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How to Nail the 3 Most Important Social Media Trends of 2017

social media marketing trends 2017

In 2017, we have seen some game-changing social media trends. Specifically, live video (Facebook Live), ephemeral content via Instagram Stories, and the use of chatbots have changed the face of social media marketing.

There’s a lot of evidence to suggest these social media trends are here to stay:

Let’s take a look at how you can leverage these platforms to elevate your social media performance.

Facebook Live

If businesses want to stay ahead of the curve, there is no question that they need to incorporate video into their strategy.

Live video, in particular, is incredibly engaging, inviting the audience into the conversation. There are also no edits or cuts, which makes it possible for businesses to tap into the human side of their company in a way that no other platform currently allows them to. Live videos are also very cost effective to produce.

Here are some ways to take advantage of this platform:

1. Enhance Customer Service

Customer service is always going to a great investment for businesses. In fact, 40% of people will purchase from a company due to superior customer service alone. But old-school customer service — that is, human-centric customer experience — is getting lost amongst technology designed to automate so many customer touchpoints.

That’s where video comes in. There’s nothing more human than live video, which is why the combination of video and customer service is so powerful.

Here are some practical examples of how a business can execute Facebook Live as a tool to conduct customer service:

  • Answer frequently asked customer service-related questions. Bonus: You can then save the video, edit it, and provide a link to customers to who ask these questions again at a later date.
  • Contact customers directly via Facebook Live and answer their questions in real time. This is powerful, memorable, and will completely set you apart from your competitors.

2. Interview Experts

Another great way to use Facebook Live is to use it to interview experts, both within your own company (again, this emphasizes the human side of your company) or experts in your industry.

Providing your audience with an opportunity to learn something provides a lot of value to your audience while simultaneously giving your company the opportunity to position yourself as an authority in your industry.

Beauty company Sephora did a great job of this when they discussed beauty tips and tricks with celebrity hair stylist Jen Atkin. They incorporated their own products into their answers. The combination of the intimacy of real-time video and an industry expert led to a lot of sales.

Sephora Facebook Live video

3. Include Descriptions For Your Videos

Another key to using Facebook Live is to make use of the description section of your video so that you can entice users into the broadcast. The description should also be optimized in terms of keywords and also include a call-to-action.

This article expands on some of the best ways to use Facebook Live.

Instagram Stories

One of the biggest social media trends in recent years is the rise of ephemeral or disappearing content. Users can post 15-second videos, which stay online for 24 hours until they disappear forever.

Just as Facebook Live provides businesses with an opportunity to showcase their human side, so does Instagram Stories, but with one important distinction. On Instagram, 75% of users take action after seeing a post, whether that’s browsing the site or shopping for a product.

In order to leverage Instagram Stories, then, businesses need to:

1. Take Advantage of the Urgency

The temporary nature of Instagram Story posts creates a sense of urgency that busineses can use to their advantage:

  • Provide Special Offers or Coupons. Since the story will disappear in 24 hours, your audience will have to act immediately.
  • Announce News. Give your audience the inside scoop on an upcoming product launch, urging your followers to pre-order.

Again, any way you can drive action — even if it’s to download an app or follow your newsletter — is key if you want to make the most out of your time on Instagram Stories.

2. Include Call to Actions

One benefit of Instagram is that you can include clickable links in your stories, driving your audience elsewhere, such as your home page or a designated product landing page. The key is to include a call-to-action with every story you post.

Here’s an example of Bed, Bath, & Beyond encouraging its users to download the newest version of their app.

instagram stories cta example

Chatbots

Another cutting-edge trend is chatbots. They are now being integrated into social media as to means to answer customer service-related queries.

Social media has made its way into every corner of our lives, and this just is the latest extension of that. Businesses are now going where their customers are.

Chatbots provide a timely, personalized customer service experience in a very cost-effective manner. Many brands are incorporating chatbots into their marketing strategy, including Kayak and Expedia.

Kayak and Expedia chatbots

Here’s some tips for using chatbots effectively:

Humanize Your Bot

As mentioned above, businesses are tasked with providing a human-centric experience for their customers while still incorporating automated technology as a means to improve efficiency.

That’s why it’s important to humanize your bot as much as possible. Make your bot friendly and personal. Remember that the chatbot is representing your brand. Give it a name and use an avatar to provide a human-like experience.

Recommend Products, Services, and Special Offers

Make your bot proactive. Design your chatbot in a way so that it recommends products and services to your customers. Reach out with special offers or discounts.

Hubspot provides a great resource for how to build a chatbot from pitch to promotion.

Check Them Out

Businesses don’t need to jump onto every social media platform. In fact, they shouldn’t. But the ones above definitely deserve a look. Check them out, applying the tips above. By doing so, you’ll likely find ways to dramatically increase your audience engagement and overall social media success.

Arash Asli is at the forefront of business growth, helping SMBs grow as CEO of Yocale.com, an online scheduling and marketing platform. His thought leadership has been featured in major publications including Forbes, Huffington Post, and Inc. He is honored to have been named the Business in Vancouver’s Top Forty under 40 business executive.

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