We’ve talked about general marketing trends to expect and how blogging will continue to be as important as ever in the coming year. What about social media, though? Are some of the most popular techniques starting to lose steam? What new trends will take the place of the strategies that don’t get big results anymore? Predicting the future is tough, but we can take a look at what’s already becoming popular and give a pretty good guess if we think that tactic will continue to be popular in 2018. So, what do we expect the social marketing trends to be in the New Year? Let’s take a look.
Overlapping Social PlatformsMarketers will still need to publish content to multiple platforms, depending on their target audience. There’s still not one single social platform that reaches all potential buyers. Instagram may be climbing up there with 800 million active users, but that could never compare to Facebook’s 2 billion monthly users. Beyond that, there is still a small but loyal group of holdouts hanging on to Snapchat, regardless of how popular Instagram has become. How can you still reach everyone? By crafting messages for the various platforms your buyers are most likely to use. Just don’t make the mistake of overdoing your platform choices. There’s no need to use every single option available to you, especially if you won’t find many of your target buyer persona there.
Social ListeningIt’s easy to set it and forget it when it comes to scheduling your social media posts. That doesn’t help you stay on top of what your buyers are looking for, though. Believe it or not, your customers are talking about you on social media. If you don’t hear the chatter, it’s because you’re not listening. Take some time to seek out the posts about your business. In some cases, you’ll be tagged, and that makes the posts easier to find. Sometimes, however, you’ll be mentioned without a tag. You might have to get a little more creative with your searches in order to find these posts. Use keywords that include your industry, your products, and your company name to dig up all of them. There are also some tools that could help you get better at hearing the chatter about your brand. Beyond learning what your current buyers say about you, you can also seek out potential future customers with social listening. Someone out there is looking for what you sell. If you’re paying attention to the questions, you can jump in with the answers before they find someone else to buy from.
Learn About Chat BotsChat bots sound so futuristic that it’s hard to wrap our heads around the possibilities available to us. It’s possible right now to let a chat bot handle many of the day-to-day questions you receive from your customers. With a little customization, the bot can answer FAQs, walk customers through billing issues, provide suggestions for products, and more. There are actually some chat bots available to even the least tech savvy of us, but you might have to spend some time finding the right option for you. The easiest chat bots can be installed for Facebook messenger. These can be so simple as to let your visitors know that a message has been received and that you’ll respond as soon as possible. This helps to keep your message/answer rate high without running you ragged to answer messages at all hours of the day. Facebook offers its own chat bot through its developer site. You can customize these to an extent so that your visitors get immediate engagement whenever they reach out. If you’d like to find something a little more substantial, BotFuel is another option that walks you through creating a customized bot. ManyChat is another popular option that can be installed by just about anyone. Still other chat bots can be installed on your websites to conduct customer service activities in your stead. Some learn as they go, while others can be fully programmed before you launch. Just be sure you fully understand the chat bot before you set it loose on your business. Sometimes the simplest answer is the best, at least for now. Some other trends will also start to make their way to the forefront, but these are the ones we expect to see the most of in the coming year. Of course, you’ll want to keep focusing on video marketing and influencer marketing, as these will likely continue to grow in popularity, especially on social platforms. Other trends from past year may continue to exit the building, such as Twitter, which hasn’t grown much lately. If you need some help taking advantage of the trends 2018 will bring to social marketing, just give us a call. We’ll help you determine which of the available platforms are best for your business, learn how to listen on those social platforms, and even explore chat bots with you. Whatever you need, we’re here for you.
We’re roaring toward 2018, and as the days change, so do several of the marketing trends we’ve used in 2017. Many of the strategies you’ve used in the past aren’t going anywhere. Content, for instance, will always be important to help you educate and delight your buyers. Other activities, however, are already changing at a blistering pace. Are you ready for the New Year?
Influencer MarketingGone are the days of working with celebrity influencers to boost your brand. Not only have buyers gotten savvy enough to realize that these celebrities probably don’t use any of the products they’re shilling, but also the celebrities have shown they’re less than enthusiastic about the idea of advertising. Take these two recent Instagram posts from Scott Disick and Naomi Campbell: Could they be any clearer about how unenthused they are? Instead of helping the brand’s image with their heartfelt support, they gave that brand a black eye with their horrifying copy/paste skills. This doesn't mean influencer marketing won't be a popular marketing strategy next year. In 2018, expect to see influencers that actually use the products they’re sharing with the world. That means they probably won’t be celebrities but instead micro-influencers. These are personalities that have built up a small following on social media due to their dedication to their craft. For instance, a local chef may share some of the kitchen utensil brands that he or she loves. An up-and-coming stylist could make a deal with her favorite designers to share the latest looks. The more specific the audience, the higher the engagement will be. In fact, advocates—with less than 5,000 followers—generate 26% of engagement, while those celebrities above generate only 2%.
