Social media is one of the fastest-changing industries out there.
It is changing everything: Your customers’ expectations, the way they find and interact with you.
Is your business keeping up?
Here are a few ideas for you to beef up your social media marketing this year:
1. Story-telling is the key
Story-telling is re-defining social media making it more creative and quite ephemeral. While the social media feed is “permanent,” stories are momentary. In 24 hours, no one case see your recent story. It somehow liberates you giving you the freedom to be more real.
No wonder, stories are so popular on Instagram: The site claims over 500 million users publish stories on a daily basis.
Stories have also been found to be trusted more by younger generations. Facebook has found that a quarter of of Millennial and Gen Z social media users watch Stories of the products before making a purchase.
Providing customers and audiences with a behind the scenes look at what is happening in your company has never been easier. Just imagine, attending a conference and making a story about arriving there, or meeting someone influential in the industry. Or maybe capturing a key moment in a lecture you know your followers will love.
Tools like Easil, Hype Type, CutStory and many more help brands create professional stories that will both grow and engage your Instagram audience.
2. Chatbots are not going anywhere
Gartner predicted that at least a quarter of all customer service operations will “integrate virtual customer assistant (VCA) or chatbot technology across engagement channels by 2020, up from less than 2% in 2017.”
Letting a smart chatbot help your customers at the moment they need it is easier than many people think.
There are already several powerful platforms allowing businesses to create smart chatbots using easy visual dashboard, with no programming knowledge required. Solutions like Instabot and Mobile Monkey offer easy-to-use visual editors allowing to design conversations and provide answers to frequently asked questions. There are also lots of plugins allowing you to easily integrate a chatbot to your site.
Of course, you will need to thoroughly research your target a d current customers’ struggles to be able to design helpful chatbot conversations. Brand-driven question research is essential for successful chatbot marketing. Semantic analysis tools like Text Optimizer can help with that:
[Run your and your competitor’s name in Text Optimizer to identify question patterns to address in building your chatbot]
A related emerging trend in customer and cross-team communication is UCaaS which enables teams to be responsive from anywhere in the world.
3. Privacy regulations are going stronger
The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) was launched back in 2018 causing the wave of speculations and confusions. In 2019, over 100,000 complaints have been issued with GDPR authorities. This shows a vast public awareness of privacy issues.
- Only 15% of people think they have any control over their private information online. This makes sense as it appears, in many cases, you cannot really delete information you put online. Once you publish a social media update, you may have no control over it.
- As far as online businesses are concerned, the regulations are global: GDPR authorities report to have started 250 cross-border investigations in the context of EU data processing activities
Put simply, GDPR regulation includes four key areas:
- Data focus: Marketers can only collect data they need (no extra “just in case” data)
- Data permission: Leads need to specifically confirm that they want to be contacted (when opting in)
- Data access: Leads need to have access to their data to remove it
- Data storage regulation: GDPR insists that businesses store data for the shortest time possible and define time limits when it must be deleted or anonymized
Complying with privacy regulations can make or break any online brands. For smaller businesses, the bare minimum is to put together (and follow) a GDPR-friendly privacy policies.
On a broader scale, using GDPR-friendly services and platforms should become any business priority. For example, web analytics platforms process large amounts of personal data, so you must ensure their data-processing activities comply with the GDPR Matomo is the web analytics company with a strong focus on privacy.
For data storage, there’s Tresorit, a GDPR-friendly cloud storage service that allows to protect data when sharing files externally and set an expiration date for links.
There’s no denying the fact that new technology is changing the perception of “private” information. Consumers tend to be willing to compromise privacy for the sake of convenience.
The future lies in striking the balance between privacy and convenience, and in promoting transparency around that balance.
The more open brands are in how they are using the data, and the more control the consumer gets, the more consumers may be willing to share their data.
Amazon already strives to promote both balance and transparency by showing the customer exactly why they saw specific product suggestions, and enabling the user to remove any signal from their suggestion algorithm.
In the future, even more brands will follow the pattern of enabling consumers to view and control how their private data is being used for better customer experience.
It’s no longer all about reaching the customer through advertising or organic search. It’s also about:
- engaging them on social media (through social media story telling)
- tying them to your brand through personalized experience
- continuous interaction (through building on-demand chatbots).
The web is getting faster and engaging the customer more challenging. The lines between SEO and social media, online and offline marketing, etc. are blurred. The answer lies in building a cross-platform presence and using aggregated data from all the channels for advanced analysis capabilities.