It’s no exaggeration to say that many people now organise their lives using social media, so it’s a very obvious move for social media marketing services to use the various channels – notably Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram – to reach the consumer market. The problem, of course, can be that it’s too obvious a move – there’s a real problem with the amount of competition in social media, and it’s very hard to make your message stand out using purely organic social media. So what’s the solution? Is it paid social, or using other platforms? What are the social media marketing trends you really need to know for 2020?
Among the top social marketing trends will be:
- Facebook, Twitter and Instagram will remain the most popular social media channels for consumer interactions, but niche social platforms will also perform well
- LinkedIn will continue to be the top platform for B2B customers
- Influencers on social media will become more important
- Commerce will become a more important part of social media
- Customer service using chatbots will become more important in social media
- Social media marketing strategy will be dominated by video
Jeff Bullas at social media agency JeffBullas.com says that the main mistake most social media marketers make is to assume that there’s not much more to it than chasing ‘likes’. As he says, no marketer ever got sacked for increasing his client’s likes; but as Facebook reduces its reach to your followers, increasingly you are expected to pay to promote your posts. Social media marketing is “the art and science of applying the power of the global social networks to increase brand awareness, share your content and increase sales through ‘crowd sourced’ marketing” says Bullas – “Do it well, and your marketing is done for free by followers and fans.”
But when planning your social media marketing strategy it’s important to remember that social media statistics can be misleading – for instance, there are different ways of measuring interactions. ‘Reach’ is not the same an ‘impressions’. On social media, ‘impressions’ is the number of times your content has been viewed – but this can include repeat views by the same individual. Reach is often a more accurate indication of the number of people who have been shown your content, but impressions register when your content is shared to someone who may be a follower or a friend of one of your followers. That person does not have to engage with your content in any way for it to count as an impression – simply scrolling past it multiple times will count as additional impressions. So if your impressions look significantly higher than your reach, bear this in mind.
Using Facebook Insights can be more informative. Facebook Insights is a powerful tool for tracking user interaction on your Facebook Fan Page, helping you to monitor active users and track page performance. Facebook Insights can be seen by everyone with admin privileges on your page, and will help you to analyse useful information such as the best time of day and best day of the week to post, and what sort of content is most popular. Facebook Insights is constantly updated, so you can check it regularly to look for performance patterns in your digital marketing campaigns.
Social media KPI (Key Performance Indicators) can be monitored using tools such as Socialbakers’ Facebook performance report. Ramona Sukhraj on ImpactBND says that there are four main social media KPI metrics which must be monitored in order to generate new traffic to your site, increase lead generation, and expand your brand:
The questions social media KPIs have to answer, says Sukhraj, are “Are you reaching qualified people? Are you engaging with qualified people? How many of your social media fans are inquiring about your product or service? How many of them actually become customers?” Everything else, she suggests, is just a “vanity metric”.
Engagement is the leading requirement of social media KPIs; this measures the number of likes, shares and comments your platforms receive. Beyond that, the social media KPIs that you can measure will vary by social media platform, but typically include link clicks, likes, shares and comments.
The alternative to organic social media, Social PPC (Pay Per Click) is a form of paid digital advertising solely for placement on social media platforms. Social PPC ads can be targeted at groups of users based on demographics, shared interest in topics, or other data, and usually the ads appear in a user’s feed or timeline.
Paid social advertisers can use two bid strategies to pay for social PPC ads; CPC (Cost Per Click) or CPM (Cost Per Thousand Impressions). Success is usually measured using goal-based metrics such as CTR (Click through rate), Conversion Rate and Impressions.
So if your social media marketing is all about Facebook likes and shares, and you aren’t paying attention to how the market is changing, consult a social media agency for advice on how social media channels are evolving.
How Building Social Media Communities Will Benefit Your Business
One of the top social marketing trends for 2020 will be the building of social media communities. The idea of social media was always that it should be a two-way means of communication, so the idea of simply broadcasting your marketing message and getting nothing in reply is a wasted opportunity. It’s a better social media marketing strategy to encourage interactions from your customer – and get them to start talking to each other about your products and services.
