Social Media Marketing in 2019 – What trends can you expect and what should you focus on?

2019-trends-final

If one thing is for certain, it is that the general trend for Social Media Marketing this year will be to focus back on actually ‘being sociable’ as a brand. Efficient communication with your customers and building relationships and loyalty are key. Brands must go back to be more human and relatable. Audio and visual content and the latest AI will be your friend. We are talking Podcasts, what the best Visual Content should look like, Live videos and Chatbots.

Podcasts

These are a good alternative to a video if you are not comfortable with your video skills or haven’t got the budget for the required equipment to make it worth your while. Podcasts are the new live radio and many users prefer it because they can choose exactly what they are interested in and listen anytime and anywhere on their portable devices. Podcasts also don’t force themselves onto customers as advertising, as they have to subscribe to what they really want to know about. They help to build familiarity with your brand and feel they get to know you through the voice of the presenter, especially if they subscribe to a series. Listeners recommend them to friends and help you grow your audience.

All you require is a good quality microphone and headphones, editing software is available for free online and easy to use. Just ensure that you have a good WiFi connection for uploading them. You may want to send them by email to existing customers first, but then make them available on podcast distributions channels. A recent survey of 300,000 listeners showed that 63% made a purchase due to podcasts.  Making them will help you become a better public speaker and engage your audience.

https://smallbiztrends.com/2017/01/benefits-of-podcasting.html

Visual Content

On Social Media, the trend for Visual Content is towards Stories and Augmented Reality. AR may currently be only achievable for the big players with the big money, but we can all tell a story through visual content. Venngate asked 500 digital marketers what makes good visual content. We will summarise a few of the most interesting statistics here for you:

The five best-performing formats in 2018, were:

  • Original graphics, such as Infographics (40%)
  • Videos and presentations (23%)
  • Charts or data visualization (20%)
  • Stock photos (12%)
  • Gifs or Memes (5%)

Of these, 49% were produced through Online Tools or Graphic Design Software, and Venngate has seen a 60% increase in the use of their Online Tool from 2016. Around a third of the informants used In-House Designers, 11% a software like Adobe Suite or other tools or had professional help. 10% said that they employed Freelance Designers, who have seen a fall of 150% usage from 2016. So as you can see, you can create good Visual Content yourself. Over two-thirds of the marketers asked to consider them to be essential for any marketing strategy, and 81% of businesses will rely heavily on visuals. However, they also said that it can be a struggle to produce engaging visuals consistently, so spread your wings and use a wide spread of different content for best results.

https://www.socialmediatoday.com/news/14-visual-content-marketing-statistics-to-know-for-2019-infographic/545056/

Live Videos

These have seen a big increase recently because when you see real humans talking live, it feels less corporate and more genuine. It has been shown that on average people watch live videos for longer than non-live ones. They really help your customers to engage more and allow for brand story-telling. If you think of live videos as the kind of thing a teenager does on Facebook when he wants his friends to know what a great time he’s having somewhere, rest assured that when it comes to marketing, it is nothing like that. Live streams are used for:

  • Q&As – you can answer your customers’ questions live and build a connection
  • Customer Support – again, giving your brand a human face
  • Special Announcements and Product Introductions
  • Interviews with influencers to increase outreach
  • Blogger hosted or partnered streams
  • Behind-The-Scenes videos
  • Live events – presentations, talks, performances, product demos, conferences

https://hi.photoslurp.com/blog/live-video-marketing/

https://www.convinceandconvert.com/digital-marketing/using-live-streaming-video-successfully/

Chatbots

Okay, using AI doesn’t appear very human, but Chatbots can provide your instant customer support 24hrs a day, exactly when they want it and very efficiently. Chatbots are mostly used inside messaging apps, but you could also have one on your website. The first question will always be ‘How can I help?’ – even though you are talking to a computer, you still get friendly customer service, even if human interaction is an awful lot more complex. Chatbots are designed to provide shortcuts to give the user exactly what they’re looking for and nothing more. That also means they don’t feel like you are pushing them and trying to persuade them to buy something else. Instead of scrolling through endless options on a website and then filling in all their details, then ordering – the Chatbot will take a simple request and do the rest.

