Once again, I was in the midst of the action at Social Media Marketing World this year as a Speaker Coordinator for the Social Media Examiner team. It’s always an amazing experience to be part of the team and see this event come together from a content marketing perspective. Because the focus of SMMW depends heavily on current trends in the social media industry, the topics and speaker line up evolves from year to year.
This year once again there were some strong trends that surfaced throughout the presentations at this event. Here are some takeaways that stood out.
#1 Facebook is focused on community and one-to-one interactions, which requires marketers to rethink their approach.
No longer are we all claiming content is king. Now it’s community that is leading the charge in social media marketing. As Mark Schaefer pointed out in his keynote presentation, the power over corporate branding has shifted to the people who are talking about your brand.
Facebook has changed its algorithm in the last year, and will continue to do so, to favor content that is commented on and liked. Facebook wants people to participate actively on its platform, not just quietly watch video or scan news. As marketers, that means we need to work harder to make our customers want to sing the praises of our brands and companies. It’s not an easy task – connecting one to one is the opposite of what most marketers have been doing on social media for the last few years.
To help marketers find opportunities for those connections SMMW included plenty of talks on Facebook groups, Facebook Live and chatbots – all ways that you can connect with your customers directly in a one-to-one style that is more personal.
#2 Businesses need to continue to show their human side. Stories are a way to embrace that.
This has been said before, but it continues to be a growing trend. Stories for both Facebook and Instagram are a key way for businesses to show a personal side to their audience. People want to support businesses they feel a connection with. The casual, light, down-to-earth style of Stories is an opportunity to show your company’s authenticity and personal side.
Social Media CEO Mike Stelzner pointed out that as of February 2019, there are 300 million people consuming Stories daily, yet most businesses still aren’t using them. Stories don’t need to be perfect to be effective and can be an easy way to integrate a personality into your business’ profile.
Q & A videos, behind the scenes, quick updates… all are easy ways to show your audience who you are behind the logo. When people respond to your Stories, you can tell right away how they feel about your post. They know they are connecting with them as a human, not a faceless brand.
#3 Live video continues to resonate with people and can set your business apart from the rest.
Mari Smith kicked off the conversation in her keynote with several ideas on how to reach more people using video tactics. She advocated for short videos on Facebook that allow users to see the people behind the brand and give your audience a sense of connection with you. Because the overall social media marketing trend is moving toward people actively engaging, not passively watching, short-form video is the way to go. Specifically, on Facebook, Mari recommended pre-recorded video between 15 seconds and 3 minutes and Live video between 7 and 20 minutes.
Similar to Stories on Facebook and Instagram, live video allows you to acknowledge your followers in real time and gives them an opportunity to connect with you directly. People who comment on your videos and see your feedback feel more like a part of your business.
In addition to Live video and Stories, it’s likely that Facebook Groups and chatbots will be a building trend in social media in the next year because they also focus on the one to one conversations that are likely to drive marketing for years to come.