Social media is one of the most cost effective marketing channels available to small and mid sized businesses. But its accessibility also poses a challenge as it can be very difficult to get the engagement and following you need to make it a worthwhile investment. To grab the attention of your target audience, you need to do something unique and also stay on top of trends.

Here are five social media trends that we think you should jump on this year.

  1. Leveraging Influencer Marketing Intelligently

Influencer marketing isn’t necessarily new but not enough businesses are putting enough effort into it as a strategy. They need to do more than simply reach out to social media influencers to strike deals. They need to really incentivize influencers and have them be in sync with what their company is doing.

For example, a startup company Glossier has grown at an incredibly fast rate (from zero to 333,000 Instagram followers and a blog of over 1.5 million readers) using influencer marketing. Instead of banking on celebrities to tweet or make an Instagram about their products, the company reached out to influencers that had a smaller audience of a few thousand followers. They even invited their influencer partners out to New York to collaborate with their social media posts.

Takeaways:

– Put in more effort to reach out to influencers and look to build a strong relationship with them beyond the deal.

– Think of a way to incentivize influencers other than commission rates and flat payments for advertising.

– Look for social media influencers that have targeted smaller audiences that can complement your brand.

  1. Use Videos for Even Greater Reach

brand-videos

You’ve probably experimented with video posts in social media but if you want to step up your social media game, you have to make it a regular thing. The reason why is because video performs better than other types of content. For example, Facebook videos receive 135% greater reach than regular posts and photos.

But don’t think that you have to produce long and complex videos to draw people in. Shorter videos that are around a minute long tend to get more views than longer videos. You can also experiment with features like autoplay and buttons to activate the sound.

– Try experimenting with short videos that are one to two minutes long.

– Build events around videos like live Q&As, reviews, and interviews.

– Test different features like autoplay to see what creates more engagement.

 

  1. The Rise of Time Sensitive Content

instagram-stories

Snapchat has popularized content that disappears after 24 hours with their Snapchat stories. Both Facebook and Instagram has followed suit. Many brands are seeing great results from using this form of content. They are creating story driven slideshows that are fun, creative and original.

As a matter of fact, brands using Instagram Stories are having a 60% higher engagement rate compared to brands that are not. There are even unique features like being able to let influencers to take over your story board for a single day.

Takeaways:

– Study how other businesses are using stories in their social media accounts to get an idea of what’s working.

– Come up with fun stories that you feel will really resonate with your audience and create more engagement.

– Think about using outside the box ways to draw people in such as using live videos and inviting popular influencers to your Instagram stories.

 

  1. More Engagement with Advanced Chatbots

chatbot

Chatbots are more complex than ever and are becoming huge assets for businesses that are serious about social media marketing. Chatbots are being used for everything from answering common questions, sending reminders, reinforcing marketing campaigns, to carrying out customer tasks. Chatbots have become especially popular on Facebook.

In one case study, a B2B company called Anymail uses chatbots to strengthen their tiny two man support department. They collected requests from users to come up with strong automated responses. They also used a alert system to let support staff know when to manually answer questions the chat bot could not.

From using chatbots extensively, Anymail found that a third of their buyers used the chatbot before making a buying decisions and also found that 60% of their revenue came from chatbot interactions. The fact that their chatbot addressed most issues also meant that they saved a great load of money on the support department.

– Look for a third part chatbot service provider or work with a programmer that

– Start building automated messages based on the most popular questions and requests.

– Figure out a strategy to use both automated and manual approach to maximize the sales and/or support team.

In conclusion, there’s a reason why these social marketing strategies have become trends. You’ll want to use these strategies if you want to stand out in the socialsphere, lift your engagement rates, build a large following, reach a bigger audience, and increase your sales.

Digital Strategist
Jennifer’s love for digital marketing started at a young age while managing blogs and social profiles for her family’s businesses. Since 2013 she has been working in the space professionally and holds a degree in marketing from the University of Maryland. One of her greatest pleasures is seeing our fulfillment team execute the strategies she outlines, and seeing the finished product.