Latest Trends in Social Media

2019.  Everyone (and their pets) now have social media accounts.

From ‘Bebo’ to the likes of Instagram, the social networking world has come a long way in the last decade. Friends, family, nosey colleagues and that ‘friend-of-a-friend’ you met once at a summer BBQ are now able to stay connected and in-tune with all aspects of your life.  The globe has never been so connected.

Love it or hate it, marketers can rejoice at this Twenty-First Century phenomenon! It provides us with a ground-breaking tool to connect and learn about our audience in the most intricate ways previously thought impossible, and it’s our job to stay in tune with the trends the social media world has to offer. Understanding how these invaluable data-led insights can transform your online marketing strategy will undoubtedly optimise your online performance and brand awareness.

Everyone loves to stay fashionable, especially online. Here are some key social media practises that should be on all Marketeers radar’s this year in the world of Social Media:

 

…And, we are live!

Formally introduced in 2017, live video streaming on social media platforms continues to thrive and is a fantastic tool to provide organic, unique insights into your brand from an intimate angle. A study suggests that 82% of consumers said they would rather watch live videos than read social media posts. This is something that the likes of Facebook and Instagram have quickly jumped on and added as a feature to their channels.

Not only can you be seen instantly in the palm of your customer's hands, you can now interact and respond to comments in real-time, bringing customer and brand closer together than ever before.

Camera shy? A few ideas to get you going:

  • Own a buzzing bar? Entice near-byers with streaming of the live music playing and the drinks flowing.
  • New offices? Give your followers a live tour and insight into behind the scenes of your brand.
  • Company activities? Show off your company culture by capturing live events to stand out from your competitors.

 

Chatbots are taking over

Remember AOL instant messenger? (Me neither…)

These initial chatbot capabilities have been spruced up by the world of social media and are being used to a marketer’s advantage for instant interaction between consumer and brand. From food chains to fashion brands, bots are now capable to pick up on keywords and phrases, programmed for automatic responses and reminders with a ‘personalised’ touch to their audience.  (personalisation- another blog for another time).

A cost-effective and time-saving way to respond to consumers, instant interaction is key to success in a generation that is moving at 100mph. It may not be the personal touch that is desired, but chatbots are well on their way to severe company cost reduction and customer relation improvements.

 

What’s a social media influencer, and what do they ACTUALLY do?

I am not talking about ‘that girl from your year’ who now has 4k followers on Instagram, I am talking about the micro-influencers who are able to entice a specific type of audience that your brand can take leverage from, through the influencers knowledge and constant analysis of their follower's behaviour.

Primarily known as influencers (because they do just that, influence) a follower may be attracted to the individual’s aesthetic, trainer collection, cooking techniques, or just their comedic value they add to their stream. They become trusted by their following; a perfect way to introduce your brand/product through the lives of these closely followed individuals.

Be a restaurant, hotel, clothing brand or teeth whitening company (sorry, I had to) it’s up to you to utilise this new social media phenomenon by discovering influencers that market your brand’s ethos and style in a strategic, and thematic way.

Not convinced? A few reasons why influencers aren’t all that bad:

  • Cost-effective- Minimum budget to create a creative campaign? One cost to the influencer and they will do the heavy work for you (location finding, photography, editing, time…) Some influencers don’t even request a payment, rather gifted goods- even more, assurance your brand will continue to be advertised on their platforms.
  • Trusted- It takes time to build up a large following.  Content from influencers can, therefore, be trusted to be good quality and specific to its enticed followers.
  • Ambassador- Positivity regarding your brand online is imperative for its successes. Popular individuals with a strong following will enable your brand to be presented at a large scale.

 

Analytic dashboards are becoming more important:

It’s crazy the amount of data and insights that are now available to monitor as a marketer.  Thankfully, gone are the days of manually adding figures into a spreadsheet! Wonderful online tools now provide professional dashboards that can be personalised, configured and closely monitored to brand-specific requirements and goals.

From consumer gender to age range, duration of visits, to who liked/laughed/loved/disliked/worried regarding your online posts, all aspects of your online social media presence can now be monitored with a fine-tooth comb. As the capabilities of these social channels are optimising, your ability to analyse and use this data is imperative for the success and quality of your online appearance.

Discovering a tool on the market that is right from you will differ from brand to brand, but it’s important to be able to view all channels together and understand the activity distributed across all platforms, understanding your consumer's platform preferences:

 

  • A B2B financial investment firm? LinkedIn will inevitably be your main man, followed by industry-specific content across twitter to entice the passive scroller to your site.
  • Start-up food business? Invest in a great photographer and become Instagram’s best friend.  Use its brother Facebook as a location finder and sharer first, before spending money on a website.

 

Private Communities

Everyone likes to feel like a VIP, and social media users are no different, with increasing trends of private group interactions across social platforms.

Channels are continuously developing their private group capabilities, making it easier than ever to set up an exclusive space for you and your targeted audience.

Privacy is a negative word for many nosy marketers, but its’ time to use this secrecy-barrier to our advantage. Exclusivity provides your consumer with a feeling of entitlement and importance, as well as a feeling of urgency that can be hard to implement across social channels. 

Consider creating a brand hub for your loyal/ regular customers to communicate at a closer level with not only your brand but with other loyal brand followers. Let them do the selling!

 

Augmented reality

Finally, I come to the wonderful world of augmented reality. A fun, interactive way to bring your brand directly to the user.

Snapchat and Instagram are big advocates of this new interactive experience, from creating filters dedicated to certain events to actually implementing your product in videos or photos to let customers try it on.

Beauty brands have jumped on this trend with elegance, developing applications that allow the consumer to virtually ‘try on’ their make-up, for a fun, interactive digital experience

This is both a talking point, allowing amused consumers the capability to share their digital interaction with your brand, and a unique, technically savvy way to beat the ‘high-street shopper’ advocates, who protest the importance of sensory experience and boo-hoo the online shopper. 

It may be new to the market, but it is an exciting window into the new era of consumer marketing. Something to keep an eye on in the coming years.