How to make your 2019 social media Strategy a Success
Social media is an ever-changing industry, with new trends, practices and ways of keeping in touch introduced every year. Platforms are constantly evolving to stay ahead of the competition and entice new users, both at a personal and professional level, through a range of fresh innovations, each of which can make it easier for brands to connect and interact with their audiences.
For businesses of all shapes and sizes, it’s vital to stay up to date with new social media developments, especially as it forms a key part of many brands’ marketing strategies. One survey of 500 small business decision-makers by 1st Choice Marketing, found that in 2019 social media is set to be the most important marketing tool (39%), ahead of SEO (35%), paid search (27%) and email marketing (25%).
While many are looking back at 2018 and reviewing strategies that worked well, it’s important to look forward too. New trends are predicted to emerge, certain areas will take on greater importance and there could be more regulation changes. Start your 2019 social media strategy right by focusing on some of the following.
Impactful social media selling
Customers and consumers have much greater levels of contact with the brands they buy from these days thanks to social media. As well as being a place to raise issues regarding products or services in a public forum, it also provides a platform where brands can forge positive relationships with their customers. Not only that, it can even be an effective additional sales channel.
Selling via social media is a key aim for many businesses and there are a variety of different strategies that can be implemented to make it a reality. Using influencers is a popular choice and recent research from Pareto Law has identified six defined personas skilled in social media selling. These are:
· The Promoter
· The Motivator
· The Engager
· The Maverick
· The Nurturer
· The Supporter
Different methods are used by each persona to build relationships through social media and sell certain products and services to their audience. For businesses seeking successful social media selling inspiration, it’s important to consider which types of influencer personas are most appropriate for your brand and how to use the different ones in 2019.
Social listening is another strategy set to break through in the New Year. Already in use for customer service and reputation management purposes, it’s expected to grow and be used for lead generation and social selling in the coming months. It’s essentially a form of monitoring, where businesses crawl social media platforms for brand mentions – including untagged ones – to find people talking about their services. Plenty of social listening tools exist to help you get started.
Fake follower crackdown
President Trump may talk about ‘fake news’ regularly, but for the world of social media it can be fake followers causing a greater problem. Number of likes, comments and followers are the three main metrics generally used to determine a social media account’s value and trustworthiness, whether on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn or any other platform. To boost their profiles, there are countless examples of brands and influencers using services to buy fake followers.
At the end of November 2018, Instagram announced a new policy aimed at identifying account owners using automated amplification services. These are apps which – for a fee – use login credentials to create a large number of fake likes, comments and follows in an attempt to generate real ones. This method violates Instagram’s terms of service and now, if users are found to be doing this, they must either change their password (to avoid the service accessing their account) or experience a negative impact on their experience.
With Instagram leading the way, 2019 could be the year when there’s a real clampdown on fake followers and accounts across all social media platforms.
Greater regulation for undisclosed adverts
Regulation has been something of a grey area for social media, as a relatively new and developing industry. The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) is the main authority setting guidelines and looking to crack down on some of the more questionable areas of social media marketing, such as undisclosed adverts from influencers.
However, the fact the FTC is updating its guidelines positions influencer marketing as a more legitimate strategy and shows it’s growing in both prominence and importance. It could also mean influencers become pickier with who they work with and lead to greater authenticity for brands in the coming years. Be aware of existing and new FTC guidelines as they emerge throughout 2019 when engaging with influencers, making sure your business and any third parties are compliant.
The ongoing rise of video
Video content on social media continues to grow and develop, best seen with the recent introduction of Facebook and Instagram live videos. In the age of “fake news”, where everything online is questioned, it’s increasingly popular for brands, as it seems to add a perceived level of trustworthiness.
Video content is forecast to make up 80% of all internet traffic by 2021, growing from 67% in 2016. As such a dominating force, ignoring video as part of a social media strategy is no longer an option.
From the changing face of social media selling to improved industry regulation, building a successful social media sales strategy means making a number of important considerations as we move into 2019.