With over 1.86 billion people on Facebook, 600 million on Instagram, and 313 million active monthly users on Twitter, it’s impossible to ignore the power of social media. Some of the best online marketing strategies can be implemented through social media platforms. Social media marketing trends are constantly shifting and staying ahead of the curve is a great way to make sure you’re consistently reaching your target audiences.
In this go-to guide for local businesses, we’ll be going over the eight social media marketing trends that local business owners should take note of to better interact with their social media following.
1. Facebook Advertising
One of the most successful digital marketing initiatives that a company can leverage is Facebook Ads. The Facebook ‘targeting’ tool allows businesses to get ads directly in front of specific audiences that are more likely to visit their website. The ‘targeting’ feature is a great way for a small local business to pinpoint prospective clients in their area and avoids wasting valuable advertising dollars on blanket marketing initiatives.
Facebook Ads are also invaluable tools for eCommerce businesses, given their ability to penetrate specific demographic groups, not just locations. This works to a business’ advantage , as they can tailor their Facebook ads to specific segments to improve the likelihood of generating leads.
The other benefit of Facebook Ads is that entrepreneurs can set an advertising budget and monitor the success of their ads, picking and choosing which advertisements they would like to display and when. Creating a Facebook Ad account is easy and can be completed in a matter of minutes. All you need to do is create ad content and start advertising your business today!
2. Employee Advocacy
Chances are most of your employees have social media accounts. In fact, statistics show that internet users have 5.54 social media accounts on average. Local businesses should leverage their employee base and their social media reach to gain exposure and visibility online. If your employees are satisfied and believe in your company, they are more likely to share information about your company on social media. Employees posting pictures from company events, sharing product announcements or new blogs can have a tremendous impact on your brand awareness and allows you to reach new groups of people.
The best part of employee advocacy is that it’s free! Employee advocacy is a great way to quickly multiply your social following and, eventually, your customer base.
Everyone loves a good story. Social media marketing has opened the door for businesses to be transparent, with an increasingly large number of companies sharing stories that customers wouldn’t typically be privy to. This resonates well with social media followers as sharing more intimate details about your company tends to build trust by being relatable.
There are a number of storytelling techniques that local businesses can take advantage of, such as a thank you video directed at followers, or a creative blog piece featuring an anecdote on a particular product. There are endless possibilities with respect to social media storytelling and local businesses should be as creative as possible to engage as many users as possible.
4. Live Video
Live Video is a very popular social media trend that has been picking up momentum in recent months. Platforms like Facebook, Instagram and Periscope offer users the ability to create live video content. Although it might seem strange to use Live Video to promote your business, it is a very valuable method as people tend to spend three times longer watching a live video versus a pre-recorded one.
Having trouble thinking of a live video idea? Use it as a way to get customers in the door. For example, if you own a donut shop, post a Live Facebook or Instagram video of the delicious, mouth-watering treats coming out of the oven. It’s all about real-time cravings!
5. Influencer Marketing
An influencer is a social media personality with a large following. Think of it however you want, but the fact is that top influencers like Lebron James and Gigi Hadid get paid up to $300,000 for a single Instagram post. Advertisers recognize that social media influencers have tremendous reach and selecting a suitable influencer can allow local businesses to easily engage with relevant audiences that they wouldn’t otherwise have access to. Influencers and thought leaders tend to command respect with their followers and getting the right person to promote your business can have an astounding impact on customer engagement and sales. Regardless of your business and location, you can find suitable social media influencers within your budget that can greatly assist in promoting your company’s services and products.
6. Company Page Responsiveness
Interacting with your online audience matters. Simply by responding to reviews on sites like Yelp and Google My Business, or regularly answering company inquiries on social sites like Twitter, can stimulate dialogue and ultimately increase audience engagement. Delivering great support on social media is a fantastic way to stand out and exemplify how you interact with your following. Your social media responsiveness will have an overwhelming impact on the way your network perceives your brand.
7. Social Search
Despite the fact that Google dominates online search (and will probably continue to for the foreseeable future), social sites like Facebook and Twitter are slowly catching up in the realm of search. More social platforms are implementing comprehensive search functionality to dissuade users from using external search engines. It is now more important than ever to have an up-to-date business page for your company across various social media platforms. Make sure to incorporate relevant keywords and business information on your social sites so that you are visible to potential customers.
Social media is great way to connect with a local business’ following but…how can you tell if your following is consistently engaged? Take advantage of social media promotions and other advertising campaigns to test how active and engaged your audience is. Through an iterative process you will be able to determine what social media initiatives work best for your audience and where you should best focus your marketing efforts.
Closing Thoughts on Social Media Marketing Trends
Aside from the various social media trends discussed, the most basic, yet critical, social media marketing technique is to consistently apply relevant and unified social media content. Your social media content must be value-added, should always complement your brand, and needs to highlight how you are different from the competition. It’s also imperative for local businesses to create a cohesive web of social pages by inter-linking the platforms and cross-linking them with the business website.
Need more social media advice? Check out our “5 Simple Tips for Social Media Marketing Success.”