By Vandita Grover
Source: Martech Advisor
As we inch closer to the end of the decade, the world of marketing will witness significant changes and social media marketing will be at the core of most marketing strategies. In this article, we look at a 10-step guide to emerging trends in social media marketing and how you can win at social in 2020 and beyond.
Social media marketing is essential to any marketing strategy in an era where everyone is online. In fact, the sheer number of social media users in the world in 2018 – 3.196 billion – is staggering. Social media won’t remain the same as it is now. What counts as a trend today will be obvious tomorrow.
Here’s a step-by-step guide to making sure your social media marketing strategy always stays current:
1. Social videos broaden horizon: The audience loves videos, and so do marketers. Videos are well retained by the human brain, are usually self-explanatory, and engaging. It is predicted that 80% of global internet traffic will be attributed to videos by 2021.
2. Moreover, live streaming of events, ‘how-to’ videos, product launches, behind the scenes, etc. is catching up with consumers and marketers alike. By 2020, videos will not only be used to create brand awareness and conversions but also become highly personal. Marketers will use videos for:
- One to one communication – for e.g. Personalized videos to walk you through the features of a device.
- Networking – As users consume more videos for entertainment and education, marketers will leverage this opportunity to build a community of loyal followers.
- Visual content for online shopping – With short-form videos gaining traction, and shoppers preferring video ads and how to videos over other ad forms, marketers will sync social videos with their e-commerce strategy.
3. The rise of AR and VR: Experiential marketing has tremendous opportunity to engage customers and create memorable experiences for them. Virtual Reality (VR) can be used to bring to life a faraway event or a simulated environment, while Augmented Reality (AR) can add unimaginable layers of depth to real-life experiences. With social platforms pushing features like FB’s Oculus Rift Glasses, Snapchat’s Geofilters and Lens or Amazon helping users try on clothes virtually, marketers will embrace these features to entertain and engage their audience and boost their advertising revenue.
4 . Product search goes social: Today’s customers are tech-savvy and informed. 84% of people surveyed said they trust online reviews as a recommendation. Hence social proof like reviews, shares, likes, mentions, etc. are important. While you are busy advertising, your prospect is most likely looking for social recommendations or the popularity of your product. He is most likely to turn to social media to discover this information. According to a Globalwebindex report, 28 percent of users turned to social networks during their online product research. As users continue to flock to social media platforms, it is possible that social would go on to trump search for product research.
5. Social commerce – hit the buy button: The next logical step, when a user discovers you on social media is to provide him with a call-to-action. Social has commerce channels and can provide an easy, breezy shopping experience for users.
Marketers can supplement their ads with a buy button to optimize conversions. The addition of a buy button can eliminate the step needed for a website visit or app download. Though this trend hasn’t caught up yet, it can certainly add value and improve conversion rates.
6. Step up your sell game: People are hooked to online as well as offline games. Can you deny the popularity of Pokemon Go, Clash of Clans, Candy Crush and so many more? With 66% of men and 70% of women playing mobile games, and 54% of gamers being in the age group 25-44, games are popular across most demographics.
Brands can take this as a cue to investing in gaming apps for ads, creating exciting games for brand awareness, educating their customers, and making some sales in the process.
7. Insights get more profound: There is no shortage of data from social media marketing efforts. As more people converge on social channels, pulling data from different platforms and monitoring usage and preferences, can help you gather rich insights into consumer behavior and understand the customer journey better.
8. Unique content: There is too much noise out there, with everyone churning out content at a fast pace. Now, the need is to create customized content for every individual. It may sound ambitious, but an extraordinary amount of data you now have access to, along with emerging technologies, it seems possible. Most social media platforms are already customizing a user’s newsfeed based on his likes, clicks, and preferences. This trend will continue to grow, and marketers will serve content and ads handpicked for an individual.
9. Niche platforms for targeting: Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, etc. cater to mass audiences, but platforms like LinkedIn make it easier to connect with a specific niche. Niche social platforms will gain popularity and make it easier for marketers to focus on a particular user base.
10. Power of AI: Artificial Intelligence (AI) is in vogue. Combined with machine learning (ML), AI can help you automate mundane, repetitive tasks, perform predictive analytics, offer personalized recommendations, and engage your customers. Marketers will leverage AI along with social media data to:
- Offer product recommendations
- Make chatbots to provide customer support
- Use ML algorithms to craft personalized and relevant messages
- Identify business issues