As a social media strategist, I spend on average 3.5 hours a day connected to a variety of social media profiles, web articles and communicating with others. When I asked my friends, many of them found that they were spending 5-6 hours on their phone every day! The reality is that, nowadays, most people spend more of their free time on their phones and computers, rather than having face to face interactions.
People today are more likely to consult their smartphones when considering a purchase or getting an answer to a question. It’s no surprise then that marketers are flocking to digital marketing avenues to advertise where everyone is hanging out. Business owners are focusing a lot of their efforts on digital marketing as well, because not only is it where most people are communicating, but the capabilities of targeting your content to the right audience (age, gender, relationship status, education level, interests, etc…) are unlike anything we’ve seen before.
In an effort to clarify what the future holds for digital marketing, here are some things to look out for in 2019:
1) Chatting and trust
Now more than ever, building trust is important to maintain and grow relationships on social media.
Having your business adopt chat features that allow potential customers to reach out to you directly and get quick answers is the future of social. Transparency and speed are the keys to building trust. This is called Conversational Commerce and it works really well when adopted properly. Through this approach, you can build lasting relationships by communicating quickly and openly through chat features that help potential customers feel more confident in their buying decisions.
Earlier this year, Facebook announced their plan to integrate the messaging functions of WhatsApp, Instagram, and Messenger into one space, but we still don’t know what the full strategy is. So if you are a business that can use chat features to garner business, you need to keep an eye on what’s coming in this area.
2) StoryTelling vs StorySelling
Storytelling is one of the ways that humans make sense of and give meaning to the world around them. We all have a story to share, and the “story” feature that now exists on almost all social platforms allows us to do just that. This impermanent feature helps brands and people become more real to their audiences, and actively gives context and energy to a brand.
The real power behind this feature is that it allows you to sell indirectly by crafting a story around your business through videos and photos instead of employing a hard sell. The most engaging and effective stories answer the classic 5 Ws: Who? What? Where? When? Why?
There are various apps that make life easier by providing graphics or animations to streamline the creation process. Some examples of my favourite apps are Canva and PixArt. Try them out to make engaging stories that help your audiences relate to your brand.
3) Micro-influencers and nano-influencers
There are so many influencers out there and they are broken down into three groups: nano-influencers (below 5,000 followers), micro-influencers (5,000 – 15,000 followers), and influencers. They are the new celebrities of the world and hold varying degrees of authority, depending on their claim to fame.
Some influencers will get brands amazing visibility and results immediately, while others won’t. You have to do your homework as to who actually has influence and if their market is right for your business. The important elements are audience demographics, engagement levels, and authenticity. The authenticity factor is why a micro-influencer might be more valuable than one with millions of followers: their audience may feel closer to them and trust them more.
If your brand isn’t yet using influencers to increase visibility, 2019 is the time to start.
4) Data-driven strategies
Social Listening software is getting more sophisticated every year, which makes it easier for marketers to build strategies that get the results they are working towards. 70% of social media marketing is listening, and with the right metrics, you can see on a daily basis which campaigns are working, what people like and don’t like, and what sells. You no longer have to wait to the end of a campaign to see if it’s working, you have the numbers coming in right away. When you couple this strategy with an online business, you’re golden.
There was a time when business owners would ask: “What’s my ROI?” and most social media experts would say “brand awareness,” But now that these social media platforms have evolved and the data has become more clear, we can turn to questions about what your personal goals and your KPIs will be. What do you want to achieve for your business and how are you going to measure it? It’s important to know your answer before diving into a new strategy.
5) A not-so-last-minute strategy
It seems increasingly apparent that companies are taking social media more seriously and seeing the results of a well-thought-out plan and strong execution. Gone are the days when a business does everything last minute and without solid reasoning. If you’re still doing that, you really need to stop because it’s damaging your brand.
Having a strategy in place saves time, improves results, and ensures you are prepared should a crisis occur. While the ideal strategy differs from company to company, achieving strong results requires planning and creating content in advance. In addition, depending on the type of business or product, leaving some flexibility for topical content and creativity may be of equal importance.
2019 is going to be a great year for online businesses and companies that take it seriously. If you are unsure of where to start, Maramel can help. Our team builds strategies from A to Z, creates campaigns, and measures your results.