Social media changes fast! It can be tough to keep up with all the updates and new things going on in social media. It’s easy to fall behind and even miss out on a great opportunity for growth.Because of this, we’ve assembled a guide to keep you informed on all the latest social trends that have popped up this year. We present to you, the 2018 Konstruct Social Media Roundup!
1) Live video is still alive and well.
Live video started making waves in 2017. If you recall the last blog post I wrote about live video, I outlined just how valuable it can be to a brands social strategy. Whether you’re live streaming an event, an interview, or just having fun interacting with your audience in real time, live streaming video can be a great way to engage people and have fun doing it.So what are the benefits to live streaming video as a part of your social strategy, opposed to just posting something that you’ve already recorded? Let’s take a look at the facts:
- People spend up to three times longer watching live video over regular video.
- Live video gives you the ability to interact with those watching your stream in real time.
- Viewers are ten times more likely to comment on a live video.
- Users view your content on your time, not on theirs.
- Live video is created in one shot. Other than a little bit of prep work, it actually takes less time to produce.
- Live videos generate detailed analytics. You can see the point in time that your audience was the most engaged and if they dropped off and left at a certain point in time as well.
Best of all, it’s free! Live streaming on most social platforms is 100% free and can make a huge impact on getting your message out. How often do you get a ton of ROI for little to no investment? Why wouldn’t you give it a shot? But, how do we go about broadcasting our live content to reach our audience? In our professional opinion, the medium you use should be the one that you have the largest reach on, or the one most related to the content that you’re looking to stream. Social networks have streaming apps and capabilities, but other screen sharing streaming apps exist too. Facebook, Instagram, Youtube, and Periscope (Twitter) mostly dominate the social streaming world. But Twitch and other streaming platforms exist for niches like video game streaming and other kinds of content. The platform that has the greatest reach, benefits and fits your niche is the one you should be using. They’re all able to create the same kind of engagement for their intended purpose.
2) Chatbots are sweeping the nation.
Chatbots have been around almost as long as instant messaging itself. Most millenials will remember the archaic chatbots that were around in the days of AOL and MSN Messenger. They would make a hilarious attempt at answering your questions and elicit a completely off topic response. The good news is, the dark ages of chatbots are over! Chatbots have reached a point where they can be useful and actually serve your customers in a timely and reliable manner. More and more brands are integrating chatbots into their social messaging apps to serve customers and direct them to needed information. In the first year of the new facebook messenger platform, the number of chatbots grew from 33,000 to over 100,000. That’s a pretty impressive jump in the number of chatbot integrations. For that many companies to jump on board, you know that there has to be some serious value in using a chatbot to help your customers on social media.
3) Influencer Marketing is Evolving.
You may recall the article I wrote a few months ago about the rise of the micro influencer and the amount of value they can deliver. The fact of the matter is, word of mouth and advice from a trusted source is going to resonate more with someone than a source that they don’t know nearly as well. Just because someone isn’t famous or doesn’t have a million followers on Instagram doesn’t mean they don’t have a social influence. Not everyone has a sky-high marketing budget. Paying a professional athlete to name drop your company in an interview often just isn’t in the cards for most small to medium-sized businesses. But, that’s where micro influencers come in! So what if they don’t have a million followers? More often than not, 1,000 – 90,000 followers are more than enough to get the word out. They’re still a trusted resource in their own smaller social circle and have the ability to promote and create real advocacy for your brand. A lot of the time, they have a better connection to the niche market that will actually buy your product than that famous athlete would have anyways. Stop thinking about the follower count, and look at the impact someone has on the community itself.
4) You’ve got to pay to play.
