52% of small businesses post on social media every day. Does that include you? If not, it’s time to get busy. Fortunately, you still have plenty of time to build your online presence.
The basics of social media never change – it’s important to be genuine, build relationships, and be consistent in both your brand image and your posting schedule.
But what’s hot in social media for business right now? Here are five trends small businesses cannot ignore.
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The Use of Private Facebook Groups
With Facebook pages losing most of their organic reach in 2018, brands looked for a new way to engage with audiences. Facebook groups became the answer that many were seeking. They are hubs of engagement. Today, 1.4 billion of Facebook’s 2.2 billion monthly active visitors join groups every month.
With a group, you don’t have to worry about how Facebook algorithms affect your sharing. Everyone who comes into the page can see all the posts. Facebook has made groups even more helpful, adding live videos and even social learning as features.
If you have a company and you’re looking to build a fan base or community around your product or service, a Facebook group is a great tool. You can get immediate feedback, take polls, and much more.
Chatbots For Immediate Engagement
How do you make sure you’re available 24/7 for customer questions? Good news: you don’t have to staff a 24-hour customer service team. Instead, take advantage of chatbots!
Facebook Messenger can be used even by those who don’t have a Facebook account, and it’s a great way to provide excellent customer service.
Chatbots allow you to send specific messages to those who contact you based on what they type or what options they select. You can offer answers to common questions and give information the user is looking for – automatically!
There are a variety of tools that make creating a chatbot much easier, but you may choose to use the expertise of a marketing firm like Local SEO Search, Inc. Check here for more information.
Data Protection is Key
As people join your groups, email lists, and other platforms, what are you doing with their data? Are the platforms you’re using (Facebook, Instagram, and so on) trustworthy?
Privacy concerns are significant to many consumers, and if you do business internationally you’re also contending with Europe’s GDPR guidelines. Customers are expecting you to be transparent about what data you collect and what you do with it, so be prepared to answer those questions.
Things you can do that help consumers trust you online include apologizing when mistakes are made, giving honest answers to questions, and being clear about your product/service changes, values, and other business practices.
Take Advantage of Platform Stories
Although the feature started with Snapchat, stories have appeared on almost every platform. These 24 hour-only posts can be watched one after the other, adding a multipart storyline to your sharing.
The genuine and authentic nature of video stories often cuts through the audience cynicism. Storytelling give brands a way to build relationship and trust with their audience. It boosts engagement with easy-to-understand content.
You can use stickers, filters, and a variety of other fun features on stories. On Facebook alone you can use stories on personal accounts, in groups, on pages, and even in Messenger. Instagram also has a stories feature.
300 million people use Facebook Stories each day, and 400 million use Instagram’s. As a small business, plan your stories content like you do your other posts. Be consistent to gain viewers. Experiment to see what works best for you, but don’t throw out your other marketing strategies to pursue this new avenue.
Encourage Employee Advocacy
Ever wonder who’s the biggest fan of your company? Well, they’re most likely beside you. They’re the biggest cheerleaders that live and breathe in your company everday.
As “influencers” on social media become more and more expensive – and less trustworthy – many businesses are turning to the true insiders to boost their brands. Employee advocacy is seen by consumers as more trustworthy than other types of marketing.
Encourage employees to talk about your brand online. Give them sharable content to post on their social media accounts. Ask your employees to describe your brand and message, and clarify anything that is confusing or untrue.
Finally, encourage the sharing of the fun side of your company as well. Encourage staff to share pictures from company events, “bring your dog to work day,” or any other fun or community-oriented activities. People love to share the positive side of life, and your brand image will get a boost in the process.
Consistency on Social Media is Key
One of the hardest things for any company is staying consistent with their social media presence. There are a few ways to address this. First, start small. Only use one platform at first, if that’s all you can handle. Once you build an audience, expand from there.
Secondly, encourage organic sharing so that your message goes beyond your normal audience. Your fans and employees have big networks that can benefit your company.
Finally, consider working with professionals who can find highly relevant and fun content to share regularly on your social media accounts. Many times a small business simply doesn’t have the time or staff to do this on their own. Don’t be afraid to ask for help.
With these five trends, you’ll be at the forefront of social media this year. Let us know how we can help!