We all know that social media is no longer just an afterthought or a supplemental marketing channel for our businesses. Today more than ever, social media has become a significant player in our client communications. It’s where attention is concentrated. which means that’s where your brand should be working hard to add value and generate a rapport with its ideal audience.
In a talk that Gary Vee gave last year on the importance of investing heavily on Instagram and Facebook, he said, if you aren’t disproportionately spending on those channels you are less likely to win.
I am always cautious about making social media predictions because things change so fast in the online space and to be quite frank, I feel like every business is unique and therefore requires a unique, customized social media marketing strategy. There is no such thing as a one size fits all solution. So the trends I am sharing are only worth considering if you know how to take these broad suggestions and tailor make them suit your business needs.
Having gotten that off of my chest… Here are the social media marketing trends that you should evaluate as you refine your social media marketing campaign.
1. Video content is here to stay
And when I speak of video content, I more specifically mean the raw and real “self-recorded” videos. Almost every major social platform is investing heavily to encourage the use of video content as a means for sharing your message. While professional looking videos are great, many brands are discovering that it’s not always necessary to have a perfect, high-end studio type of video.
Here are some statistics from Wyzowl gathered from a 2018 survey conducted on video marketing.
• 81% of businesses are now using video. This number has gone up by 18% since 2017.
• And out of those 81% of video users, 85% of businesses regard video as an essential part of their marketing.
• They also state that the average person is watching more than an hour and a half of online video content per day.
Facebook lives and Instagram stories, as well as IGTV, are proof that you don’t need to break the bank to reach and engage with your ideal audience. Selfie videos are now crushing it on social media. Much like the traditional selfie, this self-produced video content allows users to communicate in a more personal way than a photo ever could. In turn, the much-needed trust factor increases.
People are spending hours watching their friends on Snapchat, Instagram, and Facebook.
Is your business looking for ways to incorporate this tactic into your marketing strategy as well?
If you haven’t started doing so, it’s about time.
2. Micro influencers
Before social platforms became so big and powerful, businesses could only rely on celebrities and television personalities if they wanted to increase brand awareness to a broader audience. Not anymore!
Influencer marketing has gained a lot of mainstream attention over the last two years. As we step into this year, some shifts are expected to happen. Influencer marketing is taking a turn for the better, especially if you’re a small to medium business. Why do I say this?
Although influencer marketing is relatively new, big influencers have already become somewhat expensive and harder to work with. Even if you do make the sacrifice to invest in one, their large audiences aren’t always guaranteed to yield the prime results. This could be primarily because many so-called big social media celebrities “bought” their audiences. It could also be because the audience may be too broad for your niche product or service.
Here’s an example. Suppose you own an eco-friendly green boutique hotel. Investing in a big influencer with a million followers might seem like a great idea at first. The exposure this gives your brand should lead to more sales, right? Not necessarily.
If the influencer’s audience is very broad with less than a fraction of those followers having the resources, interest, and commitment to support sustainable tourism, then your overall objectives may not be reached.
In other words, unless the audience resonates with your brand values and mission, it doesn’t do much good to invest in such an audience. Sure, you’ll get virality with your posts and make a little splash in the ocean, but if no ROI comes through, I wouldn’t consider that a big win.
See where I’m going with this?
That’s why last year saw the growth and rise of a smaller segment known as micro-influencers.
These are individuals with small highly concentrated followers. They have an audience that is significantly smaller in comparison to regular social media celebrities but they are very targeted. To work with a micro-influencer may not look favorable from a vanity metrics perspective, but I believe that it is by far the best move for a solopreneur and small business owner.
In this wonderful study conducted by Bloglovin, much-needed insight can be gained when it comes to how you approach influencer marketing.
Bloglovin recommends that brands should not just target social media celebrities. Micro influencers who tap into more niched and diverse audiences can be an excellent way for a brand to have more control over whom they reach. This is a matter of you getting more creative with your influencer marketing outreach and making sure that you define the right mix that works for you.
The same study also reveals some interesting statistics on how much this would cost. Here’s an overview of the main channels micro-influencers are using and their fees.
On Instagram, 84% of micro-influencers charge less than $250 per branded post. And 97% of them charge no more than $500 for each post.
