It’s a a huge year for the professional social media marketer, let alone for the business owner of a B2B or B2C company who is just trying to stay afloat amidst the ocean of inundating social media trends.
Whew! If you thought that sentence was a bit of a traffic-jam, there’s a good chance you also feel that way about the mass amount of options and trends pummeling social media.
If we’re being honest, very few of us have a hang on this whole “social media marketing” thing. Unfortunately, by the time we figure out how to work one trend, another trend is on the rise. You might be wondering, how do I stay abreast of the trends and learn to optimize my time, energy and resources?
Taken from studies done by some of the best experts in the business, let’s explore the inner workings of the latest trends so you can actually make headway in your business’s social media goals this year.
Given its huge popularity in 2016, there is no doubt that influencer marketing will continue throughout 2017, however, it will inevitably evolve as all trends do. Given the high influx, the new year will demand increased authenticity and transparency among influencers as they become more commonly integrated into social strategies.
Usually when we think of influencer marketing, we think of a product posted on a celebrity’s Instagram account to hundreds of thousands (if not millions) of followers, but it goes beyond that. It can also include hashtag campaigns to encourage a genuine conversation among followers or account takeovers to help build a following.
The latter examples, along with other creative, and many more organic ideas, will likely grow in popularity in 2017 as they emphasize authenticity and encourage engagement; which ultimately will be the factor that promotes market longevity among influencers.
While in 2016 the spotlight was primarily on pop culture celebrities promoting products falling into the discretionary consumer goods category (think apparel, beauty, alcohol, etc.), other brands will start looking into incorporating influencers in their 2017 social strategy.
As more research proves influencer marketing’s ROI, many types of both B2B and B2C companies will likely join. These brands will be especially better off working with powerful middle and micro-influencers as they’ll likely have more influence over a more intimate, targeted audience than a broader spectrum. This will also lead to more engagement.
As far as the social networks for influencer use, Snapchat and Instagram are the networks of choice. While Snapchat has grown exponentially, Instagram will likely continue to take the lead when it comes to engagement into 2017, given its more diverse user base. Some even argue that influencers could save Twitter with the help of livestreaming.
Even with algorithm changes and crackdown on compliance with FTC guidelines, influencers on social media will likely continue to prove their value well into 2017.
CRM (Customer Relationship Management)
CRM via social has existed forever but now it’s a form of marketing. The better you do it, the better the word of mouth about your company, product, service spreads to others.
The reputation economy is coming, and becoming more and more influential on how people choose what company they use. Many companies have ignored this and as a result will pay a steep price in 2017 with either more customer churn or a keen loss of potential new customers altogether.
In the fascinating book, The Reputation Economy, Michael Fertik dives much deeper into this subject and creates space for the conversation that ultimately all companies will be having regarding the role reputation economics plays in the marketing of the future.
All it takes is five minutes on Pinterest, Snapchat, or Instagram to see that there has been a real shift in social media storytelling. It’s been something optional for most businesses up until now, but in 2017 companies will need to give serious thought and strategy to how they can incorporate more visual storytelling in their marketing plans.
With the rollout of Instagram’s live videos at the end of 2016 and Twitter’s livestreaming, platforms are looking for you to share your authenticity on their platform. Show your “why” and make people fall in love with not only your product, but the brand and who is behind the brand itself.
On SharkTank, the backstory of the entrepreneur is often reflected during the episode; where they came from, what their passions are, and other things that consumers can relate to. A smart brand plays into this with using visual storytelling to relate to the consumer.
The biggest takeaway from video storytelling is that platforms like Facebook are beginning to challenge traditional media for ad dollars. What we used to know as big television events are now consumed through baby-sized, snackable clips.
We are beginning to see brand advertisers talk about platforms like Twitter and Facebook as a new form of television. As consumers get increasingly more comfortable (and familiar) with video, we will see brands build out dedicated video teams and put together an infrastructure that decreases turnaround times and produces content more rapidly.
Transient Social Media
Instagram Stories and Snapchat Stories fall under the category of transient social media: content that disappears within a limited amount of time. This invention keeps people coming back to the social networks daily to view content before it disappears. Use transient social media wisely to post timely content, gifts for your audience, contests, and to show stories of your work behind the scenes.
Measuring and Taking Advantage of Your Data
Social networks have evolved into some of the most targeted ad channels around. Naturally, as a result, there’s a huge spotlight on justifying ROI.
The data we have at our fingertips when it comes to Google Analytics and Facebook Insights and Twitter analytics is pretty amazing, but instead of glancing over them each month to see how many new likes your pages or profiles got, really look into what types and topics of posts do best. Take more action based on data and your social media presence will continue to grow.
One of the biggest complaints in measuring social media data is regarding Snapchat and the lack of metrics the platform offers its users. The general consensus is if I’m investing all this time and energy into creating content, putting together stories, and building a following, I need to be able to prove its worth.
Thankfully there are rumors that Snapchat is unveiling more detailed reporting over the coming months and other platforms (as well as social media management tools like Hootsuit or Sprout Social) seem to be headed down that path as well.
The more time you spend tracking and evaluating posts, the better your social presence will be. Don’t just throw something out there and see what sticks. Measure everything and use the data to adjust your business’s social media strategy.
As you measure your data, you will be able to spot patterns in conversions or the lack of conversion, and predict responses to your content. The business that gets a clear handle on managing this aspect gains a significant edge over competitors.
Not a bad edge to have. In part two of this blog, we’ll uncover some of the more technical facets of social media marketing and what you can do to position your business for exponential online growth. Consult with us at 10twelve if you have any questions on this first part of our two part blog series.