This is the motherload of all blog series. These juicy tidbits of knowledge are what you’ve been looking for to start the new year. Today and all month long, we’re talking about social media for business. So, get your coffee or afternoon Pepsi and settle in for some serious social media schooling.
What social media was five years ago is NOT what it is today. And businesses not properly leveraging social strategies as part of their marketing will be closing up shop sooner than later. That’s just an unfortunate truth.
Here’s the thing. Just because you have a Facebook or Instagram account and feel confident about knowing how to use them doesn’t mean you’re tapping into the lead-generating business power. There are clear distinctions between sharing recipes on your personal page and getting more clients to spend with your company.
The future of social media involves innovative trends. Ok, what the hell does that mean? It means if you’re not looking for new ways to use your company social media to drive business, your social messaging will get lost in the noise.
These are the trends you should look for and capitalize on with your social planning. And these are the ideas you need to help stand apart from your competitors in a super-crowded space. No really. This is the ACTUAL list of social media predictions you NEED to know now. Your business bottom line depends on it.
Ok, this might seem like a no-brainer. But trust us, there are business owners out there, hopefully reading this right now, who could use some proper introductions.
The official definition is an “internet-based technology that helps to facilitate the sharing of thoughts, ideas and information through virtual communities and networks.”
Here’s a trend for the social media novice. More than half of ALL AMERICANS get their news from social media. About one-third of them are reading their news headlines on Facebook. Another 13% are checking Twitter daily for the latest news. And 73% of all consumers watch videos on YouTube.
More people are using social media for more than “social” engagements today than ever before. These channels aren’t just popular for news sources. They’re also key platforms for purchasing decisions. Any business not embracing these customer-connecting outlets is doomed, plain and simple.
Now, let’s roll up our sleeves, bust out the note taking apps and get down to business about what you really want to know. Here are the social media trends you need to know for lead generation and business success as we head into 2022.
There is a growing trend with celebrities and social media influencers. But influencing isn’t only reserved for the rich and famous. Anyone can become a viral sensation, with the right content. Consumers regularly follow, subscribe and check in with their favorites every day. Content creators build reputations online based on their expertise or entertainment value. These influencers garner incredibly large followers. Connecting with one of them to promote your business, product or service means getting in front of that following with a direct call to action.
It would take you years and thousands of dollars to build that kind of reach organically. So, try to identify those influencers that align with your business. Offer them a free sample or trial period of your key offering. And let them tell their thousands of followers about how to find and buy from you.
Meet Steph: Steph is an optometrist and excited about her new brick-and-mortar office. She needs to get the word out about her eyecare specialties and start attracting new patients. Steph also knows that developing a strong social media presence will help her engage her community. She’s created “company” profiles on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and TikTok. And now she’s wondering if she needs to hire someone to help her manage these channels and grow a YouTube and Pinterest channel, too. She just wants to help patients with their eye care, not spend hours trying to make videos, create content and answer Quora questions. Is it a bad idea, at this stage of her business, to bring in a social media person this early in the game?
You might have once assumed that handling your own company social media posting would be cost-saving. But if your posting frequency is inconsistent, your content is bland or your focus is unorganized, it’s probably costing you money.
More and more businesses are expanding their staff rosters to include internal roles dedicated to creating and managing social media marketing. Call them marketing specialists or digital brand ambassadors. Whatever you call them, just make sure you bring someone in to work exclusively on growing your company’s social media presence. And if you can’t justify or afford the payroll to bring in a dedicated staff member, consider partnering with an expert like Awareness Business Group, who know more than just a thing or two about social media marketing for business. (Ask us how we post 50x every day for our own business model!)
When a brand new customer reaches out to you and you ignore him, he’ll eventually leave and go elsewhere. This is true in person as well as online. Leaving those messages unanswered for more than 15 minutes, an hour or even a day could translate to lost sales. In order to keep up with every Tom, Dick and Harry that sends a DM, IM, or inquiry, businesses are turning to auto-responses and chatbots for help.
Back in the day, companies would hire answering services to combat the same problem and handle customer calls during off-hours. And technically, you can still tap into those services for call-in customers. However, since most of today’s business is conducted at least partially online, the chatbots and auto-responses are today’s digital solution to the consumer need for 24/7 customer service.
AI is the ultimate future of social media marketing. With an artificially intelligent response platform, you can have meaningful conversations with your clients without being present yourself. Chatbots that are powered by AI are being used on Messenger by thousands of brands to promote company offerings and even resolve customers’ issues as they arise.
One great chatbot product you can explore using for your business is Collect.chat. It’s a bot service that can help you schedule meetings and collect leads on social media, again, without having to manually do the legwork yourself or even be present.
