Trends in social media change rapidly — it can be hard to keep up.
From the ideal post length (hello, Twitter) to native advertising opportunities — social media is in a constant state of flux.
Yet, you will find little mercy from your customers if you don’t move with the times. Consumers in 2018 won’t stand for outdated marketing techniques.
To rapidly improve your own social media marketing strategy, take a leaf out of the experts’ book.
Here’s a selection of predictions from the world of social media to help you stay ahead of the curve.
1. Use video wisely
2017 was the year video content was crowned king — but it was social media that helped secure the kingdom. Rapid video dissemination across all social channels helped solidify video’s position as top dog.
This year more and more creators, broadcasters, and marketers are embracing video. This is especially true for social media:
According to research by Kenshoo, spending on social video advertising in 2017 was up 93% compared to the year before.
On the flipside, the market is becoming saturated. As audiences are inundated with video content, they will become more fussy about what they engage with.
“While video, particularly Live Video, will continue to increase in importance in the coming year, a key differentiator will be the creation of high-quality, relevant video.” said Mike Alton, content marketing practitioner, author, and CMO of The Social Media Hat.
It’s clear that what will separate the wheat from the chaff will be how good your video content is.
Keep your videos short and fresh to keep people interested, and don’t just reach for the cam without a strategy.
2. Technological advances become mainstream
If you had told your average social media manager ten years ago that in 2018 we’d be discussing augmented reality and artificial intelligence (AI), they would have laughed in your face. How times have changed.
It’s far easier than it sounds to use AI in your social media marketing, especially if you invest in some smart tools.
The main benefit of AI? It can give you deep insights into your customer base, enabling you to tailor your content more closely to their behaviors.
Social media specialist, Lilach Bullock notes “I think that 2018 will be the year of Artificial Intelligence – it’s been gaining popularity and steadily growing, even though it’s still in the early stages; in 2018, though, we’ll be seeing even more of this.
“Chatbots, for example, have been implemented to great success in the past year, and are starting to see more widespread use.”
Chatbots help thousands of companies across the globe interact with their customers faster. Chatbots aren’t that hard to implement as there are services out there that will help you create a chatbot in less than a day.
However, Oktopost, a B2B social media management platform, points out that “while artificial intelligence in social media will be increasingly refined, it will take time (if ever) to replace authentic human connections between brands and customers.”
Don’t get so excited about chatbots, that you forget to factor in real engagements and audience conversations. Technology is meant to facilitate, not replace, human interactions.
3. Be a people-person
It’s interesting to see that while the use of automation in social media rises, so does people’s desire for emotional storytelling.
Hootsuite predicts that this year trust will decline, making peer influence more necessary than ever. They state that in 2018 “real customer communities, micro influencers, and ‘people like me’ take center stage as consumer trust continues to decline.”
This outlook may seem a little bleak, especially for corporate marketers, but there are ways to get around this. Be personable, show the human side of your company, and share real customer stories to combat information overload.
Take a look at this video from Whole Foods— they created a short, snappy video that works exceptionally well in the current climate:
Image Credit: Screenshot via Twitter
Makeup brand Colourpop has been using their people skills especially well recently: their Instagram stories are filled with real women swatching makeup on camera. It gives their brand a welcoming, down-to-earth vibe that industry experts predict will win them social fans this year.
From their Shopify store to their Insta feed, Colourpop are doing all the right things by letting their fanbase do the talking for them on social media.
Let your customer community shine, and curate their content instead of creating your own. It will make your social feeds 100% more engaging and in tune with the times.
4. Customer service is increasingly social
Customer service on social media is no new thing, and it’s likely to dominate social media budgets in 2018.
As consumers become more demanding, brands need to step up to the social plate and be ready to answer inquiries, questions, and even complaints, on Facebook and Twitter.
According to Microsoft, 64% of consumers ages 18 – 34 said they view social media as an effective channel for customer service, and 67% of all the people who answered their survey said that they expect a response within 24 hours.
Create a complaints handling policy for social media so that you and your team know what to do. Set up automatic keyword monitoring so that you can react fast to any grumblings on social.
You should also encourage customer and user interactions on social media. Don’t be shy about tagging and thanking people as a thank you for a positive review. People like to feel supported by brands on social media as well — it’s a two-way street.
Embrace video content with meaning. Get a chatbot so you can spend less time on day-to-day queries and more time on the personal exchanges that matter. Use video to share real-life stories from your customers and colleagues. The world is your oyster! All it takes is a little imagination..