Have you started thinking about your marketing strategy for 2019? Don’t worry — it’s not too late! But, the brands that implement a strong social media strategy will be the most successful in the new year. Recent reports show that daily time spent on social media is around 2 hours and 15 minutes per day...and rising! Brands that capitalize on this time will have a better opportunity to get recognized, form stronger customer relationships, and increase sales.
Social media platforms offer great, low-cost opportunities to get your brand in front the right people. Nearly 70 percent of all Americans are using at least one social media platform to discover new information or engage with their friends, family and online brands. Whether you’re a social media marketer or a business owner, staying on top of the latest social media trends will be the key to ecommerce success in 2019.
We understand how hard it is to keep up with this constantly changing digital space, so to help you get ahead of the curve — we’ve put together some of the top social media trends for ecommerce brands here:
Captivate your customers on popular video platforms with fresh and engaging content. In the fast-changing world of social media some things have remained constant, like the user’s demand for more video content. Video has the ability to offer a certain experience that still images cannot. Use the storytelling power of video to form strong connections to new and existing customers.
Keep customers engaged in your brand’s story by creating longer-form content.
The rise of streaming video services, like Netflix, has created an increased demand for episodic content. Keep customers engaged in your brand’s story by creating longer-form content. If you’re just looking at social media platforms as another avenue for placing advertisements, you’re likely wasting your time and money. Recent surveys show that the majority of consumers — from all generations — find digital advertisements intrusive and/or obnoxious. Create video that captures the customer’s interests and keeps them involved for a longer period of time. The brands that use episodic video content to engage and delight their audiences will have the competitive edge in 2019.
Build consumer trust and create a buzz around your brand with live video streaming. Advancements in technology have changed the way in which businesses and consumers are communicating. Now, consumers expect an open and direct line of communication to the brands they do business with. A great way to provide this to your customers — at scale and with a personal touch — is with live video sessions. Customers will experience a more genuine connection to your brand and you’ll be able to instantly gather feedback to see if your efforts are worthwhile. It’s a win-win situation!
Live streaming allows you to drive a ton of highly engaged traffic to your business in less time and at little-to-no cost.
Talk to any digital marketer today and they will tell you that content marketing and SEO can be time consuming and costly. However, live streaming allows you to drive a ton of highly engaged traffic to your business in less time and at little-to-no cost. Furthermore, users are increasingly devoting more of their screen time to live channels. According to Facebook, people spend more than triple the amount of time watching a Facebook Live video compared to a video that’s no longer live. Not to mention, you can keep sharing the content even after the broadcast is over — giving you the most bang for your buck.
Nurture customer relationships and maximize conversions with personalized content & shopping experiences. Consumers today have more power than ever and at the same time, brands are experiencing increases in competition. Technology and the availability of information online has considerably increased the number of choices consumers have access to. The companies that offer personalized experiences and take a customer-centric approach to business will reap the biggest benefits down the line.
What is “personalized content?”
Personalized content is content tailored to specific audiences based on specific factors such as, where they’re located, who they are, how and when they consume content, and on what devices. To add personalization to your customer’s journey, leverage the ability to instantly connect and interact with them to discover the ingredients that make up your most effective content. Sharing content that you know your customers enjoy will organically generate more engagement and help to make your brand to stand out to other social media users.
How do I create these personalized social media experiences?
First and foremost, understand the social media platform you’re using and who your target audience is. This will be the driving force for your campaigns when you’re creating new content. Find out which channel your audience is using the most and identify the type of content they find most exciting. Be social — talk to your customers directly. Use social media channels, live chats and video, and email to ask engaging questions and learn from your best customers to eliminate the guesswork.
Be social — talk to your customers directly.
Next, utilize your personalized content to keep the conversation going. Show your customers that their voices are being heard by actively responding to their comments, mentions, and/or messages. You can form valuable connections with existing customers and boost brand loyalty by personally validating their individual concerns.
Provide open and honest information to your customers to establish trust and drive buying decisions. Individuals and businesses have an unprecedented level of accessibility to each other. Therefore, brands have a greater responsibility to be more transparent. In fact, 81 percent of consumers were found to believe that businesses have a responsibility to be transparent, especially when posting on social media platforms. Check out this chart by Sprout Social to see how that compares to other groups:
Social media has made it easier for consumers to investigate and call out brands that partake in unsavory practices or fail to provide ideal customer experiences. While some may feel that openly sharing company information on social media may create a golden opportunity for scrutiny, refraining from doing so may have greater consequences for your business. For instance, recent food label data revealed that 74 percent of people are willing to switch to a brand that provides increased transparency.
We can expect a trend in companies moving away from programs that focus on promotions or service-oriented conversations and toward proactive strategies that focus on customer satisfaction, forging genuine relationships and building trust. So, what does transparency look like for your brand?
Best Practices for Establishing Transparency on Social Media
Practice transparency from the inside out. Embrace open and honest policies internally, among all employees including top-level executives. Clearly communicate workplace expectations, company goals, successes and hiccups. Creating an open forum for communication and feedback builds trust and encourages your employees to invest in your brand’s goals. This will not only be reflected to your customers, but it will attract prospective employees as well.
- Listen up and own it. It’s not enough to just respond to customer concerns and suggestions. Although it may be tempting to defend your products and/or policies, resist the urge to be overly defensive. Instead, learn from your customers and seek to understand the issues they care about. This is a great way to build consumer trust and hold yourself accountable to make the changes that enhance their experience and improve your business.
- Make CEOs more accessible. As consumers become more skeptical of brands and promotional tactics, it’s more apparent that evoking an emotional connection is the best way to create brand advocates. CEOs that share on social media give customers the opportunity to form a bond with the personalities behind the brands they love. Encourage CEOs to join social media channels as a way to humanize the brand and strengthen reputation.
Develop relationships with smaller social media influencers to spark word-of-mouth and get your brand noticed. Influencer marketing is another proven strategy to alleviating consumer skepticism. It’s effective because people trust other people — not brands — and they prefer to get recommendations from their peers. But, as influencer marketing has become more popular, so has the cost of partnering with big name influencers. With access to better tools and data, it’s becoming more evident that partnering with micro-influencers may actually be a better tactic to include in your future marketing plans.
Partnering with micro-influencers may actually be a better tactic to include in your future marketing plans.
Social media users with up to 100,000 followers are typically considered micro-influencers. While micro-influencers may not have as great of a reach as some mega-influencers or celebrities, they tend to possess a greater influence with their followers and in their communities. These smaller influencers are generally easier to get in contact with and willing to partner for a cheaper amount. Provided that you’ve done the research to find accounts that align with your brand, working with micro-influencers can have a greater impact on achieving your marketing goals.
As more and more brands continue to add social media channels to their marketing efforts, the harder it’s going to be to stand out to customers. The good news is, you’re already ahead of the game by seeking out the social media trends to expect in 2019.
As you begin planning your marketing strategy for the new year it’s important to remember one thing — customers have more options and access to information than ever before. The businesses that put their customer’s wants and needs at the forefront of their marketing plans should anticipate the best ROI. Adjust your social media goals — seek to encourage quality customer interactions and engagement that guide customers through the purchasing funnel versus chasing shares and likes.
Have any social media predictions for 2019? Share 'em in the comments!