The year is reaching its final stages, which means marketers will be starting to think about their strategic plans for the lucrative holiday season and beyond into 2018.
Live video is on fire
If you’re active on any popular social platform, you’ll already know that live video is growing exponentially. In fact, more than 14 per cent of marketers experimented with it in 2016, and 43 per cent were planning to latch onto the trend this year.
To give you an idea of how much live video has taken off in recent times, around 20 per cent of all videos on Facebook are now live, with the time spent watching them having grown four times over in the past year.
There are dozens of streaming platforms out there, but all the main social platforms have their own offerings that might appeal to marketers more than third-party tools.
When deciding which platform to take the live plunge into, ask yourself where your social media audience spends most of its time; and which channel gives you the most engagement.
It makes sense to broadcast on the platform that’ll give you the best chance of optimising your return.
For a more detailed summary of what each network offers and a look at some of the best case studies, have a look at this post: 7 golden rules for producing brilliant live video campaigns.
The growth of messaging apps
Messaging apps are set to hit an impressive milestone in 2017. For the first time, over three-quarters (76.3 per cent) of the world’s smartphone users will use one.
By the end of the year, a staggering 1.82 billion people will be using a messaging app on a regular basis.
This represents a tremendous opportunity for brands to open up a new marketing frontier that will give them direct access to literally billions of people around the world. Many brands are already using Facebook Messenger to communicate with their customers; be it human-to-human or by using chatbots.
But Whatsapp has raised the stakes by announcing it has been testing verified brand accounts with a view to ramping up its business offering.
The Facebook-owned app is also testing other tools that will sit within a Whatsapp business app for SMEs and an enterprise solution for larger companies. Brands will eventually be able to use the tools to communicate directly with users by sending them alerts on flight times, order confirmations, ticket bookings and so on.
Exciting times ahead.
Meanwhile, Whatsapp also offers a click-to-chat link, which companies can embed on their website or social profiles and use to chat with customers.
All the big social platforms offer ways for users to buy products directly without logging out of the app.
In fact, 56% of consumers confessed that they followed brands to browse products and find out when special sales began.
If your brand hasn’t yet tapped into this appetite for social shopping then perhaps now is the time.
Facebook has gone all out to lead the way in social commerce. Brands can create stand-alone Shop Now stores, while Messenger is being used by companies to interact with consumers before and after they make a purchase.
In their store, brands can upload products and product information, curate and customise their shop’s product catalogue, manage orders, run ads to promote their products and get insights into how their shop is performing.
Whether companies want to manage more than one online store is debatable. Stock management and analytics issues will put some off, but there’s no doubt it should be seriously considered by SMEs and start-ups at least.
However, not all is rosy in the garden of social commerce. Twitter phased out its buy buttons in favour of new features aimed at driving website conversions instead.
So while there’s no doubt social media can be used as a direct selling tool, it might not be for everyone.
Alice Jackson is a business consultant, blogger, social media enthusiast, online market analyst, amateur designer and an avid author at Designhill. She has written on several topics including social media marketing, SEO, content marketing, startup strategies and e-commerce. When she’s not writing, she loves spending her time reading romantic novels and creating custom t-shirt designs.