The coming of age of social networking as a powerful digital marketing tool has proven a game changer for the marketing industry. Gone are the days of broad spectrum marketing messages on television, radio and newsprint. These days it’s about knowing your target customer intimately, learning what they like and dislike, engaging them with valuable content and creating relationships that eventually become leads that can be converted.
It is no wonder that social media marketing has been a buzz word for the last couple of years. No brand can afford to ignore social media.
With about 2.5 billion people using social media globally, with the number expected to hit 3 billion by 2020, this is a gold mine of opportunities for brands. North America currently has the highest penetration of users with 60 percent of the population having at least one social account. The US leads the world in penetration with 78 percent of users having at least one social profile. However, in terms of outright numbers, China and India lead the pack. China is expected to have about 700 million social media users by 2020 and India is expected to hit 300 million by the same time.
In terms of site popularity, Facebook continues to maintain the lead with 1.7 billion users followed by Instagram, Twitter and Snapchat respectively.
The purpose of this article is to examine the social media marketing strategies that will deliver results over the coming year.
1. Snapchat will explode
Snapchat and Instagram became popular with teenagers and people in their early twenties who were uncomfortable being on the same network with their mom and pops. Snapchat’s allure is further increased by it’s self-destruct feature. This quick expiry of content appears to be its main attraction.
So, how do leverage Snapchat’s features for marketing?
- Snapchat is great to promote live events through live videos.
- You can also use it to share private data with your customers.
- Thirdly, use Snapchat to get your customers to take part in contests. Offer rewards to those who follow your Snapchat stories.
2. Analytics is key to smart decision making
To really turn on the after burners on your social media marketing, you need to understand what works and what doesn’t. Getting to know the tactics that are paying off helps you replicate success and use your marketing dollars efficiently. The only way to do this is to embrace social media analytics tools. All social media networks provide you with analytics. For example, Facebook has Pages Manager and Twitter has Twitter Analytics. However, there are more advanced tools if you want to do a deep dive. These include tools such as Hootsuite, Buffer and dozens others. Google Analytics, a free tool, also provides with powerful analytics of how social media delivers visitors to your website.
3. Engage customers with Facebook Chatbot
What is a chatbot? This is Facebook’s artificial intelligence feature that makes it possible for you to install Messenger bots on your business page. Essentially, you can automate conversations with people who initiate a conversation on Messenger. Customers are guided via a series of menus and/or keywords. The effect of this is to save time and eliminate frivolous questions. The possible applications are endless, for example, people can get answers to common questions, quickly get directions, book an appointment and much more. With tools like Chatfuel, Botsify, and OnSequel you can quickly create a chatbot without having to learn how to code.
4. Incorporate live streaming videos in your strategy
Only recently, the most popular platform to watch videos was YouTube. Suddenly, Snapchat starts getting 10 billion vies daily and with the launch of Facebook Live, it appears like everyone wants to live stream video. Twitter isn’t being left behind either and neither are the other social networks. Live video has exploded onto the scene and has proven massively popular. One way to take advantage of live video is to live stream events. For example, during product launches or other important company functions, broadcasting them live on Facebook Live or Snapchat improves your brand visibility and grows your followers exponentially. In addition to live video, incorporate 360 degree videos to give customers live tours of your brick and mortar stores.
Clearly, social media marketing is the future of marketing. New social media networks such as Snapchat and Instagram are going to grow faster than Facebook since they are a magnet for young people. Live video is also going to be a vital component of any successful marketing strategy. Engage customers better with Facebook’s chatbot but most of all, use social media analytics tools to identify what works, then, rinse and repeat.