Gartner's 2016 Digital Marketing Channel survey revealed that 38% of respondents currently have a social media advertising program in place; a figure that will increase to 80% within the next year. This means that 42% of social media marketers will be launching social advertising for the first time in the upcoming twelve months.
Utilizing the survey results and other industry resources, BluEnt has analyzed the upcoming trends in social media marketing to prepare for the busy year ahead.
Advocacy programs are a powerful tool for spreading social media efforts by building on the audiences of influencers, customers, and employees. The survey reported that 36% of marketers already utilize employee advocacy programs, while an additional 27% plan to begin implementing them in the coming year. This is a natural extension of the growing interest in employee advocacy which grew by 191% from 2013 to 2015.
Gartner also expects customers and particularly influencers to play significant roles in the brand advocacy of the future. "Influencer marketing programs that identify, engage and provide a value exchange between brands, industry thought leaders, content creators, celebrities and media outlets are a prime way to scale advocacy in social," said Jay Wilson, research director at Gartner.
As the organic reach of brand posts continues to decline, advocacy programs will be a major source of total reach in 2017. They're already used effectively to acquire new customers, but they're also the perfect means of establishing trust. Bloggers have spent years cultivating a group of faithful followers on social media, and thus lend authentic credibility to the advocacy programs they participate in. Upcoming programs will actively capitalize on this trend to support loyalty and retention initiatives. Get in touch for your Business Development needs:firstname.lastname@example.org
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To respond to this trend, BluEnt will pay special attention to incorporating influencer advocacy programs through our Social Media Brand Management services where appropriate. This will be a particularly useful tool in generating traffic for short-term campaign initiatives such as contests and time-sensitive promotions. We will also continue designing holistic solutions with the sales & marketing teams we work with that emphasize the creation of spaces for customer feedback and employee participation throughout the year.
Fighting for Social Traffic
As mentioned above, gaining organic reach for corporate social posts is getting harder and harder. This combined with improvements in targeting and measurement on social media platforms have resulted in growing investment in paid traffic drivers.
After all, traffic remains one of the most important KPI's of social media. In the 2016 Social Media Marketing Industry Report by Social Media Examiner, increasing traffic was the second major benefit cited by respondents and 89% stated that their social media efforts have generated more exposure for their businesses as a result.
Gartner's 2016 survey also discovered that social media is much more efficient at encouraging traffic than it is in subsequent stages in customer flow. When asked to order social media marketing elements by most effective to least effective, survey respondents ranked buy buttons and conversion on social networking sites as the sixth and seventh priorities respectively, with shoppable content coming in at almost last. The maturity of social media marketing has given marketers the opportunity to define narrower and more optimized goals for the medium going into 2017, and traffic is sure to be one of them.
BluEnt takes pride in our commitment to monitoring, analyzing, and improving our strategy and execution of social media marketing for our clients, and traffic will continue to be a priority in assessing the success of our performance. We will take into account the evolving trends in the effectiveness of specific social media elements to achieve our clients' business objectives in a way that aligns with the medium's strengths.
Engagement is one of the biggest buzz words when it comes to social media, and next year will see major changes in social customer care. As customer expectations for daily relevant interactions rise, marketers will play an evolving role in customer support.
59% of social marketers currently use social engagement and social customer service technology, and almost two thirds plan to invest more in these efforts in 2017. Regarding this investment, Gartner predicts that in the next two years, requests for customer support through mobile apps will exceed requests made through traditional social media.
Real time engagement is another budding expectation from consumers. According to Lithium Technologies, 72% of people who send complaints to brands via Twitter expect a response in less than an hour. These days, a company mistake can go viral in a matter of minutes and brands need to be able to address them fast.
Our last note on engagement is concerned with the increasing popular tool of video production. Based on a report by the State of Digital Marketing, 68% of B2Bs and 73% of B2Cs indicated that videos were their most effective marketing tool.
Buzzfeed, a company built on social media expertise, recently confirmed this trend by forming Buzzfeed Entertainment Group, a distinctive department aimed to solidify their stake in video entertainment. Apropos the announcement, BuzzFeed C.E.O. Jonah Peretti stated that "as digital video becomes ubiquitous, every major initiative at BuzzFeed around the world will find an expression as video." If it wasn't clear that marketers need to start incorporating video, it is now.
Going into 2017, we will make real time engagement an increasing priority in our social media execution and action plan reports for our clients. We will actively pursue integrating more video into our social media execution strategies.
Since BluEnt provides not only social media services but also mobile app development services, the trend of customer support mobile apps is a prime opportunity to take advantage of our expertise in the two fields. We will ensure that our development experts and social media specialists are well-equipped to meet this demand in the coming year.
Formed in 2003, BluEnt specializes in proving custom websites, mobile apps, e-commerce, and internet marketing services for companies running an online dependent business or looking to develop tools to efficiently automate and monitor active processes in their organization. With 11 growing offices situated around the world, BluEnt is respected globally for its consistent quality of services and timely delivery of projects. We use our experience across industries and software applications to help enterprises derive maximum value out of their resources and investments.