The advantages of building a social media community include:
- Helps your company to become a thought leader – by sharing expertise and experience on social media channels, you can build your company’s reputation and establish yourself as a trusted brand
- Brings value to your blogs and social media sites by compelling shares from the social media community
- Gives you an outlet for brand building media such as video
- Increases brand awareness – each shared post introduces your business to a new network of individuals
- Increases inbound traffic – anyone familiar with your brand is probably already searching for the keywords you rank for. A social media community helps you to reach out to new customer and increases inbound traffic to your website
- Improves SEO – social media activity improves your SEO and hence your page rankings
- Improves customer satisfaction – responding to customer posts shows you are paying attention to their needs
- Gains marketplace insights
- The easiest way to find out what your customers think of your company (and your competitors) is to use social media sites, where demographic analysis tools can relate to conversions and improve revenue streams
One of the great advantages of social media marketing is that whether it is aimed at consumers, or like LinkedIn at business communities, it is free to set up, with no cost to open a profile and to get people associated with your business to add likes and shares. With regular updating and quality content, the improvement in your traffic, SEO, conversion rates and brand loyalty means that there’s no downside to building a social media community – and your competitors will if you won’t.
Why You Should Create Location-Specific Pages to Engage With the Local Target Market
Everyone wants to drive more search traffic, and there are tools to help you do that, such as Google Search Console. Using its Search Analytics features, you can monitor and maintain your website’s presence in search results, and tweak everything from structured data to issues with spam. Google Search Console is often overlooked in favour of Google Analytics, but has many unique features, such as showing which sites are linking to your website, and whether your mobile site is performing well for visitors searching on mobile. And Google Search Console is free to use, so while it may not have all the features of paid-for tools, it is a valuable aid.
But driving search traffic is not the only requirement for keeping up with social media marketing trends for 2020, and it’s certainly no longer enough to rely on organic social media. Local marketing, also known as location-based marketing, is the process of optimising your website and social media to build awareness and drive foot traffic in localised regions, for instance promoting a physical store or a local event.
There’s one very good reason for doing this – because Google’s search algorithms now emphasis local businesses, particularly when the search uses a mobile device.
Creating location specific social media advertising pages for your business gives you an opportunity to emphasise the advantages local businesses have over national chains – according to Wesley Yong of the Local Search Association, these are usually perceived to be quality, personalization and trustworthiness.
By adopting a more people-centred approach in your location specific pages, you can improve your brand’s perception.
Your location specific pages needn’t be hyper-local; for instance, Rand Fishkin of Moz suggests using keyword data for larger, similar regions, using Google autosuggest to generate long-tail keywords, and creating ‘word clusters’ describing your products and services.
By adding location-specific information to social media hashtags, bios and posts, you can establish your local credentials. Testimonials and reviews from local customers are also valuable, as in a Yodle study, 75 percent of customers said they relied heavily on online reviews as a source for evaluating the quality of a local business.
On the subject of social media hashtags, don’t forget that they are fundamental to promoting your brand on social media. First used widely on Twitter, hashtags are now commonly used on Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, and Pinterest. Digital Marketing Institute says “Mastering the use of the hashtag gives you a powerful way to engage your audience and increase your social impact at no cost other than the time it takes to learn each platform and pay attention to trends… Used correctly, hashtags help people that are interested in your topic find what you are writing about and help to expand your influence and followers.”
How Alternative Platforms Will Become More Popular In 2020
Digital marketers sometime fall into the trap of assuming that only Google Ads or Facebook Ads are worth spending social media advertising budget on – the fact is that a social media agency will tell you that both are worthwhile, but there are also alternatives in the social media space. In terms of paid social, while Facebook Ads are clearly growing compared to Google Ads, both are increasing revenues. Growth in revenue for Google Ads is primarily attributed to the growth of mobile, shopping, and other ad formats – though it’s worth remembering that the cost per click (CPC) for Google Ads is significantly higher than for Facebook ads.
But while Facebook, Twitter and Instagram will continue to be the top consumer social media platforms in 2020, and LinkedIn the leader in the business community, one social marketing trend will be that alternative platforms will also experience growth. Smart Insights points out that while there are now around 3.5 billion social media users across the globe, around 45 percent of the world’s population, there is also a trend for “detoxing” from social media, deleting apps and profiles in a temporary or even a permanent break.
Part of this is due to controversy surrounding privacy issues, fake news and toxic comments, particularly with Facebook and Twitter.
The message is that marketers shouldn’t put all their eggs in one basket. Even social media influencers, once trusted by consumers, are now relied on less, as it has become obvious to consumers that they are often in the pockets of brands. Most consumers now trust the recommendations of friends and family over social media influencers – but even they can be recruited as ‘nano-influencers’ if you make them part of your social media community.
