Guest Post from Peter Davidson, a senior business associate striving to help different brands and startups to make effective business decisions and plan effective business strategies.

After the successful conclusion of 2018, you must be planning with full energy to take your business to new heights in 2019. The year 2018 saw us sprinting to keep pace with our respective industry verticals and the evolving business and technological landscapes. As in the previous years of this decade, business ideas and innovations have been constantly reshaping the contours of our industry. What has really made the acronym of VUCA coined by Paul Polman, the CEO of Unilever referring to volatility, uncertainty, complexity and ambiguity in business is the dynamism and fast progressing pace of the technology environment we live in.

Technologies like social media have fundamentally transformed the rules of engagement between brands and users and reversed positions to put the user in the driver’s seat. Social media in its new avatar is a tool to drive customer relationship, leverage data to get insights and integrated brand building with public relations. The influence of social media in combination with content, video and data sciences is such that the Graduate Business School, Stanford offers a specialized academic program called “Symbolic Systems” to cater to the requirements of business, technology and content professionals.

As a professional, a leader, a marketing executive or a technologist how do you learn, embrace and extract insights on the best social media practices for the year 2019? We have consolidated a list of some of the most important social media trends that would work best for your business in 2019. Take a look at this small and crisp social media digest to get an insight into what is next and pierce the mist on the screen.

1. Concentrate More on Data Transparency

In the upcoming year, it is expected that businesses will start paying more attention towards data security to prevent the existence of any suspicious and irrelevant data on their social media websites. Who would want to see a series of irrelevant data while they are searching for a particular item online? When you want your customers to get in touch with your brand, it is obvious that you would want to put your best face at the forefront. Recent trends have shown that smart brands have started promoting quality data over their websites and not just any quantity driven data that is usually advertised with the use of influencers to promote their brands. Multiple brands across the world are striving to create meaningful content to communicate with the audience directly on the social media and learn about their needs and grievances and present them with personalized content based on well-researched data.

2. Better Attention to be Given on ROI

Next big social trend of 2019 would be to use return on investment (ROI) as an integral resource to invest in your PR and marketing initiatives for your business development. In comparison to the traditional marketing techniques encompassing cold calling and adverts, make your ROI as the central point and drive your social media campaigns that would ultimately lead to better growth opportunities and lead conversions.

However, observations have shown that various social media platforms such as Facebook and Twitter promoting advertisements with the use of influencers and fake news have been reported and they are not trusted anymore. Invest smartly in the segments of social media platforms to achieve authentic ROI metrics in 2019 to get better chances at converting the social media buzz into successful business opportunities.

3. Integrating Marketing Strategies with PR

Press release (PR) is not a new concept for your business but its effective integration with the marketing practices would certainly provide better results for your business growth in 2019. Co-align your marketing initiatives with key performing initiatives (KPI) to get maximum access to brand building with social media endeavors. Promote your brand on all the social media channels with the similar type of branding, voice, keywords and content to establish credibility of your brand among the online visitors. Brands must have a quantifying measure to put a close tab on their long-term KPIs (your brand status) and short-term KPIs (social media recognition and media promotions). KPIs ought to be based on facts, and precise information, which offers increased chances of your business development.

4. Take the Complete Control of your Data

This can very well be considered as the most crucial step to be taken in 2019. Brands across the industry verticals are experiencing better access to growth opportunities with proper hold of their online data metrics. To scale your business, follow a precise strategic approach by co-aligning your KPIs with personalized data segments of customers along with precise benchmarks.

Use a single window resource such as dashboards to keep a track of all your data metrics to understand the complete journey of your customers in a crystal clear way and incorporate it in your marketing endeavors to drive better business results, and an overall better experience for your online visitors.

5. Embracing AI

AI has already got a strong grip on the digital marketing world in 2018 and it has positively impacted the brands that deployed it across their social media platforms. 2018 was the year that demonstrated a visible difference in brand building with AI, 2019 would be the year that would strengthen its use for maximum developments and greater insights of customer’s needs and demands. Get closer to customer’s issues with an increased use of chatbots and AI driven dialogue boxes. Identify their key issues and collect the relevant data from different customers to let your marketers have better access to reach to these customers, sort their queries and raise potential leads for your business development.

6. Better Utilization of Visual Search

With the high rise of devices like Alexa from Amazon and Google operated voice assistant in the arena of customer’s most personal domains, there would be a major change in the ways of online searches in 2019.Incorporating the technology of image recognition in your marketing strategies would offer you better results to understand your customer’s needs and lead to better business growth.What would be better than customers taking a picture of the items that they want to buy and post it on your social media channels and land on the exact same page that has the similar product? This would prove to be highly beneficial for your business growth in 2019.

7. Touch All the Key Aspects of Society with your Marketing Endeavors

Across all the social media channels, it has been noticed that customers tend to be better attracted to those brands that portray their philosophy in line with the popular market demands and touch the societal aspects of the same with equal attention.Consumers are driven to those brands that offer a relevant social purpose along with their corporate endeavors and execute the same (not just demonstrate) and actively promote it on their social media handles. An effective blend of marketing endeavors with the right mix of social activism would prove to be a holy grail for your brand building in 2019.

8. Mobile-friendly Content

As the number of mobile phone users increases with every passing year, it is essential for your marketing team to turn your content mobile-friendly for such customers. It has been seen in the latest trends that mobile users are active participants on all the major social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn. With an effective use of customer-friendly mobile applications with strategic use of images and impactful and descriptive content, you can gain better access to understanding their requirements and thereby, create better opportunities to augment your business.

9. Use the Social Media Platform to Tell Your Brand Story

In addition to publishing advertisements and marketing-related content on various social media platforms, it is slowly becoming an active medium to present your key brand differentiators to get maximum customers’ attention. For instance, over the last couple of years, LinkedIn has slowly gained the attention in the business circle with its usage as a publishing platform to describe your brand philosophy in the most enhanced way. It results in better connections with the targeted audience and better lead conversions as a result of it. Try to incorporate this measure of great strategic value in your business plan of 2019.

Social media has been slowly gaining speed and creating multiple opportunities for brands to connect with their customers and create a strong base for better lead conversions. Stay ahead in the game by actively following these key social media trends in 2019 to get better and smarter growth opportunities for your business.

If you would like to have your company featured in the Irish Tech News Business Showcase, get in contact with us at [email protected] or on Twitter: @SimonCocking

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