Social media sites are forever updating their features and consumer attitudes can turn at any moment so to stay on top of your social media marketing game, you need to be on the ball when it comes to trends. Here are our top five trends to try out this year.
Live video streaming has exploded in recent years, with nearly all major social media sites offering them as a prominent feature, with Facebook Live and Instagram Stories being amongst the most popular. Video is now the fastest growing form of advertising and live video is perfect for building engagements and relationships. What is particularly attractive about live video for consumers is the authenticity, inclusivity and the sense of connection it gives with brands and for businesses, their mass appeal and cost-effectiveness is perfect for growing companies. Not only do they appeal to the tech generations mistrust of editing by they also create an immersive and inclusive experience that has up to this point been unavailable to the online consumer.
As chatbots have become more sophisticated their popularity has grown and they have been integrated into all major social media sites. Chatbots can essentially be used by businesses to communicate with their consumers online, the chatbots recognise keywords and phrases and use them to generate an automatic response. They can provide calm, polite and efficient customer service however angry and frustrated a customer gets, however, there are of course limitations and are best used for initial enquires and contact.
We’ve all heard of influencer marketing, brands have been using celebrities for years to promote and advertise products, however, recently brands are choosing to use micro influencers instead. A micro influencer is as the name suggests an influential person but on a much smaller scale to celebs, these are the people whose influence is prominent on social media sites if nowhere else. Micro influencers typically have between 5000 to 100000 followers and their appeal to consumers is they feel very real and very genuine. As well as feeling authentic micro-influencers are also the most effective in terms of marketing as they are able to carry out more social interaction with their followers and therefore have higher engagement.
Augmented reality (AR) uses technology to superimpose a computer-generated alternative reality onto a user’s view of the real world. Allowing customers to virtually experience products through AR has huge potential that is slowly being exploited by leading brands. In terms of social media sites, Snapchat leads the pack, in 2015 they launched lenses successfully bringing AR to its user base. Since then it’s really taken off with lenses being its most popular feature, bringing with it potential revenue streams. Brands, like Taco Bell, can sponsor lenses, targeting specific demographics such as age and gender. Facebook messenger’s AR also has some real marketing applications. For example, Sephora uses AR in messenger to allow customers to virtually try on makeup, generating serious sales.
Ephemeral content is content that lasts no longer than 24 hours before it’s gone, Snapchat, Facebook and Instagram stories are prime examples. With Snapchat receiving 10 billion video views daily, it’s clear to see how popular it has become and how it can be used for a successful marketing strategy. Similar to live videos consumers feel that ephemeral content is more authentic and less like spam as they associate it with how they communicate with friends on social media sites. There is also a sense of urgency about interacting with ephemeral content as it won’t be around forever, and it taps into the younger generations sense of FOMO (fear of missing out).
Social media marketing is an ever-changing landscape and to create the perfect marketing strategy it’s vital to stay on top of new trends and make them work for you. Some are around for the long haul and some fizzle out but unless you try them you won’t know which is which!
Yes, your product is great, and yes, your prices are competitive, but the question is what’s the story?
It is no longer enough to just promote your product and your prices, you and your brand need to, like all great superheroes, have an origin story. Today’s consumer wants to build a greater level of trust with brands, they want to know your ethics, where you came from and where you see your company going. By creating an effective brand story, you allow your customers to connect with your products on a more emotional level, to picture how they would affect their lives, which will increase your sales and allow you develop a sense of brand experience which in turn sets you apart from your competition.
Like with all good storytelling first thing you need to do is decide on your narrative. When creating your brand story, you need to consider the following things:
Who you are as a brand is very important to your customers, they want to know the origin story from start to finish.
What was it that made you want to start the business, think about your passions and what drove you to think of your product in the first place, was it a gap in the market?
What does your product or service do for your consumers, if you have certain ethical standpoints this is the perfect time to think about how they relate to your brand.
What are your company’s goals? Remember that you making money is never going to motivate a customer to buy your product, they will buy your product to solve a problem they have or to enrich their lives in some way.
Your product must reflect your brand story in order for it to feel trustworthy and authentic. If you are promoting yourselves as a small ethical clothing company, for example, your products can’t be mass-produced somewhere on the cheap. So, when creating your brand story consider your product in these terms:
What is your product all about, why would people need it? Products will either predominantly fill a practical or an emotional need for your consumers, so it is important to identify which one, so your brand story can reflect this.
