If you printed the social media content that users scroll through every day, it’d stretch 300 feet. With more brands than ever vying for more and more limited attention, fresh social media marketing tactics are vital. The ones who will win the audience are those who understand and exploit new behaviors and trends as they happen.
Not every social media marketing tactic will be relevant for every brand. A company that offers mostly services may not need the help of an image-heavy place like Instagram or Snapchat, for instance. A brand whose audience is mostly younger consumers will rely more heavily on those social networks than Facebook or LinkedIn. By choosing to concentrate on the social media marketing tactics that matter to the audience you want most, you can focus on the places your efforts will do the most good. Among the trends that will be important in 2018:
1. Tighter targeting in video marketing.
Video is one of those social media marketing trends that has continued to grow every year. According to Cisco, 82% of consumer video traffic will be video this year. Many brands are working to take advantage of this. More than a quarter of brands not using video plan to implement it in 2018.
However, there is a chance that social video is among the social media marketing tactics reaching saturation. There are only so many videos that prospects can watch in a single day. Of the millions of hours of video uploaded to YouTube every year, only a fraction will ever be watched by more than a handful of people.
The key is to make sure your videos are seen by the right people instead of thinking in terms of audience size alone. There is no use in a video going “viral” if most of the viewers are not in your market. Better targeting will bring the right audience to you. It will also ensure that they take the actions you want after they watch.
Good use of keywords, high production values and timing your video releases all matter. Track your results and hone your technique. Over time, your videos will work harder for you.
2. Chatbots will join the conversation.
The Gartner Group predicts that 20% of content from businesses will be machine generated in 2018. They will interact with audiences in real time to provide information. They’ll send personalized messaging directly to users. Newer technology will give them human-like voices that can be customized to your brand.
There are already 100,000 chatbots active on Facebook Messenger every month. Millennials have been quick to adapt to chatbots, with three out of five already using them. Seventy-one percent say that they are interested in chatbot conversations with major brands.
This is one of the social media marketing tactics that can work as well for small brands as big ones. Well-programmed chatbots can be there to answer user questions when you are not available. They can provide quick answers and even offer basic customer service. They can also reduce the load on your current customer service personnel. This leaves them free to focus on the areas where a human touch is needed.
3. Bluetooth beacons will connect with users in the real world.
While Bluetooth beacons have been hyped for several years, many predict that this is the year we’ll see wide adoption. Bluetooth technology is being added to lighting fixtures, point of sale devices, signage and vending machines for a more seamless integration in retail and other spaces. The widespread use means that retailers will have more real-time marketing opportunities.
A falling cost of ownership means that passive Bluetooth beacons, which do not rely on battery power, will become ubiquitous in packaging for pharmaceutical products, high end cosmetics and spots apparel. Beacons will be able to perform a wide array of social media marketing tactics. They can send a prompt to check in, post a photo or like a page. They can also serve friends’ recommendations or posts from your brand’s social media pages.
4. Custom Audience will allow for better targeting than ever before.
Facebook’s Custom Audience feature can allow you to use what you already know about your audience to improve how your content, both paid and unpaid, performs. Facebook allows you to import your own information from customer files, MailChimp and other sources to provide a more complete picture of the people who you do business with. Leveraging tools like this is one of the social media marketing tactics that can give you a significant edge over less tech-savvy competition.
Anyone who has run a paid campaign on Facebook or another platform knows how quickly the cost of clicks adds up. Without highly precise targeting, you can blow through a budget without anything to show for it.
Facebook’s Custom Audience feature can allow you to show your advertising on the platform to the people who are most likely to yield the sales that you are looking for. Say, for instance, that you had an ad that was clicked by men between the ages of 25 and 34 more often than any other group. However, you discovered that this group was half as likely to convert as women in the ages of 45 to 54. By eliminating the group that does not convert, you can cut your spending on ads and increase your conversion rate significantly.
5. Remarketing will increase conversions.
It can take several touches for a prospect to move from awareness to decision. Remarketing on social media channels can make it more likely that a past customer or an interested prospect will convert. Social media channels offer a range of tech solutions that can put your brand back in front of interested prospects. The brands that master these social media marketing tactics will win with higher conversions and a better return on their marketing investment.
Facebook, for instance, has a wealth of tools that can be used for remarketing. The Custom Audiences feature mentioned above can be used to direct customers based on their past website activity. You can serve different ads to see which are more likely to convert, send them to landing pages with second-chance offers or offer special discounts. By tracking what works on a second visit, you can make all of your Facebook advertising more effective.
