As B2B Marketers, We Know That Currently, It’s Fairly Impossible to Do Anything with Marketing without Leveraging Social Media. So, We Ought to Know Which Independent Domains Will Drive Social Media in 2019
As the year ends, we predict the twelve trends that will make a difference in how marketers leverage social media for campaigning.
Today’s entrepreneurs have realized that the success of their business depends on how well they handle data and deploy it, over social media or otherwise. No wonder then, businesses see KRAs merging, departments shuffling, and business processes re-aligning all thanks to ‘data.’
As brands become increasingly data-savvy, it is their duty to segregate data — into clean and dirty. Owning petabytes of data might be every stakeholder’s pride, but the possession is useless if the methodology to extract business information from it is missing. More so, in today’s world of GDPR, companies need to re-look and perhaps re-invent their governance and ethics before using good data.
“Brands will continue to focus on building trust with their audiences and that trust extends to their social media activity. The quality of content and information shared will be a trend for 2019 as brands work to build deeper relationships with their audiences.”
Lastly, good data is used to drive AI, which is another area of concern for brands. As cases emerge of failed algorithms, data scientists and machine learning developers need to be excessively careful about what they are doing. ‘It’s very difficult to slay a monster that we create.’ It’s pointless to spend so much money and effort into creating something that will rebel, or rather backfire for the downfall of its own creators.
2. Artificial Intelligence
AI is on everyone’s mind. It will take the centerstage next year, when it comes to operating Social Media Marketing. We have already reached a consensus regarding a major chunk of Sales & Marketing activities through social media in 2019.
Hence, specific to this case, marketers will leverage AI to deal with data. AI, per se, is an umbrella term, under which are several capabilities that can all be independently used to optimize social media for Sales and Marketing teams.
3. Influencer Marketing
Influencer Marketing is so interesting! Social media users follow influencers like role models. Brands can leverage influencers by advertising products that center on the content published by influencers. Thanks to a high amount of Influencer Marketing platforms, finding the right influencer(s) is now easy. These are not celebrities we are talking about but social media users that have made an impact on people through their ideas, content or just by being themselves. Although omnipresent, Influencer Marketing will be a forefront trend in 2019.
4. Return on Investment
PR and social techniques are likely to be assigned with high budgets in 2019. This is because frankly, advertisement impressions are far more than engagement irrespective of wherever they appear. Other things that are getting difficult to work with are e-mail marketing and cold calling. So how do brands sell?
As C-Suites complain that ‘marketing is dead,’ emerging social capabilities are proving themselves as channels of high sales. Brands need to cash-in on early adopters and never stop till they become the best customers. Hence, enterprises need to arm digital marketing teams with strong data analytics and measurement methodologies so that they are accountable for every dollar spent on social media selling.
Brands introduce their customers to ‘something new’ on a daily basis. We are talking about emerging ways of customer service, newer features on social mediums, smart devices such as Google Home or Alexa and so much more. It is no surprise then that customers don’t/won’t settle for less.
Brands need to ensure they keep their social media strategies in tandem with consumer affinity. They also need to look out for multimedia devices of the future so that they can integrate consumer expectations during the orientation stage itself of their social media strategy.
Recently, Snapchat partnered with Amazon to give its users a visual shopping experience. How this works is that if a user likes something he/she sees, the individual can click a picture of this product and upload it on Snapchat, which will then return search results for this product. Did we hear someone saying Shazam?
6. Gen Z
Gen Z is currently one of the hottest words in the marketing world. 25% of the American population falls in the Gen Z generation. The market is huge but Gen Z is a different audience. They believe that social media can be useless. And they can say that because they practically had access to the internet from the time they were born.
Hence, unless brands don’t churn out content that is useful, educational or value-added, brands are going to lose Generation Z. This is really bad because they are now joining the workforce giving them enough buying power. Marketers can leverage Social Media Monitoring tools to study social interactions before strategizing marketing towards Gen Z. Therefore, Social Media Marketing to Gen Z is going to pick up speed.
