Jan 21

The Best Relationship Marketing Strategies Small Businesses Can Use Today

Consumers prefer to give their business to people they like. The age of entrepreneurs hiding behind faceless company setups is long gone. Today’s businesses must have a human touch to their products and communications with existing and prospective customers.

If you run a small or medium-sized business, the best way to cultivate a personal connection with your customers and prospects is through relationship building marketing strategies. When you succeed at building strong relationships with your customers, they will reward you with loyalty and referrals.

This article explores some of the best tactics you can use in your business to build lasting relationships with your customers and prospects.

Focus on Account-Based Marketing

One of the biggest mistakes marketers make is failing to clearly define who their ideal customer is. Without a specific customer in mind, marketing communications tend to be generic and unfocused. The cure for this problem is account-based marketing.

Account-based marketing refers to the practice of using highly-targeted marketing strategies that are tailored to specific accounts a marketer wants to win over. Instead of running a campaign targeting 100 different accounts and hoping that a few will bite, you should decide on the one account you want to land and tailor all your marketing communications to that one account.

This approach yields high-quality leads with a high likelihood of converting. Moreover, when you only have a handful of high-quality leads to focus on, you can devote more time to them and build an even stronger and more productive relationship with them.

Build a Community around Your Business

In the old days, only the products with fanatic followings such as popular movie franchises and video games enjoyed the privilege of having an engaged community around their products. Today, because of the internet, even the most boring businesses can build communities around their products and services.

You can take advantage of social media and email marketing to build an engaged community for your business. If you offer a ‘boring’ service such as plumbing or home repair, the trick is to look for verticals in your industry with high engagement on social media.

For plumbing or home repair, for instance, you can build pages on Instagram and Facebook for various verticals such as homes for sale in your area, luxury real estate in your city, and other relevant topics. You can then advertise your business to the people who follow these pages.

 Instagram allows its users to build as many pages as they want as long as you don’t break the platform’s rules. In fact, this is one of the strategies that serial entrepreneur Gretta Van Riel has used to build several multi-million e-commerce businesses.

Become a Brand Butler

In 2010, Trendwatching.com published a piece touting how serving was the new selling. They called on entrepreneurs and businesses to be ‘brand butlers.’ Given how marketing evolved in the last decade from 2010 to 2019, they couldn’t have been more correct in their evaluation that serving was indeed the new selling.

If you want to remain competitive in 2020 and beyond, you must join the ‘brand butler’ marketing phenomenon. Consumers today have access to pretty much any piece of information they need. They know from the click of a button which businesses offer the best convenience, independence, and satisfaction.

Given this new landscape, you must polish your butler skills and build a down-to-earth relationship with your customers. As a small business owner, you have a unique advantage over large corporations. You have more leeway to create individualized experiences and products that are tailor-made to every customer’s unique needs.

Co-Creation and Feedback Utilization

Businesses that understand how to build customer-centric products and services have a tremendous competitive advantage over their peers. The first step to gaining this competitive advantage is figuring out what customers actually want. This is where co-creation comes in.

Co-creation refers to the process where a business invites consumers to play a central role in the designing and building of products and services. The internet has made this process much easier as businesses can today invite ideas, comments, and designs from their customers cheaply and fast.

Remember, though, that co-creation involves a lot more than inviting your customers to send ideas, comments, and designs. It has to be a continuous process and the consumers must be engaged from the start to finish. In the book the 7 Principles of Complete Co-creation, Jansen and Pieters note that co-creation is an ongoing transparent value-creation process with extensive collaboration with all relevant parties, including end-users, playing a central role.

Closing Thoughts

There are a lot of opportunities for businesses that take relationship building seriously. Having a brand that embodies customer service, a holistic butler mindset, community, and on-going co-creation can give you tremendous competitive advantages as a small business owner.

Take advantage of both offline and online tools to build lasting relationships with your customers no matter what business niche you are in. As mentioned earlier, even businesses in the most ‘boring’ niches can creatively build communities around their products and services. Relationship marketing is a gold mine for every serious small business owner.

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Jan 20

Dropshipping Market Size Worth $557.9 Billion by 2025 | CAGR: 28.8%: Grand View Research, Inc.

SAN FRANCISCO, Jan. 20, 2020 /PRNewswire/ — The global dropshipping market size is expected to reach USD 557.9 billion by 2025, registering a CAGR of 28.8% over the forecast period, according to a study conducted by Grand View Research, Inc. Rising consumer inclination toward online shopping platforms, coupled with the proliferation of internet users, is anticipated to positively impact market growth. Dropshippers offer services to retailers such as direct transfer of goods to customers and inventory maintenance. Moreover, benefits provided through dropshipping services encourage e-commerce companies to adopt these services, as the shipment of the products/goods is not limited to the internal boundaries of the country and can even offer product deliveries across international borders.


