Happy New Year! Here’s hoping the downtime of the holidays allowed you to get some clarity on your 2015 marketing strategy.
Last week on the blog, I assembled four top experts to flesh out what’s in store for small business this year in the areas of public relations, digital marketing, video marketing, and overall business development. If you didn’t get a chance to read that blog (tons of insight) you can check it out here.
This week, we’re focusing specifically on social media. Things are always changing in that world, and to make sure you stay ahead of the curve, here are my predictions for the top 5 social media marketing trends for 2015.
1.) Pay to Play: Social media is no longer new. More and more businesses have recognized that they need a presence if they want to stay top of mind in their industry. But because the landscape is so crowded, it’s getting tougher to reach your target audience. It used to be that when you put out a Facebook post, 50% of your fans saw it. Now that number has dwindled to about 10%, sometimes even less.
But Facebook has mined so much data about its users, it’s a great place to target your ideal customer with an advertising campaign. If you have an important message for your potential customers, plan to pay for it to be seen. Because many businesses have now embraced the power of Facebook ads, prices will continue to go up. Last year, you may have paid less than $1 to acquire a lead. This year that cost could double.
So take some time to identify your biggest marketing initiatives, then put together a budget to advertise them. Hire an expert to help you get the most for your money with high quality targeting. And don’t be afraid to explore other options like Twitter and LinkedIn ads.
2.) Quality over Quantity: In the crowded social media space, it’s going to be more crucial than ever to focus on good quality content. I would argue that this has always been a founding tenet of social media. But as more people vie for your target market’s eyes, the only way to stand out is to produce high quality content. If you’re producing crappy memes and just tweeting for the sake of tweeting, you won’t get far. Video will be a big part of this in 2015. A solid video strategy with regular publishing and video optimization on YouTube will help increase your visibility.
3.) Social Selling & Social Shopping: This is going to be the year when many of us finally decide it’s normal to buy a product directly from a Tweet or Facebook post. Many of the social sites and various startup apps are working to add this capability (or already have). Retailers who fail to get on board with this trend will fall dramatically behind the competition as the general public’s trust in buying via social sites increases.
4.) Amplification: This is also the year that most businesses and nonprofits will realize the importance of building a social media army. Gone are the days when you could effectively spread your message on your own by just posting to your social sites. Now, you need a host of people sharing your content via their platforms if you want your message to connect. Businesses will realize they need a strategy in order to do this, calling on their major supporters (if they’re nonprofits) and fans (if they’re a for-profit business).
5.) Social Loyalty Programs: From the need for amplification, we’ll see a rise in social loyalty programs. Several businesses and major sports organizations have already implemented these… rewarding customers with points for posting social media messages on behalf of the company or team.
Everybody wins with these types of programs. First, the consumer does something relatively simple – shares a tweet or posts a photo on Instagram. They amass points toward free stuff for doing this… and then the business gets its message out there in the form of social proof. It looks authentic (even if it is incentivized) and the brand gets in front of more eyes.
Nina Radetich is a longtime journalist and founder of Nina Radetich New Media Strategies, a social media consulting agency in Las Vegas, Nevada. Nina helps businesses build their social strategies and connect with customers through creative social media campaigns. You can find Nina at www.ninaradetich.com or by contacting her directly at firstname.lastname@example.org.
This article first appeared on Nina’s blog.