Most people will use only 5 apps most regularly on their devices, and these are mostly messaging apps with 5 billion monthly users. As bots are integrated into these, there’s no need to go to another app or website, therefore very convenient. By thinking about every micro-decision a user has to make, you can create chatbots for things like adjusting a reservation or updating shipping info. It is best for businesses to focus on 1 function but do that well, as according to statistics 47% of users are happy to buy through a bot. China is setting the trend here and there you can use a Chatbot to hail a taxi, order food, book your next holiday, etc.

To summarize, Social Media Marketing in 2019 is all about making your customer feel like he knows you and your brand, create a connection and therefore loyalty. You do this by being more human and literally visible (or audible in Podcasts) plus conveniently and efficiently available 24/7 with ‘no-fuss’ when that’s what the customer wants.

LinkedIn Ads vs. Facebook Ads: How do they compare, and which one is right for you?

LinkedIn and Facebook

We will tell you why 2019 is expected to be huge for LinkedIn marketing whilst many companies turn away from Facebook Ads. It is not because one is better than the other, but brands now understand which platform is best suited to target the right audience for them.

Facebook is currently losing a lot of business to other social media platforms, especially LinkedIn who have seen a 212 percent growth in the money spent on ads with them. It seems 2019 is their year, but how can you decide where your money is best spent?

How do LinkedIn and Facebook compare when it comes to Ads?

LinkedIn Ads are the preferred choice for B2B marketers, 71 percent of them currently use it as part of their strategy, which is only going to increase, according to the before mentioned statistics. As every marketer knows, rule number one of marketing is to know who your customers are. Next, you need to figure out how to reach them. Age, gender and location are the basic demographics that you will get from LinkedIn and Facebook alike.

However, LinkedIn can also tell you about their users’ education, skillset, profession, and the industry they work in. That is powerful extra data you won’t find on other platforms.
LinkedIn has become essential to any brand wanting to increase brand awareness, network with the right people, and achieve growth.

Being a platform that has been created purely for professional use, LinkedIn is seen to provide reliable content. Its content’s nature is neutral, sober, professional – a lot of users access LinkedIn daily for making business decisions.

When it comes to advertising, it is popular with B2B companies who will most benefit from investing their money here. It allows them to target a specific industry and the kind of companies they need to reach.

LinkedIn has a range of options for how you want to advertise on it and its professional brand image means that adverts appear generally more trustworthy. They look a lot like natural content – which results in more engagement than on other platforms.

Similar ads on Facebook feel more like spam, because of the different environment in which they are presented.

One big drawback of LinkedIn Ads, however, is the cost. They are quite pricey compared to Facebook – who also have a lot more active users – 2.2 billion users in fact, compared to LinkedIn’s 550+ million.

Despite those numbers, LinkedIn Ads still achieve a higher return on your investment – possibly because it is the right platform for B2B marketing and mainly used in that way. The adverts on there have always been more targeted and a good fit for the audience, purely due to the nature of what LinkedIn is all about.

The purpose of LinkedIn is to be a network of work and business users, which makes it, in turn, a weak contender for B2C marketing. It is very unlikely to reach the end customer, Joe Bloggs if you will, by advertising on a business platform.

Facebook is much better placed for B2C marketing. If your company’s target audience is end customers, then promoting your goods on Facebook will create more engagement than on LinkedIn.

If there ever was a time when you are weak and willing to buy, say – that jumper that allows you to carry your cat around or some obscure gadget that you never knew you wanted, or a really ‘fashionable’ green/purple coat, you most likely do that in a weak moment at home, after a couple of glasses of wine and you are scrolling through Facebook, dressed in your pajamas, in front of the TV.

The odds will fall drastically when you are dressed in your smart work clothes in the office, looking for companies that might be able to help you with your current project or looking for a new job opportunity.

It would, therefore, be unfair to say that companies are leaving Facebook Ads because LinkedIn or other platforms are better. It’s more likely that marketers now have more choice, know their customers better, and advertise on the platforms that are the most suitable for their business.