Social media engagement is vital for many brands. From choosing fonts for Instagram (opens in new tab) to curating fun and informative tweets, there are many ways to promote your brand online. And it works. Vendasta (opens in new tab) found that nearly 90 per cent of digital marketers have found a positive link between their presence on social media and increased exposure for their business, and there's no reason why this won't work for creatives and designers, too.
However, just having a presence on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, where you churn out post after post of branded content, isn’t enough. Instead, these latest social media trends for businesses that Michon (opens in new tab) has uncovered, will (if implemented correctly), help to grow your audience engagement, and increase traffic to your website.
01. Get content from your users
Consumers crave a human connection with brands, so why not make the most of this? A lot of well-known brands have been posting user-generated content with great results. What is UGC? It’s exactly what it says on the tin: content that is generated by other users.
Utilising this user-generated content (UGC) is not just a new social media trend, but it's key to increasing engagement. It's also a cost-effective way of generating engaging content for your social media channels. Wins all round!
Posting UGC is an easy win for fashion brands: set up your own hashtag (just search #monkistyle (opens in new tab)and you’ll see fashionistas all over the world sharing snaps of them head-to-toe in the Scandi brand). But, it’s important to remember that it’s not just fashion labels that can leverage UGC to their advantage – you just need to know where and when your customers are online, and what they’re sharing.
For example, GoPro has made full use of UGC on Instagram, resharing customer pictures to highlight the excellent quality photos that can be taken using a GoPro (see our list of the best GoPro deals here (opens in new tab)). Is this something you could incorporate for your brand?
02. Post Instagram Stories
Instagram boasts over 500 million daily active users of Instagram Stories (opens in new tab), which is 60 per cent more than in 2018. Instagram Stories are now twice as popular as Snapchat and brands are figuring out that they're a great (and not to mention free) way to engage users.
The short-term nature of Instagram Stories (they’ll be deleted forever after 24 hours, unless you save them to your profile), makes them highly convenient. It's a great way to share behind-the-scenes footage of your brand, making consumers aware of flash sales, and highlighting new products.
Remember, there is a fine line between engaging your audience and overloading them. Take the time to determine how many posts you should be putting out a day and use Instagram Insights to check what works and what doesn't.
One brand killing the Instagram Stories game is beauty and skincare brand Glossier (opens in new tab). Having built its brand through social media, it engages its millennial audience through lighthearted Stories. It posts unique, engaging and informative content such as tutorials, polls, Q&As, playlists and quizzes – and there’s nearly always a CTA (call to action) that takes viewers away from Glossier’s Instagram and onto its website.
While the use and success of Instagram Stories – like so many of the latest social media trends – will depend on your audience, they're definitely worth trying out. Trial and error is the best tactic here. Also see our post for tips on how creatives and designers can best use Instagram Stories (opens in new tab).
03. Use chatbots
You can save time and money, generate leads and revenue, provide 'after-hours' support and engage users in a unique way with chatbots, which is basically software that consumers can talk to. Chatbots can be programmed to automatically engage with received messages and you can tailor their responses by picking up specific keywords in questions asked. With 56% of people stating they would rather message a brand (opens in new tab) than call up their customer service team, this is clearly the future of customer service. It's an easy and quick way to resolve problems or answer any queries.
In terms of this latest social media trend, chatbots have seen most success on Facebook Messenger and Twitter Direct Message.
An example of a brand that's successfully utilising this social media trend is Mastercard (opens in new tab): its Facebook Messenger bot enables customers to check account transactions by asking specific questions such as: 'how much did I spend at restaurants in February?'. Users can also purchase directly from Mastercard’s many partners, such as Subway.
04. Understand dark social
Highlighting the value of social media by measuring metrics such as likes, comments, followers and click-throughs to a company’s website is something social media teams have battled to do for years.
While marketing teams are now more onboard with social media than ever before, the huge popularity in social messaging apps (think the likes of WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger) are causing issues in performance tracking. As people are increasingly sharing links through these private messaging apps, analytics platforms are struggling to locate where the referral has come in from. This is 'dark social' – essentially engagement you can’t see.
The inability to track engagement is making it difficult to know just how well a piece of content is performing on social media. Lack of shares for an awesome piece of content you’ve created can be extremely discouraging, but the majority of content shared from websites is done privately.
A good step to working around the issues of dark social is to recognise and embrace it. If you can’t stop people from sharing stuff on the likes of WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger, then you might as well join them. Why not create a WhatsApp account for your brand or studio which can be used to post discounts or new product lines?
While you won’t be able to accurately track the shares of your content, you’re actively promoting more people to share it. The proof that it's working will come through the growing amount of traffic to your website.
05. Use LinkedIn dynamic ads
LinkedIn has updated its paid advertisement offerings and now allows brands to engage potential clients by showing them ads that are automatically personalised to them. This means you can create ads that feature information from each individual professional’s LinkedIn profile, including their job title, the company they work for and even their profile picture.
LinkedIn has stated that this will “capture your audience’s attention in a way that standard display ads can’t”. While it may be early days, it’s showing signs of success – the click-through rates of dynamic ads are already twice as high as traditional display ads (opens in new tab).
In practice, dynamic ads have shown success in three ways:
- Build brand awareness: Follower ads (like the one shown above), enable you to grow your following, by prompting users to like your page. This, in turn, expands the audience that views the organic content you share on your company’s LinkedIn page.
- Increase traffic and conversions: With spotlight ads, you can encourage additional traffic to a specific page on your website. This could be a landing page with more information on your products or services, a blog article, event, video, or even a newsletter.
- Generate leads: If this is your goal, then by making use of the content ads, you can point viewers to gated content, which they’ll need to input their details to access. You’ll then either have the opportunity to download the leads directly from your website, or use an external CRM.
With LinkedIn working particularly well for B2B businesses, this is one of several social media trends that your brand should be taking advantage of. To get started, simply choose your campaign objective, and start driving results.