An average user spends 2 hours and 16 minutes each day on social media platforms, and this time has been steadily growing for years. In other words, almost half of the world’s population spends a significant part of their lives on social media, and for a business to forgo using this venue is tantamount to simply ignoring a huge portion of their potential customers.
If you are not already promoting your business via social media, you should start now. If you do, you should look for more efficient ways to do so. Want to know what is going to be hot in social media marketing this year? Read on.
1. Ephemeral content
Since the launch of Snapchat, the Stories format has been triumphantly marching across platforms, winning the hearts and minds of both users and businesses that use it for advertising purposes. At a glance, it is hard to see the appeal – what is the advantage of content that disappears soon after creation? Isn’t it a waste for the creator and an inconvenience for the consumer who misses it?
In reality, however, Stories and other types of ephemeral content capitalize on the sense of urgency and scarcity. If users knows that content is going to disappear forever, they are more likely to read/watch it (sometimes consuming many bits of content in a single binge) instead of putting it aside for later or scrolling over. Stories grew 15 times faster than feeds on other social media platforms, and 64% of marketers either already use them or intend to start doing so over the next 12 months. Do not be left behind.
2. Using social media as customer service
More and more users expect companies to not just be present on social media but also actively communicate with them via it. According to Drift.com, 28% of consumers used social media to communicate with a business over the last year, and this share is likely to grow as people more and more see social media as an extension of their lives, rather than a tool aimed at a specific purpose. In other words, you should not just promote your business on social media, but also ensure that somebody is always around to get back to the customers who want help; people these days are not ready to wait for very long.
3. New and alternative platforms
Although Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram have been uncontested leaders of B2C promotion for quite some time (with LinkedIn playing an important role for B2B companies), and there are still no recognizable challenges to their positions, their dominance is no longer as certain as it used to be. Users (especially younger ones) are getting tired of them and their often-unpopular policies and are looking for something new, drifting to new and alternative platforms. Facebook alone lost about 15 million US users over the last two years, and it is a good guess that many of them moved on to new places. TikTok (especially popular among the younger generation, with 500 million monthly active users, as of March 2019), Pinterest (predominantly populated with female users who constitute about 80% of its audience), and Twitch (the new go-to service for gamers) are the most obvious destinations.
4. Word-of-mouth marketing and micro-influencers
Influencers have been the mainstay of businesses’ social media marketing diet for quite a number of years, but it seems that the efficiency of well-known influencers with massive audiences usually begins to peter out. The reason is precisely that they are well-known and have massive audiences, thus becoming celebrities in their own right and representatives of traditional advertising. The more popular an influencer gets, the more their services cost, and the fewer consumers are likely to trust them. As a result, the emphasis is moving on to micro- and nano-influencers – i.e., social media personas with small, yet dedicated audiences who believe them to be genuine and honest. While handling a score of such influencers may be a lot of work, their closer relationships with their audiences can make all the difference.
5. Social listening
Social listening – i.e., analyzing social media in real-time to find mentions of your business and react to them – used to be more of a gimmick than a real strategy. Some businesses used it occasionally and were admired for it, but it was hard to speak about wide-scale adoption. The situation is changing. With social listening tools becoming more advanced and available, more and more businesses are using them, and those that forgo this opportunity risk lagging behind their competition and losing significant conversion opportunities.
The year 2020 is unlikely to demonstrate any radical changes in the patterns of social media usage, but the trends are unmistakable, and any marketer will do well to take them into account. Starting out in the right direction early on can mean the difference between success and failure.
For more insight, see “Social Media Management Strategy In 2020: What To Focus On.”