While brands have to fight harder and harder for organic reach and engagement on platforms like Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, other platforms like TikTok, which started as a Chinese video-sharing app, appeal particularly to a younger audience, are growing. Pinterest is also fitting well into the e-commerce model, perhaps because it is so image oriented.
So even if your core marketing effort remains on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, social marketing trends suggest that these newer alternative platforms will allow you to engage with other audiences, and to broaden your social media strategy in a way which insulates you against the risks of over-commitment to established platforms.
Why Businesses Will Be Using Social Media For Customer Service
Liz Greene says on the Digital Marketing Institute blog: “Social media is a customer service channel – whether you like it or not”. She cites the example of a previously satisfied customer voicing a complaint on a company’s Twitter feed, only to be met with a dismissive reply which soon turned into a full-blown Twitterstorm. “In other words, if a customer makes the effort to contact you by means of social media, they expect a response” says Green. A positive response will earn loyalty, while a refusal to respond or a negative response may lead to a PR crisis.
Social media gives customers more power and influence than they have ever had before, so you should engage with them as quickly and as positively as possible – and resist the temptation to get involved in escalating social media arguments.
Freshsparks.com suggests that social media can be an effective customer service tool, but only if these points are followed:
1. Reply as quickly as possible
While phone and email customer support aren’t expected to be immediate, 42% of consumers expect a response on social media within 60 minutes. Remember that your company’s Facebook support response time rate is clearly shown on your Facebook page, and Facebook only considers your business to be “quick” when it replies within five minutes or less, at any time of day. Since you may not be able to man a response service on a 24 hour basis, programmable messenger “bots” and customizable away messages for out of hours give you quick and effective customer service options on Facebook. Remember to reply even if the customer’s message isn’t a question, to keep your response rate percentage high. Always respond, to every post, review and check-in.
2. Know whether to resolve issues in private or public
You need a policy as to whether you can resolve different types of issue in Facebook or Instagram posts or in Twitter tweets. When necessary, take the conversation to direct message, email or phone.
Keep your messages cordial, friendly and concise. A friendly opening line, concise directions to the next step and a clear call to action are ideal. Create pre-written replies to help you to determine the next step, but customise them to give a personal feel. A greeting with the customer’s name, and a losing response with a name or initials humanises the exchange.
You are bound to get negative comments on social media, but always try to respond positively. You may find that other members of your social media community will jump to your defence.
Make sure that the moderator of your social media postings has the same training as your conventional sales representatives, and has tools to access social media activity, such as Hootsuite. Hootsuite connects with over 35 social networks, and has scheduling, content creation and analytics functions. Perhaps most usefully, Hootsuite has social media monitoring functions to find and filter social conversations by keyword, hashtag, and location, in multiple languages, to hear what people are saying about your brand, competitors, and industry.
How Increasing Your Budget Will Have A Positive Impact For Your Business
Social media can be very inexpensive as compared to other advertising and marketing channels, and can even allow you to cut your ad spend while still reaching a global audience. If you can generate content which goes viral, your reach can be very wide. Even with basic social media use, every platform allows you to use your company logo as an avatar, so the more often you update your posts, the more you build brand awareness.
However, a real problem with social media marketing trends is the decline in organic reach using Facebook, and you have to bear in mind that with increased numbers of users, Facebook has reduced the number of people it sends your messages to. If you want to increase reach, you now have to ‘pay to play’.
In early 2018, Facebook announced “we’re going to shift ranking to make News Feed more about connecting with people and less about consuming media in isolation.” The question is whether spending money on Facebook ads makes up for this loss of reach, and whether they increase sales.
Databox says that 92 percent of marketers they surveyed said that Facebook ads are at least somewhat effective at generating sales, 54 percent said they’re very effective, and only eight percent said that Facebook Ads are “not effective” in generating downstream impact.
Facebook ads appear to be more valuable for lead generation than for direct sales, but they do have the advantage of being scalable. Blake Aylott from Common Thread Collective says “If your product has a large audience then you can afford to scale your ads and put a massive amount of money into your ads. However, if your audience is niche then you cannot scale your Facebook ads because you will run through your audience quickly.”