6. Fleeting content will provide big engagement for your brand.
Throughout the life of content marketing, there has been a strong emphasis on evergreen content. In a way, it makes sense. A brand that focused on evergreen content was building an evergrowing arsenal of blog posts, infographics, videos and other items that could be remixed and republished to new audiences. A blog with an impressive backlog of authoritative content, additionally, could show that your company had the staying power and trustworthiness that customer were seeking.
However, social media users are faced with mountains of content every day. They are more likely to engage with your content on the smaller screens of cell phones and tablets than they are on bigger formats like laptop and desktop computers.
On platforms like Snapchat, Facebook and Instagram, users are unlikely to dig back into the history of what you have posted. Because of this, fleeting content has made a big splash. Filters and templates mean that it is easy to create highly engaging ephemera on the go. Consistent posting of small and relatable pieces of content will continue to be essential for keeping your brand at the top of prospects’ minds.
Snapchat first introduced social media marketing tactics that included temporary content in the form of stories that expire after 24 hours. Facebook and Instagram soon followed suit. During the first year of Instagram stories, the platform reported 20 million views per day. Experts predict that half of all Instagram users will be viewing stories by the end of 2018.
7. You’ll capitalize on voice search.
According to Gartner, around one in three internet browsing sessions will be done without a keyboard by 2020. People will instead talk to their phones when they want to browse video on social media or do searches for products. To ensure that your company stays in the loop, switching to audio and video content on your social media channels of choice will be key.
For instance, instead of posting a series of text posts throughout the day, consider adding explainer videos to promote new products. A brand podcast will allow customers to learn more about your products without having to key in search.
Sponsor spots on other hands-free social media content will also be important. It will be difficult for brands to get into the top three spots in search; instead, you can gain access by being touted at the beginning of video, podcasts and other content from the channels that people follow on their social networks.
8. Influencer marketing will continue to benefit brands.
Social influencer marketing remains one of the highly effective social media marketing tactics. However, there are ways to use them effectively and ways that can wind up providing a poor ROI.
When choosing an influencer to work with, it is important to choose ones that have a following that is relevant to your business. Industry experts are key. Social media users are tired of seeing makeup gurus tout the newest protein shake. However, they may be more open to seeing niche products that are truly valued by the influencer.
The key is to go with someone relevant to your niche. In the toy niche, for instance, Ryan ToysReview is a winner. The channel, featuring six-year-old toy enthusiast Ryan, reviews dozens of toys each year. With over 10 million subscribers, he is one of the most-watched influencers on YouTube.
If you choose to add influencers to your social media marketing tactics in 2018, think carefully about your objectives in advance. Why are you working with influencers and what do you hope to gain? Setting clear expectations can help you choose the ones that are the most effective for you.
9. Conversion tracking will help you invest more effectively.
Figures that show what actions are effective have been available for several years. Many marketers have still not learned how to use these tools to make their advertising more effective. By taking the time to understand these sometimes complex figures, you can make a leaner, more effective machine than your competitors’.
The first step in effective conversion tracking is creating goals and objectives. Do you wish to increase traffic to your website? Is it your goal to get more sign-ups or sales? Deciding what you want creates the values to track.
Implementing social media marketing tactics like use of Google Analytics can give you information about where the traffic to your site is coming from. Setting up the code involves a few steps; but, once it’s in place, it can begin providing data.
This sort of tracking can be a boon for marketing departments that have to justify their spending and their hours. By showing the people in the C-suites what you are accomplishing, you can show how your department’s actions are contributing to the company’s success.
10. The dawn on Gen Z.
The generation born in the late 90s and early 2000s are now reaching adulthood and adult buying power. This generation is the first to live their entire lives with access to social media. They are far more tech-savvy than previous generations and far more connected. According to RetailDive, they are two to three times as likely to be influenced by social media in their buying decisions. Social media marketing tactics that appeal to this group can help you build strong relationships early that will pay back for years.
Experts at Goldman Sachs say that it is never too soon to begin growing your relationship with this valuable cohort. They are now the largest demographic. Nielsen Media Research says that they make up 26% of the population. Forbes says they already account for nearly $143 billion in annual spending. Their buying power will only increase as they graduate from school and begin full-time work.
Watching which social networks they choose and how they use them will be key. Learn the sort of language they use to engage in authentic interactions. As they become more important, moving social media marketing investment from platforms like Facebook to ones like Snapchat and Instagram will be important to keep in contact with this audience. Continually watch where they go, as this large market will be important for many brands.
Social media marketers must continue to educate themselves as habits change and technology develops. Utilize all of the tools you have available and seeing how your audience performs. Find the places they like to connect. Learn what they respond to and what turns them off. By continuing this process, you can grow your relationship and your brand’s success. In addition to implementing this process, utilizing a social media management company can help you reach a further audience. Contact us if you’re interested in growing your reach and growing your business.