It’s that time of year – a look ahead to what to expect in social marketing 2019. Direct sales is changing… social marketing is changing… and luck favors the prepared.
Let’s get started. Here are the social media marketing trends we are seeing from the Suite!
- There is an uptick in people leaving traditional direct sales, and starting their own boutiques. Why? Sellers don’t want to be constrained by the compliance rules of a corporate brand, and want to diversify with a broader selection of products. Challenge? Starting your own boutique requires all the business knowledge, including operations, finance, as well as marketing and sales.
- Video on all channels. If you haven’t noticed, Lives, Watch Parties, Episodes, Stories, Pinnable videos, everywhere is video. Video is becoming a dominant and prioritized content medium. The trend is moving toward longer, vertical videos (newsfeed optimized), optimally 3-5 minutes in length. (Source: Mari Smith)
- The rise of smaller communities and niche influence. Direct sales marketers have the great opportunity to create communities around niche value. Micro influencers (followings up to 10,000) will hold the power (Source: HootSuite), and are who direct sellers and marketers should be looking to partner with in 2019. This could include partnering with sellers from non competitive brands, and getting creative with party or online sales delivery.
- Chatbot communication will increase dramatically in 2019. One year ago, less than 5% of marketers used any form of bot marketing (Source: Social Media Examiner). With most consumers connected to Facebook messenger, expect this to shift in 2019 as Facebook Messenger messages have the highest open rate of any communication channel. Direct sellers should be investing in training on bot marketing, and developing the automated bot sequences for things like hostess coaching and follow-up.
- The rise of narrative and visual storytelling. Consumers are looking for more than just quick one-time post. They are looking for connection with others who share a similar story or vision. (Source: Facebook) What does this mean for direct sellers? Creating and sharing stories through products, customers, hostesses, and team members, creating content arcs and narrative that bring the consumer on a journey.
- Facebook organic reach will continue to drop. Direct sellers will continue to see a decline in page and group reach, as Facebook continues the shift to pay-to-play, ad-driven newsfeed placement. With over 85% of Facebook content viewed in the newsfeed (Source: Facebook), direct sellers cannot rely on consumers coming to their pages or groups. Sellers must diversify onto new channels, or expand into paid advertising.
- Social savviness. It’s not 2014 anymore. Consumers are more discerning and jaded, having been plagued by data breaches, spam, and fake news. They are seeking community and connections, and are quick to unfriend, unfollow, unlike, and block. Gone are the days of simply posting product images, and pulling out tons of leads, sales, or bookings. Those who will find success in 2019 will have a solid social strategy, creates a compelling that focuses on value to the consumer, and creating an extended relationship.
- Corporate direct sales brands continue to lag in providing marketing training to their fields. This has resulted in the rise of more social marketing coaching in the market, which is a good thing for all direct sellers. And the coaching focuses on one core message: lead with value and create relationships.
So what are the big takeaways? To be successful in direct sales in 2019, direct sellers should be focusing on building a long view strategy, developing content that drives community engagement, nurturing longer term relationships, and extending their reach to new channels through video, and new communication methods. We can likely expect to see people leave direct selling, who don’t find immediate success and are too impatient to develop a long-view social strategy focused on engagement and relationships.
Content may be king, but the direct seller will continue to be queen with a solid social marketing strategy!