Hey guys! Wish you all a very happy new year, whether you are making resolutions, goals, to-do lists or none; as long as you are rearing to go after this well-deserved break – it’s all good! Staying inspired, motivated and challenged is key!
Even though I got back to the SAP world after a tiny study break last year, another career angle that I have been toying with for the last few years has been social media marketing as well content creation. While the last year was mostly spent creating project plans and operational dashboards, I always kept an eye out on things that worked or didn’t seem to be working.
Without further ado, here are some of the things I noticed and experienced, and here is what I think is going to stick:
1. The Influencer segment
While this segment is not new, it’s the one that has evolved the most. I have been operating (or not) in this area for over 2 years now, the only thing that I can see is that it keeps getting more and more competitive. Therefore, against popular belief, if it was going to die down, it would have.
A general categorization (according to a BlogRelease article); classifies these influencers in 4 main segments basis the number of followers: Celebs (1 M+ followers), Macro influencers (500k – 1 M followers), Middle influencers (100k – 500 K followers) and micro influencers like me (1K-100K followers). However, since these numbers can be easily be rigged in today’s world: brands are getting more and more conscious and continue to engage in the micro influencer segment with a pinch of salt. (for the uninitiated; followers can be bought and so can likes/comments)
Brands should continue to look for location based engagement on each and every post an influencer makes (before selecting them); though time consuming, this helps them identify the right ones to collaborate with.
But, due to all the competition in the segment and no defined rules of the game – there is no standard pay scale. Some influencers charge a fee, some don’t and this kind of messes up the dynamic.
Since influencer marketing is here to stay, influencers (of any kind) need to be compensated with a monetary fee and not freebies.
2. Going Live
I still remember how excited I was to “go live” on Facebook from the Facebook office during the Silicon Valley tour in 2017.(It’s another story that it wasn’t a fruitful exercise for us due to the US timezone) Going live has been a thing and will continue to remain so – at least till the networks themselves continue to support this feature.
So everytime you go online on IG/FB, there is a notification sent to all your followers/friends to come and watch what’s going on; the same is not the case when you post a new picture, article or a story. And if you have noticed, with all the changed algorithms in the background – getting your posts on the home feed of your fans/friends/followers is getting increasingly difficult. Alongside this, all the live videos can remain on your profile for an extended period to allow your followers/friends to view it later in case they missed the LIVE.
It is expected that the by 2021, the video streaming market will reach $70.5 billion. (Source: Medium) Live stream events, “how-to” streams and tutorials, making or launching products and announcements are great ways to connect with your consumer in real time.
3. Make Most Of Stories
Stories are the next best thing to going live, actually I prefer stories to going live. The content stays on for 24 hours, and this way you identify loyalty. Your followers are interested in your day; and it’s your job to make it interesting for them.
All brands request for a “stories and a post” package from influencers due to it’s authenticity and more importantly you are not considered to be “spamming” even if you are posting 30 times a day!
The feeling of FOMO (fear of missing out), the concepts of stories (aka daily content) thrives on that feeling! Brands should continuously engage with their follower base by announcing promotions, flash sales or value adds through the concept of short-lived content. Ads displayed on stories have gathered momentum this year, with the “swipe-up” feature.
4. Augmented Reality or AR
In other words, filters: snap chat, FB, IG and tons of apps have them. Trust me they are not just to draw whiskers on your face, but it also shows great potential in terms of brand trials.
For instance, L’Oreal had created an AR app, which lets users test out makeup and hairstyles before they purchase anything, and it turns out that it actually boosts sales. So the possibilities of AR and it’s combinations are exponential; let’s hope it isn’t limited to scary Halloween faces in 2019.
That’s not a new one; but was used extensively through FB messenger and some brand new websites. Some of these chatbots were extremely intuitive and could understand words/phrases and some were limited to response options which were relevant enough to place an order for flowers or call a taxi.
With the ease of building/configuring chatbots it is a (or is going to be a) cost effective replacement to customer support.
6. User generated content or UGC
Is not the same as influencer marketing and IMO this is going to change the marketing segment for good. Brands get free advertisements and what could be better than a genuine customer testimonial.
Brands repost and comment on tagged content; and consumers take the word of their friends and family over general advertisements anyday.
Recently acquired start up TINT specializes and provides marketers with an infinite stream of curated user generated curated content. Hence, if as a business you are not listening or collating to what your consumer is saying about you, then you need to.
And for the last one….. drum roll…
7. Social Media Paid Ads
Why? – easy, intuitive, cost effective, allows you to experiment and also allows for targeted audience. Research shows that by the year 2020, social media advertisements will surpass newspaper ad spending.
The targeting section makes the design of the ad more intelligent and relevant to businesses. Even as a blog, I periodically allocate small budgets to promote special articles/other stuff we run.
In this article, I discussed the trends that I observed and I am sure there are so many more that I didn’t cover for instance social listening, mobile ready content, SEO optimization, referral traffic and more. The point is to use social media to build brands and impressions; the brand could actually be you.
What did you think about this article? What has been your favourite social media trends in the recent times?