Social media sites are forever updating their features and consumer attitudes can turn at any moment so to stay on top of your social media marketing game, you need to be on the ball when it comes to trends. Here are our top five trends to try out this year.
Live video streaming has exploded in recent years, with nearly all major social media sites offering them as a prominent feature, with Facebook Live and Instagram Stories being amongst the most popular. Video is now the fastest growing form of advertising and live video is perfect for building engagements and relationships. What is particularly attractive about live video for consumers is the authenticity, inclusivity and the sense of connection it gives with brands and for businesses, their mass appeal and cost-effectiveness is perfect for growing companies. Not only do they appeal to the tech generations mistrust of editing by they also create an immersive and inclusive experience that has up to this point been unavailable to the online consumer.
As chatbots have become more sophisticated their popularity has grown and they have been integrated into all major social media sites. Chatbots can essentially be used by businesses to communicate with their consumers online, the chatbots recognise keywords and phrases and use them to generate an automatic response. They can provide calm, polite and efficient customer service however angry and frustrated a customer gets, however, there are of course limitations and are best used for initial enquires and contact.
We’ve all heard of influencer marketing, brands have been using celebrities for years to promote and advertise products, however, recently brands are choosing to use micro influencers instead. A micro influencer is as the name suggests an influential person but on a much smaller scale to celebs, these are the people whose influence is prominent on social media sites if nowhere else. Micro influencers typically have between 5000 to 100000 followers and their appeal to consumers is they feel very real and very genuine. As well as feeling authentic micro-influencers are also the most effective in terms of marketing as they are able to carry out more social interaction with their followers and therefore have higher engagement.
Augmented reality (AR) uses technology to superimpose a computer-generated alternative reality onto a user’s view of the real world. Allowing customers to virtually experience products through AR has huge potential that is slowly being exploited by leading brands. In terms of social media sites, Snapchat leads the pack, in 2015 they launched lenses successfully bringing AR to its user base. Since then it’s really taken off with lenses being its most popular feature, bringing with it potential revenue streams. Brands, like Taco Bell, can sponsor lenses, targeting specific demographics such as age and gender. Facebook messenger’s AR also has some real marketing applications. For example, Sephora uses AR in messenger to allow customers to virtually try on makeup, generating serious sales.
Ephemeral content is content that lasts no longer than 24 hours before it’s gone, Snapchat, Facebook and Instagram stories are prime examples. With Snapchat receiving 10 billion video views daily, it’s clear to see how popular it has become and how it can be used for a successful marketing strategy. Similar to live videos consumers feel that ephemeral content is more authentic and less like spam as they associate it with how they communicate with friends on social media sites. There is also a sense of urgency about interacting with ephemeral content as it won’t be around forever, and it taps into the younger generations sense of FOMO (fear of missing out).
Social media marketing is an ever-changing landscape and to create the perfect marketing strategy it’s vital to stay on top of new trends and make them work for you. Some are around for the long haul and some fizzle out but unless you try them you won’t know which is which!
Have a problem with a brand or product? The first thing many of us (62% in fact) do is take to social media to demand response and resolution. This is because social media sites provide a direct line from company to consumer, giving consumers a chance to ask questions and voice concerns where they will definitely be heard. Now don’t panic the benefits of this direct line goes both ways, by having direct access to your consumers and their feedback both positive and negative you have the opportunity to develop your brand and update your customer service strategy. Now with 67% of consumers going online to engage brands on customer service issues if your customer service strategy doesn’t involve social media, it needs to. But never fear, in this blog, we will be looking at everything you need to know about using your social media sites to provide great customer service.
Introducing Social Media to your Customer Service Strategy
Bringing social media into your existing customer service strategy doesn’t have to be hard work, there are simply a few main points you need to include.
To make the most of your social media sites you will need to focus on building relationships with your customers rather than just selling to them (this has benefits far outside just customer service). If you have built relationships with your consumers, they are more likely to address a query or problem to your business rather than just leaving negative feedback. You should also be aiming to build a consumer advocate base, by creating good relationships and providing great customer service you will build a loyal fan base that will defend you against negative feedback online.
In order to provide the best customer service through your social media sites, you need to ensure you have a consistent social media presence and respond to any feedback as quickly and comprehensively as possible. Be aware that not all comments will be made out for your attention, so you will need to monitor your social media sites for any mention of your brand, this can be done using programmes such as Hootsuite or Buffer.
