Social media marketing is still one of the most important ways for brands to reach out to their customers, and statistics show that it’s the future of marketing. 88% of 18- to 29-year-olds indicated that they use some form of social media. That share falls to 78% among those from the ages of 30 to 49, 64% between the ages of 50 to 64 and 37% among Americans 65 and older. With so many different demographics utilizing social media, it has become a key component in every marketing campaign.
Knowing these six important trends will allow you to create an effective social media marketing campaign and stay ahead of your competitors.
1. Influencer Marketing
Influencer marketing is a current trend that's expected to remain as the popular and most effective way to market on social media. Influencer marketing is paving the way for marketers and the benefits are endless.
It’s relatively cheaper than traditional marketing and also provides the opportunity to attract more followers to your social sites. Through shares, mentions, and viewership - your brand can get massive social exposure, attracting tons of potential customers while reaching a whole new audience. Prices vary on the individual influencer, but are still drastically cheaper than celebrity endorsements.
The rise of micro-influencers has been so successful for business big and small that 59% of marketers are planning to increase their influencer marketing budgets for 2020. This area of marketing is becoming the fastest growing channel for brands, beating organic search, paid search and email marketing.
Influencers are also proven to be more trusted and come across as more authentic. These influencers also come with a higher level of engagement at a lower cost. Micro-influencers have a more targeted audience and are more accessible, meaning their followings are typically very loyal and long term. 70% of teens trust influencers more than traditional celebrities.
Your desired influencer should have a decent social media following. It's great if you can collaborate with someone who has hundreds of thousands of followers, but the most important thing to remember is authenticity. Some social users have purchased their following - for as low as one penny per follower – and so it’s important that you ensure their followers are potential customers and not bots. You can do so checking the authenticity of an account through various sites and applications.
Your influencer's following and their target market is also something you need to take into account. The right influencer can drive more action and increase the chances of their followers making a purchase. Especially with 'specialty codes' that influencers provide to their followers. These codes typically offer 10-25% off a product or service at checkout. They make it feel personal to both the influencer and consumer by making the code personalized to the influencer’s identity/username.
2. Customer engagement
Engaging with your customers is easier than ever before, and social media is one of the best ways to do so. Customer engagement not only increases your conversion rate but also helps you keep customers who are committed to your business.
To engage with your customers, create marketing campaigns that incorporate the use of attractive, exciting, and engaging content.
Or try searching your brand name on Twitter. If you find a customer that was disappointed with your product or service, reach out to them via direct reply or direct message. Let them know that you’re sincere and are unhappy about their negative experience. The same goes for customers who were pleasantly surprised with your service - a simple 'thank you' can go a long way.
3. Sales Enablement
Social media used to be a tool for socializing and meeting new people. Now it's become an important tool for businesses to make better use of their sales and marketing tools. It's also one of the most important channels for targeting the younger generation.
Over 1 billion people use Instagram every month. 71% of Instagram users around the globe are under the age of 35 while 35% of adults now incorporate Instagram into their social media routine - that's a 7% increase from 2016. Also consider that 88% of Instagram users are outside the U.S which is a whole lot of global ad revenue for your products and services.
Social media is more than just an online platform for improving brand awareness and engaging with one's audience, research has shown that most purchases originate from customers who come across brands on social media.
4. AI integration
Social media sites are incorporating the use of AI and automation tools to take things to the next level, and this is one key factor that can change the way your business interacts with its customers.
For example, chatbots can be used to increase engagement, allowing you to provide customer support when you don't have customer support staff. Chatbots are expected to grow in popularity this year as AI tools become more advanced.
5. Visual elements
Visuals are effective and important for social media marketing. This incorporates the use of high-quality images and videos that can be shared. Research has shown that 52% of marketing professionals name video as the content with the best ROI.
Aside from written content, there are plenty of ways to incorporate photos and videos into your strategy, including utilizing the live video and Stories functions available on numerous platforms. Visual elements demand more attention than regular social media posts, which will ultimately make your advertising campaigns more effective.
6. Trust and transparency
One of the last trends taking hold in 2019 is making social media more transparent. Certain laws and privacy regulations have changed the way that social sites collect, store and make use of the data they receive. This has led social media sites to learn about the importance of maintaining users' privacy by allowing a more transparent approach to the use of their data.
This means that brands need to ensure their social campaigns are ethical and correctly use the data obtained. For example, paid ads allow you to discover new audiences through user data and their interaction with these websites but certain measures need to be taken to make sure this information doesn't end up in the wrong hands.