Technology is driving huge change in business – perhaps nowhere more so than in social media marketing. This is not a ‘set and forget’ medium; trends in this area evolve at breakneck speeds, meaning business owners really need to keep on top of what’s happening to stay relevant.
Current trends in social media marketing
Some of the current trends we’re seeing include:
- Quality content: Great social media marketing continues to be rooted in outstanding content. Just retweeting and sharing others’ posts no longer cuts it; your content needs to be unique, tailored for your audience and, most importantly, promote the unique selling proposition of your business.
- Curation: Content must be curated and tailored for each platform. Simply replicating your posts across the different channels isn’t enough. New features like Instagram Stories provide great opportunities to tell your story in a unique and engaging way.
- Video: There’s huge growth in content being delivered by short-form video (between one and five minutes long).
- Quality over quantity: A business’ value on social media is measured by how engaged it is with its audience, rather than the sheer number of likes or followers it has.
- Social influencers: The power of this group has really hit the mainstream in the last 12 months. Building relationships with people whose online presence can influence your target audience can be a powerful tool for amplifying positive word-of-mouth about your business.
What do these trends mean for your business?
With so many social media marketing trends to potentially follow, it can be hard for small business owners to know how to best spend their often limited marketing resources in this area.
So how do you focus on what’s going to make a difference in your operation?
Crucial for any business is creating content that’s going to drive sales. Key to this is having a firm understanding of your area of expertise (so you can provide useful and engaging content to your audience) and what makes your business different (to drive people to use your particular products or services).
Quality trumps quantity, and that often means doing less, but doing it well by focusing on just one or two social media channels that are the best fit for your audience and brand. Just because there’s a plethora of platforms, it doesn’t mean you have to use them all.
Outsourcing your social media marketing
Small business owners wear a variety of hats, but you don’t always have to do everything yourself; sometimes it’s better to outsource aspects of your social media marketing to experts. If you’re hugely passionate about your industry, for example, maybe you’ll want to focus on producing rich content, but call on experts to advise you on how best to deliver that. Or you may benefit from outsourcing the content creation, or bring in advice on trends and analytics.
Having an understanding of how each platform works, how audiences engage with them, and their analytics is the key to measuring engagement. And it’s important to keep this understanding up to date. Social media marketing operates in a constant ‘test and learn’ environment. Facebook, for example, is constantly changing the algorithms it uses to serve content, so what works one week, might not be as effective in a month’s time.
A final point: what people are saying about your business on social media now directly impacts the real life value and perception of your brand. So it’s important that what you promise on social media and how you engage with your social media community is consistent with the experience your customer will have with your brand in real life.