By creating brand specific hashtags for your business, it will make it easier for consumers to direct their feedback straight to you and for you to respond to their enquiry. Hashtags can also be helpful if you have a specific problem you want to help customers with, a specific product or website fault for example. You can add information and accurate content for your hashtags as well, adding another level of information you can provide.
Don’t be a Robot
Your customers want to know that their feedback has been read and listened to, how you respond to their feedback is vital to ensuring they feel this way. Mirroring you customers feedback is a great way to demonstrate that you have read and understood their comments and using their name and signing off with yours (or initials) will also help to make you seem like a human voice.
By including social media into your customer service strategy, you will help to grow your brand's reputation as well as ensure your customers get the most out of their pro
Choosing the right social media sites to promote your business on can appear to be a daunting task, with new sites springing up left right and centre it can get a bit confusing as to which would suit your business. Why not just join them all I hear you ask? Well, social media sites can be very specific and take time and effort if you want to make the most out them so joining all of them is not only a waste of your valuable time but also probably won’t do you any good. In this blog, we will cover what you need to think about when choosing your social media sites as well as some fact sheets on some of the top social networking sites out there.
First, you need to think about your GOALS, what are you looking to get out of your social media sites? By identifying your goals, you will be able to narrow down your social media sites, as certain sites lend themselves to certain business goals, like:
Building brand awareness
This is a case of getting your brand name out there and introducing new customers, perfect if you are just starting out, expanding or having a rebrand.
Generating leads and sales
This may seem like a given but it requires specific features from your social media sites, for example, they need to be link friendly in order to help you drive traffic to your website.
Social media can be a more cost-effective way of advertising your business, many social media sites have targeted ad functions that will help you reach your specific target audience.
Social media sites are a fantastic way to form a direct dialogue with your customers. It can enable you to deal with any issues quickly and effectively as well as helping you learn your customers likes and dislikes.
Speaking of your CUSTOMERS, next you need to focus on who your audience is and which social media sites they are using. Because if your customers aren’t using a particular social media site then it’s, of course, no good to you. The most direct way to find this out is a customer survey, by including questions about social media habits into a general customer survey then you have a direct line into their social media routine. However, if your business is newer or you don’t have direct access to your customer base then you can always look at the site's demographics and compare them to your ideal target audience.
Finally, you need to consider what type of social media CONTENT suits your brand and your products, is it a very visual business? Or is it more blog and article based? Each social media site suits different types of content because even while some are quite general, like Facebook, their users will always have a preference.
Once you have considered all of the above factors you are ready to choose your social media sites. Because we know your business goals may be varied we don’t expect you to pick just one but remember we recommend sticking to just a few, ideally no more than three.
Check out our fact sheets below to get you started.
Yes, your product is great, and yes, your prices are competitive, but the question is what’s the story?
It is no longer enough to just promote your product and your prices, you and your brand need to, like all great superheroes, have an origin story. Today’s consumer wants to build a greater level of trust with brands, they want to know your ethics, where you came from and where you see your company going. By creating an effective brand story, you allow your customers to connect with your products on a more emotional level, to picture how they would affect their lives, which will increase your sales and allow you develop a sense of brand experience which in turn sets you apart from your competition.
Like with all good storytelling first thing you need to do is decide on your narrative. When creating your brand story, you need to consider the following things:
Who you are as a brand is very important to your customers, they want to know the origin story from start to finish.
What was it that made you want to start the business, think about your passions and what drove you to think of your product in the first place, was it a gap in the market?
What does your product or service do for your consumers, if you have certain ethical standpoints this is the perfect time to think about how they relate to your brand.
What are your company’s goals? Remember that you making money is never going to motivate a customer to buy your product, they will buy your product to solve a problem they have or to enrich their lives in some way.
Your product must reflect your brand story in order for it to feel trustworthy and authentic. If you are promoting yourselves as a small ethical clothing company, for example, your products can’t be mass-produced somewhere on the cheap. So, when creating your brand story consider your product in these terms:
What is your product all about, why would people need it? Products will either predominantly fill a practical or an emotional need for your consumers, so it is important to identify which one, so your brand story can reflect this.
Are you putting yourselves at the lower or higher end of the market with your products? This will affect how you tell your story as if you’re at the higher end, for example, you will need to highlight quality and process in your story.
What makes your products stand out from the competition and can this be woven into your brand story? What makes your brand stand out may also what makes your product stand out.
When creating your brand story, you need to consider who you are telling that story to. You need to understand your audience, and don’t be afraid to get specific. Think about
These must align with you and your brand story in order for an emotional connection to establish.
