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Social media is the most powerful, effective, affordable storytelling tool in the world.

With it you can reach potential customers and brand advocates from across the globe. And, brands can connect with consumers in a way that is real, emotional, and personal.

So, now that you know what social media can do for your business, how can you use it to change the face of your brand story in 2019? Let’s dig in…

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Nobody reads on social media so what you write no longer matters, right?

Nothing could be further from the truth.

85 percent of Facebook video is watched without sound.  And, what do consumers do when the sound is off? They read the captions!

It’s not that consumers don’t care to read carefully crafted, compelling copy… it’s that not enough companies know how to write it. A couple of words and an emoji do not a sentence make!

On most social networks today, your image is the first step in qualifying a consumer as a client. If they like the image, we are moving in the right direction. And, if they are on the road to becoming a customer (or they already are one) they will read the copy next. They’re moving along in the process of considering a purchase from your brand; it takes well-written copy to get there.

Here’s how to improve your social copy:

  • Don’t bury the lead. Get the most important point of your message out within the first eight to 10 words.

  • Think of social media as an uber short story. Best practice: Include a headline, body, and closing in three to five sentences when possible. Consider the placement of “more” in your messaging.

  • Watch your grammar! A second pair of eyes really helps; apps like Grammarly also come in handy.

  • Get creative! Here are some tools: Rhyme Zone, Idioms From The Free Dictionary, and Words to Use.

  • Calls to action are essential, but you have to know what your call to action should be. For example, a recent study conducted by Facebook itself on the shopping habits of Instagrammers, illustrates that 79% off people search for more info after seeing a product or service on Instagram while 65% of people visit the brand’s website or app. So, on Instagram, for example, your call to action may be as simple as #LinkInBio.

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Your Instagram profile aesthetic is becoming as important as your homepage.

They call it your digital footprint; we call it branding. Is your profile crisp? Can I understand your business without scrolling more than three rows deep? Are you using hashtags in your bio and does your website link? Most important of all… how do I get a hold of you if I want to do business with you? If you cannot answer these questions confidently, then we have some tips for you!

Let’s start with the basics and yes, there’s an app for that!

  • Ever hear of a preset? A preset can take a drab photo to fab in a matter of seconds. Presets are the new and improved filter which make for a more consistent feed and we all know consistency is key in branding the look and feel of your company.

  • Try these apps. Yes, fees can range from $3.99 to a whopping one-time fee of $40 but we are talking about about elevating your brand, right? Invest in you! And no, you don’t have to be a technical rockstar to get the hang of this. We watched two YouTube videos and were off to the races.

    • Lightroom: Store and edit your photos and presets here.

    • Moxie: Lightens and softens photos.

    • Pixaloop: Bring life to your photos by adding movement and effects.

    • Huji: Add a retro, vintage quality to any photo and up the cool factor.

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Lightroom Moxie Pixaloop Huji

What about stories and highlights? That’s a part of your brand, too! Create a consistent highlight reel that touches on your brand colors and aesthetics. Using a simple app like Canva or Unfold will allow for even greater consistency and a more polished touch. Even more so, IG stories are a great way to tease your audience into paying closer attention to your static feed, as well as the swipe up feature to visit a specific website, sale, deal or event.

More video content is uploaded in 30 days than the major U.S. television networks have created in 30 years.

One-third of online activity is spent watching video.

85% of the U.S. internet audience watches videos online.

The 25-34 (millennial) age group watches the most online videos and men spend 40% more time watching videos on the internet than women. 

Over half of video content is viewed on mobile. — via wordstream.com

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“Maybe it’s dramatic to call it the death of organic social, but increasingly, we’re telling our clients, ‘If you’re not going to put money behind promoting your content, organic engagement is a real tough thing to produce sustainably.’”- AdWeek

As the largest digital communication platform, Facebook is still one of the best tools for your business to reach, engage and secure customers.

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But organic reach, aka “free” reach, is dying and even Facebook acknowledges we may be headed for zero reach. And, since Facebook now owns Instagram, many brands are feeling the burn on Instagram, too.

Facebook's Declining “Organic” Reach Timeline

2012: About 16% of Facebook Pages’ fans would see posts for pages they followed organically.

2014: Organic reach for the average Facebook Page dropped from 16% to 6.5%.

2018: Facebook shifts again to... "make News Feeds more about connecting with people and less about consuming media in isolation." The end result is that most pages are seeing organic reach around 2%.

“Facebook has evolved into more of a paid marketing platform than an organic one.”

- HUBSPOT

In fact, one of every four Facebook Pages now use paid advertising as part of their strategy. And Facebook accounts for 23% of total U.S. digital ad spending. All of those numbers are sure to increase in 2019. (Source: Buffer)

Step one: What’s your budget?

