Our digital world places a huge emphasis on social media presence and brand personality. Users prefer companies that have a consistent online identity. In addition, more potential clients are turning to search results, reviews, and social media numbers to choose which restaurant to go to for lunch or which florist to hire for an upcoming wedding.
If your company doesn’t have a Twitter or Instagram account or a Facebook page, this signals to customers a lack of credibility and human presence. This lack of presence can limit web traffic and cash flow for businesses. As a result, social media is more important than ever before.
However, just like all things on the internet, social media marketing techniques are subject to changing trends. We’ve curated a list of the top Social Media Marketing (SMM) predictions that you need to know to stay ahead of the curve in 2019.
Live Streaming Capabilities
Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter have introduced live videos to their platforms in recent years. This feature allows users to broadcast videos live to their followers, increasing authenticity and user engagement.
Many businesses are using these live stream features to pursue a number of marketing strategies, such as:
- Showcasing a new line of products before official release, increasing anticipation.
- Giving a behind-the-scenes tour of the office or manufacturing process.
- Performing a tutorial/review of a product, increasing visibility and providing advertising in a unique, informative manner.
- Streaming a company event or launch, increasing community engagement and showcasing your business environment.
These live stream videos add a human component to a business’s online presence. You’ll be able to see your followers comment and react to you in real time. Often, social media platforms will send a notification to your followers when you go live, increasing your audience. Your followers will be able to view your live video even after you’ve cut the stream.
SMM trends predict that businesses will continue to “go live” in their marketing strategies. The rising prevalence of this technology can provide creative opportunities for brands to market their goods and services to their social networks.
Live streaming takes advantage of a growing preference among consumers: visual-first marketing over text-first marketing. Video content, in addition to live stream content, is a major segment that you will need to focus on to stay ahead of the curve in 2019. Creating video content is also a common strategy to increase and cement brand personality – a vital component of SMM.
YouTube, Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter all have video-sharing capabilities, each with unique features. Twitter allows you to create and post videos directly in a Tweet. Instagram also allows you to post videos directly on your feed, as well as on Instagram Stories and on its new video-sharing feature IGTV. Facebook’s Watch feature allows users to create video series to share with other users. Video advertisements and sponsored posts are featured prominently across all platforms, allowing users to visit and engage with your accounts directly and easily.
Despite video-sharing across other social networks, YouTube remains the top video-sharing platform on the web. YouTube links are embedded throughout the web and across multiple social media platforms. Curating a company YouTube channel or creating advertisements to play in front of high-traffic YouTube videos are common ways that businesses are using the platform for SMM purposes.
The Power of Stories
While traditional social media posts are still popular, the rise of Story features across platforms is becoming a vital tool for digital marketers. Social media users are looking for live and in-the-moment content more than ever before. The Stories feature, common on platforms like Instagram, Snapchat, and Facebook, allows brands to engage with their audience in real time.
Take Instagram, for example. Over 200 million Instagram users use the Stories feature every month – and that doesn’t take into account how many users view these stories every day. That’s millions of potential customers, clicks, and followers. Brands often use stories to increase brand identity and customer engagement, using Stories features such as:
- Polls to ask their followers questions about a new product, current events, and more.
- Influencer takeovers by inviting a celebrity or social media star to run their Stories for a day, drawing in an untapped fanbase to drive sales and engagement.
- Q&As to answer customer questions about a product, the company, and other related queries.
Users are becoming tired of pre-packaged content and standard posts. These stories increase the human factor of brands, incorporating more life into a company’s social media presence. This trend will likely be a major influence on digital marketing in 2019 and beyond.
Organic marketing and word of mouth have long been foundational sales practices. With social media platforms enabling idea-sharing and content generation among the public, this strategy has become easier than ever before. Through photos, videos, check-ins, Tweets, memes, and other user-generated digital content, companies can receive free marketing from trustworthy sources: real people.
For example, your company can search Twitter for any mention of your product or service and retweet positive reviews. On Instagram, encourage your followers to use a hashtag for a chance to be featured on your company’s feed or Story. These same strategies can work on Facebook as well. This user-generated content is an easy way to get customers involved in your company’s marketing strategy and increases your visibility on social networks.
The Rise of Influencers
Social media platforms have launched the career of musicians, models, comedians, and other content creators from around the internet. From YouTubers to Instagram models and other types of social media influencers, these people have a strong grasp on a growing marketing demographic: Generation Z.
Young people are driving sales and trends across multiple sectors. These same young people are also deeply involved in internet culture, following many influencers. These influencers are a simple way to connect with this demographic and increase your brand’s popularity among young people. 2019 SMM trends predict an increase in brands reaching out to these influencers for brand deals, sponsored posts, or account takeovers.
SMM will increase in the next year, and these techniques will likely be incorporated into many company’s operations. To learn more about leveraging social media for your marketing needs, contact Vizion Interactive today.