2018 was abundant with Facebook data-scandals, Fortnite dance moves, yodelling Walmart boys, and actual fights over whether robotic voices were saying “Yanny” or “Laurel”… Yep. That’s the internet for you, people.
However, despite the Yanny and Laurel divide, social media took an interesting turn in how audiences view and consume content. According to a 2019 social media trends report by software company Hootsuite, audiences are beginning to question the value of information and data sharing. The privacy concerns derive from the 2018 Facebook Cambridge-Analytica scandal, affecting 87 million Facebook users around the world, including 300 thousand Australians.
More than 3000 business customers were surveyed in Hootsuite’s recent report, from both large entities to small businesses. The results indicated a strong need for a social paradigm shift, as users are no longer appreciating nor even noticing generic content being served to them. Audiences are expecting to be treated as individuals online, rather than just demographics, desiring real, personal and authentic content to engage with.
So, what does this mean for businesses on the social media bandwagon? It means change, adaption and more #relatable memes, that’s what.
We’ve taken five key takeaways from the report that you can start to implement in 2019 that’ll take you to the next level of social media business.
1. Get chatty
Contradictory to popular belief, in 2019, the Millenial and Gen Z population actually want to engage in conversation. Parents everywhere… rejoice!
Audiences have developed a social scepticism to businesses online, and are finding certitude and assurance in sources that offer real-world knowledge and information. According to a Trust Barometer Report by Edelman, 60 percent of people no longer trust social media companies. This means the push for human communication online is needed more than ever, so businesses will do well to become more engaged, become more personal and encourage discussion amongst users and fans.
Consider investing more time in live discussions on Instagram and Facebook. If you’re a company that sells skin and hair care, test the products out on the live feature, answer questions, talk to your audience, address individuals and connect on a virtual level.
If you don’t consider yourself an improv-expert, you can always create the same level of connection through personalised video content and chats online. Go in depth about a topic that your audiences want to know about, answer questions and encourage responses to videos and articles.
You can also begin discussions and forums in private groups relating to your brand. Creating these exclusive groups allow your audiences to feel part of something bigger, become more acquainted with your brand, and meet like minded individuals who also enjoy what you do.
2. Keep credibility key
Following along the Yellow Brick Road of communication all the way to the Emerald City of social success, it’s highly important to stay credible and informative in your sources of discussion in 2019.
When curating informative content such as service discussions, product demonstrations, and brand explainers, consider interviewing specialists in the field to input research and opinions on the matter. You can also make use of those around you, by activating employee advocates and micro-influencers in your community. This not only allows you to create interesting content that inspires discussion but is often a low cost way to drive results and conversions, as your sources are right at your fingertips.
Our employee advocate technique can be found through our IGTV series, The Word TV, where we speak unscripted about digital marketing insights and pointers in-house — spoken, filmed and edited entirely by the LEP Digital team.
3. Embrace ephemeral
If you haven’t yet watched or created a vertical content story on a social account, then now is the time, my frendo. According to Hootsuite’s survey, 64 percent of respondents have either implemented Instagram Stories into their social strategy or plan to do so in the near future.
More and more users are embracing vertical content such as Instagram Stories, as the nature of the platform is designed to be authentic and raw. It’s become fun and exciting to watch and create these short and personal pieces of content, and because they only last 24 hours, the interest is in the immediacy of the Story in that point in time.
Expand your storytelling structure to not only Instagram, but Facebook and Snapchat too. By spreading out your content to multiple platforms, you can see which area you are gaining the most traction and therefore, which platforms to capitalise on. Use GIFs, filters, fonts, shapes, and UTMs to create a personal touch and track conversions. Just remember to always shoot them vertically, as this is how they are viewed.
4. Get creative with your ads
If you haven’t already noticed, sponsored content is on the up… big time. However, with this rapid movement in paid content, a need for increase in creativity is introduced. Millennials and Gen Z aren’t responding to advertisements the way they used to. Instead, they’re using ad blocking tools to purposefully avoid this content, or they’re just simply switching off by skimming right past it and thinking about yesterday’s lunch.
To gain the attention of these audiences, your business needs to create content that differs from the rest. Find your niche and run with it, whether that be a particular style, certain visuals or a specific storyline. If you don’t know what that is yet, don’t be afraid to search through your organic content and find what performed well and repurpose it.
Make sure you’ve defined your audience and you know your goals and metrics. Once you’ve got this aspect down, you can experiment with split testing campaigns amongst different audience sectors to measure success.
5. Make the shift from public to private
Whilst it’s a great idea to publicly release information online relating to your brand purpose, products or service to gain widespread attention, the next step is to create a customer-client relationship in a more privatised space.
With data-leaking scandals at an all time high, audiences are finding their private information to be even more valuable and are often reluctant to release it online. Messaging applications such as Facebook Messenger, WhatsApp and Skype have found their place in the social media business world, as customers desire a more personal and private buying experience in 2019.
This means businesses need to incorporate tools such as Messenger to their business pages, as well as plugins that drive customers to messaging apps. Keep in mind that this requires your team to respond to queries and concerns from customers; however, you can always set up automation marketing to respond to frequently asked questions to improve customer satisfaction.
Are you ready for a more social 2019?
If you’re ready to yodel your way right into 2019 from the top of the Walmart rooftop, LEP Digital is right behind you “flossing.” We’re experts in social media creation and implementation, and we’d love to catch up over some much needed coffee and discuss a killer social strategy to skyrocket you into your best year of business yet. Holler to us today, partner.