As marketers, it is commonly known that what works today, may not work tomorrow. The field is constantly evolving and sometimes it is hard to stay on top of current trends. Now, in the social media era, this ever-changing environment is even more relevant.
Social media has taken over and is now an integral part of everyday life for many people. Of course, it only makes sense that social media is now used for marketing, selling products, etc.. However, utilizing these platforms can be tricky for many reasons. Among some of them are that new apps emerge, some become obsolete, and how they are used change as users or the apps evolve. This can make social media marketing hard to always use to its highest potential.
Although there are many ways to better utilize social media marketing. Here are some of the top trends for 2020.
Influencer marketing is key for a new age business. Across all platforms, Facebook to Youtube to even Linkedin, there are influencers for different niche groups. Influencers are useful across so many diverse industries. These individuals have varied reach depending on followers, but they can offer amazing benefits to companies.
Of course, influencer marketing is not a new way to market and has ultimately changed recently. The most important part of influencer marketing is finding someone who is trustworthy. Traffic is much more important than likes for a page. According to a HYPR study, in 2018, 64% of influencers admitted to buying likes. More importantly, an August 2019 study by GlobalWebIndex indicates that social media users are more interested in the type of content that influencers share rather than how many likes they get.
That being said, trustworthiness for celebrities and other high paid influencers has gone down since they are making so much money. Their posts and recommendations do not seem genuine anymore. Companies should begin utilizing smaller, maybe local, influencers that have better relationships with their followers. These individuals do not cost as much money and are likely to help sell your products, service, and brand.
There is more detail about Influencer Marketing on our other blog.
Similar to influencer marketing, social media groups and communities are not a new feature. However, they are more popular than ever–especially Facebook groups. These social communities are made by brands, local communities, music fans, political parties and everything in between. Individuals can express their beliefs, ideas, or opinions and share it with like-minded individuals. These communities have really become more niche and unique as time has gone on–it seems as though there is a group for anything.
Brands can utilize these groups by creating a new one specifically for their company or joining existing groups that align with the products or services that they offer. This can increase exposure to the precise target audience any brand is looking for. Then, once the traffic is there, brands can release new products and get real time customer feedback.
This brings the next point. In this age, immediate responses are expected by consumers. Not to mention, friends and family.
Customers look to social media to write reviews, good or bad, to ask questions, among many other things. According to Conversocial’s 2018 report, 37% of people expect a response within 30 minutes, 31% want one in two hours, 26% in four hours and only 6% do not expect a response. Great customer service is clearly judged on a fast response time. Facebook even lets consumers know what the expected wait time is based on the average response time of the company.
This form of customer service is sometimes the first interaction an individual has with a company. And, of course, you want to make a good first impression. In 2020, it is important to utilize this feature of social media to better present your brand and offer the same kind of service that someone would get if they picked up the phone or came into the store/office.
For typical B2C companies, Facebook, Twitter and Instagram have long been the most popular platforms for advertising. LinkedIn has shown to be great for B2B tactics. However, as time moves on, more apps are created and can have their own advantages in social media marketing. Not to mention, Facebook has lost 15 million users in the past two years, especially those in younger generations.
This year, it will be important to explore all platform options to find the best representation. Target audience will depict which alternative services are best for each brand. For example, TikTok, which was launched in 2016, has a huge following of people ages 16-24. Also, Pinterest has become a great place for e-commerce as 75% of users say they are interested in buying new products compared to other digital platforms.
One other trend that is dominating is ephemeral content. Attention spans are not what they used to be. The everyday individual, for personal or commercial use, wants quality, fast content. Instagram stories, snap chat stories, tiktok videos, etc. are all great examples of this type of content. These features and apps have also gained so much popularity due to the engaging, short content. Social media users can spend hours clicking through 10 second videos.
According to a Cisco Study, by 2022 82% of online content will be video. This can be compared to Cisco’s 2016 study that predicted that videos would make up 75% of all online content in 2020. Clearly, video content is beginning to have control of media and it should be included in a content schedule and strategy.
Short stories on Snapchat or Instagram is a great way to get started utilizing ephemeral, video content.
There are many ways to utilize social media to gain brand recognition or sell products and services. This year, these are the trends that will help your company the most.
Marketing’s core mission is to connect with key customers where they are and deliver targeted messages about products and services that are relevant, timely and compelling. However, as technology advances and customers are browsing the web, interacting on social media, viewing videos on small screens and relying on technology to enhance their lives, marketing needs to be there, too. For most mid- and small-sized businesses, staying current and relevant in an industry is enough of a challenge. Responding to additional changes in marketing can overwhelm even the most tightly run organizations. It’s time to borrow a concept from IT and use Managed Marketing as a Service (MMaaS) to stay agile and adapt to the latest marketing trends.
New marketing solutions follow the IT model
A managed IT service delivers a collection of benefits to its clients. An outsourced solution ends the break-fix model of calling in an IT service to bring a system or functionality back online. You’ve likely worked in an office that outsourced its IT – where systems and equipment were maintained externally and system issues were monitored to prevent costly repairs and downtime. Agile businesses rely on this model to keep their technology up and running and to update their equipment and functionality. Outsourcing this work allows the business to have access to a team of experts when their business’s budget and size wouldn’t allow them to have these experts on the full-time payroll.
Marketing has become a multi-niched industry and thus can follow this same modeled approach.
The Value of MMaaS
This is a boon for small- and mid-sized businesses, who can benefit by taking advantage of this outsourcing model called MMaaS. Like its IT cousin, MMaaS gives businesses access to a highly skilled team without the expense of these experts’ annual salaries.
The benefits of an MMaaS service are:
Brands may still complete some marketing efforts in-house, but time-consuming projects or those that require specialist training or sky high software expenses can be outsourced, freeing up business leaders to explore methods, platforms, venues and audiences to gauge a project’s long-term effectiveness. The flexibility MMaaS provides ensures profitability, while reaching customers in new ways.
Effective Marketing Outsourcing to Accommodate Businesses’ Needs
Many teams hold a misconception that outsourcing is a sign of weakness or even laziness. On the contrary — marketing team diversity provides a competitive edge over organizations who hire one or two people to perform all marketing functions. Consider your current limitations like your team’s access to workflow software. Are you satisfied with the tools your company uses for campaign management, marketing automation, web analytics and standard CRM? Pricing for Salesforce Marketing Cloud starts at $400 per month for email, mobile, and web marketing and Social Studio is even more at $1,000 per month.
I’m an advocate for MMaaS as a turn-key solution that frees up a brand’s time and capital to focus on the core mission: providing their customers with high-quality goods and services.
Picking a Marketing Agency
Just as your business evaluates purchases and new hires, so too should your business have a process for selecting MMaaS for outsourced work. Check the agency’s references with a call to previous clients. Ask them about their experiences, how easy it was to work with the agency and how committed the agency is to timely delivery.
Ask your agency contact about their processes. Verify that their workflows are intuitive and that they fit well with how your business operates. Request the agency provide you with samples of their work. View their blog to see if the agency blogs regularly with engaging, useful posts.
Ask yourself these questions: Does the agency understand what you want, are they capable of the work and are they a good fit for your company culture? Answer yes to these questions and you can feel good about contracting with them for your outsourced marketing work.
Build Your Business with Managed Marketing Solutions
As you continue to grow your business, your focus should be on continuously improving your product or service; as well as hiring the right people. The time you spend outside your brand’s core mission takes away from your core mission, making it a wise decision to leverage the power and flexibility of MMaaS.
Want to learn more about how your organization can leverage MMaaS or Marketing Solutions? Contact us here