Written by S. Angelique Mingo
Tweet this, Snap that, Like it, Pin now, Insta later, Post those, Connect here, Stream now… 2017 was a banner year for social media. Paid advertisements dominated our Facebook timelines. Twitter doubled its character limit to 280. Instagram lets two people to go live at the same time in the same live stream, and there are rumors swirling that they are about a new 4×4 layout. Selfies have taken a backseat and live stream videos have taken their place as the best way to engage followers. Keeping up with the ever-changing social media changes can make it hard to craft a cohesive social media marketing strategy that’s up to date and fresh.
Despite the constant noise, 2018 seems to be poised to create even more disruption with more streaming platforms, messenger apps, social e-commerce and more. Social media is the addiction that allows us to connect and share with each other like never before. It is one of the best ways for brands to create a more personal online community with your followers. Lay the early groundwork for 2018 with these five social marketing trends to increase your brands’ competitive edge:
1. A SHIFT TO TARGETING GENERATION Z
Generation Z, aka the millennial generation born 1996 or later, is all grown up and soon will have spending power. This is the first post-digital era that has no clue of what pre-Google life was like. Their lives have been shaped by social media and in turn around shaping how social media is used by brands. These millennials prefer personal social channels like Snapchat and Instagram to the peeping eyes of Facebook and Twitter. Their world has been shaped by accessibility and immediacy thanks to having their world in the palm of their hands—the smartphone. They have grown up cultivating digital communities, which affects the way they engage with brands and make purchasing decisions. They look to social media to get their information from people and brands they trust. Combine augmented reality apps to bring your brand and events to life and cut through the clutter amongst their peers through instant viral word of mouth appeal.
2. INCREASE IN INTEGRATED INFLUENCER MARKETING & E-COMMERCE COLLABORATIONS
Influencer marketing has exploded over the past two years and is slated to continued growing. These are the new celebrities who are turning their online fame to launching their online businesses. The new year brands will partner with influencers to create specialty lines and fuses celebrities, bloggers and everyday consumers to create new influencer-to-influencer collaborations. The core of influencer strategy should be to build long-term relationships, similarly to how they connect with their followers. The relationship should be authentic so it genuinely engages with their audience to create relevant content touch-points in the mix.
Combine augmented reality apps to bring your brand and events to life and cut through the clutter amongst their peers through instant viral word of mouth appeal.
3. MOVE OVER SELFIES, WE ARE LIVE
Live video content not only grew this year, it took over. There are no shortage of apps where we were shooting live video for our followers. It was the next natural iteration in a social media evolution and Facebook, Instagram, Periscope, and Snapchat were all there for it. Like live television broadcasting, live streaming gives audiences exclusive insider content in a way they may have never seen otherwise. We can respond with our audiences in real time by answering their questions, acknowledging them as it feeds that sense of community. People do not want to see every thing that happens in your business, but sharing moments that connect to human emotions or allow real-time interaction, such as backstage tour, time with friends, live events, or Q&A. And due to their short durations, followers click to view so they can feel apart of the video with their favorite celebrities, vloggers and brands.
4. EPHEMERAL CONTENT WILL RULE SOCIAL ENGAGEMENT
In 2015, Snapchat found success amongst younger millennials with its ephemeral content—short-lived content that lives for 24-hour period. This platform became the go-to website for must-see content due to their time sensitive nature. This year, Facebook and Instagram crept in on Snapchat’s turf with their incorporation of Facebook Stories and InstaStories, respectively. The thought of disappearing content may be scary but several brands have already begun to find success on Instagram, including J. Crew, E! News, and model Emily Ratajkowski. This technology removes the stuffiness of the perfectly stylized images and gets back to authentic real-time content that draws attentions as it creates a sense of urgency before the content is gone.
5. MESSAGING APP CUSTOMER SERVICE
Chatbots are improving social customer service to make it faster and easier. No more sitting in the queue waiting for the next available representative or tweeting at brands to for customer support, now chatbox messaging apps add a new alternative for consumers to get help where they are. Brands will be jumping on this new artificial intelligence technology, voice assistants and chatbots to provide personalized customer service and consumer marketing experience. Facebook and Instagram are already offering this to their business pages so owners can have an automated conversation with people who click on the page’s messenger.
Whether it’s a tweet update, app update, email blast, or Insta pic, social media is paramount for any modern marketing strategy. What worked in January may not work in December, so focusing on creativity and imagery will ensure that your strategy is easily adaptable to keep up with the new trends and advancing technologies.
About S. Angelique
S. Angelique Mingo is the Creative Director at Sinala Noir, a fashion and lifestyle communications agency for contemporary brands on the rise. S. Angelique designs hybrid public relations and social media strategies to help generate buzz and build brand awareness. She specializes in storytelling, brand development and project management and is known for her energetic, hit-the-ground running approach to every client.