Key suggestions from the report:

  • The electronics and media segment accounted for a market share exceeding 22.0% in 2018 owing to increasing innovations in the electronics industry, coupled with rising demand for electronics
  • The food and personal care segment is expected to register a CAGR exceeding 30.0% from 2019 to 2025, owing to the rising consumer demand for skincare products and cosmetics, among others
  • The fashion segment held the largest market share of over 30.0% in 2018, which can be attributed to the growing disposable income of consumers, coupled with rise in online retail spending among consumers
  • Asia Pacific is expected to witness substantial growth owing to the high percentage of global population and increasing internet penetration, which, in turn, drives the e-commerce industry in the region
  • The dropshipping market is fragmented and characterized by the presence of small- and medium-sized companies. The major global players operating in the market include AliDropship; Doba, Inc.; SaleHoo Group Limited; and Oberlo, Inc.

Read 160 page research report with ToC on “Dropshipping Market Size, Share Trends Analysis Report By Product (Toys, Hobby DIY, Furniture Appliances, Food Personal Care, Electronics Media, Fashion), By Region, And Segment Forecasts, 2019 – 2025” at: https://www.grandviewresearch.com/industry-analysis/dropshipping-market

Rising disposable income and increasing internet and smartphone penetration have favored the e-commerce industry, thereby impacting the adoption of dropshipping. Dropshipping enables e-commerce companies to capitalize on warehouse and logistics investments. Moreover, fewer capital investments in inventory and logistics have resulted in an increased demand for dropshipping amongst retailers.

Several e-commerce startup businesses are opting for dropshipping services since fewer investments are required for product warehousing, resulting in reduced shipping and logistics costs. The growing number of online purchases by consumers has enabled the emergence of new e-commerce companies. Inclination of emerging e-commerce companies toward dropshipping business is further generating avenues for market growth.

However, government rules and regulations for product shipment and cybersecurity threats are hindering the market growth. Moreover, the General Agreement on Trade in Services (GATS) comprises rules and regulations governing international trade in services, with significant implications for e-commerce. The Anti-Spam Law is in place to protect consumers from receiving unsolicited marketing material, thereby restraining the growth of the market. 

Grand View Research has segmented the global dropshipping market based on product and region:

  • Dropshipping Product Outlook (Revenue, USD Million, 2015 – 2025)
  • Dropshipping Regional Outlook (Revenue, USD Million, 2015 – 2025)

Find more research reports on Communication Services Industry, by Grand View Research:

Gain access to Grand View Compass, our BI enabled intuitive market research database of 10,000+ reports

About Grand View Research

Grand View Research, U.S.-based market research and consulting company, provides syndicated as well as customized research reports and consulting services. Registered in California and headquartered in San Francisco, the company comprises over 425 analysts and consultants, adding more than 1200 market research reports to its vast database each year. These reports offer in-depth analysis on 46 industries across 25 major countries worldwide. With the help of an interactive market intelligence platform, Grand View Research helps Fortune 500 companies and renowned academic institutes understand the global and regional business environment and gauge the opportunities that lie ahead.

Sherry James
Corporate Sales Specialist, USA
Grand View Research, Inc.
Phone: +1-415-349-0058
Toll Free: 1-888-202-9519
Email: sales@grandviewresearch.com 
Web: https://www.grandviewresearch.com 
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Jan 19

4 Questions to Boost Your Social Media Marketing

Jorg Greuel/Getty Images

Companies of all sizes today are looking to improve the effectiveness of their social media marketing — and with good reason: Digital platforms are constantly innovating the way that brands are discovered, shared and experienced. The data speaks for itself: The number of worldwide social network users is expected to reach 3.09 billion monthly active users by 2021, and global internet users spend some 136 minutes per day surfing social networks. Many organizations have responded by allocating more resources to digital marketing — technology now accounts for 29% of total marketing expense budgets, according to a recent Gartner estimate, and digital ad spend for 2020 is estimated at about $385 billion.

Yet these numbers are a double-edged sword. Consumers today react to products, services and ad campaigns in real-time through social media, creating new demands on organizations. Generating and sustaining high levels of engagement and enthusiasm online requires clarity around the firm’s goals and values.

Successful digital strategies are not about aesthetics or style, but a fit between what your brand promises and delivers. To develop your strategy, ask yourself the following questions:

1. What are your goals?

In the case of startups and niche products, your social media marketing strategy may begin with the need to test ideas, create awareness and build anticipation for new products and services. In other cases, the goals can be far more specific — boosting sales, geographic expansion, increasing real-time brand engagement, or generating quality sales leads.

Once you’ve set your goals, identify your metrics for success. Are you looking to gain “likes”? Do you want to spark an online dialogue around an issue? Or do you want to inspire behavior change, for example, encouraging your followers to recycle? Your metrics must align with your marketing goals.

The sheer volume of available data can make this task challenging. Clearly defined metrics, including a timeline and budget, will ensure that your campaign is on track. Not only do goals allow you to clearly measure your progress, they will also give you a clear answer to the next question that you need to ask which is…

2. Which platforms should we be using?

Decision making around platforms must be rooted in an understanding of your customer’s identity and preferences. Different social platforms appeal to different demographics, and you need to do the research to find out where your target audience hangs out online. For example, younger audiences may be more effectively reached on newer platforms, like TikTok or Snapchat. Health and wellness brands, with their emphasis on aesthetics, may want to develop on a more visual strategy, focused on Instagram. The same logic applies to geography — WhatsApp is popular in India, whereas if you want to reach people in China, you’d need to focus on WeChat or Weibo.