And James Pollard from The Advisor Coach agrees that it makes sense to spend budget on Facebook ads, but only if you understand their effectiveness and avoid wasting money. “Facebook is often very good at spending your money efficiently” he says. “You may max out your budget and only reach 90% of your target market. However, you’ll typically spend much more trying to reach that last 10 percent. If your typical Facebook CPC is $2 or $3, it wouldn’t surprise me if you spent more than $5 per click to reach that last part of your audience.”
And agency marketer Josh Meah warns: “For example, florists may have a Facebook campaign that scales around Mother’s Day, but on a random weekday in October will be unable to use Facebook as a channel at all.”
If you worry that the ROI of social media might not be quantifiable, Google Analytics provides plenty of tools to measure the impact of your social media advertising. Google Analytics can help you to identify which social media platforms are driving targeted traffic to your site, and how the social media users interact with your site. You can set up a Google Analytics dashboard to monitor and analyse your social media campaign, and help you to determine your ROI from social media. Google Analytics has tools such as Tag Manager and AdWords Conversion Tracking to help you do this.
It’s also possible to analyse your CTR (click-through ratio) from Facebook. While CTR on Facebook is not necessarily any higher than from SERPs, at an average of 0.9 percent, some industries do better than other; for instance according to Wordstream.com, CTR for retail, clothing, beauty, fitness and legal industries are relatively high on Facebook. Rating les well for CTR on Facebook are job ads – perhaps LinkedIn would be the more appropriate place for them.
If you need help with Google Analytics, CTR and social marketing trends, consult social media marketing services to improve the efficiency of your social media marketing spending.
Why Social Media Influencers Will Make a Bigger Impact In 2020
One of the features of social media which marketers can exploit is the way in which it encourages users to give their opinions. The number of ways to do this has expanded from the simple ‘like’ to the more flexible ‘Facebook Reactions’ – in other words, emojis. Facebook Reactions, introduced in 2015, gave users more ways of responding to posts where a ‘like’ wouldn’t do – mainly negative events such as a death or break-up.
The six basic Facebook Reactions – Love, Haha, Wow, Sad, Angry, and, the classic Like – can be used both on Facebook posts and on Messenger, and new Facebook Reactions have been rolled out for special occasions. Of course there are thousands of other emojis which can be used on practically any mobile device. Facebook has confirmed that posts using Facebook Reactions tend to be ranked higher in a user’s News Feed.
But leading on from this, it’s clear from social media influencers – who basically make a living by posting and commenting on social media – are on the rise. Reports of the rising income of social media influencers making sponsored posts suggest that they will have a greater impact than ever in 2020. According to marketing firm Izea, the average price of a sponsored photo on Instagram has jumped from $134 (£104) in 2014 to $1,642 (£1,276) in 2019. Brands are willing to pay more and more for sponsored posts, videos, stories and blogs, from anyone from micro-influencers – people with fewer than 100,000 followers – to celebrities.
Izea found that YouTube videos command the highest fees – four times that of the next highest-priced form of sponsored posts – up from $420 in 2014 to $6,700 in 2019.
This has brought social media influencers under scrutiny by the advertising authorities, and several have had warnings that they are breaking consumer advertising laws. But Izea’s research suggests that influencer-sponsored posts grew by 150% in the last year, and predicts that brands will increase their spend on influencer marketing in 2020, making it into a $10bn industry.
How Using Product Discovery Through Social Media Will Benefit You
All social media platforms are valuable sources of product discovery, but it’s sometimes difficult to attribute, says social media commerce platform Curalate.
One of the undeniable social media marketing trends is that more than 80 percent of consumers discovered a product they were interested on social media in 2018, up from 58 percent in 2017, according to Curalate. The highest growth has been on Instagram, with 48 percent of consumers discovering products there, but Facebook and Pinterest have also shown growth.
Though the survey found it was difficult to attribute the effectiveness of product discovery through social media advertising, social media images can often lead to product discovery on the brand’s own website. Fifty percent of consumers said that seeing photos from an Instagram feed on a brand’s own website helps them discover a new product.
Apu Gupta, CEO of Curalate, says “Social media has taken up the inspiration mantle. Consumers are telling [brands] they value discovery. With brands, how can we create a discovery-like experience?”
Gupta concludes that micro-influencers deliver a disproportionate impact in terms of product discovery, with 26 percent of consumers saying a micro-influencer helped them discover a product in the past three months, compared to 20 percent for celebrities and 22 percent for friends. On average, consumers follow 10 micro-influencers, 13 celebrities and 15 brands, so in identifying it as one of the most important social marketing trends, Gupta concludes “Social has allowed a lot of people with a perspective to have a platform to talk with other people.”
