2020 is almost here, if you can believe that! What does the coming year hold in store for the world of social media marketing?
Social media platforms have become so ubiquitous that it’s easy to forget just how new they really are in the grand scheme of things. Nevertheless, these channels are entering a new phase of growth and maturity.
Social media is changing, but it remains a crucial component of consumer purchase decision making. It also represents a huge percentage of overall online usage. In order to best utilize social media in your 2020 marketing strategies, here are the top things to consider. Keep reading for information on what to expect from social media developments in 2020, or click the link below for tips expressly for your vertical:
- Social Media Marketing Tips for Plastic Surgeons in 2020
- Social Media Marketing Tips for Lawyers in 2020
- Social Media Marketing Tips for Cosmetic Dentists in 2020
- Social Media Marketing Tips for Ophthalmologists in 2020
Authenticity: Be Your Own Advocate
Social media platforms often blur the line between personal communication and mass marketing. And people are increasingly put off by the latter.
More than anything, users crave authenticity. They want to peek behind the curtain and see who you really are. This is crucial in the professional services industries. You are likely offering most of the same services as all of your competitors. What makes you stand out from them, and more worthy of time, attention, and patronage?
Endlessly espousing facts and benefits of your services on social media will get you nowhere fast. You need to show people who you are. You need to make people feel and believe that your practice is composed of great people, and is a warm, welcoming place that is going to deliver the best possible results.
Your key focus on social media shouldn’t necessarily be leads and revenue, but branding and community—fostering strong, positive, memorable experiences within your existing and prospective audience and client/patient base. When they are ready to use your services, you’ll be the first one they think of!
In the cacophonous environment of social media, you need to capitalize on every opportunity to create noteworthy, shareworthy personal storytelling. You need to find ways to get people talking about your practice both online AND offline. I recently published a blog post entirely devoted to this concept, which I encourage you to read.
Influencers Become More Micro and Nano
When it comes to making purchasing decisions, we trust the opinions of our family, friends, and peers above all else. Nothing will ever do away with the simple but immense power of word-of-mouth communication and personal referrals from those we know and trust, or from those that we wish to emulate.
Influencer marketing is not new; brands long ago recognized the value of being able to identify and leverage celebrities and key individuals that carry significant influence among their peers.
The internet dramatically altered how and where brands can reach people with their marketing messages, but it also changed how we absorb and respond to them. We don’t simply believe everything we read or hear anymore. And we are bombarded with so many ads and product placements that we couldn’t possibly absorb all of them.
As such, enlisting celebrities and/or people with hordes of followers to endorse products and services to the masses proved to be a largely ineffective strategy over time.
Influencer marketing is still a very viable strategy, but the number of followers someone has isn’t necessarily a strong predictor of how well their words or actions will inspire people to take action. And indeed, there has been a notable shift towards more small-scale and niche influencers—people with smaller follower counts, but stronger influence among them.
The biggest thing to keep in mind is that the influencer posts need to feel genuine. These trends will continue in 2020 and beyond. You might have potentially powerful influencers among your existing client/patient base as we speak!
Migration Toward Groups and Niche Communities
Social media adoption and usage across all platforms is still growing, especially in the global context. However, time spent per user on some platforms and among certain demographics is plateauing, and even starting to decrease.
We are in some ways moving back to the “roots” of social media, whereby users are primarily concerned with staying connected to their friends and family. Likewise, people are spending their time interacting with content and communities specific to their existing interests.
Facebook in particular is very aware of this. It is promoting the Groups features heavily, and prioritizing Group posts in the News Feed. Facebook is even running large-scale ad campaigns to promote Groups. Clearly, this is a huge part of the future of this platform.
Business Pages can join groups, if the admins of a group choose to allow for that in their administrative settings.
Brands also have the opportunity to create groups of their own. The idea of fostering a highly engaged community of people all participating in countless real-time conversations relevant to your industry and services represents the absolute pinnacle of modern low-cost, passive marketing.
People are also spending more time on private messaging apps like Facebook Messenger and WhatsApp. This is important for businesses, as 68% percent of consumers prefer using messaging apps to communicate with businesses over other forms of communication. You could do wonders for your practice simply by making it a priority to monitor and quickly respond to any and all messages and comments on your social channels.
It’s similar to what we are seeing across the board—people don’t want to be blatantly marketed to, they want to feel part of a community. They want to obtain information about products and services, and ultimately move forward with purchase decisions on their own time.
Increased Reliance on Live and Ephemeral Content
The shift towards Groups is not the only way that behaviors are changing on social platforms. The types of content people share and consume have also been changing steadily.
There has been a trend towards more “in the moment” sharing behavior, which has coincided with the meteoric rise in popularity of ephemeral content formats like Snapchat, as well as Instagram and Facebook Stories.
There are no surprises that this is happening right alongside the ever-increasing culture of “doing it for the ‘Gram.” All over the world, businesses are recognizing and embracing this concept. Almost everywhere you go, there are contrived Snapworthy and Grammable spaces and experiences to be had.