3. What is your content strategy?  

Quite often, organizations have the budget, team, agencies, and ideas in place, but they have haven’t thought deeply about content. This leaves both revenue and goodwill on the table: One survey revealed that 46% of consumers reported they follow brands because of the inspirational content. You need to understand what types of content — for example, articles, video, pictures — will drive engagement with your audience. Great content strategies create conversation and sharing with the brand and amongst other users.

Your content should be unique, useful, and shareable. For example, one of the authors (Deepa) is currently working with ArogyaWorld, a global health nonprofit, on a campaign to help establish some common understanding around “eating right” in India. Inspired by the U.S. government’s MyPlate.gov initiative, we worked with a leading design firm to translate the Indian government’s complex nutritional guidelines into a simple picture for both North and South Indian cuisine, showing cooked quantities and meal plan options for various ages and lifestyles. The graphic will be rolled out on social media and in its Healthy Workplace program that cover 3 million employees.

If your content is sensitive, your content strategy should take that into consideration. For example, Techdivine, a firm owned by one of the authors (Ananthanarayanan), once worked with a client in the mental health industry who was concerned about the lack of engagement on their Facebook page. It quickly became clear that most users were not comfortable engaging on this issue on a public platform. We re-oriented the strategy to encourage users to chat with the brand by using private messaging options of social networking sites. We also created resources which allowed people to get answers to their questions securely with expert articles shared via exclusive password access through private chats on social networking platforms.

4. Are you ready to talk with your audience — in real time?

Social media interactions are two-way — driven by both brands and consumers — so your organization needs to show that it is listening and engaging with questions, concerns, and suggestions. Companies that seize a moment can generate brand awareness and goodwill. For example, when a Twitter user recently mocked a South African man who proposed in a KFC, the fast-food chain responded by providing the couple with a wedding planner. Many other brands, including Coca-Cola, Woolworths and Audi, also chipped in to support the couple, showering them with gifts and experiences.

Social media offers brands the opportunity to create memorable experiences. Techdivine, a firm owned by one of the authors (Ananth), once saw a tweet from someone travelling from Manhattan to Chicago for the first time, mentioning that she was looking for something spicy to eat. We looked back at her earlier tweets, which hinted at an interest in arts. So, on behalf of our client, a restaurant based out of Chicago, we welcomed her to the Windy City and even shared links to some interesting art events and activities around the city. We made sure, not to pitch our restaurant prematurely. Curious to know who we were, she thanked us for our tweet and inquired about our restaurant. At this point, we sent her a beautiful collage of some popular spicy dishes that the restaurant served, along with a map and a deal she could unlock if she visited the restaurant and tagged the brand by checking in. Needless to say, what followed was a visit, not only from her, but many others who saw this conversation online.

Brands today, have a much bigger ability (and responsibility) to inspire and connect with consumers. Trusted brands are more likely to attract business, and social media is a powerful tool to create engagement, gain feedback, and build that trust with your audience. By answering the above questions, you can ensure that your social strategy aligns with your goals and adds values for your users.

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Jan 18

Casper’s IPO Shows How Tech Changed Mattress Sales

In less than a decade, Casper and its copycats took mattress buying from an unpleasant affair into an efficient, customer-friendly process. The evolution began with a foam mattress rolled up in a shipping box. But Casper’s success is just as much about online marketing and direct-to-consumer strategies that have upended traditional retail.

Sales of online mattress brands are now 14% of the $17 billion domestic mattress industry, according to an estimate from KeyBanc Capital Markets, from roughly zero in 2014.

In its IPO filing, Casper talks up its digital prowess. “We have elevated our brand through a sophisticated, data-driven, and integrated marketing strategy,” the company states, noting it has earned one billion social media mentions over the last five years.

And yet, Casper’s S-1 filing simultaneously explains the limits of technology. The company has 60 retail stores, and it says that there is the potential for 200 over time. That’s a lot of bricks and mortar for a company born on the internet.

“Our presence in physical retail stores has proven complementary to our e-commerce channel,” the company states in the filing. Casper says e-commerce sales in cities with retail stores have grown more than 100% faster on average than cities without its retail stores. That stat should serve as a wake-up call to the retail industry and every analyst and investor that follows it.

The so-called omnichannel trend is not new, but its success has more meaning coming from a start-up like Casper than, say, a traditional retailer like
(WMT) or
(JWN), which often cite their omnichannel strategies.

(SHOP), which runs an e-commerce platform used by more than a million merchants, says physical stores have become a crucial tool for its web-native clients.

“It’s a very common path for Shopify brands to start online, begin experimenting, start selling, and when they get to a certain level of sales, they start to think about how to expand their brand offline,” says Arpan Podduturi, Shopify’s director of product. He cites the increasing noise and rising cost of digital marketing on platforms like Google, Instagram, and
“Those are really crowded channels now,” Podduturi says.

