We’ve started a tradition here at MemberPress—our annual post about what we think is going to be trending, hot, and must-do in the social media arena this year. With social media—and technology as a whole—always evolving, it can be tricky to pin down what exactly the new year will bring with regard to your social media efforts for your membership sites. That’s why we’ve researched what’s new, what’s old, and what’s predicted to be absolutely necessary in staying viable. If you learn what’s going to be trending now, you’ll be able to stay up with (or even ahead of) the game.
Prediction 1: Blockchain Technology Revolution
Blockchain is being called the digital ledger of the web. Originally conceived for use for digital currency, namely Bitcoin, it can be programmed to record data and activity. The value of this technology is that it allows data to be distributed but not copied, as well as allows all activity be transparent and incorruptible, while personal information is private and secure.
How does this work for you?
Blockchain is incredible technology that helps make social media a safer space with better transparency and security for the information shared across platforms. The information stored on a blockchain is shared across several networks so the records are public and can be easily verified. With blockchain, social media platforms will find there is a greater need for verification of identities and marketplaces, and it provides the ability to prevent fake content.
As far as benefits for your membership site and business, it could be the solution to fake content and false engagement (and on a personal-user level, it could eradicate the spread of fake news and shut down fake accounts).
Additionally, anything you post on your channels or privately via messaging can be encrypted so only those you want to see that information can view it. Others can’t access it and corrupt it. You’ll also be able to avoid wasting your precious marketing dollars on targeted ads that hit fake accounts because with this enhanced technology and verification, you’ll be targeting and building relationships with real people.
Prediction 2: The Rise of Chatbots
Chatbots will be one way businesses can incorporate new technology to help with customer service. When it comes to private-message apps, chatbots save you time and money by answering the most basic customer service-related questions. Of course, you should be careful when using chatbots, as we outlined in a previous article, but perhaps 2019 will bring about new and safer bot technology.
Why is the use of chatbots rising?
In addition to saving you time and money on basic customer service, chatbots are available 24/7. A customer has a basic question about which product is right for them? Chatbots can answer their questions—even at 3:00 a.m. You can also learn a lot about your customers by analyzing the data they provide during a chat—what their questions are, what their needs are, what types of products or services they’re looking for. One other benefit? Chatbots are always in a good mood (as long as they’re programmed that way!).
Prediction 3: Partnering with Micro Influencers Will Be Crucial
Forget trying to get a celebrity to endorse your brand or business. Instead, focus on those who have major influence in your industry. Micro influencers are social media users who have a few thousand followers (as opposed to celebrities who can have a few million). These people have a lot of influence over the posts and topics in your industry.
And when you work with an influencer in your industry, you’re working with someone who already has a dedicated target audience that’s probably a better customer avatar than a celebrity’s followers. It turns out people are more apt to trust peers who personally engage with them and who are knowledgeable about the topic at hand. Additionally, micro influencers are much less expensive to partner with than celebrities.
So how do you connect with these micro influencers? Take to the platforms! Who’s posting about your industry? Whose posts are heavily liked, retweeted, and shared? Once you know, reach out and let them know how the two of you can work together. Yes, together. Things can’t be one-sided. And it’s important to make sure you build authentic relationships with these people. You don’t just want to send out dozens of friend requests or emails—take time to carefully curate your list of influencers and then work on the relationships that will be beneficial for both of you.
Prediction 4: Short-Lived Content Is Here to Stay
At least the trend is. Short-lived content is the stories you see on Instagram and Facebook and other platforms, or live content with that “must watch now or I’ll miss out!” urgency to it. Because if you don’t view it (now or within the limited time it’s available, such as twenty-four hours), it’s gone forever.
And while the content goes away, the trend is here to stay. Jump onto the stories bandwagon—2019 is the year to create urgent content!
So what’s the best type of short-lived content? Inside looks at product creation or behind-the-scenes of your business, special discounts and deals for those dedicated followers who view content, and even live videos of you and your employees at an event.
Prediction 5: Social Listening Remains Good Detective Tool
We wrote about this topic a few times in 2018 because it’s become extremely important in social media marketing strategies. As a quick recap, social listening is:
“Where you . . . listen to what’s being said about your company and your brand—even when you’re not mentioned—and even what’s being discussed about your competitors and in your industry. Social listening is keeping your ears (and eyes) open for online conversations your current or potential customers are having that have to do with your business by tracking topics, themes, keywords, and hashtags relevant to your industry.”
By implementing the social-listening strategies we’ve outlined in that article and by using the many social-listening tools available, you’ll gain better insight on who’s looking for your products and services. And when you reach out to those looking for you, they’re more likely to reach back!
What do you think will be ruling the social media cyberwaves this year? We’d love to get your insights and hear your predictions. Leave them in the comments below!