Social media marketing, which is also referred to as SMM, is always changing. Twenty years ago, SMM might have involved ads on AOL and MySpace. Ten years ago, SMM plans might have been heavily centered on building a Facebook page and getting followers. Today, social media marketing can include paid and unpaid advertising on numerous platforms, and it will likely involve maintaining an active presence online via Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat, and any number of other social networks. Perhaps the most challenging aspect of SMM is that these trends are always changing, and the right social media plan for your business will be highly dependent upon who you’re trying to reach. You’re already busy enough with running your business, and now, you’re expected to manage numerous social media accounts? Don’t give up. The iKonix Studios team is here to help. Keep reading below to learn a bit more about the latest trends in SMM, and don’t forget to call our team to learn more about how we can help your business build a thriving SMM plan.
1 – A Picture Really is Worth 1,000 Words
Content may be the crowned king when it comes to organic search optimization, but when it comes to social media engagement, pictures truly are worth 1,000 words. People are much more likely to stop and look if there’s an engaging image or video associated with your post, so don’t forget to double and triple down on your visuals.
2 – Go Live
Live streaming videos, podcasts, and chat sessions (like Reddit’s ask me anything) are huge right now. Finding ways to capitalize on these resources to engage your audience can really set you apart from other similar businesses.
3 – Make the Right Friends
Did you ever read How to Make Friends and Influence People? It’s hard to say how much of that tome is still applicable today, but it’s no secret that online influencers are an essential part of a successful SMM plan. However, for most small or even medium sized businesses, getting a major influencer (think celebrity chefs and fitness models) to promote your product might not fit the budget. Bring on the rise of the micro-influencer. These online personalities have fewer and/or more local followers, but they can still make a huge impact on your SMM plan.
4 – Try to Understand the Algorithms
The algorithms used by search engines like Google and social media networks can be baffling, and they always seem to be changing. In 2018, Facebook announced changes to its algorithm that will aim to favor content that is considered interesting, appealing, and engaging. In short, they want to see an actual conversation based on your posts. This algorithm includes things like tracking likes, comments, and clicks to linked content. However, shares may actually have the greatest weight, so when you’re planning your SMM for 2019 and 2020, keep in mind not just what you’ll post but how you’ll get people engaged with the post.
5 – Artificial Intelligence & Augmented Reality the Future is Now
It may sound like science fiction, but actually, it’s science fact. Artificial intelligence (AI) is used regularly as chatbots and automated messages to stay in touch with clients. More and more apps are also making the most of augmented reality (AR) that brings the real world and fantasy world together. It might have started with games like Pokemon Go, but AR has quickly gained popularity across platforms. If you see an opportunity to utilize this innovation as part of your SMM plan, do it! Trends indicate AR will be much more mainstream in the coming years.
6 – Reconsider Paid Likes
In recent years, businesses and influencers have been augmenting their influence by buying likes, follows, and subscriptions to increase their social media presence, but social networks are starting to crack down on these paid likes and follows. Instagram led this charge, but many social media sites are following suit. If you’ve used this technique in the past, it’s time to drop your paid followers and make some changes.
7 – It’s Time to Get into the Messaging App Game
Do you have WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger, WeChat, QQ Mobile, Skype, Snapchat, or Line on your phone? Social media trends are indicating that increasing numbers of people are using these messaging apps to communicate, and the app makers themselves have introduced a number of innovations like videos and live stories that make them more engaging for users. Making the most of paid ads and other forms of engagement with messaging apps may play a significant part in your SMM plans. In fact, research indicates that reaching users through messaging apps is fast replacing email communication. With traditional email marketing campaigns seeing a constant drop in numbers, messaging apps are actually seeing huge increases in message opens and clicks.
8 – Build Trust Through Transparent Privacy & Security Policies
Every time you turned on the TV or computer this past year, did it feel like someone was reporting on a security breach from another major company? It felt that way to us, so it’s no surprise that more people than ever before are taking the time to research the privacy and security measures taken by companies. Taking steps to protect your customers’ privacy and making sure proof of these steps are readily available can really help you to stand out. Because many businesses came under fire due to tracking and/or disseminating information gleaned from social media, it makes sense that this is where many businesses are getting the word out about their privacy practices.
Make it easy and readily apparent for your followers to review what (if any) information you’re monitoring through social media. Let them know if there are options to opt out of or in to sharing specific information. You can also post on social media about your website privacy settings, security maintenance and monitoring procedures, and other steps you take to protect your clients’ information. Spread the word about your company’s ethical stance on information privacy.
9 – Know Your Paid Ad Cost, Market Saturation & ROI
In recent years, Facebook Ads have increased in price as the market gets more saturated. This saturation has meant many businesses shifted their ad spend to Instagram where they are seeing a good return on investment. Increasing prices for social media ads mean that these ads are successful, but the increased costs may also mean you have a lot of competition and the market is already saturated. Do your research before you invest.
10 – User-Generated Reviews, Videos & Content Matter
If you have great reviews for a product or your business, don’t hesitate to capitalize on this content. Repost it on your website and various social media accounts. Did someone give a video testimonial? Share it! This is especially impactful if there are videos of customers actually using a product you’re trying to sell. People love seeing products in action.