Social media marketing is a useful tool for all businesses to be using in order to reach their customers. Once a business identifies which platforms their target demographic frequents, it should learn what it can about the nuances of that community and begin engaging with the users. Businesses do not need to maintain a presence on every social media platform, but should instead pick the top ones for their customer base.
As social media continues to trend upward as a preferred medium to reach customers, we too need to stay abreast of the current trends and utilize the marketing channel to its full potential. Below are a few social media marketing trends we are keeping a close eye on in the exhibitor world.
According to Jeff Bulas, Snapchat reaches 41% of all 18 to 34 year olds daily in the U.S. alone. This amounts to billions of interested users seeing your content, engaging with your brand, and possibly becoming brand ambassadors increasing your reach exponentially.
Snapchat is as much a media and video consumption platform as it is an interaction medium. Data from a conglomerate of media companies portrays Snapchat video views as tripling every 6 months. It also notes that advertisements on the app are seen 500,000 to a million times a day.
Exhibitors can use this app in numerous ways from creating ads about upcoming events, posting scavenger hunts to be conducted at an event, or using the platform to give away time-sensitive coupons.
As we all become increasingly comfortable using technology for everyday actions, we also trend toward shorter, more tech-driven conversations for customer service. Millennials prefer using social media to interact with the customer service arm of companies to gather information, fix an issue, or get an answer to a simple inquiry without the need to pick up the phone or wait for an email response. More social media platforms are integrating chatbots into their native screens for companies to utilize thus keeping users on the social media site instead of sending them away to the company’s website.
While participating at an event, exhibitors can be engaging with potential customers through chatbots increasing brand awareness and answering quick questions. Exhibitors can also anticipate frequently asked questions and program a chatbot to answer those stock inquiries immediately upon receipt. This allows for more in-person interaction to occur because the technology is providing crafted answers to simple questions freeing up your time.
Along with the use of chatbots, businesses will need to ensure their customer experience across all their branded presences is meeting the expectations of their users. Customers expect to be treated as individuals with tailored content, interactions and responses. They also need to know, and be reminded, of your brand wherever they are on the web; desktop, mobile, tablet, social media platforms and even their own email inbox.
Cultivating a stellar customer experience is even more vital for B2B companies to master. Businesses need to focus on creating a seamless experience along the entire customer lifecycle. This includes paying attention to- and creating for- the devices being used, the various platforms potential customers are seeing your content on, and extending to the in-person interactions at trade shows and events.
Social media should be a conversation, not a broadcast. Companies and brands should already be building in plenty of sharing of strategic partner’s content, interaction with followers, and retweeting/sharing of content from their followers into their social media marketing strategy.
When brands are engaging with users, they cultivate relationships which can lead to loyal customers as well as the potential for brand ambassadors. More and more consumers are turning away from print advertising, blocking advertisement pop-ups, and disregarding ads in general. Instead, they are garnering recommendations from their friends, reviews left on products, and brand influencers they follow on social media.
Pay to Play
The days of implementing a fully organic social media strategy are likely over due to the monetization of and changes to the social media platform algorithms. Organic social media engagement is still vital to relationship cultivation, but in order to find new customers businesses will need to implement the paid advertising arms of the platforms their customers frequent. According to an article on Business.com, author Sarah Patrick advises businesses to strike a balance between paid and organic social media. However, each business must assess its own in-house marketing spend and weigh the time and effort to effectively implement an organic social media strategy with paid advertising. Marketing dollars are still being spent to create, curate and engage consistently on social media platforms, oftentimes much more than purchasing some strategic ads.
The shifting social media landscape certainly keeps businesses on their toes when it comes to finding new customers and guiding them through the sales cycle to become returning customers. A savvy marketer will be able to see these trends and create a winning mix of strategy that will continue to bring in new customers and transition existing clients to boisterous brand ambassadors.
Which trends do you see your business implementing this year? Leave a comment below.