Are you putting yourselves at the lower or higher end of the market with your products? This will affect how you tell your story as if you’re at the higher end, for example, you will need to highlight quality and process in your story.
What makes your products stand out from the competition and can this be woven into your brand story? What makes your brand stand out may also what makes your product stand out.
When creating your brand story, you need to consider who you are telling that story to. You need to understand your audience, and don’t be afraid to get specific. Think about
These must align with you and your brand story in order for an emotional connection to establish.
Once you have the content for your narrative you can rely on this classic storytelling structure.
▬ Who are you as a brand and what motivated you to start the business?
▬ All about your products and your employees.
▬ Celebrating your journey so far and where you see your business going in the future.
A brand story is a fantastic way to create excitement and buzz around your business as well as encourage customer loyalty. By keeping it simple, relatable and honest you will build a brand story that will set you apart from the competition.
The rise of image-centric social media sites like Instagram and Pinterest has meant that all social media sites have had to follow suit or be left in the dust, Twitter and Facebook are now just as governed by images as all the rest. Social media posts with images are now receiving 313% more engagement on Twitter and 130% more on Facebook than posts without. This change means that even small businesses need to be on top of their social media image game or risk losing out. Thankfully there are lots of great tools out there to help and in this blog, we will be looking at some great free options to help get you started.
Social media image tools can help you create a wide range of images suitable for whatever industry you may be in, so we have divided our list into 4 main categories:
Design for Beginners
Image design sites allow you to design anything from menus to seasonal greetings and are perfect for creating sleek simple designs with minimal work.
This is certainly one of the most adaptable social media image tools and can be used to create just about anything. Even the free plan gives you access to great stock images, allows you to upload your own images and choose from a great array of templates. The pre-set social media sizes are also fantastic for beginners and the drag and drop interface is really user-friendly. When you're done just download or share the image straight to social media.
Quotes can be a great way to engage with your audience on social media and if you can customise them to fit your business they are great subliminal advertising! It is worth noting that Canva is also really good for creating customised quotes.
Created by Buffer, Pablo is simple to use and a pretty versatile social media image tool. Choose from a wide variety of templates and beautiful stock photos then adapt them by adding your quote and changing the filters and fonts to suit you. Like with Canva, Pablo also provides pre-set image sizes for social media and allows you to add your own branding with your logo or company graphics. However, if you're looking for more styled designs rather than photographs your better off using Canva or other free sites such as Recite.
Infographics are a great way to condense information into easily digestible social media posts, but on the face of it look impossible to create but never fear there are great social media image tools for this too!
The clue is in the name with this social media image tool, it creates infographics simply and easily from a range of templates. All you need to do is pick a template and fill in the facts, images or data you need and you're ready to go. Template choices are limited on the free plan but there are still plenty to choose from, especially if you're new to the game! Once you have your template if you want to personalise it further you can change colours, backgrounds and fonts and really make it your own. If your needs are a little more basic you can always try a site like Infogram which specifically creates graphs and charts, like Easel.ly it has a free basic package.
A Little Extra
If you want to take your social media game up a notch you could also turn your hand to some of the more popular social media phenomena’s like GIFs or memes to add a more fun, relaxed feel to your social media posts.
Creating memes is super easy, either choose or upload an image and then add your text. The only hard part is getting that meme to go viral!
Not only a great place to find ready-made GIFs but also great for creating them! All you need to do is upload a series of image or short video clip, add your text and your away.
Free and easy to boot, with such fantastic social media image tools at your disposal there is no excuse to not get creating.
In a time where marketing strategy is becoming more and more about authenticity, live videos are emerging as by far one of the most engaging ways to reach your audience. With Facebook Live videos reportedly being watched up to 3 times longer than regular videos, it’s a trend that cannot be ignored. In this blog, we will be looking at what makes live videos so successful and how you can harness their power for your business.
Live video streaming has exploded in recent years, with nearly all major social networks offering them as a prominent feature, with Facebook Live and Instagram Stories being amongst the most popular. As the streaming industry expands live videos are becoming a vital advertising tool, loved by consumers and businesses alike. With their authenticity and inclusivity connecting with customers with the brands and their mass appeal and cost-effectiveness appealing to growing businesses.
