Social media can be one of the most important and challenging aspects of being a boutique owner. On top of the daily tasks that come with building and maintaining a brand, you have to find the time to create engaging and original content, develop a social media marketing plan, and handle online customer service issues. To make things even more challenging, the world of social media is constantly changing—new platforms and services emerge all the time so it can be tough for business owners to keep up with the latest methods for advertising and customer interaction. To help you simplify social media as we kick off a new year, we’ve gathered five of the key trends you should be tracking in 2019.
- Micro-Influencer Partnerships: While we’re all familiar with seeing product endorsements from major celebrities on our feeds, these types of marketing opportunities are out of reach for most brands and boutiques. Enter the micro-influencer, a key social media player for 2019. These online personalities offer engagement with audiences of around 20k-50k followers for prices that are far more reasonable for small businesses. Developing brand partnerships with the right micro-influencers—individuals who share your boutique’s specific style and demographics—can offer a major ROI when it comes to social media content that targets potential customers. For boutiques that are just starting out, there’s also a growing field of nano-influencers, who can expose your brand to up to 10k followers when you’re working with a limited social budget.
- Automated Customer Service: For smaller boutiques, the customer service demands of social media channels can be a serious challenge. It’s tough to be available to answer questions and solve problems 24/7 when you don’t have a large team that’s dedicated to customer service. As AI technology grows in leaps and bounds, automated messaging tools can offer powerful benefits for smaller businesses. Chatbots for platforms like Facebook Messenger can answer common questions and improve your social media response time while allowing you to devote your energy to more complex customer service concerns. In 2019, expect to see automated response tools grow in sophistication, creating opportunities for more authentic brand interactions while saving you valuable time.
- Compelling Stories: We’ve all experienced the addictive enjoyment of clicking through our Instagram, Snapchat, or Facebook stories. These fleeting pieces of content are poised to become bigger than ever in 2019; currently, more than 400 million people view Instagram stories every day. AdWeek even reports that LinkedIn will dabble in a stories-style format this year! For boutique owners, stories offer an easy and authentic platform to interact with customers. Unlike traditional content, stories can be created on the fly so you can worry less about the perfectly curated shot and more about engaging with your customers in a fun, genuine way.
- Video Content: Like stories, video content is poised to become an essential element of social media brand-building in 2019. Some experts project that video will make up around 80% of what we consume online in the coming years. Take advantage of this trend to create authentic content in the form of live videos. Consider creating real-time styling videos, new collection reveals at the start of each season, interviews that share your takes on current trends, and other types of content that put a personalized face to your boutique.
- Social Shopping: For boutique owners, the path to integrated shopping on social media can be a rocky one. Clunky third-party apps have long bogged down brand marketers who want to make their feeds more shoppable, particularly on Instagram. In turn, consumers have been relatively slow to adopt social media as a shopping platform. Industry experts expect that to change in 2019, as Instagram rolls out new shoppable post formats that work without leaving the app, and Facebook Marketplace continues to expand its audience of more than 800 million users in 70 countries. This year, social shopping has the potential to grow explosively for businesses that focus on high-quality, interactive, and shoppable content. When planning your social strategy for the year, be sure to focus on interactive options like shoppable images, stories, and video content to convert interactions into sales.
How are you planning to up your social media game in the new year? Share your best tips for audience engagement, compelling content, and more in the comments!