The 3 Biggest Social Media Marketing Trends To Watch This Year

With the influx of chatbots, live video, and machine learning, how can your startup implement new trends into your marketing strategy and stand out from the masses? Social media is constantly evolving and adapting alongside technology. If you want to stay afloat, you must be quick on your feet and keep ahead of the competition. Here are some of the key trends you should include in your marketing strategy this year.

1.)  Live Streaming: Videos on the Upswing

It’s no secret that videos are on the uptrend this year, representing a projected 74% of all Internet traffic. Between Facebook releasing its Live feature, Twitter releasing Periscope, and Instagram introducing IG Live, businesses have no choice but to sign on to live streaming. As marketers wade into unknown waters, companies like Facebook are designing tools to ease the process into live video, allowing curators to adjust and alter live content while in progress.

Similarly to YouTube, Facebook has begun playing advertisements mid-video, meaning as the consumer views content, they are subjected to more advertisements. So what does this mean for marketers? The short answer: more air time!

Words of advice? Make sure that you have a reliable Internet connection when live streaming. It’s hard to keep an audience engaged when video quality is poor and choppy. Continuing with the theme of engagement, make sure to comment and interact with your audience while streaming. And, as always, remember to plan ahead of time. Though the video is in real-time, your content should be well thought out, and your purpose should be clear. Rambling on can bore your audience and distract from your key messages.

 

2.) Personalization: Using Machine Learning to Get Closer to Your Audience

Social media gurus always use analytics to make decisions. Though machines cannot replace human interaction, machine learning can help create a more personalized experience for the consumer.

Brand influencer and new media specialist, Adel de Meyer, compares machine learning from the consumer perspective to a cup of coffee: “Imagine wanting a cup of coffee and suddenly finding it before you, freshly prepared to your exact standards.”  Will your audience go for the generic cup or the personalized latte? Odds are, they will come back for the latte that made a personal impression.

According to Hootsuite, when we combine artificial intelligence and social media, we get more accurate results. “AI can help with anything from personalized product suggestions based on previous engagements, to image and voice recognition, to deep sentiment analysis.”

There are even machines predicting hashtags. Companies like OneSpot use algorithms that focus on the consumer’s preferences and can recommend which topics work best for a specific audience.

Generic content can hinder your reach, and not to mention, your credibility.  Simply put, the more personal the content, the more loyalty and engagement you’ll see from the consumer. Machine learning can be used to help marketers better predict social trends and curate more personalize content. And your audience will thank you.

 

3.) Chatbots: 24/7 Customer Service

We’re all familiar with the little box that pops up in the corner of websites, ready to answer your immediate questions. The ever attentive receptionist is now ready to serve your clients, 24/7. When you aren’t available to address concerns, chatbots have offline features that will send automated messages. Consumers want solutions in real-time, and now you have a chance to guide them and elevate your customer service.

According to Forbes, “51 percent of people say a business needs to be available 24/7.”

With AI on the rise, we’ve seen an increase in chatbots across the board, and as the technology evolves, chatbots will begin to learn and adapt. Social media chatbots are changing the way we connect with consumers. Social Media Today reported that 33% of customers would rather contact brands via social media than over the telephone.

Chatbots aren’t just used for customer service. Companies like TacoBell and Domino’s Pizza are using bot services that allow their consumers to order food through social media. You can now tweet a pizza emoji at Domino’s, and a bot will receive your request for an order (TechCrunch).

 

Companies large and small are taking advantage of this new feature, designed to give users a more personal experience. Chatbots are a win-win, where you can receive valuable feedback by opening consumer dialogue, and in turn, they will receive your support.

The good news is, you don’t have to have a crazy high budget to take advantage of this new opportunity. As a relatively new technology, pricing is varied. Much like other platforms, the larger the audience, the higher the cost. Depending on the need and the audience, chatbots can be as low as $20/month. Our advice? Take advantage of this trend as it develops and it will evolve with your company.

As technology evolves, your marketing strategy should be adapting alongside it. It’s time to get in front of the live camera and let your audience know that you’re up-to-date with the latest trends. You can’t expect to compete if you don’t have a stake in the game.

However, don’t just get in front of the camera just to get in front of the camera. Make a plan, know your audience, make it personal and execute it. New tools that harness live video and artificial intelligence are your friends. And keep in mind that you don’t have to break the bank to keep up on these social trends.

Who knows, years from now, maybe a chatbot will work on your strategy. But for now, it’s time for your company to take advantage of these exciting new marketing tools!