“The biggest trend will be less social media. People will still spend time on platforms in the future, but I think that we’ll look back and view 2018 as the year of peak social. Consumers are now starting to pull back on the time they spend on social as the downsides become clearer. As consumers get wary, social media usage will decline. And the unchecked tactics employed by the platforms to speed growth will start to become checked. Lower overall usage will eventually impact advertising opportunities for a marketer,” he said.
7. Public Relations & Social Media
This is something that the PR community might have to take with a pinch of salt — PR & Social Media initiatives are likely to sync. Stakeholders are now feeling that digital marketers and PR spheres do coincide at some point, to say the least. With that thought, metrics and KPIs for both are also likely to re-align. Practically, both the teams have a diverse set of roles and in all probability, teams will carry on doing what they do the best.
However, some areas that might be common are new and promising Sales & Marketing methods like Influencer Marketing. Also, when it comes to retaining brand equity, PR and social media professionals have similar roles.
Let’s face it! Experiencing alternate realities is quite a thrill. Brands are jumpy to incorporate immersive video experiences to market their products and services. Consumers will leverage AR/VR/MR devices to engage with brands. So, marketers need to develop their social channels to accommodate these technologies. Although there are not a lot of brands that have been able to pull this off, those that have, are standing out.
9. Integrated Sales & Marketing
Social mediums have become interactive. Social media pages behave like an end-to-end buying cycle. Take Facebook Messenger or Instagram Stories for example. Users can read relevant reviews of product and buy it instantly — all by interacting with that one page. Hence, for 2019, brands need to focus on infusing Social Media Branding with Integrated Sales capabilities.
We spoke to Maura Hughes, Digital Content Manager at MeetEdgar, to understand what her brand thinks would be a social media trend in 2019. She said, “The biggest social media trend for 2019 will be the continued growth of social media videos, including live and story videos. The popularity of social videos has been growing over the last few years because audiences prefer video content over other types of content. According to WordStream, social video generates 1200% more shares than text and images combined. Videos are versatile, easy to consume and highly engaging. They are a win-win for both the creator and the viewer.”
“What’s happening now is that more platforms are encouraging brands to share video content and are making it easier for them to do so. This year, we saw more vertical videos with the growth of Instagram stories and the introduction of IGTV. Vertical videos now allow brands and entrepreneurs to easily create videos on their phone and share them on social media. Now that it’s easier than ever for brands and entrepreneurs to create videos quickly and platforms are giving more opportunities, we will only see more of social videos in 2019.”
10. Data Maturity
In the first trend, we spoke about a humongous amount of data boiled down to crisp insights for business strategy. Data maturity encapsulates a different, parallel data-set. We are talking about enterprise success models that reflect successful sales campaigns from the past. The data can be sourced from either first-party or third-party for measurement. Brands are now building similar models for potential customers/geographies on the basis of previous data.
Along with this, by leveraging advanced capabilities, enterprises engage in paid data about target audiences. Marketing teams then use these models and lists to advertise on social media in order to generate revenues. The maturity of this data will be a critical trend in 2019 as businesses are counting on such patterns to devise, possibly, five years of their social media strategy, analysts say.
Sixty percent of Americans now stream. That’s a lot of people going outside conventional ways of consuming content. With Amazon and Netflix being the avant-garde of this movement, most social media giants are following suit. Next year will see a change on social media in the context of advertising content. Brands want to tell stories that consumers can relate to. Guest Post author Dale Lovell predicts that brands will leverage Native Advertising capabilities for the same.
12. Social Purpose
2019 will see businesses branding around social causes and catering to people’s emotional drivers. Gone are the days when brands could only sell on the basis of product value. Today’s enterprises need a social purpose along with the important responsibility of developing products and services that are actually useful.
Sharing her opinion, Shauna Ward, Content Marketing Manager, Terminus, said, “We’re going to see more humor and spunk from B2B companies on social media in 2019. Consumer brands have already mastered this — look at Wendy’s and MoonPie — and it’s time for B2B to catch up. But the companies that will succeed with humor on social aren’t the ones jumping on every meme bandwagon to stay relevant with millennials. We can see right through that — but authentic humor with a little bit of sass? That’s what’s going to win in 2019.”
Recommended Read: Marketing Technology Bulletin Covering the Week Gone By