If your business does not already have a social media marketing strategy in place in 2017, you are behind the curve.
If your business does not already have a social media marketing strategy in place in 2017, you are behind. Social media marketing is a fast, cheap, and effective way to quickly reach individuals across the globe, and practically every large and small business has someone who handles Twitter or Facebook posts. But technology and social media is constantly evolving, and a social media strategy made a few years ago can be obsolete today. A business has to constantly consider changing trends in social media and adjust their plans accordingly to stay ahead of the competition. Here are a few of these future trends, as well as how a business can take advantage of them.
1. Video Marketing Matters
Text and images will still have their place, but video marketing has proven to be more effective at grabbing user interest. Small Business Trends notes that “59 percent of executives would rather watch video than read text while four times as many consumers would rather watch a video about a product then read about it.” Videos can convey more information in a shorter amount of time compared to images or text, making them a more effective means of communication. Most social media websites already have an option to post videos, but now it is on businesses to craft videos showing consumers the details of their business or to make something interesting. Do not try to craft something zany or aim to become the next hit meme. Instead of a viral marketing approach, focus on conveying the largest amount of information possible. Customers will see that you are interested in educating and helping them.
2. Live Video Marketing Matters
A well-crafted video is a great way to convey information, but live video streaming makes it easier to show authenticity than ever. The development of Facebook Live as well as other live streaming services on other social media services makes streaming easier, and customers will demand the ability to instantly engage with businesses as a result. If your business is holding a seminar or forum, live video streaming means that you can let the entire world see through social media. If you want to take smaller steps, then host a five-minute segment where you show how things are going live in your business. You may end up recording the occasional mistake, but that will only show customers that you are giving them the real truth instead of a polished, manufactured video.
3. Augmented Reality will be part of Social Media
People have been talking about virtual reality since Star Trek, but augmented reality (AR) has shown more promise so far as demonstrated by last year’s Pokémon Go craze. Augmented reality takes the virtual and transplants it into our world, whether it is showing a Pikachu on your phone or a tiger running on a busy street. A business could look into creating AR advertising, with the help of a commercial signal booster, and hope that customers share it through social media, but a basic example of AR technology which anyone can use are Snapchat Lenses. Even if this is nothing more than a basic method to put masks and graphics over images, businesses should experiment with Lenses and then research other methods of integrating AR into their social media
4. Social Media Specialization
Different social media websites serve different demographics, and businesses try to cater to those demographics by setting up a social media account on every website out there. But as the competition for social media dollars intensifies, businesses should decide to specialize on the websites which have the most success and pull out elsewhere. Smaller social websites will likely suffer as a gap develops between themselves and behemoths like Instagram and Facebook. In particular, small businesses that are developing a new social media strategy must specialize in a single website. Large corporations have the resources to put up regular, interesting content on multiple accounts. Small businesses do not and should be starting small with a new social media strategy anyways. Focus on a particular website which fits with the demographic your business is pursuing and slowly branch out over time.
5. Imagination and Authenticity, not Polish
I noted above that one advantage of live video streaming is that it allows businesses to show a more authentic side of themselves. While social media has revolutionized communication, it has only fueled peoples’ desires to feel as if they are being truly talked to. Businesses should thus cater to that desire and focus on creating something which speaks to the human condition and really shows how their business runs, foibles and all. This does not mean scrapping expensive cameras or films. In fact, it requires not a small amount of skill to make a well-crafted thing look ill-crafted. But people want the truth, and a business can get a lot more social media currency out of showing them the whole truth instead of creating a polished product which will inevitably an air of fakeness.