What You Need to Know About Small Business Social Media Trends
Looking to succeed in the digital marketing game and want to know more about the top small business social media trends? Find out how you could leverage the power of social media to connect with users, partners, clients, and audiences.
With everyone getting hooked on to the social media bandwagon, knowing the top small business social media trends is of critical importance. Engaging in social media can be quite an overwhelming and tricky thing for business owners given that the dynamic trends and practices of social media platforms are constantly innovating and new features are launched all the time. However, keeping pace with the changing trends and designing one’s social media strategy in line with the new trends can help small businesses stay ahead of their competitors. In the below write up we have tried to put together a list of the best social media trends for 2020.
Harnessing the Power of Social Media
The social media platforms have undoubtedly emerged as the most powerful tool in today’s world for individuals and businesses across the globe. As per the latest estimates, there are around 3.484 billion social media users across the globe, indicating an increase of 9% in the user base in 2019 as compared to its previous year. Be it Facebook, Linkedin, Snapchat, Instagram, Twitter or any other social media platform, businesses are increasingly realizing the power of expanding social networks and taking all possible actions to leverage the benefits.
Creating an online buzz for their products and services through social media platforms has become an integral part of almost all digital campaigns. However, social media platforms are constantly evolving and tricks that worked a few months ago may not fetch effective results now. With platforms evolving constantly and trends changing now and then, small business owners have to be updated with the right social media features that can work well for providing them with optimum gains.
Increased rate of social media adoption has also ensured that businesses have the essential media marketing tools at their disposal, a brand new strategy, and the required marketing skill set to reach out to larger audiences. Bearing this in mind, we have analyzed some of the relevant social media trends which we think are going to be an important part of marketing campaigns even in 2020. Here is a look at some of the top trends:
- Marketing through various messaging channels – Messaging apps such as the Whatsapp has been a big hit in 2019. Most people feel comfortable sharing on the messaging apps. It also holds true for digital marketers who feel that they have to redesign their content strategy to gain the most from private engagement channels.
Following the huge success of Whatsapp, another major social media platform – Instagram decided to introduce Threads. It is one of a kind camera-featuring messaging app that allows people to connect with close friends. Another messaging app called the Teammates too was launched by Linkedin to let members connect better with other professionals in real life. The founder of Facebook- Mark Zuckerburg also has plans to unify Messenger, Instagram, and WhatsApp.
These channels are cost-effective and have a much wider reach. It works well for business with budgetary constraints. Given these advantages, most small businesses are using these instant messengers to promote their offerings through these channels.
- Using public and private engagement- Social media engagement is not restricted only to private channels. Most social media users are also resorting to public channels. Most brands are discovered by the people through public social feeds shared on major social media platforms. This provides an opportunity for digital marketers to understand ways to incorporate a strategy to tap the public and private engagement platforms and also strike the right balance. Awareness about a brand can be placed through public channels whereas private feeds can be used for meaningful one-to-one engagement. For example – a fitness company uses public social media feeds to increase awareness about its offerings and promote its brand. However, they can also introduce a closed Facebook group where members can have discussions about healthy foods, super foods, foods for weight loss and cooking practices, best recipes for losing fat and so on. This would build a greater interaction between the brand promoters and potential customers, thereby creating a sense of community.
- Use video tools – Most social media platforms such as Facebook and Twitter are featuring videos more prominently as part of their influencer marketing plans. It is certainly one of the most important tools and this trend is here to stay! While viewers can miss out on long posts and written content when scrolling through public feeds, video content often tends to get the right amount of attention. It is for this reason that some social media platforms are providing tools to make explainer videos that feature text and simple illustrations or adding captions for viewers to understand better when listening to a speaker in the video. This new video form reduces the number of uninterested viewers, thereby leaving marketers with a focused audience. Tapping in the interest of only an attentive audience also makes it easy for marketers to guide them to take a “call to action” without being too intrusive.
- Deriving benefits from live streaming– When deciding on the right strategy for using on social platforms, business owners should also find out areas and topics of discussions that they could take on for a live video presentation and benefit from it for prospective customers. Entrepreneurs are focusing on increasing brand awareness through impactful and impressive live video content and provide more exclusive content. Recording live and quick how-to video guides would give businesses the chance to engage the audience and draw them to the next step of the marketing funnel. The focus is on making videos interesting enough to be incorporated into other digital marketing campaigns. Some digital marketers are also going in for live video format and also making interesting “TikTok” videos to capture a viewer’s attention.
- Go beyond organic reach on social media channels – One important social media trend that has been witnessed in the past few years is the decline of organic reach across social media channels. As the important social media platforms are trying to give users a better experience, the number of brand messages that can be displayed in a user’s feed is being restricted. This trend means that the small businesses and micro-influencers, having a good fan following, cannot rely on organic content alone to reach out to social media audiences. Despite having several followers on important platforms, the chances of your organic content being missed out by fans are quite high as businesses get very limited space for their promotion. However, using focused social media advertising using geographic and demographic details of target customers can help one counter the problem of declining organic reach. Putting social ads on digital networking platforms can work well to compliment your strategy to get visibility within the target market. With the help of advanced targeting tools using artificial intelligence, businesses can put out ad content in front of those genuinely interested in their brand. This works great for small businesses operating marketing strategies on tight budgets.
