Social media marketing is no different - it seems like almost every week there’s a new advertising option or tool announced that can streamline workflows and maximise results.
It can be hard to keep up with – but in this post, we’re going to go one better. We’re going to tell you what’s coming in social media marketing before it even happens.
Here are three key trends on which we expect to see significant focus over the next 12 months.
1. Social storytelling
Over the past 18 months, we’ve seen a rise in social storytelling, expanding the context of your social media posts beyond a single item. The trend spawned from Snapchat and their innovative Stories feature – through Stories, users can post several Snaps over a period of 24 hours and link them all together into a more comprehensive tale, helping them provide more detail and tell a bigger story through their content.
As has been widely discussed, Instagram essentially copied the ‘Stories’ format – but while Instagram’s introduction of their own Stories feature seemed like a play to steal users from Snapchat, the impetus behind the move was really the popularity of the Stories format.
The way Instagram explains is, Twitter originated the hashtag, but now everyone uses it; Facebook invented the News Feed, now every platform has one.
They see Stories as no different, and with 100 million people already using Instagram Stories, it seems they were onto something.
Because of this, expect to see more emphasis on storytelling features, and more audience expectation of storytelling in the content you produce.
2. Honing in
Traditionally, marketing has been about broadcast, delivering your message to the largest possible audience in the hopes of reaching the most engaged people within that bigger group. But social media has changed the perspective somewhat – now, through advanced audience targeting options (like those available on Facebook), brands can research the most common traits and interests of their audience and refine and personalise their messaging accordingly.
For example, previously, you might have chosen to put all your ad budget behind a single campaign about your latest product. But now, you can think of several different ways in which that product can be used, then focus specific ads based on those varying functions to different user groups who are more likely to be interested in each approach.
A hairdressing salon, for example, doesn’t need to advertise to all people with the same promotion, they could target younger users with an offer on the latest colours, older users with specific discounts, men and women, kids and parents – you can create a specific campaign for each group and improve your results based on advanced targeting.
As we move into 2017, we’re going to see more awareness of, and focus on, personalised messaging via the use of social data. The more personalised your message, the better the response.
3. Return on investment
And the latest major trend where we’ll see more focus and development in 2017 is on return on investment for your social advertising spend – or ROI.
One of the biggest criticisms of social media has been that you can’t quantify the cash value of a ‘Like’ or a follow, it doesn’t mean anything in the wider context. This just means we need to be more aware of what’s actually valuable, and develop systems focused on the right elements.
On this, we’re already seeing the social platforms themselves improve their options. Facebook, for example, has an ad offering called ‘Conversion Lift’ which enables businesses to provide their point of sale (POS) data to Facebook to be matched against the audience of people who saw their ads.
For example, if you have a loyalty card program and you take people’s email addresses, you can match that in Facebook against the people who actually saw your Facebook ads, so you can connect your online efforts to your offline results.
In 2017, expect to see more options on this front, and more tools that enable businesses to connect their social media advertising to direct, bottom line results.
These are three areas we expect to see increased focus – as always, if you ever need any advice or assistance, contact us for help.