Whether you are running a small local operation, or heading a global enterprise-level effort, it’s very clear, your customers are online and you should be too. They are interacting in social channels with their friends, colleagues, and other brands in search of information, recommendations, and entertainment.

There are tons of opportunities to add value—even to delight!—and making that connection can help build a person’s relationship with a company, brand, or representative. But how do we keep up with all the every day changes that come with keeping up with the digital age?

We’re here to help! Here are 5 top trends we are doing to enhance our clients social media.

1.  Build a Trusting Atmosphere

Users have grown distrustful of influencers and fake followers, relying instead on immediate friends, family, and acquaintances on social media, as well as traditional journalism outlets.

For brands and companies, efforts should shift from maximizing reach on social media to creating trust. The #1 importance in 2019 social media is transparency, community building and creating authentic, personalized interactions. No one likes being constantly bombarded with social ads. Even worse is when you’re being marketed for things that are completely irrelevant to you.

Make the content REAL and inviting. Create a platform that is a 2-way street, not just a avenue to post sales-y “buy my product now” robotic updates.

2. The Year of Story-Telling

At the end of 2018, 400 million users were actively using Instagram stories every day. And that number is only growing. Social media’s popularity is rooted in the fact that it allows us to share our life experiences with friends and families in immediate time. At first, that was through written posts and photos, but video content and story feeds are the new cool kid in town.

Instagram, Snapchat and Facebook are embracing this trend, and it’s changing the way we consume social media content. This opens the door for brands to share more human interaction of their own, which will inspire audiences to try out their product. Stories feels real, immediate and personal, but it also demands a mix of more time-intensive video, images and graphics, and requires brands to be more creative and thoughtful in the intent.

“When anyone in your audience misses a post, when they log on to Facebook or Instagram, your story will be visible to them at the top of their newsfeed. It’s a great way to reengage a passive audience and bring updates to your entire audience in a dynamic way.”  (Facebook)

3. Influencer Marketing vs. Employee Advocacy

Influencer marketing continues to develop and grow on social media platforms. Influencers are social media figures who have gathered a defined community around themselves. Their large followings (which can range from the thousands to over a million viewers) give them influence over others. They can be incredibly effective as salespeople because we inherently trust the people we follow on social media.

but be careful…

It has become so bloated as an industry that accounts are faking their partnerships so they can become actual influencers. So you really need to vet the influencer and their credibility before partnering up.

with that being said…

We personally believe Employee Advocacy will rise up as the next level of influence in the coming year. Encouraging your employees to talk about your brand via social media will help brand awareness even more. If your employees don’t believe in your product, then why would anyone else?

While some will be hesitant, you’ll inevitably have champions who get it and will run with it.

4. Invest in Social Ads & Retarget your Audience

In 2018, marketers produced more social ads than ever before and increased their budgets by 32%. One out of every four Facebook Pages now use paid advertising as part of their social media strategy and Facebook accounts for 23% of total U.S. digital ad spending. All of these numbers suggest that not only is social advertising around to stay, but competition will only get more intense.

Customers have also come to expect brands to tailor special offers and discounts to their wants and needs. To keep up with expectations, businesses need to step up their game when it comes to targeted advertising. Nearly every social media platform offers some level of audience filtering with advertising. These options range from simple geographic targeting to advanced filters that refine audiences into highly specific segments.

In the coming year, brands will increasingly turn to hyper-targeted personalization to reach their audiences. This is often achieved through retargeting or remarketing ads. Ever wonder why you’re seeing an ad on your social media site for something you were shopping for earlier? That’s hyper-targeted personalization at its finest.

Using “cookies” while you browse online, marketers collect data on users, such as online habits, the area they live in and any other pertinent information. Thus to push sales for products that your target demographic is already seeking.

5. Move to Private Groups on Facebook

Groups took off in 2018 as a way for brands to connect directly with fans without the algorithm affecting their posts. They’ve been used not only as a quick feedback tool but also as to support engagement and build authentic conversations.

The best thing about joining a Facebook group is that you have one-on-one access to the people who really care about your brand. For starters, you can post a question and get feedback that you can use to improve your business. Or, just be a fly on the wall. Observe conversations and see what people are asking questions about or need help with.

Whether you’re looking to brainstorm, troubleshoot a problem, or get a very important question answered, the people in Facebook groups can help connect you with the information you need.

It’s also a great way to connect with experts or build a referrals network with other people. Some Facebook group members post questions and leads if they are looking to connect with a specific person to work with. If you start offering advice and giving back to the group, you may be tapped on the shoulder by a potential client or customer as well.

Need help with your Social Media?

If you are interested in learning more about how we can help your business excel in the social media world, give us a call or shoot us a message. We would be glad to learn more about your digital goals for success.

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