What to Watch Out for in the Social Media World: 5 Trends
It’s no question that social media presence continues to grow for brands. Year after year (and even month by month sometimes) new trends emerge, making it difficult for businesses to keep up and leaving marketers in a scramble. Constant new networking platforms arise and it is hard to know which one to commit your team’s time and company resources to. As you plan your brand’s social media strategy, keep in mind these five emerging trends in social media today.
- Brands must look at social media as a diversified investment
While companies in the past have invested in utilizing social media to grow their business, it is no longer an advantage to use it, because nearly all companies in the present day are enforcing this tactic. Brands who invest in a social media strategy see major benefits and a huge impact in their referral traffic and revenue. According to the 2014 Social Media Marketing Industry Report, a significant 92% of marketers say their social media has generated more exposure of their businesses. However, a “social strategy” is not narrowed to one simple definition anymore. Effectively using “social” now consists of a variety of tactics, each with its own benefits and success measurements. This can include things like paid social ads, community management, social listening, fan pages and online word-of-mouth strategies like influencer outreach and brand advocate programs.
Many brands are no longer allocating social media tasks to current employees, but hiring dedicated people as social media strategists. Utilizing these tactics garners the biggest benefits and has shown to lead to better company branding, improved brand awareness, word-of-mouth and increased customer loyalty and trust.
- Consumers will have a unique experience with Google+, and marketers will benefit from it
While Facebook still continues to lead the pack in terms of the number of monthly users, Google+ is rising steadily to its level with nearly 359 million active users. Now with the second highest number of monthly users, Google+ has gained much attraction since its debut in 2011. With such a huge network used by consumers, you’d think marketers would be experts, yet a whopping 65% of marketers want to learn more about it, according to the2014 Social Media Marketing Industry Report. Google+ offers features and experiences that other platforms cannot, which give companies looking particularly to market to consumers a huge incentive. With its interactive tools such as hangouts, communities and circles, marketers can leverage these tools to interact with consumers, build a relationship with advocates and influencers and prompt conversation across the network. One major advantage to this platform compared to others is users are able to see every post from the people and brands they follow. Not to mention the ever-increasing integration of Google tools in our online lives plays a huge benefits for marketers with regards to data and relevant messaging. Failing to acknowledge the growth with Google+ is missing a big opportunity. And this expands beyond B2C brands as the use of the platform for B2B is predicted to increase to 66%, which is a spike from last year.
- Image driven networks and platforms will help marketers gain attention
Humans are visual creatures and although it is cliché, a picture is worth a thousand words. This should come as no surprise, as new platforms such as Instagram, Snapchat and Pinterest are gaining more and more attention over time. According to Trend Reports, between 65 and 85 percent of people describe themselves as visual learners. In short, they digest information more easily by viewing an image instead of reading text. Although the original text-based content is still very important to marketers, sharing through image and video will become a critical piece in a solid social media marketing engagement.
Prompting advocates and influencers to post photos of your brand is an excellent way to break through the clutter and leave a lasting impact. However, when consumers upload photos and video, they do it to connect with their friends and followers online. They want to share a photo that provokes emotion or conversation. Designing ways for consumers to creatively capture a moment with your brand will result in more activity and lasting results.
- LinkedInto become major player for B2B business growth
Rated as the number one social networking site for professionals with 238 million users, this trend only seems fitting for what is to come in the future. With the launch of its Influencers program, where one has the ability to follow professionals, LinkedIn is becoming the largest source of content creation and curation for professionals. By displaying credentials, employment details and groups, users are able to connect with others based on their connections and area of expertise. Businesses are starting to recognize the potential for this platform and will become a major asset to gaining business in B2B markets.
- Blogging will be one of the biggest areas for increase for brands
Fifty-eight percent of the marketers surveyed in the 2014 Social Media Marketing Industry Report say that original written content is the most important kind of content for their business and brand. More content equals more traffic. Blogging is a dominate way to get impactful, original content in front of your current and potential customers in an easily and inexpensive way. According to Marketing Charts, 46% of Americans read the blogs of their favorite brands and attribute a significant amount of influence in their purchase decisions to brand’s blogs. Blogging can speak to a brands unique voice and marketers will use this to their advantage to generate leads and referrals, higher SEO’s and potential business.
With social media evolving at a dramatic speed, it is vitally important for brands and businesses to stay on top of the changes and trends that are successful in order to gain the most value from their social media investment and shape their success for the future.