Social media is an integral part of our lives. A cheesy statement, indeed, but a true one, nonetheless. However, in the recent decade, social media has become more than just a platform for your photos and a way to keep in touch with your friends – it also serves as a forefront for many businesses, a way for companies to show what they’ve got to offer and to cultivate loyal followings.
On that note, social media marketing trends are also evolving at a rapid pace. Every couple of years, new trends arise, and, if a business is to stay relevant, it needs to keep up with the changes. If you’re a business owner, or if you’re simply interested in how various businesses do it, here is a short forecast for the possible social media trends in the coming year.
Giving It a Rest
Though there are around 3.5 billion users of social media platforms, a lot of people are actually stepping away from social media. They feel like social platforms are wasting their time. On top of that, there was the whole deal with the Facebook data breach fiasco and a lot of fake news circulating around. People are also concerned with the impact of social media on their mental health, so many are choosing to take a little break, usually by deleting apps and, sometimes, outright shutting down their profiles.
With that in mind, a certain shift in platform popularity seems to be occurring. Experts investigating social media trends for the coming years have noticed that Facebook numbers are dwindling, while Instagram is gaining momentum. As for businesses, this means that they need to put emphasis on transparency, both concerning their data usage and content. And, they need to focus more on what makes a particular platform popular and appealing to its users.
Keeping in Touch
The goal of a successful social marketing campaign is to create a following. However, how do you create this following is of major importance. Many inexperienced businesses think that continually posting new content will keep their customers entertained and engaged. While, yes, keeping your social media page up to date is the right way to go, just putting out posts for sharing and likes is a rather impersonal way to motivate your customers to keep coming back to your page.
The correct way to go about this is to communicate with your followers. Time and time again, numerous examples of successful businesses have shown that forming a community around your brand and products leads to a much greater involvement on the part of the customers.
The Power of Influencers
Though this is not a new trend, word-of-mouth marketing and the profile of influencers will be at an all-time high in the coming years. However, the profile of influencers themselves is likely to change. What do we mean by this?
We mean that fewer and fewer people are likely to trust a famous influencer. Prominent companies are constantly hiring famous persons, like athletes, models, actors and such, to promote their products, but regular social media users are less and less inclined to believe them. The overarching consensus is that these influencers seem dishonest and that they’re basically doing this only for money. However, the rise of micro-influencers is very notable. These micro-influencers are closer to the average user, and, thus, the user is more likely to believe their word-of-mouth than some athlete they might not even like.
It’s all about the Video
One of the emerging trends is video as a dominant form of marketing. Ever since the rise of Snapchat and Instagram, Stories have been very popular with users. With that being said, new businesses are adopting video content quickly as a strategy to captivate the attention of their audience, and it’s been working magnificently. Short vids like the Stories have a more personal feel, as well as providing a shorter and more engaging form of content than reading a block of text. This, plus emerging video recognition technology will provide brands a lot for exposure in the coming years.
Augmented Reality – The Future is Now
Another thing aspiring brands can look for in boosting their marketing strategy is AR – augmented reality. To clarify, AR and VR aren’t the same thing – augmented reality is more concerned with the alteration of reality for purposes of improved customer experience, rather than a complete simulation of reality. With that being said, AR might even offer the customer a chance to try on your product, or, as Snapchat did, allow you to view augmented reality ads. Not only that, but social media users are already very much familiar with augmented reality, in the form of various filters they use to spice up their videos and photos on Facebook or Instagram.
Social Media as Customer Service
Having a great product and a great marketing campaign is all well and good, but what separates good and average businesses from stellar ones is customer service. Having a friendly, helpful and trustworthy customer service reflects very positively on business owners because they are showing their dedication to providing unmatched customer experience for their company and products.
That’s where the social media platforms come in. Though most customers use the phone or email to reach out to companies and businesses, having a quick-response team manning a social media platform will appeal to a lot of people. Quite a few businesses have already implemented Messenger chatbots that help place orders or quickly resolve issues. What separates social media from phone or email is speed and availability – most customers believe that contacting a company through a social platform to be much quicker and more convenient than going through traditional channels.
And that’s about it for upcoming trends. Naturally, these aren’t all the changes that will occur in the coming months – however, they’re the biggest and most impactful new trends. Again, we will reiterate that any business that’s looking to get ahead in today’s rather competitive market is more likely to succeed if they make changes to their social media marketing strategies and tactics than those that choose to ignore them. Until then, happy marketing!