Ephemeral content screams authenticity. It cultivates a sense of urgency and “FOMO” that becomes infectious for young, tech-savvy consumers. And most of the time, it’s all done from a mobile device, which is where people are spending a ton of their time as it is. Live video is similar in that regard. It is highly engaging, and social platforms tend to prioritize it in their feed algorithms.
Businesses that can make use of these content formats in a way that is unique, fun, engaging, and authentic to their brand will be well ahead of their competitors in 2020.
Even More Video: Saturation and Evolution
Video took over as the top-performing content type on social media a few years back, and it shows no signs of slowing. Without question, you should make video a big area of focus in your 2020 content marketing and social media plan.
Videos in general are more stimulating to the human mind, can convey more information more rapidly than text or images, and even help us to better visualize and retain that information. There are many different video formats and styles that can be put to use for various
According to Cisco, video will represent 80% of all Internet traffic by 2021. With that astounding level of video saturation, creators will need to make sure their video content is highly engaging and easy to consume, absorb, and share.
Video is incredibly important in the paid space as well. Social media advertising costs continue to increase, and organic reach on social channels continue to fall. Videos can be an invaluable content format for all stages in the buyer’s journey, and are a perfect way to drive more low-cost, top-of-funnel engagements to grow awareness and interest in your brand.
Undoubtedly, high-quality paid video content will be a critical component of a well-rounded marketing mix in 2020.
Enhancements in VR/AR, AI, Machine Learning, Voice Search, 5G
There are a handful of technologies that are driving much of the innovation in the digital marketing space. Machine learning in particular is instigating a significant amount of change. If you haven’t heard about Google’s recent BERT core algorithm update, you should read up on it ASAP.
More people are using ever-connected “smart” devices, which are often integrated with artificial personal assistants like Alexa, Siri, and the like. Voice search queries are rapidly becoming the norm. It is important for content creators to keep that in mind when writing and designing content that is intended to directly address a user’s question or need.
Virtual/augmented reality (VR/AR) is making for more immersive, personalized experiences, allowing people to preview different outfits, try out new makeup or hairstyles, and even take a walking tour of some far off travel destination. Most of these use cases are still in infancy, but they will soon become more complex and realistic than you might imagine.
5G cellular networks will likely cause mobile usage to expand even further, and potentially impact how people consume content.
There are just some of the technologies that will take a stronger hold in 2020. Businesses should at the very least be aware of these emerging technologies, and better yet, strive to incorporate them into their social media marketing efforts in some capacity.
Shifting Design Trends and Preferences
Trends and preferences in design come and go, and the visual elements that users perceive as fresh, attractive, and modern are always changing. This includes things like color choices, fonts, page layout, image selection, animations and interactive elements, and even site navigation structure.
Novelty becomes the norm, and norm becomes the worn. Think about how exciting it was when you first started seeing gifs? Infographics? Now we see so many animated and visual elements all over the web, that we hardly bat an eye. Only the truly exceptional examples of these content formats stand out from the rest.
These concepts apply to the content you post on your social media channels, as well as what you publish on your website. Furthermore, it is equally important that your website is fast, mobile-first, and intuitive to navigate. It should closely match your overall brand identity and appeal to the audience that you most wish to reach.
The better you can understand some basic design concepts, the more you can strike a balance between staying congruent with the prevailing aesthetic of the times and carving out your own unique brand look/feel and identity.
There are a number of key design trends that experts are expecting to take hold in 2020 which you should be aware of and take into consideration when planning posts and designing advertising creatives.
Other than reconstructive surgery, most plastic surgery procedures are things that people truly want to have done. There may be some sensitive body image issues involved, but overall the prospect of getting plastic surgery and having an improved appearance is exciting and desirable.
Most people interested in plastic surgery spend a considerable amount of time over the course of weeks or even months researching procedures, surgeons, expected results, etc. There are many opportunities to use social media to educate and nurture connections with these individuals as they progress towards being procedure-ready.
Does your practice do any charity or volunteer work? Whether locally or on the other side of the globe, showing the ways you “give back” is a great way to endear yourself to your prospective audience. It also showcases your expertise as surgeons.
And let’s not forget: going under the knife can be a bit unnerving. It is important to reinforce your commitment to patient-focused care. Showcase your friendly, compassionate staff, and the culture of your practice. Use videos and images to answer common questions and concerns about different procedures.
And of course, at the end of the day a patient wants to obtain fantastic results from their procedure. Use your social media profiles to share high quality before-and-after photos and testimonials from patients. If you have patients that are willing to share their personal results or do a video testimonial about their experience and results, that is powerful, compelling content right there! That is micro-influencer marketing done right.
Top Priorities and High-Engagement Opportunities in 2020:
- Always respond to messages and comments as fast as possible
- Showcase “behind the scenes” views into your practice
- Talk about your staff members and surgeons, and why they love what they do
- Post great before-and-after images
- Leverage video content: surgeons answering common questions, testimonials from patients, “day in the life” featurettes
- Identify and leverage micro-influencers in your local area
- Run targeted social ad campaigns around seasonally-themed special offers
Social media marketing for attorneys can be challenging. Most users are not all that inclined to interact with attorneys or consume legal-related social content until the actual need to hire an attorney arises.
