The future of social media marketing

Social media is always evolving, and customer expectations for how you’ll engage with them are changing just as rapidly. Since social media marketing is a key channel for customer acquisition, it’s important to keep up.

But it might feel like as soon as your social media marketing strategy is doing well, a shift renders it dated — sending you scrambling to make updates and avoid losing business.

By preparing now, you can navigate these inevitable changes with ease. From customer service to augmented reality, here are nine tips for the future of social media marketing.

1. Influencer marketing needs to keep up with social media influencers

There are now more than half a million influencers on Instagram. More than 80% of those influencers are micro-influencers. While engagement has been trending down since 2020 for larger Instagram influencers, nano- and micro-influencers still have better engagement than they did in 2019.

Instagram remains the most popular platform for marketing, but TikTok has become a close second. As one of the newest platforms, engagement has remained comparatively high for mega-influencers on TikTok.

Influencer marketing should be a foundational part of your social media strategy. You may consider paying money to influencers for promotion as well as compensating them with free products. Since micro-influencers are increasingly important on Instagram, you may want to work with an agency to utilize their experience in engaging micro-influencers at scale.

2. Artificial intelligence embraces a surprising role in social media marketing

The demand for artificial intelligence (AI) in social media marketing is increasing each year, and projections show it will continue to increase at least through 2026.

Integrating AI with social media can help your brand understand customer preferences. AI can also enhance your advertising by personalizing product recommendations, a popular approach for ecommerce companies and retail.

It may seem like you need a massive human sales team to talk to consumers about products or services at scale, but AI can fill in the gaps. Chatbots can talk to consumers in a human-like way and offer custom promotions, handle general brand inquiries, and even accept and process orders.

3. Video is still the future of social media

Videos remain an engaging and memorable experience for customers spending more time online, but people are engaging with videos on social media in very different ways than they did just a few years ago.

TikTok’s short-form, homemade videos are extremely popular with younger audiences, and other platforms are following suit and encouraging user-generated content. Meanwhile, live video viewing is also increasing in popularity, and engagement on platforms like Twitch is showing no signs of waning.

Use short videos to catch the attention of busy customers, or tap into live streams to allow customers to interact with you authentically and in real time. Also, start thinking about making plans for the rise of dynamic video (video customized from viewer to viewer, depending on their preferences) in the next several years.

4. Augmented reality will find a home in social media

Social media marketers are using augmented reality (AR) in Facebook and Instagram Stories to help customers visualize products more easily, which leads to buying products more quickly.

Smart companies will benefit from the fact that customers have widely favorable views of brands that use AR. Plus, AR can enhance the effectiveness of influencer marketing campaigns.

5. Social media continues to blur the lines between online and in real life

Many shopping platforms and apps feature embedded social media capabilities for sharing, and social is an important part of the decision-making process for consumers in many purchases. Brands will continue to see the lines blur between social influencers online and products in real life (IRL).

YouTube stars are creating product lines and becoming celebrities, and real-life destinations and experiences like museums and restaurants are now designed to facilitate posting pictures of the experience to social media. Even producers of video content now consider the “meme-ability” of certain scenes.

Brands can benefit from using this omnichannel approach to engage with customers. Integrate online and offline strategies for a cohesive campaign that customers encounter in both settings and across channels.

6. Customer support becomes social media marketing

The future of social media will continue to see customers that expect brands to be available for support across all their social media channels. Instead of a customer support phone line, audiences now contact businesses through social media comments on posts and stories and through direct messaging.

In order to meet these expectations, you’ll have to facilitate a massive overlap between customer service and social media marketing in your company. Design systems with clear processes to direct customer requests flowing from various channels to customer service representatives who can respond quickly.

7. Social sign-ons are becoming the key to conversions

A smooth purchasing process is key to conversions. Social sign-ons — logins on your company website that require only the click of a button to access a social media account instead of creating a new account — can make the process even more simple.

Consumers will be surprised if they’re required to create an account with your company, and they may even balk at typing their email address into your form, increasing the risk of shopping cart abandonment. A social sign-on option with several different social media platforms to choose from reduces this friction.

8. Personalization in social media is no longer optional

As algorithms become increasingly sophisticated, consumers aren’t just getting used to personalized experiences — they expect them.

Personalize experiences using AI tools and customer data to deliver content, products, and offers that are relevant to each individual. Some of the data available to you includes geolocation, device type, browser, connection speed, time of day, recency, and frequency.

While personalization is important, there can be a fine line between too little and too much data. Find a balance between one-size-fits-all and getting bogged down in the data. Automation and machine learning can help you achieve the appropriate balance.

9. Social media marketing metrics need an upgrade as well

As social media leads the charge into the digital future, your metrics need to keep up and respond intelligently. As your strategy adapts, your organization should ensure that it measures and assesses goals in the most effective way.

Optimize your goals and metrics alongside your strategy. Besides basic measures like engagement and ROI, consult sales and customer service teams to understand and track metrics that are beneficial to them as well.

How to future-proof your social media marketing strategies

In creating a modern social media marketing strategy, you’ll keep customers coming back by staying ahead of their expectations. Keeping your finger on the pulse of the future of social media marketing will help you target the right people and customize their brand experiences, bolstering and maintaining a stellar reputation for your company.

Adobe Marketo Engage makes the implementation of your strategies more effective across all social media channels. It will help you bring marketing and sales together to:

With Marketo Engage, you’ll be able to build engaging, personalized experiences at scale and prove impact. Explore the Marketo Engage interactive product tour to learn more.

Ready to start future-proofing your social media marketing? Choose just one of the nine tips above as your first step. You’ll be on your way to a savvy, comprehensive social media strategy that ensures your brand stays relevant and successful.