Social Media for Business

The Future of Social Media for Business: 4 Major Trends

The rise of social media has changed the way marketers conduct business. Traditional tactics of marketing still exist, but social media outlets have truly had an impact on the ways we engage with customers, sell products, and establish brand identities. Brands no longer have to fight over advertising space on a billboard, a television break, or a spread within the latest copy of the New Yorker; now, companies can curate their hubs for personal advertising and promotion, all free to use. Whether you’re using social media apps to promote your company’s latest products or utilizing them to develop an affiliate marketing campaign, businesses must create a social media presence. Here are some of the major trends that the marketing world will see in the coming years. 

Video Takes Center Stage 

Rumor has it that video content is expected to become one of the biggest players in the coming years. As consumers spend more time on apps like TikTok, YouTube, Instagram, and more, the power of video is coming into greater focus. The medium has a special use when it comes to social media, too: Whether developed as long- or short-form content, businesses can use video to produce content that is relevant to whatever it is they want to say: promoting a product, interviewing customers, showing behind-the-scenes footage of the business, or holding interviews with internal thought leaders. The insight offered from videos goes a long way. Best of all, it can be used to promote your brand initiatives, all while engaging users with empathetic, authentic content. 

For instance, take videos produced by Patagonia: They’ve taken their commitment to the environment to new levels, beyond marketing campaigns, producing documentaries related to environmental issues taking hold of the planet. While these videos are informative and shedding necessary light on true problems, it reflects even better on Patagonia, showing they are willing to put their money where their mouth is, thus garnering more trust with their customers.  

Influencer and Affiliate Marketing 

Affiliate marketing has shown its strength over the past few decades, growing into a $12 billion industry in recent years. It makes perfect sense why: Younger generations are looking for people they can trust, and referrals presented by trusted brands and influencers provide just that. This is especially true on social media apps like Twitter, Instagram, and YouTube, where content creators—brands and influencers—can garner massive followings simply by presenting their opinions, aesthetics, and persona regularly. When highly curated and manicured, it can foster a notable audience that cannot be overlooked.

If you’ve been looking for an in with a specific niche audience, it’s time for your business to explore an affiliate marketing strategy. An Instagram affiliate marketing strategy is one of the most trusted ways to go, as the app’s visual nature makes it especially useful to companies trying to get their name out there. By developing the right content and handing it off to trusted affiliate brands and influencers, you can effectively spread your company’s image and ethos to consumers. If done correctly, you can grow a significant audience that trusts you just the same.  

Content that Resonates 

Social media users rely on authenticity; it’s what makes the apps work. While people are obviously showing a polished version of themselves in the photos they share on Instagram and the posts they tweet on Twitter, an underlying notion exists that all users are presenting themselves authentically. Consumers expect this behavior out of businesses nowadays. Authenticity matters to marketing because it shows that a brand can be trusted, from what they say to what they sell. 

For instance: If your business says it stands for the environment, it better show it; if you say you’re a champion for diversity in the workplace, you’d better make moves to guarantee equal representation; if you’re open about your support of green energy usage, you’d better show consumers the news of what you’re doing to improve the world around you. 

These measures trickle down to what you say and how your brand presents its image, too. Whatever it is that your business wants to be, it should never be playing pretend. To make it today, especially on social media, your company needs to take the time to ensure that you truly stand for what you say. Showing what you are is just one of many ways to get social media users behind you—and to use the Patagonia example mentioned above, it’s a simple way to get users to resonate with and share your content. 

Social Media Engagement Becomes More Important 

One of the greatest aspects of social media is the connectivity it offers to users. No longer do people have to feel as if they’re on a separate level than businesses and celebrities; rather, they’re on the same level, able to message, comment, and publish content with no trouble. 

This is equally important for businesses, as it allows social media to be used as a form of customer service, where they can answer and engage with customers regularly. Better yet? You can share photos of customers who post pictures of themselves using your products and services, whether it’s wearing a piece of clothing or using your platform to host a conference. This simple gesture is a way to show customers that you care about their business and how committed they are to you. That sentiment pays off down the line.

Get Online

If your business isn’t already using social media, you need to jump on the train before it fully leaves the station. Begin creating a presence online before your competitors outpace you.

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Andre Bourque (@SocialMktgFella) is a cannabis industry media influencer, brand executive and advisor, blockchain marketer, and cannabis columnist. He specializes in cannabis industry partnerships, distribution, and funding. He is a ranked social media marketing and content strategist.

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