That doesn’t mean that lawyers and law firms should forgo investing time and resources into developing their social presence. In fact, quite the opposite is true.
Even though you may not see direct returns or leads pouring through social channels, embrace the powerful capabilities of social media marketing as branding and outreach tools.
Find ways to establish a strong, localized, favorable brand image. By continually asserting yourself into the local community context and positioning yourself as a “champion of the people” of sorts, you will be setting yourself up for tremendous long-term success. Social media platforms are an excellent means to accomplish this.
People spend a ton of time online and on social media, that is a fact. By building up your social media presence in the long term, you will take up more real estate in search engine results. You will be more easily discoverable. People will quickly get an idea of your solid character and track record of results.
It is critical that you stay active and responsive on your profiles. When the immediate need for an attorney arises, people will typically opt for the individual that they sense is trustworthy, capable, and will respond to them as quickly as possible.
Overall, the more you proactively brand and market yourself via your social profiles and focus on providing an excellent experience to anyone you come into contact with, the more you are increasing the chances that, when someone does need an attorney, they will turn to you.
Top Priorities and High-Engagement Opportunities:
- Always respond to comments and messages as quickly as possible
- Post short, engaging videos that answer common questions and help convey important legal information in layman’s terms
- Optimize your YouTube channel and Facebook Page’s Video Library so anyone evaluating attorneys can get a comprehensive idea of your law practice
- Focus on building a cohesive, memorable brand presence
- Stay active and involved in the local community and share on your profiles
Cosmetic dentists offer many services which straddle the line between being strictly needs vs. those that are more wants. This is particularly the case if you offer general and family dentistry services as well.
Everyone knows they need to visit the dentist periodically. Show people why they should pick you over other dentists that are offering the same services by creating an enticing, easily discoverable social media presence.
Other, more unexpected issues, such as dental emergencies, oral health problems, etc., can be sensitive matters for people. While they may wish to fix the problem, the idea of having to visit and pay a dentist to do so can be stressful and inherently undesirable.
Highlight your caring, compassionate staff and the relaxing, inviting environment of your practice. When people have personal medical concerns, they tend to start with search engines. But once they start exploring individual practices in their area, they are just as likely to come across your social channels as they are your actual website!
The more pricey cosmetic services involve a longer phase of information gathering and research. People get excited about the prospect of having a newly enhanced smile. The thought of looking in the mirror and loving what you see is a powerful motivator. Discuss the benefits of these procedures and feature high-quality before-and-after images to compel these people to turn to you when they are ready to move forward.
Top Priorities and High-Engagement Opportunities:
- Respond to comments and messages as quickly as possible
- Share image and video testimonials from patients
- Highlight your staff members and why they love working at your practice
- Share insights about your practice philosophy and what sets you apart from your competitors
- Promote the benefits of your cosmetic procedures—use high quality before-and-after images to convey expectations of results
- Be sure to include “smileworthy,” feel-good content. Don’t be afraid to share memes, but keep them “classy” and congruent with your brand/voice
Similar to cosmetic dentists, ophthalmologists offer many different services. Some of these are needs (e.g., basic eye care, optical services, cataract and glaucoma treatments, etc.) and some are more wants (e.g., LASIK and other vision correction procedures, designer frames, etc.).
Depending on the exact scope of your practice, you are seeing patients that are obtaining routine health screenings and preventative care, or faced with acute medical conditions. And you are seeing individuals that wish to have elective corrective procedures.
There are different patterns in the consumer buying cycle for each of these three scenarios. But for all of them, your social media channels can serve as a fantastic central hub to share information about your practice and staff, the services you offer, and how best to take care of your eyes.
Post about the techniques and technologies you use in your practice, with a blend of scientific information and layman’s terms explanations. Few people can truly fathom the intricacies of the human eye, or how corrective procedures even work. You want people to feel like they understand to some degree what they are getting themselves into, but also that they are putting their eyes into the hands of veritable experts.
All said and done, people simply want to experience the pain-free, fast vision correction that has come to be associated with LASIK. Share testimonials from past patients. If any of your doctors and staff themselves have had the procedure done, feature them in a video as they describe the experience. Promote the lifestyle and quality-of-life benefits of these procedures.
Top Priorities and High-Engagement Opportunities:
- Respond to all comments and messages promptly
- Share testimonials from patients as images and videos
- Showcase your practice philosophy and what makes you unique
- Highlight your doctors and staff and why they love working at your practice
- Discuss the techniques and technologies behind your procedures
- Promote the lifestyle benefits of vision correction
- Use seasonal trends and holidays to run target special offers on elective procedures
- Share feel-good memes and humorous content, but keep in line with your brand
Social media is evolving at a rapid pace. It's a full-time job for any marketer to keep up with the changes and implement strategies that drive results for clients; for most busy doctors, lawyers, dentists, and practice managers, it's all but impossible to keep up on social media and focus on day-to-day operations.
The good news is you are not alone. Page 1 Solutions is gearing up for the new year right alongside our clients, and we can help you create and execute a customized social media marketing campaign. Call 303-233-3886 for a free marketing evaluation to learn more!