The methods by which small businesses and large companies reach new customers have changed significantly over the past decade. In the past, companies and marketing firms primarily used television advertisements and print media to spread information about their brand or new products being released.
Of course, with new technology comes new trends in consumer behavior and preferences. As more and more people shifted their focus away from the television set to their phones, companies have had to change their marketing strategies to leverage new technology. The advent of social media is arguably the most fundamental change in the way that we communicate with each other, and it has dramatically impacted the strategies that marketers use.
Social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram, and Snapchat have evolved from basic communication channels to crucial customer engagement tools. Trends in social media marketing change very quickly, and it’s important for marketers and content strategists to be up to date on changes in the space. Here are 5 ways that social media marketing is changing over the next year as well as a few tips to boost your organic Instagram follower growth in 2018.
Boosting Customer Engagement with Tools
One of the newest pieces of technology that marketers and content strategists are using to boost their customer engagement on Instagram is automation tools. Tools like SocialDrift are being used to better target users on and develop organic Instagram growth. SocialDrift uses artificial intelligence technology to determine the most relevant posts to like and comment on as well as the most influential users to follow. These tools are a great way to spread your brand image 24 hours a day without the need to hire a dedicated intern or employee to engage with users on the Instagram.
There are a number of other new applications that marketers can use to boost their Instagram performance. Analytics platforms like Owlmetrics help content strategists understand the audience that they’re engaging with and get demographic and geographic data on their followers.
Additionally, they help marketers track their most popular posts and relevant engagement metrics like peak engagement time and most effective hashtags. 2018 will mark significantly increased usage of platforms like SocialDrift and Iconosquare to help marketers develop their engagement strategies and boost performance for their brands.
Stories Are a Great Way to Tell Your Brand’s Story
The past few months have been signified by an exponential rise in the use of stories on platforms like Facebook and Instagram. Influential users and brands alike are using stories to share their activities in real time. In 2018, stories will play an important role in the way that brands interact with their customers.
Many Instagram users follow hundreds of users, and it is difficult to keep up with all of the new content that is posted on a daily basis. However, many users will take the time to flip through new stories that are posted by their friends, influencers, and favorite brands.
Social media marketers can use this trend to their advantage by posting stories that direct followers to check out new content that is posted and drive traffic to their profile. Additionally, content strategists can post discounts and promotions that expire after 24 hours, which is a great way to drive sales and make customers feel like they’ve taken part in something exclusive.
Another tip related to stories is to make sure that you’re telling a ‘story’ through the content that you post. While many videos and images posted to your main page relate to new products or promotions, stories are more geared for storytelling and behind-the-scenes material.
If you’re a clothing designer, post a story of you working on a new design or trying on new clothes. If you’re a music producer, post a story about a show that you’re playing at or a new song you’re working on. Telling a story through your ephemeral content is a great way to keep users engaged and interested in your brand or company.
Influencer Marketing as an Important Tool for Brand Awareness
A rising trend this year is the use of brand partners to promote new products and brands. Many small businesses and large companies alike are working with influencers on platforms like Snapchat and Instagram to reach new customers. Here’s how it works: brands will pay an influential user that has credibility with a large base of followers to use their product and encourage users to purchase it, too.
This is often the most effective way to drive sales because followers have a great deal of trust in the influencers that they follow. In the same way that athletic equipment designers use professional athletes to endorse their products, brands can leverage brand partners to convert users into customers.
It’s important, though, to make sure that you’re using the right brand partner. While many users on Instagram have a large following, if you’re partnering with a user that has no credibility in the community that you sell products to, the partnership will be useless. It’s much more effective to partner with a less well-known user that has a great deal of trust in your target audience than an extremely popular user who isn’t related to that community.
Post Videos Instead of Photos to Keep Users Interested
The rise in popularity of video content on Instagram is a big trend that will continue into 2018. Marketers and brand strategists should focus their time on developing video content to better engage with users. While many followers will spend a few seconds looking at a new picture that is posted, most will spend a great deal more time watching a video.
Keeping users on your page for longer is an effective way to get them more familiar with your brand and eventually get them to purchase products. You can also hire content producers that specialize in video production to ensure that the videos you post are unique and high quality.
Will is the Executive Managing Editor at Feedster. Will and his team from Content HOW work with venture capital, marketing co-ops, and companies to attract and gain qualified leads.
His primary focus on developing a sales funnel for a company and finding out of the box / growth hacking style ways to convert and drive traffic.