With more than three billion people now using social media every single day, it’s important to stay ahead of the curve when it comes to your brand or client’s social media activities.
But this can be tricky when social media keeps changing. There have been a host of updates to social media platforms throughout 2018 and into 2019. There are also aton of new trends that affect how users engage on these platforms. Each of these changes has been a catalyst for businesses to adjust their social media marketing strategies and tactics.
In order to stay competitive, you need to adjust your strategy, as well. Here are seven tactics that your social media strategy needs in 2019.
1. Target true engagement
Cheating the system to encourage engagement has been a popular social tactic for some time, with brands sharing posts that suggest users simply “tag a friend in the comments below” to rack up interaction figures without actually creating a conversation. But algorithms are getting smarter, and engagement bait isn’t going to cut it this year as platforms crack down on spammy systems for garnering likes and shares.
With organic reach declining and more businesses upping their social ad spend, content needs to be truly interesting and engaging so that followers, and wider audiences, can’t help but get involved. Whether that’s irreverent conversation in the style of the MERL and Gregg’s, or creating artistic vertical video for Facebook, it’s more important than ever to find the voice and the stories that work for you.
2. Work with micro-influencers
On the theme of true engagement, it’s no surprise that micro-influencers continue to win ground over their more celebrity-like counterparts. Aside from budget benefits, in that micro-influencers often work on a gifting basis or simply have much lower fees than the big names, research continues to show that their audiences are more highly engaged and can be more niche-specific than all-singing, all-dancing social media stars.
Some research has even clearly shown that once a profiles amasses more than a few thousand followers, engagement rates on sites like Instagram start to rapidly decline. Collaborating with digital socialites who have between 1,000 and 10,000 followers comes at a fraction of the usual influencer cost, but with a likelihood that genuine engagement will be much greater.
3. Get rid of fake followers
On the theme of genuine engagement and influencer marketing, it would be wrong not to address the issue of fake social followers that really gained momentum throughout 2018. Fake and spam accounts have been around since the dawn of social media, but now it’s increasingly common to find so-called “influencer” profiles with millions of followers, where the reality isn’t quite what it seems. Even politicians and celebrities have been caught cheating.
Part of the reason that it’s so important to check engagement rates before connecting with an influencer is that audience size does not necessarily equal views or activity. Fake followers and paid-for likes can make it seem that someone is popular, but on closer inspection, collaborating could be a waste of time and money.
2019 is already shaping up to be the year that fake followers are public enemy number one, with sites like Instagram and Facebook announcing their plans to stamp out fraudulent activity once and for all.
4. Make your social profile shoppable
Shoppable social has already made waves, from Pinterest’s buyable pins to the Checkout on Instagram. But there have been some major upgrades over the past year, and the path from social app to checkout page is now clearer and shorter than ever.
Pinterest has upgraded ad pins to “Product Pins”—a tool that takes shoppers straight to the checkout page for a selected item on a retailer’s site, while Instagram now gives users a route from discovery to checkout without ever having to leave the app. Even the “Explore” page now features a shopping tab—something that paid search marketers should be aware of.
Pinterest say that their Product Pins have increased click-through rates to retailer websites by 40%. With shoppers likely to drop a purchase if the steps between viewing an item and paying for it get too numerous, retailers should leap at the chance to make the kinds of instant sales that social media encourages.
5. Include dark social in your strategy
Dark social refers to the kind of social networking that marketers can’t track; the sharing of information over WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger, iMessage and other similar apps. We are all increasingly aware that the content we engage with online forms part of our own online presence, and that posts we like or comment on will appear with this information in our friends’ newsfeeds.
This, coupled with a dislike of eerily-tailored advertising and a growing distrust of social media on the whole, has created a situation where a lot of social sharing takes place out of sight. Direct messaging of posts and products can feel like a big hit to brand awareness, but this isn’t the case—while you may not be able to track these kinds of exchanges, they nurture valuable engagement.
6. Capitalize on FOMO with live video
Tired of hearing about millennials? Good, because this year it’s Generation Z you should be turning your attention towards. Generally noted as being born between 1995 and 2015, parts of Generation Z are now starting their careers and looking at where they’ll be spending their own disposable incomes. Among this age group, FOMO—i.e., the fear of missing out— inspires experiential marketing experiences and user-generated content campaigns.
As far as social is concerned, this means that digital marketing needs to capture the same you-snooze-you-lose attitude that comes with pop-up shops and one-off events. Live video and super-short, time-sensitive competitions are just a few of the ways to instill FOMO on a waiting audience, possible through Instagram’s IGTV, Facebook Live, and other channels.
7. Test out augmented reality ads
AR is making waves in customer experience already, used in apps that help customers try on sunglasses and makeup, or imagine what a paint color might look like on their living room wall. Facebook has already been testing AR-ready advertising, which allows users to tap a product ad and try the item out without ever leaving their newsfeed. But Snapchat has long led the way, offering brands the chance to target consumers with branded selfie filters and stickers.