New Year. New Social Strategy?
When it comes to New Year resolutions, many of us adopt the anecdote “new year, new you.” What if we extended that narrative into our marketing plans? Instead of “new you,” replace that with “new plan.” What is your marketing plan for 2019? What role will social media play in that plan? Still don’t know what to be on the lookout for? Here are a few trends to look for in 2019.
User Generated Content
In 2017, Time, Inc., conducted a survey focusing on three major demographics (Gen X, millennials, and Gen Z) about their thoughts on brands and how they use custom content.
The survey found that 90 percent of consumers like the idea of brands using custom content to engage with them and 89 percent believe that user generated content (USG) is a great way for brands to break through the traditional forms of marketing that they may come across online.
By definition, USG is content created and published by end-users online. In the B2B world, it’s content generated by your customers. And USG comes in a variety of forms – videos, podcasts, social posts, etc.
What does that mean for you?
Consumers are looking for brands to present an authentic experience when it comes to storytelling. It’s a key factor as to why they should choose your brand over your competitor.
USG provides a cost-effective way to tell your brand’s story. There’s no need to hire an outside production company or an independent marketing contractor to tell your story. Use those within the company to tell your story, or use your good customers who are already familiar with your brand to help promote.
Starbucks is a leader in USG. Every year since 1997, Starbucks releases a holiday cup that helps customers get into the holiday spirit.
As digital media evolved throughout the years, the coffee company asked not only for feedback, but also for participation through social media as a way to promote their brand via storytelling.
For the 2018 holiday season, Starbucks introduced reusable red cups. The move came after a slump in holiday sales last year and the call from consumers asking for more reusable cups. And the USG that came from that move was golden for the company.
“We were reminded just how much our customer base enjoys the holidays and wants to seek out ways to participate in the season with us. It triggers positive emotions in their minds during the season, and we know we have the opportunity to invoke something special in our customers,” said Starbucks COO Brewer to CNBC in November.
Chatbots are the future
As advancements in artificial intelligence (AI) continue to evolve, chatbots are seen as an effective marketing tool to help automate and expand a brand’s customer service.
According to Oracle, 80 percent of marketing professionals already use chatbots or are planning on using them by 2020. Research also shows that by 2025 the global chatbot market is expected to reach $1.25 billion. With Facebook Messenger leading the charge, social media is going to be a key component to the chatbot growth.
The travel industry is one industry that is using chatbots to their advantage.
When it comes to travel, chatbots can help streamline travelers’ vacation planning. Bots can offer ideas on where to travel, how to get there, budgeting, transportation, etc. And companies such as Google, Expedia, and various travel associations are embracing this advanced automated approach.
In July 2018, the International Gay and Lesbian Travel Association (IGLTA) introduced a LGBTQ+ travel chatbot to help travelers when planning a vacation. Via Facebook Messenger, the chatbot not only assists in vacation planning, but also gives travelers recommendations on destinations, travel agents, hotels, and transportation – all very important steps when it comes to planning.
IGLTA believes that their members will also reap benefits as the chatbot directs travelers to different products and services their businesses have to offer.
“We realize that travelers are tech-savvy and rely more and more on social media and mobile devices when planning and looking for inspiration for their next trip,” said John Tanzella, IGLTA President/CEO. “Our LGBTQ travel chatbot not only provides insight for travelers who know where they want to go, but also provides inspiration and recommendations for those who aren’t quite sure where to go next. The Inspire Me feature can even suggest LGBTQ-welcoming tours, events and special offers around the world that a traveler may not have previously found in their research.”
In this day and age, consumers aren’t sitting still watching commercials on TV, or reading ads they see in a newspaper as previous generations once did. They are on the go. And because of this, video continues to be a great way to peak interest in a product in a very short amount of time.
According to Animoto, 93 percent of businesses say they have gotten a new customer thanks to a video shown on social media.
Live streaming helps reach out to consumers on an entirely different level than just a hashtag or an image. And most importantly, it allows people a chance to respond and react in real time.
Since the creation of Facebook Live more than 2 years ago, over 3.5 billion Facebook Live videos have been broadcast. The top three social media platforms (Facebook, YouTube and Instagram) also serve as the top marketing platforms for video and they continue to grow in that dynamic.
And just last year, Instagram introduced IGTV, which allows users to upload videos up to an hour in length, giving marketers another avenue to push their message to customers and potential customers.
“It’s time for video to move forward and evolve,” said Instagram CEO Kevin Systrom during the IGTV launch event in June.
Video certainly allows brands to speak to audiences while providing excitement and authenticity.
In 2019, social media marketing is going to rely on a brand’s strategic planning in authenticity and creativity. What will your social strategy be this year?