“I think it’s really important to set the record straight,” he adds. “Customer acquisition cost in the near future will surpass the cost of the actual products being sold.”

That dynamic makes stores a viable part of business models once again. But don’t confuse the bricks-and-mortar renaissance with a comeback for traditional retailers. Podduturi says web-retailers are using their online sales data to forecast demand and find the best locations. Those are the “halo effects” of e-commerce, he says. Digital marketing chops are a competitive advantage, online and off.

But here’s the problem for Casper: Technology can only go so far in changing economic realities. Unfortunately for Casper, it still shares many of the characteristics of the underperforming tech IPOs of 2019, including huge aspirations and large losses with no profits in sight.

Similar to the multi-trillion-dollar transportation markets cited by
Uber Technologies
(UBER) in its IPO, Casper points to a market size of $432 billion for the “global sleep economy.” That figure includes $106 billion for bedroom furniture, $81 billion for mattresses, and $98 billion for bedding, among other categories. The dreamy addressable-market won’t help Casper’s credibility among investors, who have begun to demand a concrete path to profits.

Casper’s losses expanded to $95 million in its latest four quarters, from $89 million in the previous 12-month period.

The company did not respond to our request for comment about the growing losses, but a huge marketing expense is surely one factor. The company notes that it invested $423 million in marketing from January 2016 through September 2019.

Growth investors are willing to absorb losses, but Casper’s revenue trends could be a non starter for many of them. Revenue growth was roughly 20% in the first nine months of 2019, down from 46% annualized growth over the prior three years.

And despite the buzz of its forthcoming IPO, Casper isn’t alone in the world of mattress innovators.
Purple Innovation
(PRPL), which went public through a special purpose acquisition company, or SPAC, in 2018, sells its own version of a bed-in-a-box, at a higher price point than Casper. Purple’s average mattress is about $1,800, while Casper has most recently cited an “average order value” of $820.

Like Casper, Purple has grown into a popular web brand through clever digital marketing. The company says its online video ads have over 1.8 billion views.

Unlike Casper, however, Purple has improving financials. The company reported $8.4 million in profits in its latest quarter. Sales increased 66%, to $117 million. In the same quarter, Casper reported $128 million in revenue, up 24% year-over-year, with net losses of $23 million.

Tech or not, the numbers still matter. That was the lesson of 2019, courtesy of Uber,
(LYFT), and WeWork. And it’s one that’s likely to keep Casper’s bankers up at night in the coming weeks.

Write to Tae Kim at tae.kim@barrons.com

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Jan 17

Cheetah Mobile Appoints New Chief Financial Officer

BEIJING, Jan. 17, 2020 /PRNewswire/ — Cheetah Mobile Inc. (NYSE: CMCM) (“Cheetah Mobile” or the “Company”), a leading mobile internet company with global market coverage, today announced that it has appointed Mr. Thomas Jintao Ren as the Company’s Chief Financial Officer, effective January 31st, 2020. Mr. Ren will succeed Mr. Vincent Jiang, who plans to resign from his position for personal reasons. In the future, Mr. Vincent Jiang will continue to support the Company’s growth.

Mr. Sheng Fu, Cheetah Mobile’s Chairman and Chief Executive Officer stated, “We are pleased to welcome Thomas to join Cheetah Mobile as Chief Financial Officer. With his strong track records in capital markets, corporate finance and management, we believe Thomas will be a great addition to our management team and will bring rich experience for Cheetah Mobile’s future development.”

Mr. Ren stated, “I am honored to be appointed as the chief financial officer of Cheetah Mobile. I look forward to working with the team to continue our growth and strengthen our leadership in the industry.”

Thomas Jintao Ren will join us from Renren Inc. (NYSE: RENN), where he has served as a chief financial officer since September 2015. Mr. Ren also served as the chief financial officer of Kaixin Auto Holdings (NASDAQ:KXIN) from September 2015 to August 2019. Kaixin Auto Holidings is a subsidiary of Renren Inc. Prior to rejoining Renren Inc., Mr. Ren was the chief financial officer at Chukong Technologies. From 2005 and 2014, Mr. Ren served as Renren Inc.’s senior finance director. Prior to that, Mr. Ren had worked at KPMG for five years. Mr. Ren holds a bachelor’s degree in economics from Renmin University of China. He is a certified public accountant in China and the United States, and a chartered professional accountant in Canada.

About Cheetah Mobile Inc.

Cheetah Mobile is a leading mobile Internet company with global market coverage. It has attracted hundreds of millions of monthly active users through its mobile utility products such as Clean Master and Cheetah Keyboard, casual games such as Piano Tiles 2, Bricks n Balls, and live streaming product Live.me. The Company provides its advertising customers, which include direct advertisers and mobile advertising networks through which advertisers place their advertisements, with direct access to highly targeted mobile users and global promotional channels. The Company also provides value-added services to its mobile application users through the sale of in-app virtual items on selected mobile products and games. Cheetah Mobile is committed to leveraging its cutting-edge artificial intelligence technologies to power its products and make the world smarter. It has been listed on the New York Stock Exchange since May 2014. 

