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Five Social Media Trends to Include in Your Marketing Strategy

[Estimated Read Time: 4 minutes]

As brands try to connect with audiences across social networks, it has become harder for brands to catch an audience’s attention. As competition increases and the length of attention spans decreases, brands need to reevaluate their social media marketing strategy if they want to succeed in a noisy advertising landscape.

In 2018, brands need to focus on five major social media trends including influencer marketing, AI and chatbots, Facebook’s new algorithm, big data and adapting to Generation Z.

 

Influencer Marketing’s Impact on Social Media

Trust declines, while peer influence rises

According to Edelman’s global study of consumer confidence, consumer trust sunk to historic lows in 2017. Real customer communities, engaged employees, micro influencers and “people like me” will take center stage in 2018. Influencer marketing is the fastest growing marketing channel and those who use it, report seeing 10x higher conversion rates.

To tailor the selection process to your brand, consider these five golden rules for potential influencers: have a large and engaged audience, relevant to your customers, appear to be authentic, active on social media with frequent posting schedule, and have a tone and style that match those of your brand.

 

Artificial Intelligence and Chatbots

AI must be human, helpful and relevant

With the evolution of advanced analytics and big data, it’s becoming easier for marketers to build a clearer picture of who their target audiences are. An expected 62% of brands will utilize AI in 2018, making chatbots increasingly more common. With the help of AI, marketers will be able to create more targeted ads, deliver content to specific individuals, and searches will become much smarter.

In general, there are four types of AI: social commerce, customer care, content delivery and analytics. Social commerce helps customers research or complete purchases, customer care uses a bot to reduce frequently-asked questions, content delivery helps social audiences binge-consumer related content and analytics helps reduce manual reporting.

The biggest impact of AI and social media is the impact of voice search. These voice-powered devices respond and fulfill our verbal commands and continuously learn more about us. Eventually, they start to proactively know what information we might request in the future.

As the type of content available on these devices continues to grow, it might not be long before they change the way we browse and consume content on social media. It is important marketers start thinking about what type of social media content can be optimized for consumption via smart speakers.

 

Getting Ahead of Facebook’s New Algorithm

Live video is crucial

Facebook announced changes to its News Feed algorithm that will shift the type of content users see. Users will now see more content from their friends and family, instead of the pages they follow. Posts that spark the greatest amount of discussion among users, especially when shared by those in their own personal networks, are expected to rank better. And the one type of content that Facebook highlighted as seeing the most engagement? Live video. Live videos receive 6x the engagement as non-live videos.

Live streaming has become an effective marketing tool because it has the power to turn your company from a logo and a name to a memory that your audience can connect with. It even creates a sense of transparency and trust while taking up just a fraction of the cost of producing professional video.

Of course live video is not the only way to get in front of Facebook’s new algorithm change. Consider other tactics to increase engagement like utilizing Facebook groups, increasing ad budgets, and engaging more with consumers.

 

Big Data Equals Big Results

Organizing, interpreting and making decisions based off of data

The challenge for most companies is not too little data; the challenge is organizing, interpreting and making good decisions based on the data you already have. After multiple data sources are brought together and visualized, the real work begins. What does the data tell you about your customers? Your market? Your competitors? What does it tell you to do tomorrow? Or next week? Or next year?

Eventually, data will be just as important to your company as an email list. By organizing and interpreting your data, you will be better able to locate prospective customers, track impact and ROI, predict buyer behaviors and sales, track competitors, perform more targeted advertising, deliver more relevant content, appear in semantic search and gather more conclusive testing.  

 

How to Market to the Next Generation

Marketing to “true digital natives”

As we shift away from Millennials to Generation Z, marketers need to adapt different strategies to appeal to this generation. At this point, the oldest Gen-Z members is 22 years old. Gen-Z is about to enter the labor force, meaning they will hold greater buying power. They are expected to account for about 40% of all consumers by 2020.

Gen-Z has been found to use different social media platforms for different activities.

  • Instagram: they showcase their aspirational selves
  • Snapchat: they share real-life moments
  • Twitter: they get the news
  • Facebook: they glean information

Gen-Z share certain types of content on particular social channels so marketers need to be ready to tailor messages by platform, while keeping the overall message the same.

If you’re looking to attract a new, younger audience, you need to involve them in your message, highlight real people and include elements of social responsibility. By involving Gen-Z in your message, they’ll be more responsive to it, if it comes across as authentic and relatable.

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