And do you know what else?
You don’t need an MIT degree or any specific technical knowledge to build a chatbot. It can be developed and customized using its easy-to-use drag and drop chatbot builder.
You need to find a quick answer to any question? Find a group on social media and ask. It’s almost as if looking up your own answers anymore is too much work. People constantly jump into Facebook community groups to ask about an upcoming festival, trash pickup hours over the holidays and where to find engravable keychains.
If your business isn’t a member of a social media group, start exploring and joining asap. And it might even be ideal for you to create your own social media groups based on your niche offering or community needs.
Meet Austin: Austin owns a gym and sells health supplements both in-store and online. He realizes that for him to be considered the health and wellness expert in his niche, he needs to be more present on social media. So, he created a group dedicated to “living your best and healthiest life” and began inviting people to join. With a captive audience of people who genuinely care about health, he can post tips and drive awareness for his gym and supplements.
Think infographics, images and live-action shots of you doing your thing or your business in action. Social media browsers aren’t stopping at text anymore. They’re pausing their scrolling to see what’s happening in eye-capturing visuals. So get creative and put your text IN the visual for maximum results… like “S-A-L-E” as a header to a picture of you with your product. And the social media channels best for these are Instagram and SnapChat.
And any business not developing a regular presence on YouTube is also missing out on capturing attention. It’s pretty difficult to dispute the success of video content these days. It’s one of the most popular types of content on social media, and it can drive high traffic for your site or blog post (especially if it’s on YouTube). It enriches your users’ experience; using pictures alongside text gives them more reason to stay on your page, and let’s be real – it will make you look good.
Trending now with social media is the need for engaging stories. The days of drab tips or yawn-worthy recipes are long gone. What businesses need now are brilliant stories with headlines that grab customer attention and demand the scrollers to stop and look. You need humor. Your posts need to be based on current trends and hashtags. And they need to offer a thread of humanity that resonates with the audience.
Businesses are exploring more efficient ways to stay relevant on social media. And one way to do just that is by sharing and repurposing content for a variety of different social channels. For example, steal a headline from your company blog or newsletter and turn it into a Facebook post with a link to your site. Share your tutorial YouTube video on LinkedIn, Instagram, and Facebook for a month’s worth of trending conversation.
The future of social media is virtual and augmented reality. The use of VR and AR apps will change the way we communicate, share information, buy products, play games, watch movies—even how we date. In a few years from now, these technologies could be used to run social media apps too!
The most popular type of content on social media is still video – but it’s not just about watching anymore. These days you can create your own video with your phone (or purchase one online), edit it in an app on your mobile device or desktop, like with iMovie or Final Cut Pro X for Macs or Windows Movie Maker for PCs. It’s super-easy and maybe even kind of fun!
Since we’re talking about mobile apps and efficiencies, it’s important to point out just how essential mobile devices are to today’s consumers. In 2020, the data suggested that the number of unique mobile internet users held at 4.28 billion. That’s over 90 percent of the global internet population using a mobile device to go online.
In 2019, the average US adult spent three hours and 43 minutes each day on preferred mobile devices. That statistic marked the very first time that consumers spent more time on their phones than they did watching television. The boob-tube officially had been outranked.
The very latest mobile usage statistics show that seven out of ten internet users in the US, right now, say they would look for customer reviews on their phones. And some 58 percent of them are also comparing similar products before making a purchase. They’re not just browsing, either, since 55 percent are looking up product specifications, too.
As a business, if you’re not focusing on convenient, mobile-friendly engagement, especially with social media, you’re officially a dinosaur and doomed for extinction.
So, What Social Media Platforms Are the Most Popular Among Consumers?
Here’s the deal. You don’t have to be on ALL of the social media platforms to be successful. But you do need to pick more than one that your target customers are using the most. And those few platforms you choose, you need to be dominating with ongoing content. So here are some of the snapshots of consumer favorites of the 30+ social outlets.
- Facebook: 2.23 billion MAUs (Monthly Active Users)
- YouTube: 1.9 billion MAUs
- WhatsApp: 1.5 billion MAUs
- TikTok: 1 billion MAUs
- Messenger: 1.3 billion MAUs
- Instagram: 201 million MAUs
This is just the first chapter in an entire segment of blogs we have dedicated to social media. Take notes about these key trends and the future of social media for business. And dive right into the next chapter, where we talk about brand exposure and building awareness with your social strategies.
Don’t hesitate to connect with Awareness Business Group for all things social media! And stay tuned for the next few blogs in this series. We explore business applications and tactics you need to know to make social work for your bottom line.