Preparing to meet the needs of your customers digitally in 2017? Here are six social media trends to help you develop a strategy that delivers.
Social media provides organisations with a clear line off communication and interaction with customers. But, it is also constantly evolving as it responds to the latest technology, such as smartphones. Organisations therefore have to keep a firm finger on the pulse of social media so they can better equip their social media strategies to adapt, and deliver, on customers’ expectations.
Here are six social media trends from marketing experts, Search Engine Journal you should consider in your 2017 social media strategy:
1.Social media will have an impact on the customer experience
As a customer experience of value takes prominence in building customer loyalty, social media plays an integral role in the stages of the customer’s journey. As customers continue to expect a personalised, consistent experience across all touchpoints, organisations will need to evaluate the tools used to manage social activities and how these can be integrated. Your neglected data, or even disconnect between your teams could lead to a poor customer experience.
Consider evaluating the integration of existing digital strategies across social media, websites, mobile and e-commerce.
2. Social will become entrenched in the omnichannel experience
An omnichannel experience becomes critical in 2017. Consumers increasingly engage with their world across multiple technologies, both online and offline in their personal capacity – and they expect the same level of interaction with businesses.
Research conducted by Boston Consulting Group (BCG) found that 85% of millennials and 75% of baby boomers are ready for omnichannel interactions.
Consumers are expecting a seamless customer journey across your platforms. They want to be able to start their journey by conducting research on their mobiles, visit a shop or branch to further assess your product or service, and finally close the transaction either instore or from a desktop. The less complex this experience is the greater the likelihood that the customer will purchase with you.
3. Live video content will come to the fore
2016 saw live videos on platforms like Facebook begin to challenge traditional media for ad spend. Its success hasn’t gone unnoticed as 43% of marketers have indicated that they would use interactive video in 2017 as consumer appetite for video increases.
Among the most popular social media platforms, Facebook and Periscope saw increases in live video content being consumed. In 2016, Periscope saw ‘110 years’ of live video every day.
The marketing experts at Search Engine Journal predict that we will see a shift in organic content, with brands looking to build dedicated video teams and implement infrastructure to improve turnaround times to better service customers.
4.Bots will become essential for conversation and data analytics
As organisations continue to better understand their customer, the amount of data will grow and the ability for your marketing team to analyse this data will become more complex. This is where artificial intelligence is set to simplify, and analyse data to assist companies in making better decisions. Machine learning and predictive algorithms are expected to become essential tools within your marketing teams’ arsenal as they continue to serve personalised campaigns to consumers.
Also, as interacting with customers across social media becomes expected, the volume of conversations will increase. According to the Sprout Social Q2 2016 Index, the average number of social messages requiring a response grew year-on-year by 18%. Conversation bots will become key to responding to customer queries.
5. CRM as a form of marketing
As customers continue to expect customised content from brands, companies will need to develop deeper relationships with customers. Collecting and analysing your customer’s individual data will once again become a challenge for organisations, which is where technologies, such as CRM software will assist.
Through customer relationship management systems, businesses will be able to develop personalised content. CRM software will allow you to develop real-time hype targeting, isolating micro-segments of customers, while targeting your customers with the right, customised message on their preferred channel.
6.Digitally savvy consumers will continue to have influence over purchasing trends
Millennials and Generation Z will continue to have an influence on what other generations will expect from businesses, and how they will prefer to shop.
According to Search Engine Journal, “Millennials expect reciprocity; a two-way, mutual relationship with companies and their brands, and they consider a brand’s social, environmental or philanthropic efforts when making purchase decisions.”
While Generation Z, who have grown up in an era of instant gratification, expect fast turnarounds, access to brands 24/7 and a personalised experience. Only one poor experience will result in a loss of their customer loyalty as Generation Z will quickly move from one product to the next in a world where choice is the norm.
Understanding of the needs of the ‘digital-first’ and ‘digital-native’ generations must play a pivotal role in your marketing strategies.