Once you have the content for your narrative you can rely on this classic storytelling structure.
▬ Who are you as a brand and what motivated you to start the business?
▬ All about your products and your employees.
▬ Celebrating your journey so far and where you see your business going in the future.
A brand story is a fantastic way to create excitement and buzz around your business as well as encourage customer loyalty. By keeping it simple, relatable and honest you will build a brand story that will set you apart from the competition.
As we all know social media is a fantastic marketing tool, it allows you to promote your brand, products or services to a wide and receptive audience. However, a stumbling block that many businesses come across when using social media is how to convert those likes and follows into in the flesh (or online) paying customers. In order to convert your social media audience, they primarily need to be able to trust you and to see that your products match their lifestyle. In this blog, we will be looking at how to achieve this and convert your social media audience into customers.
Identify Your Audience
By identifying your target audience, you are of course identifying your customer base. Most businesses will have a general idea of who they are marketing their products to? For example, male, 18-30 and based in the UK. However, to really capitalise on your audience you need to think in more detail about your potential customers, what are their shopping habits, hobbies where exactly do they live, where do they go out? If you identify these details, then you can pinpoint the very best way to target them and show how your products will fit into their lifestyle. Therefore, attracting and engaging with a social media audience that is much more likely to actually buy your products.
Design Your Strategy
Once you have identified your perfect audience you need to use that information to develop your marketing strategy in order to reach said audience. Start out by thinking what social media sites your desired audience is most likely to use, you will want to focus on 1-3 platforms, no more. Then you need to think about what type of content are your audience most likely to relate to? If your audience is into a healthy lifestyle, for example, you will want to be posting healthy eating guides and using bright fresh images.
However, to design the best marketing strategy for your business you need to consider not only your audience profile but also where your strengths lie. If words are your thing then you’ll be wanting to focus on blogs and quick witty Instagram captions but if your more conformable speaking, think about Facebook Live and YouTube. Also, think about your products, if you are a restaurant, for example, you will be relying on the more visual aspects of social media.
Deliver a Call to Action
You can have the best content in the world but if you don’t provide your audience with a call to action then they will never know what you need from them. Call to Actions such as like if you agree or tagging a friend are perfect for getting your brand out there but in terms of conversion you need to think more direct. ‘Visit our website for more details’ is a great one to use or providing a discount code for people to use in-store or online, gives your audience an incentive to become your customers.
In order to convert your audience into your customers, they need to trust your products are the right choice for them. In order to gain this trust, you need to be a stable and consistent presence on their social media feeds or they will disregard or forget you. By ensuring your content is consistent in terms of appearance and theme as well as consistent across all your social media platforms helps build a solid image of you in the minds of your audience. If they recognise and trust you, they will buy from you.
Simple but effective these steps will allow you to build the trust of your audience and show them that your products match with their lifestyle and are right for them. By doing this you will really see your conversion rate soar!
The rise of image-centric social media sites like Instagram and Pinterest has meant that all social media sites have had to follow suit or be left in the dust, Twitter and Facebook are now just as governed by images as all the rest. Social media posts with images are now receiving 313% more engagement on Twitter and 130% more on Facebook than posts without. This change means that even small businesses need to be on top of their social media image game or risk losing out. Thankfully there are lots of great tools out there to help and in this blog, we will be looking at some great free options to help get you started.
Social media image tools can help you create a wide range of images suitable for whatever industry you may be in, so we have divided our list into 4 main categories:
Design for Beginners
Image design sites allow you to design anything from menus to seasonal greetings and are perfect for creating sleek simple designs with minimal work.
This is certainly one of the most adaptable social media image tools and can be used to create just about anything. Even the free plan gives you access to great stock images, allows you to upload your own images and choose from a great array of templates. The pre-set social media sizes are also fantastic for beginners and the drag and drop interface is really user-friendly. When you're done just download or share the image straight to social media.
Quotes can be a great way to engage with your audience on social media and if you can customise them to fit your business they are great subliminal advertising! It is worth noting that Canva is also really good for creating customised quotes.
Created by Buffer, Pablo is simple to use and a pretty versatile social media image tool. Choose from a wide variety of templates and beautiful stock photos then adapt them by adding your quote and changing the filters and fonts to suit you. Like with Canva, Pablo also provides pre-set image sizes for social media and allows you to add your own branding with your logo or company graphics. However, if you're looking for more styled designs rather than photographs your better off using Canva or other free sites such as Recite.