Safe Harbor Statement

This press release contains forward-looking statements. These statements, including management quotes and business outlook, constitute forward-looking statements under the U.S. Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. These forward-looking statements can be identified by terminology such as “will,” “expects,” “anticipates,” “future,” “intends,” “plans,” “believes,” “estimates” and similar statements. Such statements involve inherent risks and uncertainties. A number of factors could cause actual results to differ materially from those contained in the forward-looking statements, including but are not limited to the following: Cheetah Mobile’s growth strategies; Cheetah Mobile’s ability to retain and increase its user base and expand its product and service offerings; Cheetah Mobile’s ability to monetize its platform; Cheetah Mobile’s future business development, financial condition and results of operations; competition with companies in a number of industries including internet companies that provide online marketing services and internet value-added services; expected changes in Cheetah Mobile’s revenues and certain cost or expense items; and general economic and business condition globally and in China. Further information regarding these and other risks is included in Cheetah Mobile’s filings with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. Cheetah Mobile does not undertake any obligation to update any forward-looking statement as a result of new information, future events or otherwise, except as required under applicable law.

Investor Relations Contact
Cheetah Mobile Inc.
Helen Jing Zhu
Tel: +86 10 6292 7779 ext. 1600
Email: helenjingzhu@cmcm.com

ICR Inc.
Jack Wang
Tel: +1 (646) 417-5395
Email: IR@cmcm.com


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Jan 16

5 ways to get more Visitors for your Business Internet Blog

Everybody believes that this generation has taken a great leap in business management particularly in the online world. As everybody turns global, business community utilizes the internet as an effective means to reach out to the possible market.Everybody believes that this generation has taken a great leap in business management particularly in the online world. As everybody turns global, business community utilizes the internet as an effective means to reach out to the possible market

One way to reach possible buyers or clients is through online business blogs. These blogs are considered to be an effective tool to educate and advertise products in the internet.

However, the effectiveness of the blog will be dependent on how it is frequently visited and read by the people. As a businessman utilizing the internet, you must be aware that there are billions of blogs and articles out there that compete to your blog.The solution to that problem cannot be deciphered at first glance.

It needs to be practiced and mastered in time. However, there are some basic guidelines that a business internet blogger should understand in order to invite readers and visitors.

5 Tips For Get More Visitors To Your Blog

Here are some of the ways to promote your business internet blog:

Be creative

Before you will do the basics in promoting your blog in the internet, you must first focus on the creativity of your writing. Your writing skills really matters on how you make everybody want to read your blog.

However, too technical could be bringing disaster to your blog.

Online readers don’t want to think. They want to be spoon feed. Making your article easy to read will make it more appealing.

It is recommendable than using technical words to impress your readers.

Simple yet precise

Statistics shows that almost 50% do research when they use the internet. If you are in business, you want to grasp this 50% and persuade them to visit and read your blog.

A simple and precise title will be an answer for that. The more precise and simple your title is, the more it is searchable in the search engines. 

Numbers are also important in your title because in psychology, numbers denotes productivity and fortune. Aside from numbers, intriguing questions could also be a good decoy to your blog.

Use social media sites

The other 50% of the internet users are either playing or wasting time in social media sites. These internet users however, are really not the buyer type but they could help your blog in ranking if ever you tend to optimize your blog.

Optimize it

If you are really for the gold, then optimizing your blog is the best way to make it searchable in Google and other search engines. For example Meetanshi Blog

Suggest for action

Aside from the fact that authors would like to be criticized, a blog that suggests interaction is considered to be a class A blog because it would put readers in a situation that they would be reading your next blog. Although, not all will be pleased with your blog, if you are in a business sector, all of these emotions are considered to be a positive indication that your blog is working.

News From

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With the objective to g

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Jan 15

10 Important 2020 Social Media Trends You Need to Know

Want to succeed on social media in 2020?

Then you need to know what trends will matter most this year.

While the technology we have access to has never been greater, the competition has also never been higher

Plus, there is no shortage of platforms where you could be investing your time.

But in the end, it all comes back to your audience.

Are you getting in front of them where they’re spending their time?

Are you giving them what they want or need, at the right time?

What matters to them?

These are the questions we all need answers to – and these answers seemingly change every year.

So I asked some really smart people for their thoughts on social media marketing in 2020.

Here are 10 social media trends that will matter most to marketers, brands, and businesses in 2020, according to 34 experts.

Want all the social media trends now? Download our ebook: The Biggest Social Media Trends of 2020, According to 34 Experts

Trend #1: Connection + Community + Experience

In 2020, the big trend will actually be a return to the basics.

Lisa Buyer, CEO, and Social PR Consultant, The Buyer Group, said that it is no longer enough to provide a service your customer needs. Self-serving social messages won’t cut it in 2020, either.

“The new mindset is this: The relationship we build with our customers is more important than the products and services we sell them,” Buyer said.

Part of the “back-to-basics” approach to social media means you should step back and think about two things, according to Michael Williams, Senior Social Media Manager, Jellyfish:

  • Who is your audience?
  • What are their interests and challenges?

