Social media and online marketing are constantly evolving, so it’s critical to your success that you keep up with the latest trends.
Whether selling jewelry or healthy snacks, social media is one of the most powerful tools for marketing your business.
As savvy social media strategists, we have the tools and resources to help you make a splash in a crowded social media landscape!
1. Visual Brand Storytelling – Here to stay
Visual storytelling is a powerful medium that allows you to deliver a message in as quick as just a few seconds, or over the course of a couple of minutes. More and more, consumers want their information delivered in a quick, concise format, and video is an incredibly effective way to offer that.
We continue to expand our visual storytelling capabilities because as marketers, it’s one of the most impactful tools at our disposal. Video is easy to digest, entertaining and engaging, and it can have a huge ROI impact across many of your channels. At McLernon & Co., we have created many visual stories for our clients to use for paid ads, organic social media content or directly on their website.
Check out our Youtube channel to see some of our client video examples!
Tip: Think outside the box and consider vertical video. This format is becoming increasingly more popular, especially when utilized for the appropriate channels.
2. Authenticity – Build and nurture trust in your community and #keepsocialmediasocial
Social media provides greater credibility for products and services. How often do we look up a product, restaurant, or tourist destination before pulling the trigger on it?
Social media is the new business card, and it’s important that you present yourself or your product in an authentic way.
Presenting a real and human element is particularly important for small businesses. A brand with a human touch, with which the consumer can relate, generates more confidence in that brand. Trust is essential to building relationships.
Tip: According to Social Media Today, for 90% of consumers, authenticity is an important factor in a purchase decision. Thus, your social media content must be real and genuine.
3. User-Generated Content (UGC) – Word of mouth on a digital level!
One of the best ways to get authenticity is through UGC. What is this? It is unpaid content (video, blogs, posts, digital images, audio, etc.) created by your own community and published on their social platforms. In essence, it is sharing the voice and experience of your audience.
It’s hard to ignore the fact that 80% of people consider UGC more authentic than content generated by a brand or product. Hence the relevance of this trend.
A great way to encourage your community to take part in the conversation, and self-publish content, is by creating a branded hashtag. For example, our own hashtag #KeepSocialMediaSocial, was created to build meaningful connections and to engage with our community through our social media strategies.
Tip: Pay attention to the content generated by your followers and share it (with the appropriate credit) on your own channels. This tactic can help increase your community, get them involved, and strengthen your relationship with them.
4. Augmented Reality (AR) – A game changer
Augmented reality and virtual reality have occupied prominent spaces in social media. Brands are using them in innovative ways to communicate with their audience.
An example is the L’Oréal beauty app that allows users to experiment with various types of makeup. Or Glasses, Warby Parker’s new app that combines AR and face mapping so you can virtually try on their glasses.
Tip: Social networks have also adapted augmented reality. Snapchat, Instagram and Facebook facial filters are great examples. Try to find creative ways to use AR to enhance your brand.
5. Social Listening – Love, pamper and listen to your audience
Knowing how to listen is a virtue that people and brands should cultivate. Social listening allows you to learn what the market needs.
Listen to what people say about your brand or your business keywords on the internet. Google Alerts is a basic monitoring tool, but there are more sophisticated resources that do this as well, such as Hootsuite, BuzzSumo or HubSpot to name a few.
Social listening goes beyond reading posts and giving them an obligatory thumbs up.
Monitoring your networks with a critical eye can help you identify patterns and collect information to use in your communication strategy and marketing campaigns. The information you collect through social networks can give you a competitive advantage.
Tip: Pay close attention and make sure you interact with consumers and answer questions on your social networks. Remember: Keep social media social!!
6. Chatbots – A little help from a friend
People want to communicate with their favorite brands and they expect a quick response.
Chatbots are a helping hand for quick interactions. They are useful for customer service, finding the perfect gift at Nordstrom, ordering Pizza Hut or catching an Uber.
7. Ephemeral Content – FOMO
Ephemeral content (content that disappears after a specific period of time, such as Instagram stories) is growing in popularity and may replace the “newsfeed”.
Because we expect immediate gratification, our attention span is short and we live in fear of missing out. Since ephemeral content is only available for a limited time, there is a fear that we will not see it or hear it, and will miss out on something crucial.
We love Instagram stories because we know that they can help raise a client’s voice above the overwhelming amount of static posts. They grab an audience’s attention and trigger a quick response.
Tip: Use ephemeral content to generate expectations about a new product or service, encourage user-generated content, run polls, and host Q&A sessions, and show your human side.
8. Advertising – Pay to play
With more brands competing for people’s attention on social media, ordinary posts aren’t cutting it. This is when paid advertising can be effective.
Check out how we have successfully implemented paid advertising campaigns on Facebook and Instagram to increase awareness, generate leads, and get conversions.
9. Live Streaming – Put the social back in social media
Live streaming is an important video opportunity because it combines authenticity, interaction and visual content. Plus, it offers real-time engagement.
Live streaming feels more real, authentic and raw. It’s a two-way street. Brands can interact and listen to their customers. Feedback from consumers becomes almost immediate, and in turn, brands can address complaints and resolve problems.
Tips to make the best out of live streaming:
- Have a goal or purpose.
- Prepare a list of topics and keep it handy.
- Try to keep the live session between 5-10 minutes…and remember to cover your goals!
- Repeat the reason and purpose of the broadcast several times, so that those who did not join in at the beginning are aware.
- Make eye contact with the camera, not with your image.
- If you are nervous, admit it! People like to connect with you, and showing vulnerability gives them the opportunity to do so.
10. Influencer Marketing – Find your niche
Collaborating with influencers is a big part of a successful social media strategy. An influencer is a social media user that has established credibility on a specific topic. Influencers have a large audience and persuasive power. In most cases, they are “the average Joe” who has achieved notoriety and a considerable number of followers thanks to their experience and transparency. Brands turn to influencers to reach audiences like millennials, who are not as receptive to traditional marketing tactics.
Tip: Influencers create and promote content in a subtle, more authentic way. They give credibility to your product or service, can increase your audience, and strengthen the relationship with your community.
At McLernon & Co. we preach the importance of a brand’s social presence because it gives credibility that influences how people perceive the brand.
Social media is here to stay, and when used strategically, is a powerful marketing ally.
Have questions on how to move forward with social media or the strategy behind your marketing? Schedule time with us. We are based in Denver and would love to grab a coffee and get to know you!
Strategic Communications professional specializing in social media | Passionate about helping businesses increase their online presence and proud to be guest blogging with McLernon & Co.