- Social media as customer service – Since brands and customers both have taken to social media for selling and buying products and services, the customer reviews and complaints are also easier to find on social media platforms than on other platforms. In the world of increased reliance on digital marketing, customer reviews can make or break your brand image. Hence, it has become important for businesses to provide good customer service through social media profiles.Communication shared on these platforms is visible to everyone and hence designing a good marketing strategy that would give a better customer experience is highly needed for all businesses in the years ahead. Most users feel social media to be a convenient contact point and also believe it to be a good way to get 24-hour service. A large chunk of consumers indeed expect brands to respond to their queries or complaints on social media on the same day and many of them even wish to hear back within a few hours of posting their queries. These are indications that customers place high expectations upon brands to render quality customer service through social media usage. It is for this reason that companies need to focus on creating defined customer service and customer engagement strategies on social media for the upcoming years if they are looking to create beneficial online communities.
- Taking action on Customers Reviews – Small business digital marketers need to pay special attention to reviews on Google and other social media platforms. Each review – be it just a star rating or a comprehensive overview – can influence the purchasing decision of other prospective buyers. Facebook reviews are also highly trusted by customers when making a final choice. Hence, small businesses digital marketing teams need to be proactive in responding to reviews on this platform. Digital marketers are required to maintain a positive reputation online by extending quality customer service through all the relevant online channels. Regularly monitoring the social media pages and proactively working on addressing concerns and queries from customers can influence more conversions and make social media presence stronger. Handling even negative reviews in a professional, respectful manner will show other customers how you care about their honest feedback and resolve their problems.
- Telling Stories on social platforms – The launch of Snapchat also led many social platforms to launch the ‘stories format’ for brands to capture the interest of their target audience. There has been a rapid spurt in the usage of story format for Instagram in particular, which features millions of daily active Instagram Stories being shared by users across the globe. The visual appeal of the story format lends a different experience to feed-based sharing. However, these stories are designed only to be enjoyed at the moment as opposed to the posts on a feed that would remain visible for a long time. Highly engaging stories can win brands good customers and this is the prime reason for which stories on social media sharing platforms have seen a faster and much better growth rate than the feeds.
A good amount of Instagram ad budget is being spent on Stories, clearly indicating that more and more businesses are finding better results with the more direct format provided by Stories. Digital marketing experts believe that the popularity of Instagram Stories will increase further in 2020 as compared to last year. As consumers are showing an increased preference for live updates and real-time content, businesses are including Instagram Stories into their digital marketing strategy to offer the most up-to-date content to consumers. As per experts, brands are also starting to include Instagram Stories to drive consumers to IGTV and generate more long-form content for their organizations.
- Social ecommerce can turnaround the marketing game– Social networks are competing with each other to be the most preferred e-commerce platform among customers. In this view, many are also introducing the new digital trend of becoming a peer-to-peer payment system. Social networks are making efforts to keep users on their platform to make purchases. Facebook introduced the Marketplace, whereas Snapchat has launched Snapcash. This new trends of building buy buttons and in-app payments is an indication of how social networks are trying to capture a sizeable chunk of the social commerce platform.
- Usage of mobile-friendly content – As more consumers research about products and services of a brand on their phones and also access social media accounts from their smart phones, creating mobile-friendly content is not only optional but an essential task for all digital marketers. With the help of mobile-friendly content, social media marketers can reach out to a much wider audience as the base of mobile users worldwide is expanding every year. Include visually-rich content that is crisp and compact to read well on mobile devices.
- Using business influencer – Businesses looking to gain mileage in the social media domain can partner with prominent business influencers having lots of fans and followers on their networking profiles. These influencers have turned into prominent public figures and consumers often seek advice or guidance from them for different matters. Businesses leverage the reach of these business influencers by gaining access to their followers on social media.
- Ephemeral content – One major trend that has been adopted by major social platforms such as Facebook and Instagram is sharing ephemeral content that is available only for a brief period. Businesses can share content on Snapchat, Facebook, and Instagram stories for up to 24 hours. This social media trend has managed to become quite a hit over the past few years and is likely to be adopted by more small businesses in the times ahead.
Social media data relevant for driving effective marketing and operational strategy
With billions of active social media users across the globe, tons of data can be collected by businesses from social media platforms to get useful insights on their target customers. Social media data can provide an up-to-date, streaming record of not only the basic demographic details of the audience but also complex preferences, activities, and sentiments. For example- a food chain operator on social media can use data to get a complete picture of the food preferences of their audiences through data and can also use the same to predict future behavior.
Also, with this data insight at hand, business can design interesting offers, deals & cash backs which will help in increasing their customer base. This useful data extracted and analyzed through social media can be used not only for predicting customer behavior but also in supporting other management disciplines such as operations, logistics and in driving sales. Social media channels are now being used as effective platform to receive orders for various small businesses. Customers can order on these social media applications and businesses can process them instantly. This mechanism also helps small businesses in saving budget outlay on developing expensive mobile applications.
Data analyzed from marketing forms, comments, user reviews on social platforms can be upheld by businesses as parameters about their business services and system. From just being a marketing tool, a social media frenzy has started to become a quintessential part of operational and logistics management.
The paramount importance that social media channels of marketing have come to occupy has made it more important than ever before for digital marketers to understand the trends and also apply them in the right way to stay ahead in a competitive marketplace. The above-mentioned top social media business trends can prove to be game-changers for digital marketers in 2020 and beyond. Using these social media marketing trends to your full advantage will allow you to stay one step ahead in the digital marketing game and engage target buyers to make purchases from you in no time at all.