Why You Should Write Ephemeral Content
One of the most significant social marketing trends promoted by social media marketing services is the use of ephemeral content. Ephemeral content can be images, video, text, or practically anything else, but it is only accessible temporarily – usually for 24 hours. Snapchat, Facebook, and Instagram all support ephemeral content, though the concept started with Snapchat.
With Snapchat, advertisers can send ephemeral content to individuals or groups, or post on public “stories”, while on Facebook, Page Stories appear automatically at the top of users’ News Feeds, or when users click on your profile picture. The process is similar for Instagram Stories.
So why should advertisers be making use of ephemeral content on social media? The main reason is to capture the user’s FOMO (Fear Of Missing Out), and to elicit an immediate response – ideally to sign up to your newsletter, make a purchase, download a PDF or similar. The urgency of ephemeral content encourages personal engagement, and encourages responses – for instance in tagging other users.
As ephemeral content appears in a separate feed on all platforms, it’s an easy way to increase reach, and on Instagram, it makes it easier to get your stories to the top of the Explore page.
How Creating Videos Will Become Even More Popular in 2020
The increasing popularity of video content means that it has become one of the most effective tools for social media marketing. Digital Information World says that most users prefer video content to any other form, attention to content is better with video material, and 72 percent of consumers watch videos to learn about a product or service.
YouTube racks up 1b hours worth of video watched every day, and video marketing is growing at over 100 percent per year.
According to Digital Information World, integrating videos on your company’s website enhances the likeliness of your site being on Google’s front page by up to 53 times, and 82 percent of internet consumer traffic will come directly from online videos by 2022.
So, needless to say, marketers are swiftly catching on to the importance of video on social media.
To make your video material stand out from the crowd, here are a few tips.
- Make short videos of about 20 seconds to post on Snapchat. Longer form video work better on YouTube.
- Shoot in Virtual Reality or 360° to capture your audience’s attention.
- Use a video marketing agency to add a professional polish to your content
- Remember that 85 percent of user watch videos without sound, so include captions
- Make your video interactive – giving the viewer in-video options increases the likelihood you video will be viewed to the end to 90 percent
- Remember to make your video entertaining as well as informative – it could improve purchasing intent by up to 97 percent.
- Keep it short! Sixty percent of viewers will stop watching after two minutes
Why You Should Test Out Chatbots
Chatbots are likely to become one of the most important aspects of social media marketing in the next decade. Technology predictions suggest that users will soon be depending on them to make sales transactions and answer enquiries about brands, usually using voice assistants.
Murray Newlands of Chattypeople.com says: “Consumers are increasingly migrating from conventional social networks to messaging apps like Wechat, Slack, Apple iMessage, and of course, Facebook Messenger. The burgeoning growth of these messaging platforms actually surpasses that of the four biggest social networks in existence. It’s a win-win situation for both consumers and businesses, which are finding it easier to navigate their way through reduced ad fatigue and competition as well as increased monetization, resulting in better ROI.”
Newlands believes that messaging apps are eclipsing social media apps in terms of attracting new active users, and that chatbots have a massive role to play because they enable users to search content via their preferred messaging apps.
He further explains that users no longer need to depend on Google search to find out about a product or business plan; they can simply leverage bots to do that and get their questions addressed quickly.
“A fun, personalized conversation is more useful than viewing an ad or a video” says Newlands. “This refreshing means of engagement leaves users informed, educated, and entertained – and often with a smile on their face. They also gain a more insightful understanding regarding the brand. Some people enjoy this mode of interaction to such a great extent that they don’t think twice before sharing it with their loved ones via profile updates and screenshots, something which makes a lot of sense, given the close proximity of chatbots and social media.”
With the opportunities they present for personalization, product guidance and integration, Newlands believes that chatbots are the future of social media marketing: “When implemented strategically, intelligent chatbots can draw in reluctant audiences, engage them in interesting ways, and encapsulate your story in a manner that not only builds an emotional connect, but also translates into tangible business growth.”
One2One Digital can help with all your social media and digital marketing requirements. One2One Digital has a highly qualified team of trained specialists in social media marketing, PPC, website design services, SEO, website security, email marketing, WordPress, HTML coding, CMS, paid search marketing, Google Ads, content marketing and digital strategy, and can work with you to develop your ideas and build a social media marketing campaign perfect for your business.
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