As a small business, if you have not invested in social media marketing to showcase your products and services yet, 2022 is the year you’re going to want to start. If your brand already has a presence on social media, this is the year to step it up even more.
Social marketing is growing and those onboard are sure to reap the benefits in their business with increased sales and visibility. We know it can be intimidating to navigate the expansive world of social media, but we’re here to simplify it for you so that you know exactly where to put your energy.
Today, we have 5 social media marketing trends that you can implement in your small business to gain relevance and grow.
The Value and Continued Growth of Short Video
You have no doubt noticed that short-form video has taken the social media world by storm.
We have apps like TikTok to thank for that. Our short attention spans crave content that is brief, to the point and adds value to our day. Whether that means making us laugh, warming our hearts or telling us about a great new product or service.
The experts agree that 2022 and beyond will see even more vertical short-form video content as video continues to be the most engaging format across most social media platforms.
How can you use this trend to your advantage?
Feature your products or services in short, informative and engaging videos.
A great time-saving tip is to use the short-form video content you created on multiple platforms. Just remember most trends start on TikTok and some follow a few weeks behind on Instagram. Hellooo algorithm 👋🥴.
A reel made on Instagram can be reposted on Facebook, on Pinterest (as an Idea Pin) and on YouTube (as a short). On the other hand, content originating on TikTok can be repurposed on all other channels but not really the other way around in my experience (consider removing the TikTok watermark before sharing to Reels 😉).
The Rise of Social Commerce
If you are a small business selling products, goods or services, it is imperative that you start to take advantage of social commerce. More and more platforms are shifting towards e-commerce, and with good reason.
Social media platforms want to keep you on their app or site for as long as possible, but when you click on an ad on social media for a product or service, you are redirected to the merchant’s website. This is stealing your attention away from that platform’s page.
Bring the whole shopping experience, from discovery to purchase, onto the platform itself. Forbes is calling social commerce “the next digital shopping revolution” with promising numbers to back up the claim. In 2021, social commerce sales reached $492 billion globally and is expected to grow to $1.2 trillion by 2025, according to Accenture. Accenture’s research also found that 59% of social consumers said they favored purchasing from small businesses through social commerce versus the business’ website.
Bring your products or services to the social commerce table and get you a piece of that pie!
Speaking Up with Social Audio
Unfamiliar with social audio? Although the focus of most social media platforms thus far has been images and videos, audio is starting to get more attention in the social media world. Social audio is voice-based social media that can be used to inform, connect and engage your audience. Users are able to interact with their favorite brands and personalities in real-time.
In 2021, many of the major platforms began to pivot in an effort to compete with top social audio apps such as Clubhouse. Last April, Facebook announced the creation of Soundbites, “short-form, creative audio clips for capturing anecdotes, jokes, moments of inspiration, poems, and many other things we haven’t yet imagined” (source:https://about.fb.com/news/2021/04/bringing-social-audio-experiences-to-facebook/).
Instagram Live unveiled new features last year allowing users to turn off the video feature and produce an audio-only experience for their audience.
Twitter jumped on the bandwagon as well creating Twitter Spaces where users can join virtual rooms and have live conversations.
So how can your small business benefit from this tool?
Ask and get honest feedback from your followers and users
Educate your audience on topics related to your field via live events or hosting a podcast
Answer any questions your audience may have regarding your products or brand.
A word of caution — be careful not to push your product or service in a sales-pitchy manner using this platform as authenticity is what social audio audiences are looking for.
Using Social Media as a Customer Service Platform
As mentioned above when discussing social commerce, social media platforms are leaning more and more towards product discovery and retail purchasing. This transition has invited customers to voice their questions and concerns over social media as well.
Gartner, a tech research and consulting firm, predicts that by 2023, 60% of all customer service inquiries will be handled via social messaging, chat apps and live chat.
So why is this method of resolving issues becoming so popular?
For one, how you, as a small business, handle the concerns of other customers is of great interest to potential buyers. They want to see that you’re attentive and devoted to making your customer base happy. It gives that potential buyer peace of mind that if they were to run into any issues with your product or service, they would be taken care of too.
Here are a few tips on how to handle customer service on your social media platforms:
Actually respond. Seems like a no-brainer, right? Well, the unfortunate truth is that many brands use social media as a means of promoting their products and services and not much more. Not receiving a response from your brand could lead to dissatisfaction or disenchantment from a potential customer, so make sure that you respond to all messages that you receive.
Respond in a timely manner. This one goes hand in hand with number one. In the age of instant gratification, your customer wants answers and they want answers now. Research done by Convince & Convert reveals, “42% of consumers complaining on social media expect a 60 minute response time” (source:https://www.convinceandconvert.com/social-media-research/42-percent-of-consumers-complaining-in-social-media-expect-60-minute-response-time/). Set message alerts on your mobile device so you don’t miss a message and are able to respond quickly.
Go private. If there is a particularly nasty message left in the public comments of your brand page, take to private messaging to resolve it. You can give an initial response publicly stating that you will be reaching out privately, but the rest should be between you and the customer.
Utilizing User-generated Content
User-generated content is just what it sounds like. It’s content that real users post on social media, specific to a brand or product and/or a content creator hired to create real content with video deliverables sent right to you to share with your audience. It sounds like an influencer but not quite.
An influencer is hired by a brand to create content and share it with their audience.
A UGC creator is hired by a brand to create content and deliver it to the brand to disperse however they see fit.
The major key difference is that with UGC content you are not dependent on an influencer's audience for conversions.
What makes UGC great is that you can hire a creator that aligns with your brand. They create content with your product and give an honest review in the style of content agreed upon.
For example, a user can make a first-impressions video for the new watercolor set they just received and then publish it on their social media page (natural customer) or send it to you directly (hired UGC creator).
Why is user-generated content such an essential marketing tool?
It is seen as authentic. Tint reports that over 59% of marketers concur that quality and authenticity are what make content successful.
It builds brand trust. People trust individuals over mass media and are therefore more likely to purchase a product advertised by a real user than an average advertisement.
It creates brand loyalty. User-generated content allows users to be more involved with the brand and help the brand grow. It gives users a sense of community and belonging.
If the aforementioned information wasn't enough of an endorsement for UGC, Forbes cites that user-generated content receives click-through rates that are four times higher than standard ads and have a 50% drop in cost-per-click.
More effective and cost-efficient? Yes please! 🎉
Hopefully you now have a few more tools in your arsenal to either debut your small business on social media or get ahead of the curve by adding these devices to your social media strategy.
Social media is constantly changing, so make sure to keep your ear to the ground to stay ahead of the competition.