This year it’s estimated that 2.77 billion people will be active on social media. While it can be overwhelming to think about adopting all of the new technology permeating the market, these key areas stand out as being worthwhile investments to drive results in your social media campaigns for 2019.
1. Martech Integration. Social is rightfully coming into its own as a demand generation hub. It’s long been a challenge for social media teams to show their ROI. Gone are the days of having to manually create tracking URLs, and then copying, pasting, and repeating for each individual campaign. With new advances in social media platform tools, we’re seeing automated campaign tagging, UTM parameter generation, and analytics reporting at level we’ve never had previously. Integrations into marketing automaton platforms like Oracle Eloqua will allow marketers to track engagements, score leads, develop nurture campaigns, and funnel leads to sales with more efficiency than ever before.
According to IDC, 75% of B2B buyers and 84% of C-level executives are now incorporating social media as a key part into their decision-making process. Being able to monitor social media conversations can help:
- Both marketing and sales gauge product and content interest
- Determine pain points
- Provide insights into what messaging might resonate with a potential buyer.
Marrying social and marketing automation will also make building relationships with prospects and customers throughout every stage of the customer lifecycle much easier.
2. AI. The AI market is estimated to be worth $9.98 billion by the year 2022 and taking a larger and larger role in mining mentions, automating replies, and inching customers towards an engagement. If done right, AI can help deal with the 24/7 demand of instant response followers now expect. Chatbots don’t ever sleep and are available to answer questions from users in every time zone. In addition, AI can help marketers personalize at scale in several ways. Marketers can now automate “likes” and “thank you for sharing” messages to:
- Help followers feel connected
- Analyze content and optimize it to keep channels fresh and relevant
- Identify super fans to incorporate into your advocacy programs
3. Personalization. More than ever before, customers expect brands to know what they want. Machine learning algorithms can now analyze interactions in real-time on social media, web, and email, converting them into tangible data marketers can take action on. Customized messaging based on historical engagement can drive hyper-focused, relevant, timely messaging that helps your audience feel understood. According to CEB, B2B buyers who feel a “high brand connection” are 60% more likely to consider, purchase, and even pay a premium than “low brand connection” competitors. Customers may have concerns over privacy risks, but when messaging is relevant, such as suggesting a product they’ve been looking for, or sending a sale notification that they may be interested in, the benefits tend to outweigh the cons, leaving customers appreciating the convenience.
4. Listening. Like in all good communication, social goes two ways. You need to always be listening. Having the right listening platform in place will help you identify opportunities to engage in conversations about your brand. Incorporating real-time listening into your strategy can enable you to monitor your competition, gain insights into what message-driven content is resonating with audiences, and identify new trends. A few ways to easily get started:
- Identify product questions and answer them quickly to develop potential leads
- Address complaints to get customers the support they need
- Identify and engage with influencers and advocates
If you aren’t actively listening to your social channels, you’re putting yourself at a disadvantage.
5. Video and Livestreaming. Video remains one of the easiest, most efficient ways to engage with your audience in an authentic way. According to Social Media Examiner, 80% of what we consume online will soon be video content. Going live doesn’t require a full video team, in fact, I would argue as long as you have a decent microphone and wi-fi connection, it’s one of the best ways to connect with your audience organically in real-time. Stream interviews with influencers give a behind the scene look at events, take a deep dive into product demos, highlight your executives, or simply talk about your company best practices. People are eager to learn, especially from brands they respect and admire. Take the time to make your audience part of your broader brand community and show the faces behind the brand.
6. Content. It’s never been more important to invest in relevant, educational, high-quality content customers actually want to see, rather than continuing to produce the same old, tired whitepapers and talking head videos. Quality, not quantity, is the answer to standing out in a landscape that is increasingly saturated. If you don’t have content that your followers find interesting, they won’t just stop engaging with you, they’ll tune you out completely. Experiment. It may be as simple as producing more solution-focused, rather than product-focused, content. Great content will relate business goals with customer needs and desires. Chances are your customers know how great your product is, so you don’t need to beat them over the head with that messaging. Invest in content that educates, inspires, and is also unique and fun.
7. Influencer Marketing. According to a recent study conducted by Linqia, 39% of marketers plan on increasing their influencer marketing budget this year. As brands seek to engage audiences with more authentic and engaging content, influencers will find have a larger amount of collaboration opportunities to work with. Rather than one-and-done sponsorships, brands will start to develop long-term relationships that involve multi-touch collaborations throughout the year (such as, webcasts, blogs, livestreams, chats). Working with an influencer repeatedly not only establishes a solid relationship, it also allows brands to keep continuity in their messaging and removes the potential risk a brand can face from a first-time influencer engagement.
Social has become a critical channel for marketers across every touch point, from brand awareness to customer advocacy. The marketing landscape has changed. Customers expect brands to meet them where they are, and that’s on social.
Learn more about how to incorporate social media into your mobile marketing campaigns with “Go Further with Mobile Marketing.”
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