I mentioned in a recent blog post that your social media plan “needs to adapt as the social landscape changes.” It’s helpful to know how changes and new trends might affect your strategy so you can determine if you need to course correct. Digital strategy shouldn’t be reviewed only once at your annual planning meeting. It should be an evergreen conversation to help you keep up-to-date on the tools and trends you can use to make your digital strategy as successful as possible.
Here are some things I’ve noticed in the first few months of 2019:
Using Stories to Tell Your Story
Are you using Instagram and Facebook stories? The idea started with Snapchat, where you share an image or a short video that disappears after 24 hours. Both Instagram and Facebook have launched similar features on their platforms and they are steadily growing in popularity with users. Consider creating content that you can share across all areas of Facebook, including stories. Also consider using stories to help you create content that your customers will connect with more. Buffer suggests more in-the-moment content because they are seeing data that suggests it will win out over highly-produced content. This type of content is perfect for Facebook and Instagram stories. More on that in a later blog post.
Transparency & Trust
Social media is one of the best platforms to use to build a relationship of trust and transparency with your customers because it’s so easy to communicate quickly, whether it’s proactively or reactively. If you want to be proactive, Sprout Social recommends starting with what consumers want on social media: product/service changes, company values, and business practices. This is more than just telling your customers what these things are, be sure to show them too. You can put your mission statement on your social media accounts, but transparency can also mean demonstrating your company values and showing how you do that through social posts (think about highlighting when you reward your employees, posting about when you sponsor community events, etc.). You can also give you more behind-the-scenes looks at your business. This goes along with the in-the-moment content mentioned above.
Some brands are creating private Facebook groups associated with their business pages. Others are even creating a private Instagram profile. Both can create a sort of VIP experience for your more loyal customer base and the private Instagram profile is a way to bypass the algorithm. Just keep in mind that Instagram business accounts can’t be set to private so if you do this you will have to switch to a personal account and will lose the ability to see post insights and get the other benefits of a business account.
Private Groups & Accounts
A private Instagram account could be a good supplemental account to your business account, much like the private Facebook group associated with your page. But you will need to maintain both a Facebook group and a private Instagram account the way you do your Facebook business page and Instagram business account. The idea is that you want to create a VIP experience for those loyal customers, but you want to make sure it’s worth their time to join or follow.
It’s likely you are using multiple digital platforms for your business. This means that your customers have multiple touchpoints to connect with your store. It’s still hard to tell exactly what led the customer to purchase something at your store or on your online shopping platform, if you have one. But the more you use these multiple platforms, the more important it is to make them as integrated as possible.
This is where having a website as your digital hub will be extremely important. You might send out a weekly ad email that directs a customer to your website. Then you can use a Facebook pixel to create a special audience of people who have visited your website. Then you use that special audience on a Facebook ad that includes an offer. If the customers who went to your website based on that email decide to take advantage of that Facebook offer, it wasn’t directly associated with that email. However, because you are using an omnichannel approach, you were able to develop a buying journey through several different platforms.
Follow our blog or some of the other sources I cited above to stay current on what’s new and trending in social media, and digital marketing in general. Regularly checking in on the quickly-changing trends in technology and tactics will help you maximize these digital platforms so you can get the most out of them to help grow your business.