By looking at what live video content is most popular you can use that information to plan what content will be most effective for marketing your business. Breaking news actually makes up 56% of the most watched content (livestream.com) followed closely by events such as conferences or concerts. This tells us that people that people crave live content that makes them feel connected to an event or product. Using this information, we have put together a list of content suggestions you could incorporate into your marketing strategy.
Live streaming demos are a brilliant way to let consumers know about your products as well as promote new ones. By streaming these live it fosters an idea of ‘realness’ in relation to your product, for example, if you say your paint is easy to apply this allows you to show that it is.
By connecting with your customers through a Q&A session it creates a content conversation, they feel directly connected to your business and part of a community. This is also a great way to broadcast positive reviews.
Like breaking news, live streaming a new product or a promotional offer makes people feel like they have access to insider information. By making your customers feel special you increase their loyalty.
Whether you are live streaming an industry event you're attending or an event your business is running, making your audience feel as if they are backstage ramps up the exclusivity factor. Not only this but it also emphasises the authenticity, it can’t be edited so people trust that if your event looks rocking, then it is!
Things to remember
Know you’ve got some ideas for content, there are a few things you need to bear in mind when planning your live video.
Your brand identity MUST come through loud and clear in your video. Think about having your brand colours and logo visible in the background and make sure the tone and set up of the video fits your business. If you sell a young and vibrant product, you don’t want a stiff and formal live video!
Whatever your brand identity your video needs to look professional. Factors such as lighting need to be considered if the video is dark and blurry people just aren’t going to watch it! Make sure your live video host knows what they are saying, as
the last thing an audience wants to see is somebody stuttering their way through a hurriedly written script.
Attention-grabbing live videos are all well and good but if you don’t include a call to action this attention won’t convert into sales or sign ups! Make sure you are directing people to buy your products or visit your website.
Promoting a broadcast beforehand is a great way to ensure you get the maximum number of viewers. Especially for content that includes an offer or an exclusive look at a new product.
Live videos have taken the social media world by storm, not only do they appeal to the tech generations mistrust of editing by they create an immersive and inclusive experience that has up to this point been unavailable to the online consumer. By keeping your content engaging and honest and your videos clear and branded you too can conquer the world of live video.
Social media marketing has become the done thing in recent years and if your business isn’t on some kind of social network then you may well be missing out. However, the thing about social media marketing is, for it to be successful and grow, you need to interact with your audience or they won’t want to know. Social media has enabled people to feel connected to the brands they love and feel like they have a real input on products and services, without your interaction this feeling of connectivity just does not exist. In this blog, we will be giving you some top tips to interact with your social media audiences and keep them coming back for more.
A brilliant way to interact with people on social media platforms is to offer something a bit different, by making your interactions fun and light-hearted you will draw people in and enable people to feel a personal connection like they might have with friends.
Take an Interest
Interaction will NOT work if your audience doesn’t feel that it’s genuine, and the best way to make your audience feel like you are is if you take an interest. Both in what they are saying to and about you, as well as what they are saying about themselves. Everybody wants to feel special and taken notice of, this feeling is utilised all the time in social media marketing (user-generated content, for example, hinges on it). By taking an interest in the individual when you engage with them you are ensuring that they come away feeling positive about your brand.
Like in life, with social media marketing you get out of it what you put in and by spending time interacting with your audience you will reap the rewards. Interactions such as responding to comments and taking an interest in your audiences’ content will encourage brand loyalty and new audiences and therefore increase your exposure.
The restaurant industry today is no longer just about how good your food tastes, don’t get us wrong that still VERY important but you also need to create a buzz about your restaurant and employ the right marketing strategies to promote your business.
Social media is a creative and cost-effective way to draw attention to your restaurant and let your potential customers know what you're all about. In this blog, we will be looking at some super simple and inspired social media marketing strategies for your restaurant.
Write a Food Blog
Let’s start off simple if you run a restaurant you really need to be thinking about writing a food blog. It’s a great way to promote the food you serve as well as building a brand identity for your restaurant. If you’re a vegan restaurant, for example, its great way to tell the story behind your food as well focusing not only on the food but the lifestyle choice. Social media is the perfect way to share your blog and in turn draw attention to your restaurant so don’t forget to think about the latest food trends and piggyback on some popular hashtags!
