Social Media is constantly evolving, developing new ways to engage, market and contact costumers. It’s important to stay ahead and keep up to date with the latest methods out there in order to stay relevant and more importantly, stay seen. Here are some of the latest trends that may affect your business.
2016 was a perfect example of how social media channels are changing to become more profit driven. Organic reach is on the decline, with big hitters Facebook, Twitter and Instagram introducing algorithms to limit what can be seen and what cannot. This change means businesses will have to focus on publishing engaging content, to maximise the number of people who share the post. This will give businesses a more flexibility when opting to include the addition of paid reach to gain traffic. If your business is small or just starting out and you don’t have a strong following, unfortunately rates for reach is inevitable. Without allocating a budget into marketing your posts, the content is unlikely to be seen by an adequate number of people.
One way to avoid the void left by the downfall of organic reach, is to piggyback off the reach of a profile with a high number of followers, otherwise known as a social media influencer. An influencer acts as a brand ambassador of sorts, as they are paid to promote products and/or businesses to their audience. This is something businesses should be taking advantage of, as it can save time and money in the long run. However, be careful. It can be difficult to find successful influencers who actually ͞influence͟ their followers. A rise in the popularity will see a more structured system form of this marketing strategy, leading to more regulation, data analysis, campaign results and ultimately the ability to see the ROI.
This is a trend that began in 2016, but has the possibility to reach its full potential this year. Live video is something businesses should consider taking advantage of as it is a great way to build an online community and raise awareness of your brand. This feature is already active on Facebook Live, YouTube Live and Periscope Live, with Facebook announcing it will follow suit to YouTube by introducing the 360-degree views in early, 2017. Popular apps are adapting their features to mirror the success of Snapchat. The ͞My Story͟ feature is now an option on Messenger and Instagram; introducing a marketing strategy for live video and the new story features are going to be an important consideration for businesses this year.
The peer to peer exchange process is shaping up to become more streamlined this year. It is already possible to transfer money through Messenger and Google, with Pinterest and Twitter even permitting purchases to be made from their respective websites due to the increase in mobile browsing. These changes are influenced by the success of WeChat; an app that is at the forefront of ecommerce allowing users to send money, make purchases and online browse all in one. With there being a clear demand for this form of app, current social networking sites are adapting their current design to follow suit.
Private messaging is quickly becoming the more popular option over public engagement on social media channels. As you can see in the image above, the top four (all messaging apps) have a broader network than the four main social media channels. This alone highlights a shift from public too private, something businesses should be adapting to. By engaging individually with their consumers through private social apps such as Snapchat and WhatsApp, businesses can build stronger, targeted marketing strategies.
Another step towards this individual-orientated marketing is the introduction of Chatbots. They are already appearing on websites as easy help options or guides, usually popping up the right hand corner of a screen with a ͞hello, how can I help you͟. This allows for a sales or help operator to be available 24/7. Not only can they communicate with the customers, they are also programmed to increase business leads, sales and conversion rates. It’s amazing what one little bot can do. The best part is, Chatbots operate seamlessly across devices so there is no need for individual development resources from iOS to Android. See below how a Chatbot has been used to individually private message a subscriber to CNN.