Infographics are a great way to condense information into easily digestible social media posts, but on the face of it look impossible to create but never fear there are great social media image tools for this too!
The clue is in the name with this social media image tool, it creates infographics simply and easily from a range of templates. All you need to do is pick a template and fill in the facts, images or data you need and you're ready to go. Template choices are limited on the free plan but there are still plenty to choose from, especially if you're new to the game! Once you have your template if you want to personalise it further you can change colours, backgrounds and fonts and really make it your own. If your needs are a little more basic you can always try a site like Infogram which specifically creates graphs and charts, like Easel.ly it has a free basic package.
A Little Extra
If you want to take your social media game up a notch you could also turn your hand to some of the more popular social media phenomena’s like GIFs or memes to add a more fun, relaxed feel to your social media posts.
Creating memes is super easy, either choose or upload an image and then add your text. The only hard part is getting that meme to go viral!
Not only a great place to find ready-made GIFs but also great for creating them! All you need to do is upload a series of image or short video clip, add your text and your away.
Free and easy to boot, with such fantastic social media image tools at your disposal there is no excuse to not get creating.
In a time where marketing strategy is becoming more and more about authenticity, live videos are emerging as by far one of the most engaging ways to reach your audience. With Facebook Live videos reportedly being watched up to 3 times longer than regular videos, it’s a trend that cannot be ignored. In this blog, we will be looking at what makes live videos so successful and how you can harness their power for your business.
Live video streaming has exploded in recent years, with nearly all major social networks offering them as a prominent feature, with Facebook Live and Instagram Stories being amongst the most popular. As the streaming industry expands live videos are becoming a vital advertising tool, loved by consumers and businesses alike. With their authenticity and inclusivity connecting with customers with the brands and their mass appeal and cost-effectiveness appealing to growing businesses.
By looking at what live video content is most popular you can use that information to plan what content will be most effective for marketing your business. Breaking news actually makes up 56% of the most watched content (livestream.com) followed closely by events such as conferences or concerts. This tells us that people that people crave live content that makes them feel connected to an event or product. Using this information, we have put together a list of content suggestions you could incorporate into your marketing strategy.
Live streaming demos are a brilliant way to let consumers know about your products as well as promote new ones. By streaming these live it fosters an idea of ‘realness’ in relation to your product, for example, if you say your paint is easy to apply this allows you to show that it is.
By connecting with your customers through a Q&A session it creates a content conversation, they feel directly connected to your business and part of a community. This is also a great way to broadcast positive reviews.
Like breaking news, live streaming a new product or a promotional offer makes people feel like they have access to insider information. By making your customers feel special you increase their loyalty.
Whether you are live streaming an industry event you're attending or an event your business is running, making your audience feel as if they are backstage ramps up the exclusivity factor. Not only this but it also emphasises the authenticity, it can’t be edited so people trust that if your event looks rocking, then it is!
Things to remember
Know you’ve got some ideas for content, there are a few things you need to bear in mind when planning your live video.
Your brand identity MUST come through loud and clear in your video. Think about having your brand colours and logo visible in the background and make sure the tone and set up of the video fits your business. If you sell a young and vibrant product, you don’t want a stiff and formal live video!
Whatever your brand identity your video needs to look professional. Factors such as lighting need to be considered if the video is dark and blurry people just aren’t going to watch it! Make sure your live video host knows what they are saying, as
the last thing an audience wants to see is somebody stuttering their way through a hurriedly written script.
Attention-grabbing live videos are all well and good but if you don’t include a call to action this attention won’t convert into sales or sign ups! Make sure you are directing people to buy your products or visit your website.
Promoting a broadcast beforehand is a great way to ensure you get the maximum number of viewers. Especially for content that includes an offer or an exclusive look at a new product.
Live videos have taken the social media world by storm, not only do they appeal to the tech generations mistrust of editing by they create an immersive and inclusive experience that has up to this point been unavailable to the online consumer. By keeping your content engaging and honest and your videos clear and branded you too can conquer the world of live video.
Social media marketing has become the done thing in recent years and if your business isn’t on some kind of social network then you may well be missing out. However, the thing about social media marketing is, for it to be successful and grow, you need to interact with your audience or they won’t want to know. Social media has enabled people to feel connected to the brands they love and feel like they have a real input on products and services, without your interaction this feeling of connectivity just does not exist. In this blog, we will be giving you some top tips to interact with your social media audiences and keep them coming back for more.
