It is about that time of year again where we reflect on the past, present and future trends. This time, we will look at social media marketing and what the digital world might look like in 2019. Thinking out loud, who could have predicted the inevitable demise of Google+?
With the social media landscape constantly changing, one thing remains constant. Success in the online world depends largely on an effective social media marketing strategy regardless of business type. No matter what happens in 2019, brands need to adapt quickly. It is time to implement a strategy that not only generates interest but also encourages engagement and increases conversions.
What Does Social Media Marketing Look Like In 2019?
The increased number of consumers becoming more tech-savvy means that brands can no longer ignore social media. Consumers will continue to actively look at companies across social media channels including Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and Instagram. And if 2018 was anything to go by, next year may hold a few more surprises. Here is a look at some of the more exciting social media marketing trends we can expect in 2019.
Social Media Marketing and Video Content
Video content has become an even more powerful marketing tool across all social channels and will continue to grow. In 2019, video content is expected to dominate the market where some experts believe that 80% of what people consume online will soon be video content.
Live videos will play an even bigger role. YouTube videos have always been popular but other platforms have also realised its true potential. Facebook, Instagram and LinkedIn are three channels that have really adapted to video content. In some cases, brands are even notified when someone goes live. Not only do consumers perceive live videos as authentic, but they also create a sense of trust and brand relevance. This is one trend that companies really can’t afford to ignore.
The main reason why videos have become so popular is advancing technologies and the introduction of several apps. Filming has become much easier than a few years ago and we’re talking about good production quality done on a desktop computer, not a film studio. Even though your audience may be forgiving and understands that things can go wrong with live videos, you should definitely try to avoid technical problems as far as possible.
While it’s one thing to create and share videos, brands still need to deliver engaging and exciting content. The same general rules and best practices apply to videos as they do for blogs, email and other online content.
Social listening, also known as social monitoring, is the process of crawling the web and social media platforms to identify all brand mentions or specific keywords. This goes beyond a brand’s name and includes mentions of industry keywords that show real interest in buying a product as well as mentions on blogs, forums and news sites. While the current primary social listening goals involve customer service and reputation management, there are many others.
Social listening is expected to become even bigger and one of the major social media marketing trends of 2019. It will be used to improve lead generation and social selling by some margin. Currently, only a small number of brands implement social listening but that number is slowly increasing. Brands are starting to realise that they can find people on social media who are looking for the exact services they offer.
Some tools like Awario have even introduced features specifically for lead generation. Other tools that are likely to perform well in 2019 include Brand24, TalkWalker and Brandwatch. While these are specialised apps, other platforms also have this functionality. Keep an eye on BuzzSumo, HootSuite, Sendible and IFTTT (If This Then That.
Did you know that some companies predicted Donald Trump’s election purely based on social listening? It just goes to show what is possible when targeting specific brands, keywords and mentions.
Personalisation and Social Media Marketing
We’ve spoken at length about the importance of personalisation in email marketing but it also applies to social media. Considering the sheer amount of information people upload every day, it becomes easier to gain insights about the person behind the screen. The information overload along with monitoring and analytics tools have opened the door for further personalisation and increased consumer expectations.
Brands can implement personalisation for all types of online content. Visitors are sent shopping cart abandonment emails if they failed to check out a product they were looking at. Some companies use this email to promote similar products. Personalisation can be applied to nearly everything people do online as technology allows brands to track consumer’s purchase history, clicked links, social media posts and other online actions.
Some examples include Booking.com who notifies you about special deals in the locations that you have visited. Netflix recommends shows to watch based on your favourite list and the shows you watch most often. At the same time, e-commerce giants Takealot, Amazon and eBay show products similar to the ones you’ve purchased before. Of all the platforms, Google and Facebook are the front-runners in gathering information.
The data that these companies collect enables a truly personalised online experience that, more often than not, results in successful conversions and incredibly accurate recommendations. In fact, as much as 96% of marketers believe that personalisation improves customer relationships. Despite some objections, personalisation is not going anywhere and it is the way forward for brands to boost campaign performance.
AI-Powered Customer Service
Platforms like Google, Amazon and Facebook have been at the forefront of adopting artificial intelligence to enhance customer interaction. While it certainly involves chatbots, it also extends to social media ad optimisation and especially online customer service. 2018 saw a real surge in AI-driven communication and according to Hootsuite, “AI bots will power 85% of all customer service interactions by 2020.”
Millennials seem to adopt chatbot-based customer experiences far more than most. A large percentage have already used chatbots and those who haven’t would like to try. Looking ahead, more brands will strengthen their online customer service approach in 2019.
Advanced AI will be able to answer multiple queries simultaneously while maintaining a personal connection with the customer. Some already sound and behave very similarly to a human customer service consultant. As technology continues to advance, new platforms will arise offering a more effective experience.
It’s no secret that social media influencers have become a major trend in recent years and are likely to continue. There is a growing number of Instagram stars, Twitter influencers and YouTube millionaires who brands would love to connect with. Most influencers have millions of followers where every post, vlog or tweet is seen by more people than TV advertisers could ever dream of. At least compared to the budget and effort it would take to compete.
The power of social media influencers have become glaringly obvious and they still are. However, with more influencers entering the market place, their services are expensive and businesses are looking for alternatives. This brings us to micro-influencer marketing.
Unlike major influencers, micro-influencers are present in every niche with a following of less than 10,000. The subtle difference here is that most of their followers are truly interested in their opinion and heavily engaged. For the most part, the industry often considers micro-influencers as experts within their field or niche market. Advertisers tend to focus on the big fish so they don’t target micro-influencers as much. This means they are trustworthy and down-to-earth offering massive potential, something that marketers will realise more in 2019.
Which social media trends are you likely to follow and what are your thoughts on how AI and technology could impact the digital marketing landscape? Get in touch to discuss your social media strategy and request a free quote to find out how we can help tailor specific solutions for your brand. We specialise in SEO, PPC, social media management and Marketing Automation among others.