreover, Facebook was the most popular social media app of millennials in U.S as of June 2014.
So focusing on Facebook marketing becomes much more important for businesses that target the millennials.
For instance, social media consultants and marketers must focus on utilising the new and advanced features like ‘Pin to Top’, ‘Buy Buttons’, etc. to leverage the potential of this particular social media platform. Facebook has also introduced advanced ad targeting options such as ‘interest targeting’ that allow businesses to target specific segments of customers depending on specific parameters. Thus you can be sure that you are not wasting money targeting the wrong bunch of people. So you can narrow down your audience and display ads to specific people only who would be interested in your products.
3. Social Commerce Goes Viral
Facebook was the early adopter of social commerce with its ‘Buy Now’ call to action buttons that were first tested back in July 2014. And last year, the social media site has also launched pages for shops, leaving very little to our imagination that we are finally entering the age of social commerce.
It is not just Facebook, Pinterest has also joined the social commerce bandwagon by rolling out a buyable Pins experience. Instagram too launched new ad formats including “Shop Now” that come with enhanced targeting for advertisers. And eventually Twitter followed the lead offering ‘Buy’ button to allow direct selling to businesses.
Thanks to the buy buttons, it is now possible for a user to make a one-click purchase directly on their favorite social networking sites. For businesses, it means new opportunities to improve your sales as these one-click purchases remove all frictions that are quite common in mobile conversion process.
4. Social Customer Service is the New Norm
So far you have been using social media to interact and engage with your target audience. But it’s time to take this passive relationship marketing strategy more seriously. Social media allows you to connect with your audience in real time, so why not use it to provide them a new experience – obsessive social customer care.
People today want to connect with their favorite brands instantly and they also need to feel that you are listening and you really care. Using obsessive social customer care can actually help you achieve this. However, there are certain things you need to do in order to make it a successful campaign:
- Make sure you’re using established brand guidelines for consistent responses.
- Focus on getting new clients but give special attention to keep the existing ones. These people can actually help you strengthen your brand’s image and also serve as your brand ambassadors.
- Make sure you have a presence on social networking sites where your customers are and spend quality time there.
- Conducts relationship/experience surveys and customer happiness surveys from time-to-time and take immediate action if you need improvement.
- Surprise and delight your existing customers whenever you can by simply being relatable and approachable. Southwest Airlines, for example, absolutely delighted their passengers by just offering complimentary gift wrapping during Christmas.
The social media landscape is ever evolving, so in order to stay ahead of the curve social media marketers must keep an eye on the latest trends and polish their skills accordingly. Companies that adapt to the changes quickly will be the ones to benefit the most. So instead of following others, design new strategies and implement them to knock down your competition.
When it comes to social media, it is all about how you interact with your customers and how you make them feel about themselves and your brand. All the latest trends have one thing in common – to provide a better experience to the users. Whether it is about live video streaming or content curation, it is all about providing the most accurate and relevant information to the users and provide them with a better user experience.
So, pull up your socks and polish your skills to tame the latest social media trends!
Vivek Patel is a Local Search Specialist at E2M, one of the fastest growing digital marketing agencies based in India committed to meeting the highest ethical standards of digital marketing services to encourage and drive strategic and sustainable business growth. He covers local search optimization, link building tactics and Social Media Marketing Services. You can find him on twitter: @vivekrpatel