THE CATFISH BLOG
Social media is an unignorable staple in everyday life for most of us, and is also a very effective marketing tool. The landscape is ever-changing, with tweaks to algorithms, user interfaces, features, and popularity shifting with every passing week.
Keeping up with the newest features isn’t easy, and sometimes unnecessary when it doesn’t take off (think hashtags on Facebook), but here’s a few social media trends that haven’t died down, and are set to reach new heights in 2019…
Stories first came around on Snapchat, where you could post a photo or video for your Snapchat friends to view as many times as they liked in 24 hours. It quickly took off, and Instagram soon hopped on the story train, adding their own version of the feature, with additional functionality such as polls, questions with reply boxes, and ‘Swipe up’ for people with over a certain number of followers. Instagram is now the most popular platform for stories, with over 500 million users every day, and 50% of global business users created at least one story per month. In 2019, stories are expected to surpass feed sharing, so it’s a great time to get used to sharing in this format!
With a new data breach seemingly around every corner, transparency is more important than ever when trying to establish a trusting customer relationship in the social media age. Scandals and gaffes spread like wildfire, and the more you try to stamp it out, the worse it can get. Being transparent about your values, admitting when you make mistakes, and being honest about your business practices and products is not only a great way to ensure you can sleep at night, but helps to build credibility and a connection with your brand. Brands are more accountable than ever thanks to the public platform available to all, so being open and accountable for yourself all the time minimises the chance of being held accountable for something you tried to hide by an angry online mob down the line.
Your employees are your greatest asset in more ways than one, and know more about your business, products, and services than anyone else. Empowering your employees to share their expertise, insights, and career stories on their personal channel can greatly increase authentic reach, engagement and trust around your brand, as well boosting your employee engagement. Offering incentives for employee advocates, running content challenges, and encouraging creativity in social posts doesn’t just benefit your marketing efforts - it can make a positive difference to the company culture too.
Connecting with customers is getting more fluid all the time, and with chatbots you can reply to a query without even being there. Automatic replies to messages have been around for a while, as have context-based chatbots (remember CleverBot - the machine learning AI that passed the Turing test in 2011), but as they get smarter, they are also becoming more mainstream. Facebook Business Pages can now create fully automated customer experiences and purchasing journeys right within the Messenger app (including payments), and in China, WeChat is replacing websites, emails, even cash and cards for payments on and offline. Messaging is no longer just personal, it’s business.
ONES TO WATCH
If you’ve ever used a Snapchat filter or Pokemon Go, you’ve experienced Augmented Reality (AR). The last couple of years have seen the most growth for the AR industry to date, and it doesn’t look like it’s slowing down. As the technology becomes more widely available and is implemented by more companies, it could revolutionise the customer experience. Ikea has already given this a shot with Ikea Place, where you can see what their furniture looks like in your own home (or you can put a sofa in the street, the possibilities are endless), but it didn’t take off quite as well as they’d hoped. With new developments all the time, this is one to keep your eye on.
Article by Eden Jefford