As defined by Chatbots Magazine, “a chatbot is a service, powered by rules and sometimes artificial intelligence, that you interact with via a chat interface.” Chatbots have revolutionised the way businesses connect with customers and have enhanced their purchasing experience massively. Currently there are over 100,000 monthly active bots on Facebook Messenger with that number set to increase in 2018.
Small business can tap into this trend to help answer basic questions, generate feedback directly from customers and even take orders. Chatbots are relatively low-cost, but give brands the chance to interact quickly with their audience in a way that feels personal.
Key point: Improve the customer experience by using chatbots to interact quickly with them.
The art of storytelling
Another trend that small businesses need to capitalise on is ephemeral content. Ephemeral content is generally short live videos or photos that tell a real-time story. Snapchat, Facebook and Instagram all enable you to create this kind of content. This content appears for 24 hours and then disappears, never to be seen again. It has proven to be extremely popular throughout 2017 and no doubt will continue to be so into 2018.
Businesses and influencers are using this trend to their advantage as it gives them the opportunity to be original, authentic, tell a story in real-time and increase engagement all over mobile. Followers do not want to miss out on content that disappears in 24 hours so they keep coming back for more, just so long as it’s high-quality of course, so planning is key.
Key point: Make the most of both your social media channels and ephemeral content but be sure to build a content strategy for both.
Get the most out of Social Influencers
Small businesses need to consider social influencers to aid them in their digital marketing efforts in 2018. Social influencers are people on social media platforms, sometimes celebrities, that have a large following who have established credibility in a specific industry. A social influencer has access to an audience that a business doesn’t necessarily have access to and can persuade this audience to buy a certain product or service.
Social influencers will generally be given products to promote or be paid to promote a product to their audience via their social profiles. However, it’s really important to note that social media users have become disenchanted with top level influencers who get paid to promote products and are really looking for authentic brand advocates, those social influencers who already like the product and use their product or service in real life. Brand advocates tend to be those who have a following under 10,000.
But why not go big I hear you ask? Well for one, these big influencers tend to cost money. Many small businesses simply don’t have the budget for this, whilst those with a smaller following and, on the plus side, like your brand, will love receiving your product or service from you in return for starting up a conversation about your business. This is great as not only are you spending less but you’re also solidifying your relationship with those who matter. If that wasn’t all, those with a smaller following tend to have higher engagement, therefore it is much more cost-effective for businesses and allow for a more targeted approach.
Key idea: Build relationships with brand advocates with a following and get them talking about you.
If you are looking for advice or support on how to take your business forward in 2018 with the aid of social media, why not give us a call on 01435 817 226 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.