Although we saw the social media marketing landscape constantly fluctuating in the past year, we’re yet to see some more interesting changes in 2015 along with newer trends that are likely to impact SMB’s in the upcoming months.
With a whopping 90% of small businesses now relying on social media marketing services from a focused digital agency to find, target and communicate with consumers online, CEO’s are pushing their marketing departments to embrace social media platforms in enhancing customer engagement on their official websites and other digital entities.
As per the latest news about Google indexing Facebook updates, Twitter tweets and online content posted on Google+, SMB’s are planning to head towards 2015 with a strong social media strategy in order to get an instant boost in their search engine rankings. Also, various trusted sources indicate that 80% of users prefer to connect with brands online on Facebook while 34% of internet marketers generate leads via Twitter. Keeping all this in mind, we decided to put together this blog to educate you about what’s trending in the social media marketing world for a winning comeback in 2015 even if 2014 had been gloomy for your business!!
#Social Media Trend 1 – Social Commerce will grow even bigger in 2015 making online purchases easier & quicker
Online shopping on social media platforms is gaining traction especially on Facebook and Twitter. In the past year (between September 2014 to November 2014), news arrived that product managers at the two biggest social media platforms – Twitter & Facebook were testing “Buy” CTAs (Buy call to actions) on their platforms so as to allow customers to purchase products within their Facebook/Twitter accounts without having to be taken away from their social networking sites.
I’ve shared screenshots below to explain this better. The images have been taken from the official Twitter blog.
Also, marketing analytics tools like SocialBro allows online marketers to add “Buy” CTAs on their social media advertisements quickly that is visible to a large segment of users in their respective feeds. Besides this, Facebook is working on multi-product ads (ads that allow advertisers to showcase products or images of same product within a single ad unit) with an aim to facilitate the ecommerce industry in increasing their social media ROI while also making it easier for consumers to shop online.
Since this social media trend is catching up fast in the ecommerce industry, online sellers are increasingly conducting various social selling experiments and even some of them are able to sell directly without requiring an online store anywhere else other than social media platforms.
How should you plan your Social Media Strategy around Social Commerce -:
To plan a cutting-edge social media strategy around Social Commerce, practice social media marketing that directly converts traffic to leads and leads to sales. Facilitate communications across multiple channels and build a flexible strategy that can be customised keeping in mind the changing business goals.
Actionable Tip For Social Media Managers -: Try your hands on as many social media automation tools as you can especially for Facebook & Twitter. Some examples include SocialBro, PostPlanner (a Facebook Page management tool), Buffer and Zapier etc.
#Trend 2 – Visual Content Marketing will engage audience on Social Media
If you recall looking down your Facebook & Twitter feeds during 2014, I’m sure it would have clicked your mind that how visual content prompted you to click through and influenced your purchase behaviour. Without any doubt, visual content tends to attract eyeballs and hence enhances customer engagement to a great extent. As per SEOmoz, posts with videos attract 3 times more inbound links than plain text posts. In fact data insights from Simply Measured reveal that the introduction of Facebook timeline for brands, promoting visual content – photos and videos saw a 65% increase in engagement.
Sponsored content like visual tweets in Twitter homefeed and Promoted Posts & Pages on Facebook News Feed are the most viewed and most shared forms of content. Other visual content sharing platforms like Instagram, Tumblr and Snapchat have also seen an unprecedented growth in their followers.
With the biggest social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram & Pinterest planning to launch video advertisements in 2015, SMB’s are already strategizing how to intelligently use visual content marketing campaigns with social media for increased online profits.
What is a Visual Content Marketing Campaign – Visual Content Marketing includes content in various forms that involve graphically appealing images, videos, animated gifs or anything that grabs quick attention, for e.g. infographics, videos etc. Also, video content sharing forms a big part of visual content marketing campaigns. As per a study conducted by Adobe earlier this year, the company found a whopping 43% increase in video content shared across the globe.
How should you plan your social media strategy around Visual Content -:
Create eye-catching visual content to spread your brand message amongst your targeted audience so as to track your social media performance closely and know how people are engaging with your content marketing campaigns.
Actionable Tip For Social Media Managers -: Plan your Visual Content Marketing Campaigns ads with Infographics and Video Content creation & sharing. To run video ads, following up with a post ad with a good call to action will get you better results.
#Trend 3 – 2015 will be focusing on SOLOMO – Social Local & Mobile with Paid Strategy in mind
Since mobile advertising and social media marketing are rapidly evolving as the most preferred form of access to most digital content especially for local businesses and small to mid-sized enterprises, a new marketing mix involving all the three important pillars – Social, Local & Mobile will be gaining momentum in 2015. From display advertising to retargeting ads and Affiliate marketing to Advanced Data layering, we’ll see more optimized PPC campaigns that reach customers while tapping critical selling points aka USPs so as to make the purchase decision path easier for consumers.
