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Your company must be already taking advantage of social media marketing in this Information Age. If not, then you’re still in the Stone Age in terms of business acumen. Social media marketing has become the catalyst for many of the new strategies moving forward. Most of the trends I’m going to mention complement social media marketing greatly.
In 2019, however, it’s all about increasing customer interaction and participation through amalgamated content marketing strategies. Customers need to feel more appreciated. Don’t dump the customer as soon as you’ve made your sale. Customers need to feel connected to the brand and that they’re part of a community. Trust in the brand goes a long way. Transparency is an intrinsic part of any successful company.
Matching your content with every stage of the buyer’s journey is key to becoming a trustworthy and profitable company. The following trends will add value to your brand. They’ll also ensure you achieve your marketing objectives with fluidity and grace.
A growing number of Millennials and the emerging Generation Z demand genuine and original information first before they can commit to any brand. I believe that honesty paves the way for customer loyalty. These days many people are media literate and can easily notice if you’re being false. According to one survey, 91% of 18-34 year olds trust online reviews as much as recommendations from close people. I think it’s about being relatable because when customers engage they can then express themselves. By responding on a personal level it shows you’re genuine and really care about them.
Gone are the days when companies shoved products or services in customers’ faces to coax them into buying. Nowadays this is seen as aggressive and will lead to distrust. It’s undoubtable that social media has made consumers look at other consumers to inform their buying decisions. This is why user-generated content (UGC) is at the forefront of all that is authentic in content marketing.
According to Pew Research Centre, 54% of adult internet users create and post original videos and photos online. UGC is basically social media content but it can also include personal blogs and product reviews. The most popular is obviously photos and videos. People emulate their family members, friends and work colleagues. UGC marketing is one of the best ways to showcase authenticity. It’s everyday people showcasing your brand. Some consumers are not even aware that they’re advertising a brand. To them it’s about sharing experiences and having fun.
Always be careful not to use personal content that the owner hasn’t consented to. Remember it’s about authenticity and most people are also tech savvy, so don’t try to exploit anyone.
Always stay relevant but keep to your niche and maintain your overall message or philosophy across all channels. This brings about consistency, which in turn shows brand authenticity. It’s okay not to appeal to everyone in your niche. It allows you to fine tune your audience volume. Providing authentic and personalised content helps you prune out the laggards and establish loyal customers.
Omnichannel marketing is about furnishing an integrated experience for the customer across all platforms, channels and devices. The objective is to provide a seamless customer experience whether online or offline. This holistic approach enables the customer to access the services of your company smoothly. It also enhances communication and authenticity because the content across the channels is cohesive. You can achieve this by aligning your company information, aims and design across each channel and device.
By aligning all your departments from sales to marketing to customer support with the buyer’s journey, you have a better understanding of your customers. I like to compare omnichannel marketing with a well-oiled machine that is firing on all cylinders with the utmost precision and coherence. Small businesses will benefit from this marketing trend because according to Megastore, 73% of consumers shop across all channels.
This is a relatively new concept but for small businesses it’s worth implementing. You can start with a few departments and expand in due course. Customers will really appreciate the elegance of the experience and would likely become repeat customers. A number of giant corporations, e.g. Virgin Media have nailed omnichannel marketing. It’s only wise for small businesses to emulate that success.
Long Form Content
As I mentioned earlier regarding authenticity, customers search for complete information and guidance. Gone are the days of half-stepping, it’s all or nothing. Always put your customer relationship first and that way you can feed them with first class content. Long form content is the way to go if you want to get higher rankings in the search engines in 2019. It’s been said before that people have short attention spans but that’s not true. I believe if you have thoughtful, informative and engaging content people would pay attention.
The rise in people untrusting brands has led to this new trend. You cannot fool the consumers because they’re willing to dig deeper into your brand. A BuzzSumo research unveiled that long form content gets more social shares compared to short form content. Have a look at the graph below taken from OkDork.com.
The more someone’s interested in your brand or niche the more they’re going to want to learn about it. Why not give them adequate high quality information. These are the customers who tend to become brand evangelists and loyalists, they’ll stop at nothing to spread the word about your brand.
Providing long form content means you’re showing authority in your niche and you’re also getting approval from your readers. It’s a win-win situation, it’s worth the time and investment.
This is a great opportunity for start-ups that are looking for rapid growth through social media marketing. The power of the D-list celebrity will still be going strong in 2019. I predict that more companies would want to work or collaborate with these influencers.
A study by the ODM group mentioned that social networks influence 74% of consumers when making purchase decisions. Your company can make a great impact if you choose to collaborate with influencers on the social media platforms.
I hope you’re beginning to notice how these trends connect. People trust what other ordinary people have to say about a brand more than corporations. I, for one, tend to skip adverts on the internet but would take time to watch videos made by other people. Most purchases I’ve made online are done after I’ve seen a video of someone talking about a product or service. This is as real as it gets. Most of these influencers have multitudes of followers across a plethora of social media platforms. By working with one influencer you’re consequently advertising to all their followers with least effort and a smaller budget. Of course this depends on the influencer’s fee.
If you’re not on it already, 2019 is the time to jump on the band wagon of influencer marketing. You can appreciate that this is also another aspect of UGC marketing but it’s more lucrative and far-reaching. There’s a growing number of influencers and you can surely find one that can work in tandem with your brand. This is also an opening for small businesses to directly compete with larger firms and take their fair share of whatever market they’re in.
We’re living in the age of immense technological advancement and it’s absurd for companies not to partake in the use of these latest tools. Given the pace and growth of these advances in technology it means operating costs are going to fall in the near future. This will enable small businesses to implement chatbots in their marketing strategies at a low cost.
Chatbots can be set up to answer uncomplicated or complex FAQs about your company and its services in quick time. They can also be used for transactional processes such as delivery details and payments etc. Chatbots are available 24/7 to customers and can keep data for later use. As well as being on your company website, you can also add chatbots on the instant messaging apps.
Going back to omnichannel marketing you can see how incorporating chatbots can make this a better experience for the customer. It allows for that smoothness and integration to flow without effort and can be cost-effective in the long run. Chatbots offer a standard level of customer service. They’re always polite and patient.
According to a new report by Grand View Research, the chatbot industry is forecasted to be around USD1.25 billion by 2025. Positive changes in artificial intelligence and machine learning technologies will probably improve the qualities of chatbots. This is a great chance for companies to improve their marketing strategies. If you’re not utilsing chatbots yet make it a priority for 2019.
Even if some of the marketing trends seem beyond your reach, it’s important to consider those you can do as a start-up. You can certainly attempt to scale down the ones you think are too big to implement. Everyone has a fair shot in this ever-growing industry. Big and small companies can directly engage with consumers on a more personal and deeper level.
Make sure you have the right team and they’re willing to collaborate in every department. If you’re a one-man company you can outsource what you need. There are lots of brilliant writers, videographers, designers and digital marketing experts. Ensure that everyone you outsource is tech savvy and a team worker. Go on dive into it and take advantage of the knowledge, technology and expertise at your disposal today.