Blog posts are slightly more expensive. 87% of micro-influencers charge less than $500 each piece and 96% of micro-influencers wouldn’t charge you higher than $1,000 for one blog post.
Facebook, 90% of micro-influencers charge less than $250 per branded post and 96% of them wouldn’t go higher than $500 per post.
When it comes to Twitter, costs are even more favorable. If that’s a right platform for you. 90% of micro-influencers charge less than $150 per branded post and 96% wouldn’t charge you more than $200 per branded Twitter post.
Micro influencer marketing, when done well, can be highly effective. If you chose to build a collaboration with someone who cares about your niche market, their audience is at least guaranteed to resonate with your overall message, making your campaign very relevant. Although less direct than traditional forms of advertising, this can be an effective way to connect with new customers as the micro influencers become your extended salespeople and brand ambassadors.
Another trend that is going to gain more traction with businesses is the art of business storytelling.
It used to be something only big brands such as Nike and Coca-Cola could invest in. Not anymore. The fact that social media is available for any business owner and people generally love engaging with a good story means you have the power to share your narrative with the world.
Throughout all your content marketing efforts, storytelling needs to become the backbone. In this age of information where consumers want to feel like a brand cares about their needs and not just making a sale, using stories can be very powerful.
It will open up the door for you to be more human, relatable, creative, thoughtful, and inspiring. After working with so many solopreneurs, entrepreneurs, and executive leaders to help them script their story brand, I can assure you, there is great power in storytelling. Effective storytelling in your business can help your audience understand your products or services better and it makes you more memorable.
We’ve seen many brands in the past year recreate their marketing to integrate this storytelling piece. Whether you’re building a personal, lifestyle, or business brand, storytelling will give you the edge in a noisy marketplace.
Start creating your brand story now.
4. Personalized marketing
How often has Amazon enticed you to spend a little more than you planned for simply because they showed you recommendations of something that fits perfectly with your purchase? Or have you had that experience of purchasing something in a store (such as a bottle of Coke) just because it had your name on it?
I remember purchasing a bottle of perfume last Christmas that I didn’t need. There was a special offer of engraving my name on the Armani Sí fragrance (one of my faves) – for free with every purchase. I already had a half-full bottle at home, but I couldn’t resist!
These are just a few examples of personalized marketing. And I can assure you; many reports indicate that it’s going to be huge in 2019.
5. Pay to play marketing
The fact that consumer behavior has shifted tremendously and modern buyers distrust traditional advertising has opened up new doors in the online world.
Social media platforms and other web-based channels have become new media properties where advertisers can buy space. Podcasts, social media, mobile apps, and blogs are all playing a huge role in the evolution of marketing and advertising. This evolution has seen the rise and profitability of companies such as Adwords, Facebook Advertising, and so on. There was a time when publishing content was all you needed to do. In 2012, you could expect on average that 16% of your fans would see your Facebook updates.
Those days are gone.
In 2018, that reach has plummeted to about 6%, and for most brands, those numbers are even less.
If you want audience reach in today’s marketplace, you need to dip your toes into the world of online advertising. Organic reach for brands and their content doesn’t work as effectively as it used to. Now you need to add on sponsored content, boosted posts, and social media advertising if you want to stay active in the mind of your ideal buyers.
Pay to play marketing has been growing over the years, and it has no intention of slowing down in 2019. Fortunately, if you know what you’re doing, social media advertising can be very affordable. A small budget can go a long way and yield impressive ROI.
My advice is to do your due diligence, allocate and invest your budget wisely using tactics that best suit your objectives, and by all means, focus on building trust with your audience. Using sponsored content too much on your social platforms, podcasts, or other channels might become a turn off to your audience if executed poorly. So make sure that you have a carefully constructed advertising campaign.
Consumer attention is more scattered than ever, given the abundance of choices we have in today’s digital world. But one thing remains certain. Social media platforms have become the watering hole where everyone comes to connect with the world.
If you want your brand to capture consumer attention and in turn bring in dollars, you must keep your finger on the pulse of social media platforms. Figure out how audiences are interacting with the various platforms, what they enjoy consuming, and how they prefer to interact with brands.
To keep your business thriving in 2019, become aware of these trends, adjust your marketing plans accordingly, and make the necessary effort to be super relevant to your ideal audience.