6 Hot Trends Impacting Social Media Marketing
Social media may still be a relatively new marketing channel for accounting firms, but that’s not stopping the social media platforms from their own exponential explosion in new features. Here are six hot new trends for those of you who are taking, or want to take, advantage of this amazing medium.
Launched a little over a year ago, Facebook Live allows viewers to stream live video on their Facebook page, group, timeline or event. Users can control who sees the video, and there is even a setting where only you can see the video while you practice and get the hang of it.
According to an article on MediaKix.com, viewers watching Facebook Live videos stay three times longer than recorded videos. Also, the number of comments left on Facebook live videos is 10 times that of other videos, according to these statistics.
Accountants that are marketing their businesses using video are still rare, which means you can really stand out with a streaming video. To get the most out of Facebook Live, let your clients and community know ahead of time when you will be broadcasting. Plan to share an event, a short tip or an announcement with your audience. Give your audience time to find you and adjust the volume controls when you first start broadcasting, and be sure to acknowledge people and their comments when they interact with you. Since Facebook is the largest social media platform worldwide at 18 percent market share, twice the share of any other platforms, you can’t go wrong.
You can even pre-record a video and stream it using Open Broadcaster Software (OBS), which is open source. That way, you can make some light edits before you go live. Find out more about Facebook Live here, and about OBS here.
My favorite thing to do when I am waiting in a line or for an appointment is to get out my phone, login to my Twitter account and follow more people. More than two-and-a-half billion people use social media on their mobile phones around the world. Some platforms, such as Snapchat, Periscope and Instagram, have all of their features, or more, on mobile platforms, rather than on the web.
The key to designing for mobile is to keep it simple and convenient, due to the smaller screen real estate that app designers have to work with. Companies in the retail and restaurant industry have benefited most from consumers checking locations, hours, prices and reviews on their phones.
The best way to create a strong mobile presence is to maintain your company listing in the major directories, both by business such as Manta, and by consumer, such as Yelp. This is called local listing management. Companies like Yext offer these services, as do many webmasters and most SEO (Search Engine Optimization) firms.
The increase in the number of posts accompanied by graphics and video in the last few years has made it more difficult to get a text post noticed these days. The solution is simple and the rewards are great: simply post more visual content.
Facebook posts with images see 2.3X more engagement than those without images, according to this HubSpot article. An easy place to start is with Facebook’s colored backgrounds. You can select a color right from the post menu, making it easy to add some color to your text posts. Find out more about where to find free graphics from a blog post I wrote last year.
Bots (short for robot) are automated applications that run on specific platforms. In the case of social media, bots can run on Facebook Messenger, Twitter or a smartphone. The business uses for bots include customer support, productivity, finance, HR and more. In finance, there are bots that help you save money, calculate things and monitor the stock market.
In Facebook Messenger, bots are set up as people. You can find them via a bot directory, and here is an example. I recommend that you connect with a couple of bots to see what’s possible and to see how you might incorporate bots in your business.
The Stories feature on Instagram was launched in the summer of 2016. It allows you to record a video and post it as your story. The recording is usually very short – 10-15 seconds. Stories from people you follow appear at the top of the feed, and they disappear after 24 hours.
Marketers are using stories in several ways:
- Behind-the-scenes shots at the office
- Daily motivational messages
- Product shots
- Promotions with a 24-hour expiration date
- Personal shots of daily activities
- To test material before it’s rolled out on other social media platforms
Instagram Stories, with 150 million daily active users, is predicted to be one of the top methods for marketing in 2017. The number of interactions per post in Instagram, owned by Facebook, is higher than in any other social media platform, according to this article.
I’ve saved the best for last. Influencer marketing is the idea of working with people with large followings of your ideal prospect. The relationship between marketer and influencer can be as simple as sharing promotional samples that the influencer writes about, or as complicated as contracting with the influencer on a formal basis as an endorser or spokesperson.
Working with influencers allows marketers to reach a large number of prospects while working with only one person – the influencer. It can save the marketer time and resources, and the potential for growing the company faster is increased exponentially.
In accounting, other service professionals, including attorneys, bankers and non-competing financial professionals, are all possible influencers. So are reporters, bloggers, local board members, city leaders and club officers. Find these people to accelerate your own business growth.
Any accounting firm that experiments with just one of these six social media trends will rise far above its competition.