As we look ahead into 2019, we’re seeing some shifts in social media strategy beginning to emerge. If there’s one thing you can count on in social media, is that it’s always evolving.
Social media platforms have been a reliable space to leverage content for some time now. Proven strategies, like using a comprehensive content calendar to plan posts with key messages and promotions, will continue to be important in 2019, but expect to see more companies use real-time engagement as well.
Much like in 2018, the coming year will see a continued increase in the use of video. More than 100 million hours of video are watched every day on Facebook and over 1 billion hours are viewed on YouTube daily. These staggering numbers mean there’s a lot more to video consumption than funny clips of cats. People are also using video to get information. Where both video and text are available on the same page, 72 percent of people would rather use video to learn about a product or service. Having video as part of your overall social media strategy means you’re providing content in the format people prefer to use.
Here are a few more changes in social media strategy you should watch for in 2019:
Add real-time posts to your content calendar
For years companies have been trying to master when to post to various social media channels for maximum effect. Plenty of research has gone into cracking this code, and we even put together an infographic to take most of the guesswork out of post scheduling. It’s a useful tool for your planned social media posts, but in 2019, the best time to post to social media could be right now.
Real-time marketing is when brands react quickly on social media or other platforms to events, trends, and news happening online or offline. Remember the mannequin challenge? Or Oreo’s “Dunk in the Dark” tweet when the power went out during the 2013 Super Bowl? These examples of real-time marketing help show off your company’s spontaneity and responsiveness. For most companies, real-time posts might come during a community event or in response to a major traffic tie-up due to construction or some industry news. When crafting a real-time post, think about what people in your community and industry are talking about and what your company can add to the conversation.
Real-time posting on social media does carry some risk. A post may be ill-timed or land poorly so consider the value of posting in real time and what it ultimately says about your company.
Start (social) listening
If you haven’t added social listening to your marketing toolbox yet, 2019 is the year to do it. It’s one of the best ways to learn what’s going on in your industry right now, keep tabs on competitors, know what people are saying about your brands and products, and most importantly, find promising leads.
Social listening is a two-step approach that starts with monitoring your brand’s social media channels for any customer feedback and direct mentions, as well as discussions about specific keywords, topics, competitors, or industries. This is followed by an analysis of those discussions to gain insight and act on those opportunities.
By using social listening, you can look at the kind of content your followers post and share, giving you a better idea of the kinds of content they like. Once you have this information, you can more effectively tailor your content to draw them to your brand. Social listening also helps you discover what your ideal customer wants but that your company had previously overlooked.
Say you own a pizza shop and want to figure out the best hours of operation. Through social listening, you might find that people in your neighborhood want a place to get food late at night. By staying open later, coupled with some targeted social media posts highlighting your late-night menu, you are focusing specifically on those who are looking for your service.
Out of all the 2019 inbound marketing trends, this is one that’s likely to attract interest from companies invested in their social media strategy. There are a number of social listening tools available, many of which are already integrated into existing social monitoring tools, like Sprout Social, Hootsuite, and HubSpot.
Partner with a local influencer
Using social influencers was a marketing trend that got a ton of buzz in 2018, merging the tried-and-true strategy of word of mouth with the enormous reach and glamour of celebrities. More broadly, a social influencer is a user on social media who has established credibility in a specific industry, has acquired a large audience and effectively persuades others by presenting ideas, products, or service in an authentic way.
It’s easy to dismiss social influencers as a strategy reserved for only the largest national brands but taking social influencers to the local level is a 2019 inbound marketing trend worth considering. Think about the people who are trusted voices in your industry. It could be a financial advisor who has developed a large Twitter following providing advice on ethical investing, or a college professor whose blog on local architecture has become a favorite read in your community. Chances are, you are already following these people, or at least liking and retweeting their posts.
Make a list of the top local influencers in your industry on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Snapchat, Instagram, on podcasts, and other channels. Follow them, learn about their brand, and brainstorm ways in which you can partner with them on promotions. Working on a long-term campaign with an influencer not only adds credibility to your brand, but elevates the influencer’s brand as well.
Take video to the next level
People watch videos to be entertained, but a recent studies about user behavior also revealed that 90 percent of users find that product videos are helpful in the decision process. Whether it’s a tutorial on how to use a product, or a testimonial video about the family care a medical practice provides, video is an effective and efficient way to convey your message.
Don’t have anyone in-house who can produce a video for you? Consider using live stream video to broadcast in real time. New York Magazine and Livestream surveyed 1,000 people about their use of live video on social media and the results show that video is an expected way for brands to communicate with them. Eighty-two percent said they prefer live video to a social media post and 80 percent would rather watch a video than read a blog post.
Improve communication with messaging
The instant nature of social media is one of its defining factors, so it was only a matter of time before users began reaching out to companies on social media for a quick response. When posting a question or complaint on social media, 72 percent of customers expect brands to reply within the hour and 54 percent of consumers prefer using social messaging channels to other means of contacting a company. While it can require a lot of work, being responsive on social media improves customer service and ultimately customer satisfaction.
Millions of Americans are on Facebook everyday, so why not allow them to interact with your company from where they are? Facebook Messenger allows companies to not only speak directly with customers, but it also offers chatbot capabilities, doing some of the work up front for the customer support and marketing teams. There were more than 300,000 chatbots in use on Facebook Messenger last year, a number that’s expected to grow in 2019.
Whether it’s an IM, DM, or chatbot, companies are adding messaging to their social media strategy to improve communications and find better leads in 2019.
Keeping up with shifting trends and new social media tools can help you each potential customers on their favorite channel, but it can also mean additional work for you and your team. Contact Raka to discuss what tools can further automate your social media strategy and how a digital marketing agency can help.