The only constant is social media marketing is change. Here are the trends PR and marketing pros should monitor going into the new year.
The one trend you can always count on resurfacing year after year is that businesses must—to some degree—adjust their social media approach to gain broader awareness and increase engagement with customers.
Mark Zuckerberg once said, “Figuring out what the next big trend is tells us what we should focus on.” While that might be true for Facebook, realize it isn’t always so for every business.
The thing about trends is that following them doesn’t guarantee success. Pay attention to social media trends, but before you jump on the bandwagon, carefully evaluate if incorporating them in your marketing strategy will be consistent with your brand and practical for your business.
Here are five trends to watch for the coming year:
1. The growing importance of personal branding to business branding.
Especially for small businesses, putting a real, human face to a business name helps build loyalty. A brand that’s more relatable and has the human element naturally garners more trust—and trust is essential for building relationships.
One way to humanize a brand is to promote the personal brand of the business owner or a high-level leader. This tactic has become a staple for many organizations, as demonstrated through guest blogging, podcast and webinar appearances, and other publicity opportunities. By allowing people to get to know the character and expertise of company leaders, a business can strengthen its brand reputation.
Businesses that embrace this in 2019 will have a distinct advantage over companies that hide behind their logo.
2. Long-form content’s role in SEO.
SEO experts say long-form content will be able to give you an edge. Although Google doesn’t penalize blog posts if they fail to reach a certain word count threshold, it stands to reason that a high-quality article with 1,600 words will likely outrank a high-quality article with 500 words.
For this reason, more publishers are requiring guest authors to submit articles with a minimum of 1,000 words.
More company blogs will embrace long-form content and incorporate it into their content strategies. Therefore, businesses that have found they aren’t getting SEO traction with short posts may want to “go long” and add longer articles rich with information and insight that will attract readers and give Google a reason to rank them more favorably
3. The acceleration of personalized marketing.
With more companies digging into their data and using it to create customized marketing campaigns that target individuals’ interests at different points in the buyer’s journey, the pressure is on.
Customers have come to expect brands to tailor special offers and discounts to their wants and needs. To accommodate that expectation, more businesses will need to consider targeted advertising and retargeting campaigns on social media channels. It is likely that social platforms will continue to refine their targeting offerings as the demand for individualized content grows.
4. Video’s prominence as the preferred form of content.
In a survey by Wyzowl, “The State of Video Marketing 2018,” 97 percent of marketers said video has helped increase user understanding of their product or service and 76 percent said it has helped increase sales.
Additionally, live streaming video will continue its emergence as a powerful way to engage people on social media. In fact, according to statistics compiled by Go-Globe, 82 percent of internet traffic is expected to be live video by 2020.
Video’s prominence is tied closely to our first trend, personal branding’s influence on the business brand. Video allows for a company to put a human face on an organization. It enables prospects and customers to get to know who leads and works in a business. Video gives businesses an opportunity to show not only what they do but also who they are.
Also, keep in mind that social media algorithms might give video posts better organic reach than other types of posts.
5. “Pay to play” remains the path to more exposure.
In 2012, brands could expect, on average, approximately 16 percent of their fans would see their updates according to Hubspot. Today, that reach has plummeted.
With the diminishing organic reach of business content, most companies will need to invest in sponsored posts, boosted posts and social media ads if they want to stay visible. Fortunately, social media advertising doesn’t have to break the bank; a small amount of money can go a long way and this trend should continue well into 2019.