“When it comes to creating content, brands need to counteract the social media noise, think ‘less is more,’ and create messaging that actually resonates with their key audience(s),” Williams said.

That all starts with the connection.

“People are looking for connections on a personal level with businesses and brands that feel like part of their community,” said Mary Davies, President, Beanstalk Internet Marketing. “Businesses will need to put more effort than ever into being more of a helpful, understanding ‘friend’ in a community than simply a service/product provider.”

Elena Salazar, Digital Marketing Manager, VMware, said smart brands should aim to make their social media social. It may seem obvious, but there are still a lot of brands that don’t respond to comments on their posts, she said.

“It is important to listen to your audience and provide value to them as opposed to solely using your social media channels to promote your products/services,” Salazar said. “With more and more competition on social media, truly connecting with people will help humanize your brand and gain the trust of your audience (which will help your sales!).”

Part of that means spending more time building engaging content and being more engaged, said Amanda Webb, Digital Marketing Strategy Specialist, Spiderworking.

“This is one area where SMBs can still win,” according to Webb. “Social networks will also recognize engaging pages and give them a lift in reach. This engagement will help when you create ads, too.”

Erin Jones, Founder, RepBright, expects to see an increase in the value of authentic engagement in 2020. After all, social media was never meant to be a platform for push marketing, and users have shown that they value engagement and interactions with brands.

“People want to feel like they know who they’re spending money with, as a result, brands will need to step up and provide an environment for their customers to do so quickly and easily,” Jones said. “Making them feel like they’re part of a group that they want to be in will ensure brand loyalty and great social media engagement.”

That means community will also be key.

That’s why brands should create their own groups on Facebook (and specialized LinkedIn groups), rather than just having a company page to get likes or follows, said Krystian Szastok, SEM Consultant, KrystianSzastok.co.uk, tells.

You have the power to build a strong community around your brand and create movements that have an impact beyond increasing sales, said Lenka Koppova, Freelance Social Media Strategist Founder, Cambridge Social Media.

“The reason why I call it community, is the ability of brands online not only to educate and entertain their audiences but also to engage and facilitate meaningful interactions among their followers, users, and fans,” Koppova said.

Davies believes that, in 2020, we will see the group and like-minded community spaces dominating more and more, which means a much heavier workload for marketers and brands.

“Groups and communities require a lot of time to manage, as they really are all about the personal communication, not just posting and waiting for the comments to roll in or paying for an ad and waiting for a click,” Davies said. “Leaning on influencers and experts will continue to be a major factor in social media, especially in these community-minded groups.”

And don’t forget to focus on creating experience, said Brie Anderson, Program Director of Digital Marketing, WSU Tech.

“Brands should focus on their groups, direct messages, and comments as the conversation is key to community and experience,” Anderson said. “Giveaways and automated shoutouts don’t cut it anymore, brands are going to have to have a vested interest in their customer base and engage with them online.”

Companies that adhere to the principle of “people not just pixels” will reap rewards in 2020, said Mel Carson, Founder, CEO Principal Strategist, Delightful Communications.

Trend #2: Authentic Influencers

Influencer marketing isn’t going anywhere; in fact, it’s maturing, said Erin Fredregill, Founder CEO, Robe + Signet.

“The key is in creating a crystal clear influencer strategy that thoughtfully integrates with your overall marketing strategy, establishing a thorough influencer vetting process and providing a brief that clearly outlines your brand’s goals and content guidelines while still allowing micro-influencers to direct the narrative in a way that feels authentic to their audience,” Fredregill said.

Kendall Bird, Social Media Manager, DKY, believes influencers who are authentic will be more powerful than “power influencers” (e.g., Kim Kardashian), as these authentic influencers will share content they care about and actually use on a regular basis.

“Social media users know what a forced relationship with a brand looks like, and they’re tired of seeing these interactions,” Bird said. “I encourage brands and companies to look for influencers who will authentically use their product or service and share it with their audiences.”

For smaller organizations or those in the B2B industry that may be struggling to see how influencer marketing can be implemented to reach their goals, there are a few places to start, said Anastasia Warren, Senior Social Media Manager, KoMarketing Associates.

“Look into industry event speakers or ambassadors to see who your target audience is paying attention to on social media and on the floor at industry events,” Warren said. “Additionally, look internally at how employees can step into thought leadership roles and become the voice of an organization through engagement and amplification of messaging.”

In 2020, our concept of influencer tiers – major influencers with millions of followers all the way to micro-influencers in the 1,000s – will expand even further because it’s becoming easier for everyone to be an influencer, as Kevan Lee, VP of Marketing, Buffer, points out.

He said businesses can take advantage of this by doubling down on employee advocacy (more on this in Trend #5) and user-generated content (see Trend #10).

Trend #3: Diversify with TikTok, Reddit More

Emma Franks, Sr. Paid Social Account Manager, Hanapin Marketing, expects diversification to be a primary trend in social media, especially on the advertising side. Diversification is also beneficial for risk mitigation by reducing dependency on Facebook and/or LinkedIn.