A Better Mobile ExperienceSmartphones are now the most popular devices for browsing the web. While 43.4% still prefer their laptops and desktops, now 51.4% prefer their phones. And you can bet that some of that majority still get frustrated when they encounter websites that haven’t be optimized for mobile devices. We’ve been talking about that for years, though. Changes to mobile optimization have either already been made, are in the works, or the company that has refused thus far will simply start to fade into obscurity. What’s new in 2018, or at least starting to really gain some traction, is voice search optimization. In 2016, more than 20% of searches were done by voice command. This year, so far, 41% of searches have been through voice command. How can you prepare for that? By ensuring that your search terms are as natural as possible. Consider how you’d ask for the information that’s on your website. Would you say “Shoes. Red. Nashville.” Or would you ask, “Where can I find red shoes in Nashville?” These are long-tail keywords and actually perform better with Google even when typed rather than spoken. Either way, it’s a win-win.
All Hail Generation ZLook, Millennials had their moment, but it’s over. By 2020, Generation Z will account for 40% of consumers. Marketers have realized that reaching Generation Z will bring them more bang for their buck. That’s why it’s going to be so important to stay up to date on what this generation needs from their marketing content. They want transparent. They want quick and concise. They want honest. They want authentic. They want impactful. Most of all, they want something that really touches them, something that speaks to their emotions and not just to their sensibilities. Is your marketing strategy ready for 2018? Let’s get ready for our best year ever. If you need help getting some of these strategies in place so you can reach your target audience, give us a call.
Today’s consumers use a staggering amount of screens. In fact, it’s estimated that Millennials use three screens at any given time, and Generation Z spends time on five or more screens. In other words, if you want your message heard and seen, you must figure out how to reach these buyers on tablets, phones, televisions, laptops, and desktops.
Let’s Get SocialNot only must you become adept at multi-screen marketing, but you also have to determine which channels to use. Your target audience spends time in specific places online, and understanding where they are will help you market efficiently and effectively. For instance, Facebook may very well be considered the universal social media platform, with users from age 18 to well over age 65 calling it home. However, even though 79% of internet users are on Facebook, it doesn’t seem to resonate as strongly with younger audiences. Sure, teens are still on Facebook, but they prefer to share information on disappearing messaging sites like Snapchat, which boasts 79% of teens’ use. Marketers who want to reach teens are more likely to build an audience here than they will where parents see their kids’ activities. If you’re trying to reach women, Pinterest is still the powerhouse. While the social platform may not have as many users as Facebook—only 36% of users between 18 and 29, and 34% of users between ages 30 and 49 use the site—of those users, 45% are women. It’s a good bet that you’ll build a solid female base if you’re marketing through Pinterest.
Crafting Your MessageKnowing who will receive your message on each platform is just half the battle. It’s important that you create messaging according to the audience you will find on each platform. For instance, if you’re posting on Facebook, you want to create content that poses a question. This prompts more engagement, which drives your posts to the top of users’ feeds. Twitter doesn’t work that way. Hashtags are the best way to reach new audiences, but you don’t want to go overboard. This allows users to search by topic, which could lead them straight to your door. Proprietary hashtags are fun, but they’re only useful if you’re popular enough to prompt a search with that hashtag. Consider introducing one across several different tweets to build some recognition, but only in conjunction with more widely used search terms in your industry. If you’re trying to reach a younger audience with Instagram, remember that imagery is your best content strategy here. In fact, you’ll only have a few lines of text visible on each post (though you can include as much as you like—just don’t expect people to read it). Then, of course, there’s Snapchat, which has the shortest number of characters available, so your message should be almost entirely in the image you use. Short, snappy, and to the point is the best option here, considering you’re most likely dealing with an audience that has the shortest attention span to date—eight seconds.
Determining Which Is BestYou should know your brand well enough to understand which platforms work best for reaching your intended audience. Sometimes, however, your potential customer base is just too large to put in tiny baskets. If this is the case, segmenting is your only option. Create specific messages for each platform, with copy that’s crafted to speak to your intended audience there. For instance, if you’re working to reach consumers over the age of forty, then Facebook is probably your best bet. Millennials still love Instagram, so images or short videos with brief captions could help you bring these buyers into the fold. And if you also happen to sell to Generation Z, you know they’re likely on Snapchat. An influencer campaign could help you get the attention of teens. As you can see, the exact same message across all platforms will hit some and miss others. That’s why it’s important to understand your audience and your tools. If you need some help, we’re always here for you.
When marketing to Generation Z and Millennials, Instagram is an invaluable tool. The numbers are clear: this is where your target market spends their time on social media. And they love their brands and influencers on Instagram, too. Now, it’s up to you to figure out how to drive higher engagement on Instagram.