Let’s consider these figures – 98% of digital consumers are also social media users; an average of 2 hours 22minutes per day is spent on social networks and messaging; 22% of digital consumers have liked or followed a brand on social network; more than 4 in 10 use social networks to research new brand or products, making it the second most important channel of all. It is quite obvious that social media is leading the way consumers are exposed to brands in our digital age.
We have recognised 6 most interesting social media trends for 2019, which are impacting consumers:
Rebuilding the trust in social media
At different times and for different reasons, consumers, regulators and media observers have all questioned the privacy, accuracy and ethics of social networks. Therefore, in 2019 smart brands are focussing less on maximizing their reach and more on generating transparency and quality engagement with their customer base. In other words, using social media to create communication around their brand value and real purpose instead of simply around their product offering. More and more brands are concentrating on improving the quality of their outreach in order to build trust and credibility.
Using Stories in social strategy
Everyday over 300 million people use Stories, either on Facebook or Instagram. Stories are now growing 15 times faster than feed-based sharing. Stories feel real, immediate and intensely personal. An estimated 4 out of 5 major brands are already using stories but many still haven’t explored this channel or are not doing it properly. Stories essentially gives you a new way to communicate with your audience that’s a lot more direct and immediate, which helps to increase opportunities for engagement with your audience. Using stories has the potential for making your audience feel as though you are talking to them directly to a much greater degree.
Keywords down, segmentation up
Marketers are increasing social ad budgets and producing more ads than ever before. One out of four Facebook pages now use paid media. The purpose is to generate user discussion and engagement targeting a focused group and investing in high quality content. In traditional paid search, keyword targeting has been the tried and true method for finding audiences. In 2019, that won’t quite be the case. Some are actually claiming 2019 will be the year the keyword dies. While declaring a flat line is a little extreme, most marketers do agree that audience targeting is quickly becoming a great way to get qualified users. And the more detailed audience data you can come up with, the more success you are likely to find. This means that audience segmentation is a crucial component of any 2019 strategy. With each segment mapped out, you can better create content catered to each audience’s specific interests, which gives you a much better chance of crafting a message that resonates.
Using social media as a Direct Sales Tool
Social media has become central to the customer shopping experience, and it’s all due to the value consumers place on social media content. Finding new ways to make shopping live, interactive and seamless is crucial. As a result, brands have had to reshape their e-commerce social media strategy around the increasingly primary role social media is playing in driving sales. Thanks to the development of buy buttons and other e-commerce features, social networks are turning their individual pieces of content into potential points of purchase. Social content isn’t something you click through to reach an e-commerce site anymore: it is the front page of your e-commerce sales.
Integration of social media with Customer Services
Social media is becoming central to Customer Service too. Far more than a place to connect with friends and family, social media also provides a platform for potential and existing customers to reach out to brands and seek help when they have queries, issues or concerns. The top messenger apps (WhatsApp, Facebook messenger, We Chat, QQ, Skype) combined nearly 5 billion monthly active users who are spending more time on messaging than sharing news on social media. 9 out of 10 consumers would like to use messaging to communicate with businesses. Real time messaging is becoming the most preferred customer service channel. And if a customer makes the effort to contact you by means of social media, they expect a response. It is paramount to treat them well, and you’ll gain the loyalty and the respect of not only that single customer, but also of the entire audience that is observing you.
Live video is an essential asset
Videos notoriously perform better than static images on social media. 28% of users of the 4 major social platforms actively engage with live streams. Videos allow users to communicate in a deeper and more personal way than a photo could do. Video is in fact processed in our brains 60,000 times faster than text. It immediately ignites emotion and personal connection; enticing viewers to seek more information. It’s no wonder that businesses are choosing to use it to their advantage. More than 87% of online marketers are using video content today, with live videos rapidly increasing too. And if you’re not, you’re missing out on business growth because more than 55% of internet users watch videos online every day. By the way, Facebook has the largest user base as well as the highest engagement rates with live video.
What does this all mean for brands in 2019?
While 2018 was all about scandals, security breaches, manipulation, and an overall sense of uncertainty, 2019 is all about regaining the trust of users. This means abandoning old tactics that got engagement but were misused and abused. These are 3 simply strategy brand can try to reshape their digital and social media game.
- Increase your paid promotion budget: As many marketers find their organic growth from social media is stagnant, you will need this to be heard and compete in an arena where quality content is becoming paramount.
- Stop asking your followers for something all the time: Create content that naturally creates engagement rather than begging for it.
- Stop selling, start communicating: Don’t be that friend that invites you to coffee and then spends the entire time selling to you. Invite your followers to a conversation, not a sales pitch.
- Focus on your engagement: Engagement is the first step to conversions and it’s extremely rare for someone to purchase something if they aren’t already engaged with your brand.
In conclusion, a multi-channel approach with a key focus on engagement is a great way to approach your social media and digital marketing strategy, but keep your eyes on your performance and be ready to change with your users and the platforms they use.