Always wanting to stay in the know on all things social media, our marketing team recently attended the EventHuddle panel. The discussion focused on discovering what is on the horizon for social media at events.
Already in 2019, the landscape of social has undergone significant shifts, as we look back to the beginning of the year and examine what the big predictions were. Growth of the stories format along with predictions for new platforms were key discussions. As were a drive for regaining the trust of consumers and the potential of AI for customer interaction.
As we enter the halfway point of the year, we look back to these early predictions and examine what has changed.
NOT ALL SOCIAL MEDIA INTERACTIONS ARE EQUAL
Image source: Buffer
What do you use to measure the success of a social post? In Buffer and Social Chain's State of Social report, it would appear most businesses use likes, shares, and comments as the indicators. This has been the analytical benchmark for the past few years.
However, this status-quo is being challenged. Businesses are accepting that not all interactions are created equal on social. Reminding marketers that engagements alone are not the sign of a well-performing post.
Marketers need to define what their goals are with social media to better understand the performance of their posts. There is now a general rejection of ‘vanity metrics’ in favour of more meaningful interactions.
Another consideration is the rise of the ‘omnichannel’. This emphasises the importance of reaching and interacting with customers across all channels. By viewing social through the eyes of the customer, brands anticipate that customers will move from channel to channel.
Thinking like this allows for brands to identify the multiple factors ingrained in a customer’s endpoint. Treating the digital experience as a whole rather than bitesize channels will funnel better conversion in the long run. This also produces far better ROI than focusing social efforts on returning simply likes.
Image source: G2 Crowd
QUALITY OVER QUANTITY
One of the key shifts within the social media world this year has been a focus on meaningful content. The advice in previous years was that if you weren’t posting, you were doing something wrong. Now, brands are beginning to realise that content for content’s sake is not the way to engage your audience.
As more and more brands saturate the news feeds of consumers, its key to stand out. Those who go the extra mile in creating engaging content are more likely to find their posts have an impact.
In previous years, there has been a focus on posting an ‘ideal’ number of times. This cookie-cutter strategy is being turned on its head for 2019. Posting twice a day on Facebook, six times on Twitter and once on Instagram will not engaging content make. You need to understand your audience and what they want to see from your posts.
STREAMLINING SOCIAL MEDIA CONTENT
As well as elevating the quality of your content, a new focus for 2019 is to ensure that content is relevant to the channel. By lumping all of your social audiences into one, you could be missing valuable opportunities to reach a new audience.
Just like how you wouldn’t use a fork to do a knife’s job, copy and pasting content across platforms is not a solution. A post doing incredibly well on Twitter will not necessarily perform on Facebook, nor can it be expected to.
2019 has seen Facebook promoting its Groups feature hard. This suggests community building is once again becoming vital to the social media landscape. Now with the addition of businesses being able to participate in these private spaces, this becomes all the more important.
This emphasis on community has become a key part of the 2019 social space. The controversies plaguing 2018 meant trust was lost between brands and their consumers. Ensuring content is speaking directly to the audience is a way to rebuild this trust.
Image source: Social Media Today
As much as 2019 has seen the rise of meaningful content, ‘stories’ and similar content is growing fifteen times faster than feed-based sharing. With four out of five brands already leveraging this content, it seems a vast resource for marketers.
Leaning themselves towards spontaneous content, stories are great for creating a personable voice within a brand. Leveraging platforms like stories can allow brands to make better connections with their audience.
Putting a real, human face to a brand is key for building trust with an audience. Businesses that use stories to their most effective are able to foster this human element. Having a brand feel more of a ‘friend’ will help exponentially in customer trust.
At the beginning of 2019, marketers were told ‘Brands Not on TikTok in 2019 Will Be Left Behind’. The app is already reporting more than 500 million monthly users, and this just seems to be growing. Promising high engagement with the difficult to reach Generation Z, there is a lot of temptation for businesses.
The inevitable marketing stampede looms on the horizon as brands scramble to be the first involved. However, it is important to note that a new TikTok account does not equal a new marketing strategy.
Taking a step back and examining your audience before you launch into the ‘next big thing’ is always advisable. If your target audience high-level decision makers in the finance industry, you’ll probably not find them on TikTok. As content becomes more saturated, it is important to know where your audience is talking to each other to make sure you are part of that conversation.
SOCIAL MEDIA AND AI
Image source: Relay
Another hot topic for 2019 has been the growth of AI for social. Predictions from earlier this year suggested it would have a major uptake. Whilst chatbots have boomed in the B2C market, B2B companies are yet to employ their use.
Moreover, comments from the EventHuddle suggested that B2B companies had a distrust of this AI technology. Concerns were raised over the authenticity of the customer service experience and managing this process.
It seems that the current status of AI technology as chatbots and similar will leave it a mainly B2C function. This is most likely due to the sheer volume of customer interactions that B2C companies have on a daily basis.
In the next 12 months, around 78% of UK businesses will have invested in social advertising. With 64% identifying a decline in organic reach, it’s becoming vital for businesses to launch into paid media.
One in four Facebook Pages now uses paid advertising as a part of their strategy. The benefit of this means reaching a wider range of audiences, vital for smaller companies. New opportunities to advertise within private pages and in messenger emerging mean businesses can speak directly to their customers.
Customers now expect businesses to tailor special offers to their wants and needs. Again, 2019 becomes about knowing what your audience wants to hear. Hyper-targeted personalisation gives businesses more chances to remarket themselves to their audience.
Another shift in social advertising is using targeted ads for brand awareness rather than simply selling. For 2019, telling your brand story becomes more important than ever. Paid social can be a fantastic way to get this message across to a new audience and again suggests the need for quality content.