In this day and age, you’d struggle to find a businessperson who didn’t recognize the importance of social media marketing within an overall marketing strategy. The world of social media marketing is in a constant state of flux, meaning this is no time to rest on your laurels and smell the roses.
Here, we’ve saved you some effort by highlighting five social media trends that are blazing a trail for the social media marketing strategies of the future, changing the game for marketers everywhere.
- Social media goes mobile
In 2016, mobile devices overtook desktop and tablets as the preferred platform for users accessing digital media, and as such, are the ideal vehicle for businesses that are looking to reach customers via social media channels.
The increasing tendency for consumers to reach for their mobile more frequently than any other device when accessing the internet means that savvy businesses now have an unrivaled opportunity to access customers wherever they are than ever before.
According to the authors of marketing strategy book, “Go Mobile,” Jeanne Hopkins and Jamie Turner, small businesses could benefit from modeling some of the strategies of the big players in town; many of whom have been using mobile social media marketing to their advantage for quite some time now.
- Social messaging comes of age
Remember when messaging was pretty much integrated within the social networks it belonged to? This is now a thing of the past, with users of independent social media messaging applications now outstripping users of the social media networks themselves in considerable numbers.
How can marketers use messaging platforms to their best advantage? As the Buffer blog notes, one hurdle to overcome is that customers consider messaging apps to be more private than social media networks, and might not take too kindly to having their private conversations bombarded by marketing.
- Live video hits its stride
According to some commentators (like Melissa Matthews, writing for Inc.com), 2017 will be the year that live video really comes into its own. While big brands have been flirting with live video on channels such as Instagram, Facebook Live and Snapchat, it is predicted we will see a broader range of companies trying the technology on for size.
For those wanting to jump on the wagon, there are a number of great guides for Facebook Live, Instagram, Snapchat and video in general, including:
- 10 Ways to Make Facebook Live an Effective Marketing Tool
- Instagram Stories: The Marketing Tool Your Startup Needs
- How to Use Instagram Live by the Social Media Examiner
- Q&A with Mark Kaye on Snapchat
- The Benefits of Snapchat for Business
- Video Marketing for Beginners in 5 Easy Steps
- Marketing Land’s How to Go Live; Live Video Streaming Tips by Tubular Insights
- How to Market Your Brand Using Live Video
- Influencers become even more important
Forget technology: the real game-changers of the future are 100 percent living, breathing humans! Far from abandoning the personal touch, the future of social media marketing becomes much more relevant as brands leverage the power of influencers to achieve broader reach and attract new customers.
Increasingly, social media influencers do not have to have millions of followers, like the famous example of DJ Khaled, nicknamed “The King of Snapchat.” Lately, brands are looking to leverage influencers at all levels, including those who are well connected but whose followers may not number into the millions, or even thousands.
How to find the right influencers? Find someone with the right combination of relevance, reach and resonance. Relevance because they need to create content relevant to your brand; reach because they need to access your target audience and resonance because that audience needs to engage with the content created in a meaningful way.
- The rise of artificial intelligence
We’ve been hearing for some time now that the reign of the chatbots is nigh, but so far, results have been somewhat mixed. For one thing, investment in AI is predicted to triple during 2017, which should stimulate a commensurate increase in the uptake and use of AI by leading brands.
One benefit of this rise is that companies will be able to combine sophisticated computer technology with big data to understand their customers in more depth and develop highly tailored marketing messages to suit. Essential to social media, some AI applications will assist in sifting through the data and helping firms earmark what can be dealt with by a “chatbot” and what needs a human touch.
Before you rush to embrace AI, it might pay to remember the words of respected physicist Stephen Hawking, who said that, “the development of full artificial intelligence could spell the end of the human race.” Elon Musk reportedly warned at MIT’s AeroAstro Centennial Symposium that we are “summoning the demon” with AI. Perhaps AI is one of those trends that should be embraced with caution… proceed at your own risk!