Step two: What’s your goal?

Step three: What will you advertise?

Step four: Who will you target?

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Everyone is tapping into engagement and new metrics are on the horizon to measure what engagement does for a brand. In fact, Instagram proclaims to be coming out with analytics that will rival fellow social channel, Facebook. No shocker there given that Zuckerberg is now the proud owner of two social media giants. So what’s next?

  • Instagram engagement used to be measured in likes… now we are moving to stickers! Expect to see key brands compete for story time and exposure with branded stickers like you see below. Think music festivals, sporting events, holidays and more. It’s no secret that Instagram is taking a page out of Snapchat’s book and it’s working… it’s working better than it worked for Snapchat.

Here’s what else you should be taking advantage of — Instagram story features. You’ve got your template and your photography down but are you using:

  • Hashtags… you can and should be using up to 10 per story

  • Music

  • The new countdown feature

  • Geotags + Locations

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the rise of SOCIAL CUSTOMER SERVICE…

Facebook acquired WhatsApp in 2014 for 19 billion dollars.

WhatsApp is now set to merge with Facebook and Instagram messenger within the next few years, some say by 2020.

Why does this matter? Consider this: people spent 85 billion hours in WhatsApp over the past three months — versus 31 billion in Facebook.

Note: What is WhatsApp? A free application that allows the sending of text messages and voice calls, as well as video calls, images and other media, documents and user locations. The NEW Business API lets businesses respond to customers for free as long as they do so within 24 hours.

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Influencers are getting more authentic.

  • The global ad spend on influencers is expected to reach $5-10 billion by 2020.

  • Influencer marketing is no longer about the perfect body or skin — consumers want real people.

  • Influencers are getting more personal; lean into authenticity. Embrace the imperfections. Consumers are getting savvier and more particular about where they put their dollars.

  • Think long term partnerships not one offs.

  • Think ambassadors not overnight influence.

  • 2019 is the year of the microinfluencer (accounts that have less than 100,000 followers)

    1. Command a more loyal and engaged community.

      1. Measure your results, use codes and exclusive discounts.

      2. Don’t measure follower growth. Grow your bottom line.

    2. Demand metrics and reporting from your partners.

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in 2019 people will jump more and more between platforms and devices. It’s no longer a question of whether to engage with customers on your blog, Facebook, email or offline. It’s “all of the above.” do your research and focus on the channels and platforms where your audience is most active.

  • What’s next? It becomes integral to interact with consumers on all channels.

  • It’s not just about social media; think of the entire social media experience as a whole.

  • Understand the customer journey… it’s not just, I found you on Google!

  • Social plays a big role in the customer experience — consider what phase of purchasing your customer is in.

  • No playing favorites!

IMAGE VIA BUFFER

IMAGE VIA BUFFER

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dark social and instagram direct are on the rise.

  • What is dark social? It’s just referring to social media we can’t track because it’s private, like links or posts shared in direct messages.

  • In 2019, you can expect Instagram to continue building features for Direct, and we might see DMs disappear from Instagram altogether as it’s spun into its own app, like Facebook did with Messenger. In fact, the standalone “Direct” app already exists in the United Kingdom.

  • Instagram will hopefully make it easier for businesses to respond to all their direct messages too. Currently the Instagram API does not include DMs, so the only way businesses can reply to all of their messages and stories mentions is through their mobile phone.

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social media trends are ever-changing, but here’s what we predict the future of social will entail.

  • IGTV never took off and will likely die out. There is quite a bit of speculation out there. Invest your time wisely.

  • Instagram will add more filters to rival Snapchat and as a result… the slow, final death of Snapchat.

  • Twitter is alive and well. Just ask the politicians, news and sports channels. If you cannot invest the time to utilize the channel to your benefit; hire someone that can… like Oak Street Social!

  • Stop motion is here to stay. And yes, there’s an app for that, too. Try Stop Motion Studio.

  • Penalties for influencers who buy likes and followers including anything from curbing your engagement to deactivating your account.

    “In late 2018, Instagram took its first steps to prevent users from engaging in fraudulent behavior, notifying them with an in-app warning to cut it out,” Creative Director Matt Crump says. “According to Instagram, accounts that ‘continue to use third-party apps to grow their audience may see their Instagram experience impacted.’”

  • Instagram analytics will become even more robust

    “With Facebook’s continued investment in analytics, we’re expecting new insights and much more comprehensive data around how businesses, both big and small, can better understand how their Instagram content is impacting their overall marketing goals.” — Marly Kos, business development and partnership manager at Casetify

*Property and Trademark of Oak Street Social™


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