Getting your business’ brand to reach the heights of social media success, push the boundaries of digital marketing and expand its reach and engagement throughout your target audience can seem like an insurmountable task at the best of times.
Looking back through the highlights reel of 2018, we’ve seen some outstanding examples of innovative marketing using social platforms; from streaming giant Spotify’s #2018goals campaign, which saw users and artists alike sharing their playlists and achievements, as well as unearthing and outing its user’s more mysterious habits, to the viral genius that was the fake ‘Justin Bieber eats burrito backwards’ youtube video that sent the young entrepreneurs of ‘Yes Theory’ into a galaxy of clicks, follows, likes and conversions.
So what can we infer from the social media giants of 2018, and how can we apply their techniques and trends to smaller NZ businesses’ social strategy? Here, the team at Zavy take a look at what we’ve witnessed in 2018, and break down the top three social trends to look out for in 2019 and apply to the social media strategy of your business.
Ephemeral Content is King
In the second quarter of 2018, Instagram announced that it had 400 million active daily users of it’s ‘stories’ feature, almost doubling the amount of users that use the similar format of Snapchat every day. Harnessing the power of the ‘disappearing’ ephemeral tools such as Instagram stories is projected to be imperative in driving traffic to your businesses’ website, building brand awareness and growing your active user engagement.
The opportunities an Instagram story interface has to offer when it comes to utilising marketing engagement strategies are seemingly endless, ranging from live polls, Q&A’s, competitions, tagging and countdown clocks, to the simple ability to add a relatable GIF to your post. These features add personality to your brand, and allow you to connect with your audience in real time, and build your brand recognition and engagement.
Most importantly, the Instagram story has a 24 hour live window, creating an inherent sense of urgency to any social content posted. Essentially, users only have a small time frame to engage and are like to continue checking in with ‘live’ content throughout the day - a feat that no simple social post has achieved thus far.
Businesses across New Zealand realised the power of the Instagram story in 2018, and began incorporating it whole-heartedly into their social media strategy. For example, FM Radio giant ZM has proven themselves at leaders in this space, creating and posting videos, polls, infographics and competitions daily using their story feed.
Take a look at this live timer utilised to share their upcoming ‘Float’ festival, incorporating a call to action into the post (see right). It’s this kind of use of ephemeral content to direct traffic to websites, and essential result in a conversion that will lead social content creation in 2019.
Social Influencer Marketing
Influencer marketing has grown in 2018 beyond the bounds of the simple ‘travel blogger’ or ‘foodie’, topping the year one of the fastest growing marketing channels. Influencer marketing is when a business collaborates in partnership with an influential person on social channels to promote a product, service or campaign.
These influencers have a highly engaged following online, and hold the power to drive organic reach generate sales for you and your business. A survey by Dana Rebecca Designs found that ‘72 percent of respondents had made a fashion, beauty or style purchase after seeing something on Instagram’, and it’s undeniable that the social of social media influencers has an impact on conversions and sales.
It’s important, however, to choose an influencer that aligns well with your brand, and the message you’d like to communicate with your customers or customers to be. This also works in reverse, where it is important that the influencer themselves has faith in and understands your brand and its message. Lest we forget the now infamous ‘Fyre’ festival, where the social influencer marketing was so strong, and so undeniably powerful, that a simple orange tile shared by fashion industry titans sparked tickets to a ‘non-existent’ festival to near sell out within 24-hours.
With the right amount of research and investment into utilising social influencers as a strategy, there is no doubt that for a lot of businesses this is sure to be a winner in 2019.
Transparency is More Important than Ever
In 2019, the social media climate has seen the wall between businesses and customers completely dismantled, and the only real way to use social media to convert sales is to have complete and unwavering transparency with their audience. Building a brand online that is trusted by your community of followers can truly make or break your social media strategy.
Fundamentally, social media is a community of people, and like any other community, your audience is more likely to trust you if you’re recognisable, helpful, active and personable. Understanding these four key pillars of brand trust on social media is undeniably the way forward in 2019 for digital marketing strategy.
Produce content, blogs, marketing cards and social posts that are branded, and accurately reflect who you are as a company. The more people who see your brand appearing online, the more likely they are to trust that you’ll deliver the product or service that you promise.
This is perhaps the most important part of absolute transparency as a social strategy. If customers comment online asking a question, or leave a review scathing or otherwise, it’s important to reply to their dialogue as quickly and as honestly as possible. 60 percent of consumers say they will take negative action if they don’t receive a timely response on social, so staying on top of your businesses notifications is extremely important.
Being active is a large part of simply being seen on most social platforms which leads to consumer trust in a brand. If you don’t have the time to curate content and stay live while meeting the demands of a small business, utilise the power of a repost of a relevant blog, or simply a quick photo shared while your out and about of your company's activities. All of these small actions build a solid foundation for a trusted reputation online.
The bottom line is that all companies are run by people, and all people are consumers too. In 2019, customers won’t settle for an automated email or a ‘call this number’ as a response to a query. When approaching interaction with customers online, keep a ‘human’ element to your posts.
There’s a fantastic example of complete transparency and social media customer solutions that popped up earlier in 2018, when a Warehouse NZ customer wrote a rather epic and relatable social post complaining that they did not receive their dryer. To the Warehouses’ credit, they utilised personability and responded in a way that both solved the problem, and won the hearts of Kiwis watching the thread in the process (see right).
What we can learn from this, is that even a corporate conglomerate can be personable online, and this kind of transparency is a sure winner for customers online.
So what do we know for sure?
It takes a lot more in 2019 to gain followers and build social engagement than it has in the past, and utilising these strategies go a long way in building trust and fostering relationships online. Keep your small businesses’ online presence active, innovative and transparent, and you’re sure to grow you following and convert those hard worked for sales in not time.
Want to know how your brand squares up to the big players of last year? Check out your Zavy score by setting up your dashboard!