These 5 Trends Should Get You Off the Social Media Sidelines

Social Trends

A new year and a new list of trends for social media.  I know, I know… blah blah blah, but maybe it’s about time we all start paying attention to them and seriously thinking through how we can use the key themes to enhance our businesses.

I get it – not everyone has the resources (or the need) to jump on the latest bandwagon, but there are lessons to be learned from the themes of these trends that ARE important to consider. So let me break down some concepts you should be embracing this year that closely tie to the trends you are seeing talked about for social in 2019.

Trend 1: Chat, chatbots and messaging apps

With the advent of different messaging apps, chat software and chatbots come multiple channels for customers to reach out to businesses. Consumers now have a direct line to the businesses they work with (or want to work with). Their questions are being answered in real time to accommodate their busy lifestyles. The perception is “we are here when you need us” and are accommodating consumers’ busy schedules.

Of course, with this trend comes the issue of scale and commitment. As any small business knows, you can’t be there physically for your customer 24/7… and luckily, we aren’t in the business to have to be there at all hours. But you can still do a little something to meet the needs of your prospects and customers.

What’s to learn from this trend? You may not have an interest in adopting these channels, but the lesson here is to make it simple and convenient for your clients to work and connect with you online:

  • Put your social media channels in your email signature and on your website
  • Make it easy to schedule appointments with you with services like Calendly, SimplyBook.Me or 10to8
  • Be fastidious when it comes to follow up: answer that email, return that call, acknowledge that social interaction. The world we live in has little patience for waiting.

Trend 2: Live video

From Facebook Live to Instagram stories, video is populating our social landscape at breakneck speed. Trends like vertical video (yes, you can now stop being chastised for forgetting to turn your phone horizontally when taking videos) and face filters (crown of daisies, dog faces and devil horns) are keeping content fresh, timely, fun and sharable. More importantly, live video shows the real you (minus the dog ears, of course) and allows viewers access to a “real” moment in time… no editing, no retakes, no fakery.

Obviously, when you are talking about a highly regulated industry like ours, it can also be a nightmare for compliance and archiving, even when it’s NOT live.

What’s to learn from this trend? Live video provides engagement and authenticity – something your traditional marketing and social media may not be delivering. In a sea of shared articles and cat videos, live video is immediately viewed as authentic and personal. People are looking for authenticity in social right now – they are craving trustworthiness. Show the personal side of your practice. Customers want to do business with people – so stop hiding behind your logo. Be the face of your brand.

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Trend 3: Social data transparency and security

The Cambridge Analytica data breach and Facebook’s less-than-transparent involvement was a major blow to social last year. Concerns for data security have led to regulations like General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) in the European Union, as well as many steps in the US to ensure consumers are aware when their data is being shared or stored online.

This heightened fear of data security in 2019 rivals my father’s ongoing fear of online banking. But unlike my dad (who is still driving to the bank regularly to get cash and interact with tellers), most people cannot avoid the daily online activities of day-to-day life. And most don’t want to – they like getting their “news” from Facebook; they like that content is tailored to them (whether they realize it or not); and they like those online quizzes that tell them what their ice cream preference says about their love life. But most are now starting to realize that those interactions are directly related to collecting online data – and that their beloved ice cream quiz might in fact be harmful to their online health.

What’s to learn from this trend? Now is a perfect time to talk to your clients about how you safeguard their assets and data. They are being bombarded every day in the news by the ugly side of data “insecurity.” Be the calm in the storm.  Use these micro-moments to teach, inform and reassure your clients.

Trend 4: Segmentation of social audiences

Just like you segment your book of business (you are, aren’t you?), segmenting social is a top trend that you can easily latch onto. I wrote a post about this with regard to list building in Facebook. I also spoke a little about it in a recent Practically Speaking podcast.

What’s to learn from this trend? There’s a message here that reaches further than social media. Your clients don’t want to feel like they are just one of a multitude of clients you serve; they want to feel special. You need to tailor your interactions to their needs and interests. Consider multiple versions of your monthly newsletters for segmented audiences (services like AdvisorStream can greatly help with this) or even something as simple as a handwritten note acknowledging a milestone. Anything to say to your client, “I see you. I know you.”

Trend 5: Social proof

People rely on the feedback and actions of others – and social media makes that information more accessible than ever. Social isn’t an option anymore, even for the smallest of businesses. Being where your consumers are is a must – your prospects are checking you out online and doing their due diligence. And while you might be very focused on your social presence on LinkedIn, Facebook or Twitter, there are plenty of other ways that your digital footprint might be failing you.

What’s to learn from this trend? Google yourself. How are you and your firm being represented? Does your website come up in the top 10? Does someone else’s? If it’s the latter, it might be time to start thinking through some SEO or paid SEM tactics to get you ranking higher up on the list. Do you have Yelp reviews that need addressing? Word of mouth and consumer reviews are key to your digital reputation. Do you show up on Google Maps? It might be worth making an investment in local search ads this year. It’s worth a few extra marketing dollars to ensure your representation is the best it can be.

Don’t sit it out any longer

Social media has gone from “trendy” to creating trends that all businesses should consider and learn from. If you stay on the social media sidelines, you may be missing out on real opportunities to deepen relationships with your clients and build new ones.

Please check with your legal and compliance department before implementing any of these suggestions.

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Heather Wilson

Heather Wilson

Heather Wilson is the social media contributor for Practically Speaking and social media manager within the SEI Advisor Network.

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