“Facebook is no longer the one-stop-shop it used to be. Younger demographics are favoring the sister platform of Instagram, as well as TikTok and Snapchat,” Franks said. “Every ‘early-mover’ advertiser who embraces smaller networks now (e.g., Twitter, Quora, Reddit, Snapchat) will enjoy an environment of relatively low cost due to lower levels of competition.”

Speaking of TikTok – Brandon Doyle, CEO Founder, Wallaroo Media, said getting onto that platform now is key.

“Organic reach on TikTok is like nothing we’ve ever seen. It’s better than even the early days of Facebook,” Doyle said. “Create content that will resonate with your target audience, but be willing to test and iterate over time to see what works best. We’ve seen incredible results for our clients. The ad platform is early-stage but the ROI there is great, too.”

Debbie Miller, President, Social Hospitality, expects more marketers to start exploring ways to take advantage of TikTok’s advertising platform to reach engaged Gen Z consumers.

“It could also be worthwhile to locate the platform’s top users to endorse your brand if they’re a fit,” Miller said. “This younger demographic is highly engaged and trusting of the opinions of their peers.”

Another platform companies need to put on the radar in 2020: Reddit, according to Brent Csutoras, Adviser, Search Engine Journal.

Many companies have found marketing on Reddit difficult and intimidating. But consumers’ use of Reddit is growing rapidly and view brands on Reddit as more authoritative (likely due to the difficulty and commitment required to be successful on Reddit), he said.

“It has never been a better time for brands to establish themselves on a platform that is largely responsible for creating much of the internet culture we have come to enjoy today,” Csutoras said. “With over 430 million monthly active users and about 32% of all Americans on Reddit each month, brands need to take a serious look at making Reddit a part of their 2020 plans.”

Trend #4: Reimagine Social Analytics

The era of reporting on vanity metrics seems to be nearing its end, especially on Facebook-owned platforms.

Anna Bredava, Marketing Manager, Awario, noted that this should make social analytics tools even more useful to marketers, as we analyze and report on our social media successes and failures.

Sam Ruchlewicz, VP of Digital Strategy Data Analytics, Warschawski, agreed. He said as the amount of money being spent on social media (ads, influencer programs, organic programs, etc.) increases, so will the scrutiny of those investments by both marketing leaders and the C-suite.

“Smart marketers will continue investing in measurement and analytics programs that go beyond the standard vanity metrics and toward meaningful metrics that more accurately align with larger organizational/business goals,” Ruchlewicz said. “On the analytics side, it has never been more important for marketers to create their own source of truth and do their own math in terms of quantifying outcomes, especially when it comes to measuring incrementality. As machine learning continues to evolve, the brands with the best data will rise to the top – so make sure you have the infrastructure in place to do that.”

So that leaves us with an important question to answer: how will analytics measure reach in a like-less world and correlate activities of potential customer to marketer objectives?

“Deeper, inferential metrics will be needed to describe how social media influence consumer behavior and local commerce,” Pierre DeBois, Founder and CEO, Zimana Analytics. “Social media platforms must refresh their analytic dashboards to provide more transparency behind the measurements.”

Trend #5: Use Employee Advocacy to Your Advantage

Your employees are more important to the success of your company than you think, said Ted Rubin, CMO, Photofy.

“Brands that are winning this new journey are providing large quantities of fresh and relevant content for shoppers to use when they actually need it,” Rubin said. “Empower your employees and they will power your brand.”

Employee generated content helps build brand trust and reinforce relationships, as Kendall Bird points out.

“I encourage all companies to think about employee advocacy, even if it is starting on a smaller scale with employees sharing blog content to their social media networks,” she said.

Trend #6: Get Creative: Stop Being Boring!

Boring brands are everywhere, with their boring social media content.

In B2B tech, for instance, Mel Carson is always looking for more creative ways to stand out in a sea of blah, blah, blah. For instance, showcasing what it all means with dynamic examples, which may be:

  • Short (but effective) videos shot at events where tech partners talk about their solutions, how the idea came about, how it was built, etc.
  • Short-form animated GIFs and videos that are designed to inspire the viewer, not just to understand, but to take action.

Who wants to go to a brand page and just see a bunch of ‘buy my stuff!’ posts or boring posts that don’t apply to their life or solve their problems?

Nobody, that’s who, said Chris Sciulli, Digital Marketing Lead, The International Society of Automation / Owner Author, SmokehouseSEO.com.

So, in 2020, start being interesting and stop using your social media as a place where you stand on a box and shout ads at people.

“Nobody cares about your ads unless you have shown your worth by providing quality consumable content,” Sciulli said. “Nobody cares that you just got a new drinking fountain in the break room. Put yourself in the place of their visitors and think about what they would want to see and interact with.”

Trend #7: Stories 2.0

Smart brands/businesses would do well to ensure they have a solid Stories strategy for 2020 with daily images, micro-videos, and content that audiences value, said Mari Smith, Social Media Thought Leader CEO, Mari Smith International, Inc.

“Follow those accounts leading the way,” Smith said. “Get creative. Be sure to always tie to the bottom line and add your CTAs.”

