Mark Fallon social media, Digital
So, it’s no surprise that Social Media Experts have become one of the most sought after skillsets when it comes to recruitment and most people talk about Facebook, Twitter and Instagram as if they’re the be all and end all..
The reality is they’re right – Social Media has to be one the most powerful tools for businesses and has completely transformed the way brands do business, through a “new age” engagement with their customers.
Whether it’s changing public perception or allowing you to manage your existing community, it’s a force to be recognised and respected. Social will only become more valued over time (might even take over the world, some say……!).
There are a number of contributing factors to what sets your social media presence apart from the competition and some key trends that play an integral part to the success of your strategy, which you need to implement to enhance your online brand presence:
It’s evident now, more so than ever, that content is king!!!!
The mediums might be changing but the competition for visibility has never been stronger. With more businesses building out their content strategies and the rising advertising costs, optimising your organic content is at its highest demand, with social content becoming increasingly more visible in search results.
Facebook and Twitter seem to be dominating this in 2016, but we’ll see more platforms added to the index. Already, 88% of consumers today are most influenced by reviews and online comments on social media, with Facebook being the number one platform for research.
- Real Real-Time Engagement
Social media thrives on real-time engagement and each year the window for response becomes smaller and smaller. In general, 70% of Twitter users expect a response from brands they reach out to, and 53% want a response in less than an hour.
One of the key strategies marketers need to ensure is faster response times. If you’re not quick to respond one of your competitors will be.
- Live Streaming Videos
Consumers today want faster access to real-time/offline events, so live streaming videos are fast becoming the “next big thing”.
Live stream goes that one step further by revealing a more realistic and authentic side to your business. It’s unedited and unfiltered which is more appealing to followers, and will positively impact their engagement with your brand.
- Social Commerce
The more engaged your customers are, the better your sales will be. Over the last couple of years, we’ve seen social media play a crucial role in this area. Sales that could be tracked to social media reached its’ billions.
More recently, research has found that social media influences more shoppers’ buying decisions than retail websites. The creation of more commerce-focused features by marketers and advertisers (through Facebook, YouTube, Instagram, Pinterest and Twitter) are going to contribute successfully to your presence.
It is important to explore more ways on how you can integrate these features into your social media and content strategies.
- Mobile First Approach
What was once considered a bonus is now a necessity! If you’re not thinking mobile first, then you’re already behind.
Mobile devices have become the primary interface for most social media users. 80% (an estimated 2 billion) of Internet users own a smartphone. Devices like smart TVs and smartwatches have also increased massively in popularity, meaning there has to be a mobile first approach to your digital marketing efforts and should play a big part in your strategy focus. Also crucial, if targeting the millennials!
- Data-Driven Decisions
You know who the key players are in the industry and if you’re a highly visual brand, then Instagram and Pinterest are already on your radar.
That’s where social media analytics come into play. Data is already a massive part of how you measure social media success, but it’ll play an even bigger role going forward.
We’ve never had this much access to information about consumer preferences before, and this data will help you personalise your message and focus on building stronger loyalty and long-term engagement.
Personalised data-driven marketing plans are at the forefront of digital strategies and social media analytics and reporting tools will help you dig deeper to get the most out of your efforts.
Gaining valuable insights around platform strategies, what’s trending or your team’s performance as a whole, will allow you to use that information to craft unique experiences for your customers.
However, numbers shouldn’t replace creativity; relationship building is fluid and unique to the individual and number crunching is purely analytical, so you need to create the right balance between the two.
So, it’s simple really – social media is essential and a must for businesses today and without it, you’ll never catch up with the competition!