What exactly is meant by SOLOMO?
As defined by Techtarget, SoLoMo (social, local and mobile) is a term representing the convergence of collaborative, location-based and on-the-go technologies, primarily used for marketing and discovery purposes.
Due to the increased focus on Facebook’s amazing Custom Audiences and Twitter’s ZIP code targeting and Facebook’s new local awareness ads, it’s now easier for small businesses to use online channels to drive footfalls in offline stores as well while acquiring local customers who hang out online via handheld devices.
Examples of some SOLOMO apps include FourSquare, AroundMe and Yelp that are increasingly being used to allow advertisers to send push notifications to potential customers who come under a specific geographical location.
In a conversation with Brad Hines, a renowned digital marketing and social media strategist, he said that a major trend that is catching up is an unprecedented increase in paid social posts and placements across multiple channels. He also said – “This is when companies like SponsoredTweets.com, Ad.ly and similar platforms pay celebrities, experts and notable people alike to share content on behalf of advertisers,” while explaining the killing combination of social, local and mobile mixed up with paid content advertising strategy to gain enhanced customer engagement & improved sales.
How should you plan your social media strategy around SOLOMO -:
Generate real time engagement in order to develop loyalty with a highly-active user base. Align your online and your offline marketing metrics to track individual performance as well as collaborative performance. Reach people where it matters the most by creating mobile versions of your Facebook ads and start using local awareness ads wherever possible.
Actionable Tip For Social Media Managers -:
Practice ROI-Driven Advertising while using advanced data insights & analysis to actively manage paid search, paid social, affiliate, display and retargeting. Make sure to deliver the highest amount of conversions with the lowest possible CPA (cost per acquisition).
#Trend 4 – Increase in Social Advertising Spend on newer platforms for Greater Shareability and More targeted outreach
Social ad spends were mostly focused towards Facebook and Twitter in the past year, but 2015 is the year where Instagram and Pinterest advertising is going to be more widely acceptable by online users. As per various sources, world’s biggest brands are spending more & more money on platforms like Tumblr, and if these new social media channels turn profitable, SMB’s may be looking at a significant shift in their social ad spend (especially sponsored content and paid social media advertising)
How should you plan your social media strategy around Social Ad Spend on Newer Platforms -:
Explore new social ad channels that are merging amongst your targeted audience after executing a thorough research on your traffic to understand where you audience hangs out, which digital channels they trust and how they interact online. Allocate your social media budget wisely while reducing wasted ad spends.
Actionable Tip For Social Media Managers -: Don’t stick to the old-school social media tactics and don’t keep your social media strategy or budget restricted only to Facebook & Twitter. Experiment with newer platforms for improved outreach and sales.
#Trend 5 –Promoted Trends on Twitter will drive exposure & earn brand advocates for SMB’s
As per a Twitter survey, 61% of Twitter users follow SMB’s to interact with them and share ideas and feedbacks. Besides this, the value of Promoted Trends in driving exposure can be cited from the fact that they allowed online marketers to position themselves at the top of trend list in the past year and also drove measurable results across the purchase funnel. With 22% lift in brand conversation, 30% upsurge in positive mentions and 32% lift in retweets; promoted trends help turn Twitter users into brand advocates, increase brand advocacy, purchase consideration and earned reach. In the similar way, in 2015 also promoted trends on Twitter are likely to help SMB’s turn their following into brand advocates. Also, promoted trends are great for establishing mass awareness about your products/services amongst your targeted niche whenever you launch anything new, carry out events or associate with peers.
How should you plan your social media strategy around Promoted Trends on Twitter
Similar to the regular trending topics, brands can incorporate their brand messages at the top of the tweets by posting an update using the particular keyword or hashtag. These can be easily viewed and managed by you every time you visit the homepage of your Twitter account and look under the “Trends” section displayed on it as shown below. Notice that when you click on the particular promoted trend, a homepage like this will be shown will all the results.
Actionable Tip For Social Media Managers -:
While creating a Twitter Advertising campaign with promoted tweets in mind, select your audience by analyzing specific city, state, region or country and optimize your campaign according to what best suits your business to gain new followers. Promote your account to gain new followers if you’re interested in Promoted Accounts to gain more exposure. This can be easily done by entering a daily budget for a Promoted Account Campaign with a suggested bid amount.
We’re sure these social media trends meant for the digital sphere will take grip on what the upcoming months will fetch attention in 2015. We’re sure the top 5 predicted social media trends are likely to create a huge impact on brands’ digital marketing strategies in the current fiscal year.