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In this article, I want to spell out a few of the more prevalent trends that will affect social media marketing this year. Of course, this is only a small selection of the social media trends we can expect to see, but master these and you’ll be well on your way to social media mastery for the year!
The future is here. The bots are taking over! But seriously, this year is going to be the year of the chatbot. With the cost of entry falling rapidly, using AI to deal with customer inquiries is no longer exclusively the option of the multinationals.
So, how exactly can you use chatbots in social media?
- Facebook Messenger now supports chatbots. This means that consumers can communicate directly with your company via Messenger. This makes it incredibly easy for consumers to contact your brand, without needing to download specialist apps.
- Homepage chatbots are also a common sight nowadays. When someone navigates to your webpage, a chat window opens asking what it is the user is looking for. This can be a great way of getting consumers to relevant parts of the webpage, ultimately improving both consumer retention and conversion rates.
This is all well and good, but why would you want to use a chatbot to do this?
- The simple answer is that it is far more efficient than having humans deal with simple customer queries. This way, your support team can focus on trickier problems that require more work. Chatbots are always programmed to turn the consumer over to a human member of your support team if the user’s query is beyond their capabilities.
- Consumers expect rapid service. But, with record numbers of people using apps and eCommerce sites, the speed of service is bound to take a hit. This is where chatbots step in, allowing you to focus support where it matters, rather than just helping users navigate pages or carry out simple tasks.
- Chatbots can run 24 hours a day. This means that customers can get in touch outside office hours and still get instant service.
Finally, you may worry that customers want to speak to a human, that they don’t like speaking to a bot. However, some reports show that people actually prefer dealing with chatbots, provided that the service is efficient. The message is that people don’t really care whether they deal with a bot or a human, provided that they get the service they want quickly and effectively.
Hybrid Video Content
Facebook Live has certainly changed the face of social marketing since its general launch in 2016. And this trend is certainly not going away. In fact, expect live streaming to be a key part of your social video strategy. There’s one statistic you need to keep in mind here:
Facebook Live videos gain six times the engagement of pre-recorded videos.
That’s a pretty staggering difference. So clearly, neglecting Facebook Live will leave a huge gap in your strategy.
However, not everything is suitable for live streaming – there’s certainly still a time and a place for pre-recorded content. So this year, the trick will be keeping it fresh with a hybrid approach to video content. Mix it up! Have your pre-recorded staples, but throw in live events to keep it fresh.
Audiences Are Becoming More Savvy About Influencers
This may be the year that influencers start losing their influence, through a combination of two factors:
- Social media platforms are becoming saturated with influencers and product placements. As feeds fill up with more and more sponsored content, influencer campaigns stand out less and less. In such conditions, consumers will just filter out this content, relegating influencer campaigns to the level of very expensive banner ads.
- Audiences are becoming savvy to the marketer-influencer relation, which undermines the authenticity that both brand and influencer are chasing.
To avoid falling into this trap, make sure that influencer campaigns are well targeted and thought through. They need to be beneficial for the brands of both you and the influencer you’re reaching out to.
This also means that you should be targeting engagement over exposure. Rather than reaching out to people based on follower numbers, check that the followers of the influencers you’re looking at are actually your audience. It’s okay to reach fewer people if more of them are interested in what you’re offering.