A brilliant way to interact with people on social media platforms is to offer something a bit different, by making your interactions fun and light-hearted you will draw people in and enable people to feel a personal connection like they might have with friends.
Take an Interest
Interaction will NOT work if your audience doesn’t feel that it’s genuine, and the best way to make your audience feel like you are is if you take an interest. Both in what they are saying to and about you, as well as what they are saying about themselves. Everybody wants to feel special and taken notice of, this feeling is utilised all the time in social media marketing (user-generated content, for example, hinges on it). By taking an interest in the individual when you engage with them you are ensuring that they come away feeling positive about your brand.
Like in life, with social media marketing you get out of it what you put in and by spending time interacting with your audience you will reap the rewards. Interactions such as responding to comments and taking an interest in your audiences’ content will encourage brand loyalty and new audiences and therefore increase your exposure.
LinkedIn, despite being popular with small business owners, entrepreneurs and big businesses alike, still remains a mystery to many. In this blog, we will be looking at what exactly LinkedIn is as well as it’s strengths and weaknesses to help you decided if it’s right for your business.
Embarrassed at your lack of LinkedIn knowledge? Well, you shouldn’t be, despite being one of the most popular social networks many people are still at a loss as to what LinkedIn is and how to use it. In it’s simplest form it is a professional social media platform that enables businesses to network, promote themselves and carry out marketing strategies. Professionals can also keep up to date with new innovations and business news as well as look for new employment opportunities. The best way to think about it is an online networking platform, where lots of businesses and professionals are in the same place looking to make connections in the right fields.
Strengths of LinkedIn
Weaknesses of LinkedIn
As you can see there are many positives to LinkedIn and not many negatives, however, that one negative is very important to consider when it comes to using LinkedIn. For making connections within your business, no matter what sector you are in it is invaluable but, if you want to build a consumer-driven brand you are definitely going to need other social networks such as Twitter, Instagram and Facebook alongside your LinkedIn account.
User Generated Content (UGC) is when companies advertise by inspiring and then curating content produced by their audiences. By surrendering the role of creator to their fans, brands can produce honest and effective adverts. The content is provided by happy customers and unpaid contributors, and the types of content include:
Due to the varied range of UGC out there, it is a very versatile way of advertising, it can be used on a large scale for ad campaigns or small scale using social media marketing. In this blog, we will be looking at the reasons that make UGC such a successful marketing tool and why you’d be mad not to include it in your future marketing strategies.
Reason One: It’s Trustworthy & Authentic
Consumers have become wise to many of the tricks used by adverts in the past, we don’t necessarily trust the unrelatable beautiful people we know are being paid to promote a certain product. This mistrust is what has made UGC a game changer regarding adverts, because who we do trust are people like ourselves who have tried a product and genuinely love it. Happy customers creating positive content can often convey the love and loyalty they have for the brand better than even the most successful in-house content. Authenticity has become more important to customers than a slick advert and 60% of consumers say that UGC is the most authentic form of advertising (Stackla). If people believe your products are the genuinely loved by others they will buy them.
Reason Two: It Promotes Connectivity
In today’s society, content sharing on Social Media seems to be some kind of unstoppable juggernaut. People now more than ever want to feel connected to their peers by sharing every aspect of their lives, including their shopping habits! Brands are using this need for connection and recognition to share consumer stories and promote their products and the lifestyle they endorse. If used in a genuine way this can lift engagement and strengthen customer trust.
Reason Three: It Inspires People
UGC used in the right way by companies can be a powerful source of inspiration. For the release of the iPhone 6, Apple used visual content taken by its users to form the base of a billboard and print ad campaign with the hashtag #ShotoniPhone6. By using the best and most inspiring images Apple enabled it’s customers to feel moved to go out and buy an iPhone and take amazing photographs. Showcasing content that reflects customer’s post purchase excitement, means that, that excitement becomes contagious and inspires people to buy.
Reason Four: It’s Cost Effective
UGC is not only a very successful marketing strategy but it also makes sense financially. It is generally much cheaper to edit and coordinate content that has been produced by other people than to create content in-house. Your consumers are creating your content for you and then sharing it with their own audiences, making less work for your brand!
Between the rise of influencer marketing and the popularity of UGC, society is definitely moving towards a much more transparent way of looking at advertising. This transparency is great for consumers but can also be great for businesses. UGC is an authentic, engaging and financially smart way of advertising your brand and used correctly it not only boosts sales but builds trust between you and your consumers.