Sarah Clarke, Media Strategist Founder, Dufferin Media, believes the consumption of ephemeral content (social media content that is only available for a limited amount of time and then disappears) will continue increasing in 2020.

“Stories are a perfect way to get the attention, for a few valuable seconds, of an audience that loves authentic creative content,” Clarke said. “Stories are a great way to add a touch of humanity to your social media using emojis, videos, and stickers.”

Smart brands and businesses will make this a greater focus in their 2020 marketing strategy if they want to have a higher level of success reaching their audiences, and increasing engagement, Clarke said.

Trend #8: Use Social Media as a Discovery Engine

Are you using social media to drive direct traffic and branded search? If not, you should be in 2020, said Mark Traphagen, VP of Content Strategy, Aimclear

“Ahead-of-the-game brands will add paid and organic social posts using arresting creative, emblazoned with a brand name along with ‘money’ terms and phrases prominently displayed,” Traphagen said. “The objective is driving top-of-funnel seekers to brand-specific search – low cost on the social end; incredible potential value on the search traffic end.”

But that’s just one way to use social media as a discovery engine. You can also use social media to point to private messaging and text message clubs to stay in touch, said Virginia Nussey, Director of Marketing, Mobile Monkey.

She expects more brands to develop high-value, high-transparency, highly personalized VIP access programs.

“Check out Gary Vaynerchuk for a first look at how this is working,” Nussey said. “He uses the opening of his YouTube videos to share an opt-in text message phone number. The text message club starts with an automated welcome message. After that, Vaynerchuk personally sends motivation and lifestyle messages to the community with a text message blast tool. The strategy is part automation, part personalization, and a 100% scalable brand connection.”

Trend #9: YouTube Video

Video may not be a hot new trend, but it remains an important trend in social media.

As Joe Youngblood, Founder, Winner Winner Chicken Dinner, put it: 2020 is the year that video content on social media is no longer a nice-to-have, but a must-have.

“Data has suggested for some time that consumers who view online videos are more likely than their counterparts to make a purchase,” Youngblood said. “Consumers now appear to expect video content from a brand they are going to do business with. If you haven’t started experimenting with video, now is the time to get going or you’ll risk falling behind the competition.”

Oh, and don’t forget: YouTube is a social media platform. And it’s bigger than Facebook.

“In 2020, the biggest trend that smart brands and businesses should focus on for greater success is the emergence of YouTube as the leading social media platform,” said Greg Jarboe, President Co-founder, SEO-PR.

Why YouTube in 2020?

In the full ebook (download to see it all), Jarboe lays out all the latest juicy data and stats, which include this important fact: YouTube is the #2 site on the web (behind only Google), while Facebook ranks fourth, according to Alexa.

Trend #10: Leverage UGC

The content your audience creates is invaluable to your brand, according to Kristi Kellogg, CEO, and Founder, Dazzling Digital.

“Your customers (and potential customers) find content posted by their peers far more influential, trustworthy, and compelling than the content a brand creates itself,” Kellogg said.

She said every brand can take three steps in 2020 to get more user-generated content (UGC) and earn more social proof:

  • Encourage your audience to tag your brand in social posts by always reposting and/or featuring that UGC.
  • Comment and interact with your audience regularly.
  • Run contests that drive UGC.

Want More Social Media Trends Insights for 2020?

This only scratches the surface of what you’ll find in our new ebook, The Biggest Social Media Trends of 2020, According to 34 Experts. Ready for more?

Click here to download The Biggest Social Media Trends of 2020, According to 34 Experts

You’ll get more uncensored and unfiltered insights and tips straight from these marketing experts on how to succeed on social media in 2020:

  • Brie E Anderson
  • Kendall Bird
  • Anna Bredava
  • Lisa Buyer
  • Mel Carson
  • Sarah Clarke
  • Brent Csutoras
  • Mary Davies
  • Pierre DeBois
  • Brandon Doyle
  • Victoria Edwards
  • Emma Franks
  • Erin Fredregill
  • Greg Jarboe
  • Erin Jones
  • Kristi Kellogg
  • Lenka Koppova
  • Kevan Lee
  • Debbie Miller
  • Virginia Nussey
  • Ted Rubin
  • Sam Ruchlewicz
  • Elena Salazar
  • Mark Schaefer
  • Chris Sciulli
  • Mari Smith
  • Ashley Segura
  • Krystian Szastok
  • Mark Traphagen
  • Anastasia Warren
  • Amanda Webb
  • Michael Williams
  • Joe Youngblood
  • Dennis Yu

10 Important 2020 Social Media Trends You Need to Know10 Important 2020 Social Media Trends You Need to Know

Past Editions of Social Media Trends:

Image Credits

Featured Image: Paulo Bobita

Permanent link to this article: http://homebiz2bizreview.net/internet-marketing/10-important-2020-social-media-trends-you-need-to-know/

Jan 14

Janet Peischel’s The Internet Marketer: Influencer marketing: Building trust and authority

Janet Peischel

Permanent link to this article: http://homebiz2bizreview.net/internet-marketing/janet-peischels-the-internet-marketer-influencer-marketing-building-trust-and-authority/

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