Facebook announced earlier this year that they are moving towards more of a paid platform for businesses. This left marketers and business owners feeling shocked and angered, but they’re doing their best to justify this decision. It sounds ridiculous, but when you take a look at the numbers, it almost makes sense. When the average person logs into Facebook, they have over 500 pieces of content fighting to get their attention. Because of this, the average post can only reach about 6% of its potential audience organically. That’s a pretty sad figure for organic reach. The truth of the matter is, who actually has time to read or view 500 pieces of content every time they log into facebook? Not a lot of us have that much spare time. There needs to be something to differentiate each piece of content and rank the content for how much priority it should have over other content. There’s a complex algorithm that controls this that we won’t get into today, but it does favour paid content over organic content. More and more businesses, marketers and advertisers are moving towards using paid Facebook ads to create more engagement for their content and have it reach more of their potential audience. It’s been said that 93% of social advertisers are now using Facebook ads to ensure that their content is being seen. Facebook along with some of our other favourite social networks have become pay to play if you want to grow your social presence. Paid social advertising needs to be a part of your social strategy this year in order to be successful.
5) Listen to your customers on social media.
Yep, you guessed it, I wrote a blog about this too. An often overlooked part of social media is how valuable the interactions you have with your customers really are. Trying to scan through chat logs, comments, messages and other points of contact can be like digging for a needle in a haystack. But, fear not! Technology is awesome and we now have Social Listening Tools to help out with all of that. Message mining used to be a hassle, now it’s quick and easy to mine for gold. Being able to categorize what your customers are saying and pick up on key themes will help improve your social media strategy a ton. Social listening tools enable us to scan customer feedback for:
- What kind of content is resonating with our audience
- What kind of content they don’t like
- How to be responsive to our customers needs
Think of it as your social media reality check. Social listening tools could be what you need to find the missing link in your social strategy and start pushing more people through your sales funnel.
6) It’s time to start using more User Generated Content.
User Generated Content is a great way to bring a new liveliness to your social feeds. You can put all the time and money you want into content creation. The question is whether or not you’ll get a good return on that investment. A great strategy we’ve seen to get users using your hashtags and interacting more with your brand is by leveraging a User Generated Content (UGC) strategy. We’ve all seen brands asking for users to use their hashtag to have a chance at being featured. This is a great strategy in so many ways. It’s just great branding! Getting people using your hashtag increases its visibility and in turn, increases yours as well. Take BMW’s Instagram strategy for example. They use the hashtag #BMWRepost to track UGC and populate a feed with their vehicles. The hashtag has over 800,000 posts now. Can you imagine the potential reach a hashtag with over 800,000 posts would have? People willingly share quality content for a chance to be featured on a page with a big following like BMW’s. If you’re looking to create some real engagement and bring a new life to your social feed, it’s time to add some UGC to your overall social marketing strategy.
7) The rise of Ephemeral content!
Alright, what on earth is ephemeral content? Ephemeral content is defined as content that disappears after a specified amount of time. This is one of the biggest marketing trends across social media networks right now. ‘Stories’ are probably the most popular type of ephemeral content right now. Stories are photos and videos posted on social media networks that are only available for 24 hours before they disappear forever. Instagram and Snapchat both use stories as a way to get users posting and engaging with each other more.Take Instagram stories for example. Instagram has their regular feed of content, then they have a feed at the top of the user interface for stories. Stories have an almost equivalent amount of engagement to the regular Instagram feed now. The nice thing about Ephemeral content is that it gives you an opportunity to be creative and try things you wouldn’t normally use in your regular content strategy. The format allows you to post more frequently too. No one likes that person that posts several things in a row and spams their feed. But seeing as stories are skippable, you can get away with posting more frequently. That being said, ephemeral content is a fun way to enrich your content strategy and test things that you wouldn’t normally post. Mix it up and keep it fun! Well, there you have it. These are the biggest trends in social media that we’ve noticed this year. We’ve only briefly touched on all of these topics. If there’s something you’d like clarification on, we’d be happy to meet with you and go over how things work and how we can implement a social strategy for your business. For all of your digital marketing and social growth needs, Konstruct is here to help!