Get smart with social media

This is a sponsored post brought to you by Shootsta under the Futurist series.

There’s no denying that the impact of social media is larger than ever in 2019. Even B2B industries that were once considered “formal” are embracing social. At its core, social media is a way to communicate directly with followers through an owned channel. There are endless possibilities of how brands can use social media, and this should be our main priority for 2019.

Storytelling no longer a buzzword

Countless studies have revealed our brains are far more engaged by storytelling than facts – especially when it comes to video, which engages more senses than any other medium. Videos, artfully wrought, allow people to identify with the characters in stories, and it’s this emotional resonance that helps audiences build a relationship with brands. The businesses that do it well know that generating that moment equates to big results for campaign objectives. One thing to note is stories should be brief: people have short attention spans, even for video. As Gary Vaynerchuk says, brands must “story tell in micro-moments because it’s apparent that we’re living in an ADD culture, where everybody is short on the only commodity that matters in this life – our time”.

Getting people-centric

We might define our customer as the person who purchases our products, but we need to think broader. The redefined consumer includes the user, the user’s immediate network, the wider general public, even our own shareholders and employees. Everybody is a potential advocate for a brand, and by creating a people-centric strategy, we can create brand consistency across all relevant audiences.

Power of personalisation

Whether you’re sending an email, offering content, providing support or just saying thanks, personalised messages make customers feel closer to your brand, meaning they’ll be more likely to do business with you again in future. Seventy nine per cent of organisations that exceeded revenue goals have a documented personalisation strategy, and from Accenture: “91% of consumers are more likely to shop with brands who recognise, remember and provide relevant offers and recommendations.” For video, personalised content forges even stronger connections, by communicating meaningfully as people, not brands or customer account numbers.

The lure of the live-stream

Live videos will make up 13% of all web traffic by 2021, with research showing live-streaming drives audience engagement and retains viewers longer than non-live videos. Viewers spend three times longer watching live videos online than their pre-recorded counterparts. On social, 82% of users prefer live-streaming to ordinary posts. Brands can use live videos to broadcast events, new product introductions and announcements, interviews and even live chat assistance (according to Gartner, more than 100 of the 500 biggest global businesses will have introduced video-based chat by the end of 2018).

Followers will have more influence

An emerging trend on social media is “followers decide”, which gives followers the ability to influence the content of creators. Content creators use polls in their videos or stories (with questions such as “Where should I go for breakfast this morning?”), then followers vote – and the most popular answer wins. This crowd-sourced style of content creation is both engaging and entertaining for viewers because it gives them a sense of control over the videos they’re viewing. This trend is mainly utilised by vloggers (as opposed to brands), but marketers could certainly leverage it. People love to get engaged in conversation – particularly fans – so if brands can cater to these audiences, evangelist promoters are sure to follow.

The writer is Antoine Bouchacourt, vice-president, Asia, Shootsta.