Competition is getting stronger and stronger with each coming day. As such, you must ensure you stand out and find your own place on the market in order to reach your ultimate success. One of the best ways is through social media.
This year, 81 percent of Americans had a social media profile – up five percent compared to just last year. In fact, there are currently 3.028 billion active social media users around the world.
With so much activity on the social networks, they are evolving in tandem with the demanding trends and preferences of the audience. Through social media, businesses are reinforcing newer ways and redefining the consumer experience and influencing the decision-making process at every step.
Brands understand the need for social media presence. They rely on it to advertise products and services, as well as use it for daily interaction with consumers.
But as more brands adopt this new form of communication and advertising, the space begins to overcrowd and companies once again find themselves lost in the mix.
Here are six fresh updates to your social media strategy and help your brand stand out in 2018.
Boost engagement with personalization
Three out of four users are frustrated when the content they receive is not relevant to their needs or to their taste. We already know that personalization is important in marketing emails.
Technology has completely reinvented the way we engage and customers are more savvy and demanding than ever. They expect a great experience. They expect personalization. And they expect this all regardless the device or platform they’re using.
It looks like this trend is about to become the norm for social media, too. How do we know this? Social networks are improving their analytics capabilities. They’re empowering marketers with the tools to be even more precise with their targeting.
This means going well beyond age and gender for your buyer persona. Tapping into audience lifestyle and passions with accuracy is definitely something that will reshape social media marketing – and really the industry overall.
Additionally, consumers demand more than just your word and selling tactics – they’re looking for brands that share their interests and to know that their favorite brands are fundamentally run by people.
Join communities within your market. This allows you to engage on a more personal level providing more engagement and recommendations.
In this brand new world, relevant and personalized content is a must.
Make your content smart
Content marketing is always at the top of any marketing prediction poll, but as demand for personalization increases, content marketing will need to follow suit.
Smart content blends the best of search marketing, artificial intelligence, and content marketing to power the development, activation, and optimization of high-performing content. Content can be intelligently personalized to your customer’s needs – even around anonymous visitors – allowing businesses to adapt to the consumer.
As audiences continue to experience content shock, smart content will become an absolute need in order to stand apart from the crowd.
Machine learning – a subset of artificial intelligence – collects data in order to deliver more accurate and personalized experiences. This type of AI helps brands remain relevant among their audiences.
Tools are currently being developed to help publishers create the most appropriate content for specific target audiences.
After all, businesses need to publish relevant content and make it available to the right audience at the right time. By automating social media content – in both creation and delivery – conversions will naturally increase.
Storytelling beyond words
Video and stories were all the rage in 2017, and these mediums will take over regular content in in the coming years.
This works in tandem with another trend that’s been on the rise for years: a human narrative. Brands are able to leverage channels to create good original and branded content. It’s not just a salesy ad, it’s a story.
Video ads communicate far more than words and they do it quickly. From color to texture to music, there may not be a better way to express the essence of your brand than by video.
And data confirms this.
The consumption of videos has increased significantly across social media channels. From casual broadcasting to tutorials, funny videos to behind the scenes, video has social media users captivated.
Short-lived photos and videos that showcase a story in progression and engage users throughout particular campaigns create a plethora of social value.
In fact, ephemerality content feels more authentic than stagnant ads. Which may be why “more than half of Instagram’s 500 million daily active users are on Stories.”
Bottomline, if you don’t have a video strategy yet, it’s time you created one.
Influencer marketing isn’t a free for all
It wasn’t too long ago that influencer marketing was all the rage. But once felt they were bombarded with celebrities touting products that weren’t relevant, that went out the door. Or did it?
At the end of 2017 we’re seeing a huge push toward influencers. I'm betting that in 2018, influencers will have a bigger impact on brand marketing as companies focus more on quality content.
Moreover, millennials are notorious for not trusting traditional advertising methods, so it’s no wonder brands are reigniting this marketing tactic.
Let’s be blunt – consumers don't care what a brand rep has to say. Smart influencer marketing, however – using industry experts as your ambassador – that's where trust and brand loyalty are built.
But this marketing method only works when influencers gain trust in the field their expertise lies in. It has to be the right audience fit and right story to make the most of ROI.
Afterall, does it really make sense for Lindsay Lohan to endorse anything other than booze and spray tan?
Increase experiences with Augmented Reality
Chances are you've seen at least one video or photo with someone sporting a dog nose and a set of flopper ears. You can thank Snapchat for this phenomenon and the company’s infamous AR. What started out as floral crowns and rainbow vomit soon exploded into the new standard of augmented reality for social media.
Even Instagram has gotten onboard with its own face filters.
Facebook also introduced AR through its Camera Effects platform. The technology allows anyone to upload basic static overlaid image filters appearing in Facebook Camera. These added utilities help developers and designers build interactive features and effects, making it a great creative platform for users.
This growing trend in image and video modification coupled with the success of AR games such as Pokémon GO, and you’ve got a win-win for brands getting social.
Even iPhone 8 and iPhone X are emphasizing AR, signifying a new era to come in P2P.
By adding gamification and other AR dimensions, brands creatively engage with customers both online and off. The important thing here is to make sure virtual interaction translates into real social media engagement.
Just say no... to being everywhere
Each social network is trying harder and harder to be the one-stop-shop for users and a one-stop-spend for its marketers. This is why they are borrowing similar features from each other.
Whether it’s Instagram Stories – one way to capture Snapchat users – or a long-form Tweet, marketers have to learn how to deal with overlapping channels and features.
Regardless the size of your marketing department (and budget), it’s imperative you not spread yourself too thin. Which is easy to do in this overly clustered, polarized social sphere.
When choosing digital marketing channels or social networks, make sure you can give each of them your best. If it doesn’t make sense for your brand to be on Facebook and Twitter or Instagram and Snapchat, then don’t. Understand the ROI on social and focus your attention where it matters most.
This might seem like a no brainer, but so many companies try to be everywhere they're really just wasting their time. Besides, who really wants to half-ass social because you can't dedicate the right amount of time to more important platforms.
Unsure which network works best for you? You can do some preliminary “tests” to narrow down the choice, then test those you’ve deemed as contenders and let the analytics make the final decision.
In fact, you should be testing a lot – not just once. As social platform trends ebb and flow, so too do features and engagement. So what works in March 2018 may not by the time Halloween rolls around. Be prepared to explore, test, and be agile.
Putting it all together
While some of this requires a mere simple tweak to your social media strategy, still others may be a bit intimidating to try out. But you don't have to do it alone. Test out a few techniques to see what works and how for you and your audience. Then add or subtract where necessary.
Besides, 2018 just started so you've got plenty of time to implement the tips here. Just be sure to add them somewhere in your social strategy and you'll be rocking social media in no time.