If one thing is for certain, it is that the general trend for Social Media Marketing this year will be to focus back on actually ‘being sociable’ as a brand. Efficient communication with your clients and building relationships and loyalty are key. Companies must go back to be more human and relatable. Audio and visual content and the latest AI will be your friend. We are talking Podcasts, what the best Visual Content should look like, Live videos and Chatbots.
These are a good alternative to a video if you are not comfortable with your video skills or haven’t got the budget for the required equipment to make it worth your while. Podcasts are the new live radio and many users prefer them because they can choose exactly what they are interested in and listen anytime and anywhere on their portable devices. Podcasts also don’t force themselves onto customers as advertising, as they have to subscribe to what they really want to know about. They help to build familiarity with your brand and feel they get to know you through the voice of the presenter, especially if they subscribe to a series. Listeners recommend them to colleagues and help you grow your audience.
A recent survey of 300,000 listeners showed that 63% made a purchase due to podcasts. Making them will help you become a better public speaker and engage your audience.
On Social Media, the trend for Visual Content is towards Stories and Augmented Reality. AR may currently be only achievable for the big players with the big money, but we can all tell a story through visual content. Venngate asked 500 digital marketers what makes good visual content. Here’s a summary of a few of the most interesting statistics:
The five best-performing formats in 2018, were:
- Original graphics, such as Infographics (40%)
- Videos and presentations (23%)
- Charts or data visualization (20%)
- Stock photos (12%)
- Gifs or Memes (5%)
These have seen a big increase recently because when you see real humans talking live, it feels more genuine. It has been shown that on average people watch live videos for longer than non-live ones. They really help your clients to engage more and allow for brand story-telling. If you think of live videos as the kind of thing a teenager does on Facebook when he wants his friends to know what a great time he’s having somewhere, rest assured that when it comes to marketing, it is nothing like that! In professional services live streams are used for:
- Q&As – you can answer your clients’ questions live and build a connection
- Interviews with influencers to increase outreach
- Personal vlogs
- Blogger hosted or partnered streams
- Live events – presentations, talks, performances, product demos, conferences
- Customer Support – again, giving your brand a human face
- Special Announcements and Product Introductions
- Enhancing the employer brand
Okay, using AI doesn’t appear very human, but Chatbots can provide your instant customer support 24 hours a day, exactly when they want it and very efficiently. Chatbots are mostly used inside messaging apps, but you could also have one on your website. The first question will always be ‘How can I help?’ – even though you are talking to a computer, you still get friendly customer service, even if human interaction is an awful lot more complex. Chatbots are designed to provide shortcuts to give the user exactly what they’re looking for and nothing more. That also means they don’t feel like you are pushing them and trying to persuade them to buy something else. Instead of scrolling through endless options on a website – the Chatbot will take a simple request and do the rest.
Most people will use only 5 apps regularly on their devices, and these are mostly messaging apps. As bots are integrated into these, there’s no need to go to another app or website, therefore they are very convenient.
To summarise, Social Media Marketing in 2019 is all about making your client feel like he or she knows you and your brand, create a connection and therefore loyalty. You do this by being more human and literally visible (or audible in Podcasts) plus conveniently and efficiently available 24/7 with ‘no-fuss’ when that’s what the client wants.