Create a Legend
When creating your restaurant’s social media profile, a great way to make your business stand out is to create an awesome backstory! This can be completely true, slightly exaggerated or a work of pure silly fiction it doesn’t really matter as it’s about creating something exciting that will entertain people. This gives your restaurant more personality and builds a brand identity that could easily draw customers to you rather than your competitors.
Give Your Star Dish its Own Personality
A really quirky way of getting your customers attention is creating a social media account for your restaurant’s signature dish. You can post different photos of the dish along with thoughts and opinions as if from the perspective of said dish, always linking the content back to the restaurant. By doing this you can create a cult following and really set yourselves apart.
Be it, the amount eaten, the time taken or your chilli heat tolerance everybody loves a food challenge! Having an in-house food challenge will really do wonders for bringing in new customers. By offering a small incentive, for example, if you beat the challenge your food is free, and by advertising it prominently on social media people will actively seek you out to take part. It’s also a great way to exploit user-generated content as people will always want to take photos of a spectacular food challenge and share it with friends, so don’t forget to create a memorable hashtag!
Show off Your Staff
Family run business? Or do you just have really great staff? Then use that to your advantage, show them off. By including pictures of your staff and featuring their personalities on social media (don’t forget to ask first!) you will immediately make your restaurant more appealing to customers. If people know who is going to be serving them they will feel more connected and reassured that they will receive great service!
A great social media strategy is the perfect way to create a personality for your restaurant, and this will help set you apart from the competition. It is also the perfect platform to advertise any special deals or gimmicks your business has going on. By using social media to get your customers through the door they will have a chance to taste your amazing food and then, in turn, will promote you on social media, it’s a fantastic cycle!
User Generated Content (UGC) is when companies advertise by inspiring and then curating content produced by their audiences. By surrendering the role of creator to their fans, brands can produce honest and effective adverts. The content is provided by happy customers and unpaid contributors, and the types of content include:
Due to the varied range of UGC out there, it is a very versatile way of advertising, it can be used on a large scale for ad campaigns or small scale using social media marketing. In this blog, we will be looking at the reasons that make UGC such a successful marketing tool and why you’d be mad not to include it in your future marketing strategies.
Reason One: It’s Trustworthy & Authentic
Consumers have become wise to many of the tricks used by adverts in the past, we don’t necessarily trust the unrelatable beautiful people we know are being paid to promote a certain product. This mistrust is what has made UGC a game changer regarding adverts, because who we do trust are people like ourselves who have tried a product and genuinely love it. Happy customers creating positive content can often convey the love and loyalty they have for the brand better than even the most successful in-house content. Authenticity has become more important to customers than a slick advert and 60% of consumers say that UGC is the most authentic form of advertising (Stackla). If people believe your products are the genuinely loved by others they will buy them.
Reason Two: It Promotes Connectivity
In today’s society, content sharing on Social Media seems to be some kind of unstoppable juggernaut. People now more than ever want to feel connected to their peers by sharing every aspect of their lives, including their shopping habits! Brands are using this need for connection and recognition to share consumer stories and promote their products and the lifestyle they endorse. If used in a genuine way this can lift engagement and strengthen customer trust.
Reason Three: It Inspires People
UGC used in the right way by companies can be a powerful source of inspiration. For the release of the iPhone 6, Apple used visual content taken by its users to form the base of a billboard and print ad campaign with the hashtag #ShotoniPhone6. By using the best and most inspiring images Apple enabled it’s customers to feel moved to go out and buy an iPhone and take amazing photographs. Showcasing content that reflects customer’s post purchase excitement, means that, that excitement becomes contagious and inspires people to buy.
Reason Four: It’s Cost Effective
UGC is not only a very successful marketing strategy but it also makes sense financially. It is generally much cheaper to edit and coordinate content that has been produced by other people than to create content in-house. Your consumers are creating your content for you and then sharing it with their own audiences, making less work for your brand!
Between the rise of influencer marketing and the popularity of UGC, society is definitely moving towards a much more transparent way of looking at advertising. This transparency is great for consumers but can also be great for businesses. UGC is an authentic, engaging and financially smart way of advertising your brand and used correctly it not only boosts sales but builds trust between you and your consumers.
