The role of social media in the average person’s life is not to be taken lightly; for many people, social media has become a primary source of their news, entertainment, and social life. As a result, it has also become a powerful tool for marketers who wish to expand their audience.
Here are some trends that have been growing over the course of 2018 thus far and which are expected to continue to develop in the coming months.
Chatting with Chatbots
This year has seen a number of brands testing chatbots—software that can emulate human conversation—as a way of providing faster customer service in a wide variety of situations ranging from ordering pizza to more complex problem-solving. The results have been somewhat mixed.
Chatbots have been steadily improving and are no longer the clunky machines that they were in the past, becoming both smarter and more human-like. This means that you can customize them for your brand and have them send personalized messages directly to users. According to Facebook, there are 100,000 active bots on Messenger each month, connecting marketers to their audience. By year-end, it is predicted that approximately 30% of our conversations will include machine assistance.
Chatbots can interact one-on-one with your customers, answering their questions and providing information in a timely, effective manner. And unlike many humans, they can stay calm and polite no matter how rude a customer may be.
The effective use of chatbots can allow you to offer customer service superior to that of your competitor.
Here, then Gone: Ephemeral Content
Ephemeral content—which typically lasts for up to 24 hours before vanishing forever—might seem like an odd approach to marketing, but it has shown remarkable popularity and is providing excellent engagement.
It has become quite popular with Instagram, Facebook Stories and Snapchat leading the way. Snapchat, in particular, cannot be overlooked. With 10 billion video views every day, it is an excellent way to reach younger millennials and Generation Z
Brands are starting to adopt two separate strategies: one for social channels, and another for marketing via ephemeral content.
Ephemeral content is often considered to be more authentic than longer-lasting sponsored ads, or posts that appear spammy. The transient nature of ephemeral content means that your audience will need to interact with it before it is gone, creating a sense of urgency referred to as FOMO (Fear of Missing Out) that helps direct them to take action.
Given the fleeting nature of ephemeral content, potential customers need to give it their full attention, which is something that marketers benefit from greatly.
Engaging Clients on a Personal Level.
While a certain segment of one’s audience has always tended to be somewhat skeptical of advertising, fully 84% of Millennials state that they do not trust traditional advertising. As a result, creating content that is geared specifically toward selling is proving ineffective.
Content that is not personally relevant is often overlooked, while content that is personalized and centred on user personas is much more likely to engage. By knowing your target audience’s needs and wants, you can tailor a persona relatable to them and form a deeper connection.
Consider also reaching out to influencers and having them share your brand with their followers. Influencers connect on a personal level with their—and your—audience, and a simple recommendation from them can lead directly to sales for you.
Engage your audience. Read and comment on their posts. Share their stories. Form a relationship with them. That engagement will lead to trust, which will lead to confidence in your brand.
Live Streaming and Interactive Broadcasting
In 2017, fully 90% of all content shared on social media was video content, and where written content seeks to catch a reader’s attention with headlines, video content seeks to entice viewership within the first three seconds.
Video is the fastest-growing ad format. Each year, the amount of video advertising has been doubling, and by 2020 it is expected to make up 80% of online consumer traffic.
Video is an excellent means to build engagement and build relationships. It is as close as one can get to a face-to-face encounter with your audience, and Facebook Live and Instagram Live are being used to great effect, with companies creating highly-engaging content. Livestreaming, by its nature, will not appeal to disinterested parties, allowing you to focus your efforts on your niche target audience more effectively.
Even better, interactive streaming allows two-way streaming, allowing parties to chat with one another, and it doesn’t even require users to download another app, as it can integrate with existing apps.
Image Recognition and AI
Social media may as well be called visual media, with nearly 3.2 billion photos being shared daily on platforms like Facebook and Instagram. There is a clear trend toward visual content. Tools like Einstein Vision allow a business to search social media for images related to their brand, including visuals with no text keyword mentions. This will be useful in gaining new metrics and more accurate data than was previously accessible, which in turn will aid in building effective marketing campaigns.
Keeping an eye on emerging trends in social media is a good idea that will allow you to make use of these platforms to their fullest extent, and given how social media is virtually omnipresent, this represents significant exposure for your business.