Social media is constantly evolving, making regular reviews of your strategy essential. It’s tricky to keep up with emerging trends and adopt them while still getting on with the day job, which is why so many companies employ digital specialists or agencies.
Whatever your social media model, it’s not just a good idea, it’s good commercial sense to know what the trends are, where people are spending digital time and how you can harness this knowledge to profit your business.
Here is our view on four macro trends for 2017.
Visual and interactive content
Live streaming, along with video, is an opportunity for progressive companies to embrace. Twitter’s Periscope and Facebook Live are already proving popular, Instagram is testing its own version and YouTube live is about to launch. Investigate possibilities for high quality engaging, interactive and innovative content around an event, video blogging, product demonstrations, webinars or Q&A sessions. CJAM Group used live streaming of the TyreSafe briefing via Periscope and received a very positive response from followers.
In-the-moment storytelling via apps such as Instagram Stories and Snapchat stories, which have a 24- hour timeline, may also have value for your business.
Building up an audience and sharing updates purely organically is ‘old school’ and won’t reach far. To cut through the huge volume of messages posted online, and offset the result of network algorithms limiting the percentage of your own audience seeing your posts, promoted posts and updates are essential now.
Social media ad spend is forecast to exceed $41bn in 2017, according to Adobe*. Together with content and SEO, it accounts for one of the largest annual marketing expenditures. B2B is very much part of this, adopting a similar approach to historic B2C audience engagement.
Paid search requires a much more focused understanding of the content your audience wants to see. Research their needs and analyse data from previous engagement, and you can produce highly targeted posts which are still shareable. Tracking is straightforward through views and clicks.
Customer experience – Increased personalisation and artificial intelligence
Linked to the above, targeted advertisements are set to increase across the web and social networks. Millennials aka Generation Y (aged 20 -35 and currently the largest generation alive) expect and value one-to-one communication which is consistent, transparent and intuitive. A Facebook advertisement that takes them to a chat window with your brand is one example; text messaging and in-app messaging are also more likely to be received positively.
Customer service is moving into greater use of artificial intelligence. Chatbots, which answer FAQs or provide immediate information online, are definitely on the rise reducing response times to social and web messages in need of an answer.
While we aren’t suggesting a free-for-all on social media by employees, encouraging team members to share specific brand messages on their own social media accounts is definitely a trend worth exploring. Even smaller companies can benefit from dozens of increased followers. In addition to sidestepping algorithms, posts from personal accounts are generally more trusted.
Various tools include social media dashboard Hootsuite’s Amplify or LinkedIn’s Elevate. Although not free as the basic versions are, these may be advantageous if used well. With Amplify Hootsuite calculates a potential 200% increase in social reach for an organisation with 50 employees, 300 Twitter followers, 400 Facebook fans and 500 LinkedIn followers. LinkedIn suggests content shared by employees has twice the engagement of that by a company and sales people who regularly share content are 45% more likely to exceed their quota.
Please contact us, if you would like to know more about our social media services.