As a Millennial (those aged between 20-35) I am what is considered to be the first of the two true tech generations. Technology like computers and the internet have been commonplace for more of my life than not, however, compared to the new Generation Z (those aged between 11-20) I am a bit of a technophobe. To Generation Z the things I grew up with; myspace, dial-up internet and only 5 free TV channels are strange concepts. They have always had the answers they need with the click of a button and a social media world on their smartphone.
I have found whilst most brands know how to market to Millennials, Gen Z remains elusive. In this blog, I will be investigating some of the differences between the two generations and how to win over Generation Z.
To Millennials, social media is a way of connecting with friends and sharing aspects of our lives. However, Gen Z views it much more as a way to entertain themselves, favouring visual content such as videos and memes. Brands need to capitalise on this by creating content that they want to watch and share with their friends. Gen Z consumes content at an alarming rate, due in part to the culture of instant information they have grown up with, they are a generation who with smartphones have always had the internet in their pockets.
My first phone was Nokia 3310 (remember those) all you got were calls, texts and of course snake. Gen Z however, has been using smartphones from the get-go and view most content through either a phone or tablet. Therefore, mobile-friendly content is vital if you hope to connect with them.
Whilst we were the first generation that demanded less fakery from the internet (we have a particular dislike for photoshop), Gen Z has really taken it to a new level. They don’t want to just be the subjects of another marketing campaign they want to feel part of a movement, to see behind the scenes. This desire for authenticity from both generations has led to a rise in the popularity of influencers, particularly amongst Gen Z.
Social Media Platforms
Unlike Millennials, Gen Z has grown up having access to a wide range of social media from a young age, this has led to them using more platforms at once. They can bounce between up to 5 screens at a time, as opposed to our 3 screens, this makes Gen Z much harder to reach than Millennials. In order to get through you need to focus on the platforms they favour; particularly Snap Chat, Instagram and YouTube. Gen Z tends to favour these platforms over Facebook and Twitter (our favourites) as they are more fast-paced and visually lead.
Like most young people Generation Z wants their independence and to be taken seriously, hopefully by looking at the differences between the two tech generations it will enable you to market your brand to both groups more successfully.
Since their first appearance on Twitter in 2007 Hashtags have become a prominent feature in the social media landscape, with nearly every platform from Facebook to Google + getting in on the action. So, we all know what they are (handy metadata tags that create searchable links) but how can they be used to their full potential to promote your business? We have come up with 7 golden rules to help you navigate the exciting world of hashtags!
#RuleOne: No Spaces or Punctuation
Hashtags should be a continuous string of words, spaces and punctuation will complicate things and make your hashtag unsearchable. Instead, use capital letters to highlight words as searching for #FoodAddict will also show you results for #foodaddict keeping you audience broad.
#RuleTwo: Less is More
Limit your hashtags to maximise impact, too many and your posts will look spammy. Keep it to a few hashtags per post, no more than 4, however, with Instagram you can add a couple more (between 2 and 10) to maximise engagement.
#RuleThree: Keep it Short and to the Point
Limit yourself to no more than three words per hashtag, the longer the hashtag is the fewer results it will yield. Do not overcomplicate things, make sure you keep your hashtag relevant to your post and leave out any obscure references.
#RuleFour: Switch it Up
Remember to keep alternating your hashtags to keep your profile looking fresh, using the same hashtags every time may cause your audience to get bored or see your posts as spam.
#RuleFive: Do your Research
ALWAYS do your research before using a hashtag. By doing this first and foremost you will make sure your hashtag isn’t being used for something irrelevant or negative, but you will also find out which hashtags are most popular. You can search for popular hashtags using the search bar on your chosen platform.
#RuleSix: Know your Platform
Each social media platform uses hashtags in a slightly different way. Whilst (most of) our rules can be applied to all social media platforms you will need to bare a few things in mind when hash-tagging across different channels. On visual platforms (like Instagram) hashtags are used in a descriptive way, such as #delicious, whereas content-based platforms (like Twitter) they are used as topics such as #wednesdaywisdom.
#RuleSeven: Be Creative
Try creating your own hashtag that is connected to your company, this will add to your online brand identity. You can also use them as part of user-generated content campaigns, competitions for example.
With these seven simple rules you will be well on your way to mastering the art of the hashtag, and with tweets with hashtags creating two times more post engagement these rules are well worth following.