As 2017 draws to a close, businesses everywhere are gearing up to plan and execute a highly capable Facebook marketing plan for 2018.
Things changed a lot over these past few months on Facebook, let alone this past year, and the next twelve months are set to be just as exciting.
So, as the constantly-evolving social media platform maintains a significant place in marketing campaigns, are you prepared for what next year holds?
1. Online to In-store Purchases
Facebook connects people from all over the world, bringing dispersed families closer and like-minded people together. But it’s also a perfect tool for creating local communities.
Yes, online shopping is on the rise (shoppers now make 51% of their purchases online), but people increasingly use apps to find and shop in local stores – hence why Google implemented its locally-focused algorithm that prioritizes businesses near the searcher.
“Yes, online shopping is on the rise (shoppers now make 51% of their purchases online)”
In 2018, this will seep into Facebook, too.
The social media giant is looking to introduce more ways businesses can link their online ads to offline purchases, creating a connection between virtual and real life.
- What this means for you: Facebook will provide more transparency for users and businesses, and will offer insights to prove that ads are generating in-store sales.
There’s a new “Store Visits” option when running paid ads, and the QR codes “Rewards” feature will further incentivize tracking.
2. Personalized Content
Consumers are increasingly seeking an authentic connection with brands.
People crave relationships rather than a rash of advertising; they want more of a two-way dialogue with the businesses they buy from.
This is where personalization comes in. Generic content is not getting the traction it used to. Instead, consumers want content and information geared towards them and their specific needs, with three out of four getting frustrated when content isn’t relevant to them.
Personalization in content is a dominant trend for next year, and Facebook will welcome it with open arms.
“Generic content is not getting the traction it used to. Instead, consumers want content and information geared towards them and their specific needs, with three out of four getting frustrated when content isn’t relevant to them.”
What this means for you: New and improved analytics tools mean brands will be able to get more detailed information about their customers and be able to craft more personalized content based on those results.
This will create deeper connections with your audience, and build trust and authenticity amongst your customers.
3. Mobile Optimized Offerings
80% of Facebook’s ad revenue comes exclusively through mobile and, with mobile use on the rise, this is only set to increase.
Think about Facebook’s sister social media apps, like Snapchat and Instagram. These were made for mobile, and in 2018 we’ll see Facebook take a step towards being even more mobile-friendly.
Mobile optimization has long been a must-do for savvy Facebook marketers, but this will become a necessity as the platform heads towards a potentially mobile-only future.
What this means for you: In 2018, there’ll be no excuse for not implementing mobile-friendly ads and content on Facebook. With 90% of daily users logging on via mobile, it’s more important than ever to make sure content and ads you’re posting are created for the mobile revolution.
4. Chatbots for Customer Service
We couldn’t write a future predictions post without throwing in a bit of artificial intelligence.
The instant state of the internet means consumers want things immediately. They want brands to respond in-the-moment, and they want to purchase items right away.
Of course, it’s not possible for brands to be switched-on twenty-four-seven, notably smaller businesses with small teams.
Cue the introduction of chatbots for customer service.
In the last year, we saw Facebook Messenger take on a life of its own. It became its own app with the potential to do much more than it was initially created for.
This has led to the introduction of chatbots via Messenger, a trend that is set to explode in 2018. These chatbots give brands a chance to interact with their customers in a personal capacity. Businesses are able to tweak their bot to align with their personality and branding and can send content, information, and help to users instantly.
Today alone, there are more than 100,000 monthly bots active on Facebook Messenger, with two billion messages going back and forth among brands and their audiences every single month.
What this means for you: The increased interest in automated customer service via chatbots means you can create deeper relationships with your audience instantaneously. You can share content with them, help them out with their problems, and generally build a connection in a more personal space.
5. Leads Over Facebook “Fans”
Over the last year, businesses have seen the reach of their pages drop dramatically. In many cases, less than 2% of fans actually see a post, meaning it’s difficult to run a business when so few people actually know what you’re doing.
This is why in the next year, it’s important to turn those fans into leads – a.k.a. Subscribers on your mailing list.
One of the best ways to do this is to run a Facebook fan-only promotion or contest where fans have to give you their email address to be in with a chance of winning a prize.
This way, you’re getting the contact details of your fans to turn them into leads while still providing them with something valuable.
What this means for you: Having fans is all well and good, but fewer and fewer of them will be shown your posts in their newsfeeds. Today, an email list is your most valuable asset, because you can land directly in your subscribers’ inboxes without having to rely on a constantly-changing algorithm like Facebook’s.
By turning your fans into leads, you’ll be able to build stronger connections with them and nurture them towards a sale in a way that just wouldn’t be possible via a Facebook fan page.
Facebook Marketing Still Has a Place in the Future
Facebook is continuously evolving with the times, which means in 2018 it’ll be embodying many of the digital marketing trends that are set to hit.
Staying on top of the game is vital if you want to succeed at Facebook marketing, but the new changes that are coming will make it easier for you to build connections, reach more people, and increase leads – so it’s a win-win situation.
We can expect personalization to dominate, as well as chatbots that are set to aid customer experience. Add to this the surge in mobile users, and you have a pretty exciting 2018 to look forward to.
The question is, how will you prepare your marketing plan to align with this evolution?
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