Social media network marketing is one of the most prominent branches of digital marketing. In fact, not only is it important to marketers and content makers, it's essential to everyone. From teens to older people, the majority of people you know will have at least one social media profile. They may not all be posting. But, to keep up friends and family members (as well as current affairs), they will be looking. So, social media is, undoubtedly, the most significant playground for people with something to sell.
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In the previous post in this series, I wrote about trends in different areas in digital marketing. Now, it is time to narrow things down even more.
It is crucial to keep up with social media network marketing trends. But it is unrealistic to bring all the platforms into your strategy.
Your audience wants quality content: It is challenging to deliver this if you're trying to be everywhere at once. You will also find it challenging to produce your actual products if you are stuck on social media. Please do not fool yourself into thinking it will not take up too much of your time.
My advice, from experience, is to choose one or two platforms and truly learn everything you need to know. When doing this, take into consideration which platforms fit your business the best.
So, what will happen in 2020 in the world of social media network marketing?
One of the biggest winners in 2020 should be Instagram. It is becoming increasingly popular with those in the 45- to 54-year-old age bracket. However, younger people will be turning to some newer platforms, such as TikTok and VSCO.
Social eCommerce will be on the rise.
Put simply, social eCommerce is the use of social media networks for the use of e-commerce transactions. I.e. Making purchases directly through Pinterest. This article from Big Commerce explains social ecommerce best and offers useful tips if you wish to use it in your business.
More than 50% of Pinterest users buy items they see on the site. Instagram now also allows stores, and this trend is bound to continue.
Live video will continue to boom.
The CEO of Facebook has predicted that the majority of content on Facebook will be video by 2020. Their system is easy to use and taps into the popularity of video. The secret to discoverability will be to write keyword-rich titles and descriptions.
YouTube's live video feature is becoming increasingly popular as well. But pre-recorded video is also valuable. Around 90% of online shoppers say that watching videos about products helps them make a buying decision. YouTube is also becoming a hot social site, with engagement and comments, akin to Facebook. Plus, it is a search engine owned by Google, so your videos have two chances to make it to the top of Google's search engine results.
If you're a blogger, turn into a vlogger at least part of the time. Videos boost response rates and accelerate the buying process. They are perfect for information marketing and product demonstrations.
Social proof is the name of the game.
Studies have shown that only around 7% of internet users trust marketing material issued by a brand. Compare this to approximately 72% who believe the recommendations of someone in their social circle.
A review from a "friend" can influence shopping decisions more strongly than any marketing message. Therefore, the secret here is to make ads look less like ads, such as by creating stories on Instagram and Snapchat, and carousels on Facebook.
In addition to stories, there are "native ads" - that is, ads that look like content. Sponsored pages and posts on Facebook would be an excellent example of a native ad. They don't appear on the side in little boxes anymore, but right in a person's news feed. Instead of being intrusive and distracting, they can convey a story more naturally. Storytelling is another popular social media network marketing trend that is not going away any time soon.
Using native ads offer the chance to tell your brand story in a way that will help you a stronger emotional connection with your target audience. The emotional connection can then lead to engagement, click-throughs, and conversions.
Chatbots as marketing tools
Chatbot tools have surged in popularity over the past year. This is a social media network marketing trend that is likely to continue.
Estimates show that by 2022, chatbots could save companies who use them more than $8 billion per year.
While they are not perfect, they are getting better, as marketers become better about predicting what users will type in. Therefore, what keywords will trigger the (hopefully) correct response. The main goal is to ensure that the user experience with a chatbot is so good that they won't know it is a bot.
Social Media Ads
Facebook ads offer a range of formats for different purposes. The way Ads Manager has been set up is so simple, even a beginner can use it if they follow along. The goal-oriented organisation at the start when setting up the ads also help advertisers avoid making any mistakes when it comes to choosing the right format. Having a goal means it's easier to track the success of the ad and progress towards achieving the goal, which in turn will mean you save time and money.
Instagram is now part of the Facebook ad network. Set your ads to run on both, but do pay attention to the highly visual aspect of Instagram when creating them.
LinkedIn sponsored updates will never be as popular as Facebook ads. But they can be useful for individual companies, particularly those who sell to businesses rather than consumers.
Snapchat has 200 million daily users, watching 10 billion videos per day. If you want to tap into this market of 18- to 34-year-old users, running ads on Snapchat will be your best bet. They are young, on mobile, and spend more than $200 billion a year on food, fashion, music, and technology.
While it is true that social proof has pushed down ads, helpful social media ads (not hype) can still influence buyer behaviour.
Social Media Network Marketing: Advertising Trends
In addition to the new ad formats on Facebook and Snapchat, Amazon is coming up and set to take on Google Ads and Facebook Ads. Why? Because the ads are in a location where people are already in "shopping mode".
Studies have shown that in 2018 they had already taken up to 3% of the market once dominated by Google and Facebook, for a total of nearly $3 billion ad revenue.
Google will be the biggest loser because their Ads system is not as precisely targeted, and the system is clunky and hard to use for beginner advertisers. It is also more expensive than Facebook and the quality score system much more arbitrary than the Facebook relevance score assigned to their ads.
Many people cringe at the idea of spending money on advertising. It is understandable, especially for beginners.
There may be a great deal of uncertainty - will you make your money back? Will the right people click your ads? It can be unnerving, with the idea that you might lose money. This is why it is a good idea to do your research before diving in.
If we're being realistic, at some point in your business, you will need to spend some money to earn more. Just make sure you spend it in the right places.
In part three of my Making the most of digital marketing series, we're going to be looking at personalisation, remarketing and automation.
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