Just like those tearaway sweatpants, in-house social management is a trend that’s dying. And for good reason. Up there with rules like, “On Wednesdays, we wear pink”, and “No white after labour day”, the rule that brands, and even agencies, should manage their social media in-house is outdated. The medium has evolved, and it’s time you did too, hence the question – In-House vs Outsourcing?
2017 is a new year, and though we’re a few months in, there’s still time to do the right thing. Gently place those tearaways in the incinerator and back away. Trends are sparking left and right, pointing a giant finger in the direction of — “It’s time to start outsourcing your social media to those who are in the know.” — namely, Social Media Agencies.
Here are six trends, and statistics to back them up for you numbers geeks, for social media in 2017:
- Trend: AI and Robots
Okay, you got us, robots are not a trend. But exclusively relying on bots is. Bots are algorithms in social media networks that talk to customers, influence them, and provide a whole host of actions including customer service. It’s artificial intelligence (AI) with sophisticated programming that allows it to respond to a variety of stimuli, including customer questions and complaints.
If you regularly engage with brands via social media on customer service issues, you’ve probably spoken to a bot.
As social media continues to scale, with customers demanding faster and more satisfying social media interactions, bots are evolving to solve the problem.
Odds are, your company is not an expert on social media bots. But social agencies are. A social agency, like ICUC Social, builds and scales human intelligence with AI to help expand and escalate your current social customer service plan. Don’t have a social customer service plan? Social agencies can build that for you too.
We love AI around here. If you have questions on how we are using AI with our clients, connect with us here.
30% of social media users can be deceived into believing a bot is a real person.
- Trend: Analytics and sophistication
From Keyhole to Buffer, and back to good ol’ Google Analytics, there are hundreds of social media and digital marketing measurement tools. As 2017 gets rolling, these tools can help your brand to track, test, and improve your social media efforts. That is, if you know what data to look at, and how that data can impact your strategy in the long and short term.
A social agency can direct you to the best tracking tools for your key performance indicators (KPIs), and analyze the data to provide you with insights that matter. Then, they can benchmark that data against the industry, and use it to guide you to better social results.
Over 95% of Fortune 500 companies examine their social media data with some form of social analytics.
- Trend: Less Automation
Other than bots (see point 1), automation is on the decline for brands. The reason for this is simple. In this digital age, people are still looking for human interaction. They want personality, wit, and a dose of reality.
Problem is, they want it 24 hours, 7 days a week.
This call for less automation coupled with more availability and a faster response time are at the crux of why a social agency is on trend. Outsourcing social media management to a global social agency can utilize their team across the globe to provide true 24/7 coverage.
Let’s not fall victim to spammy automation, like AT&T did below:
Two thirds of customers said they’ve cut ties with a brand over one bad customer service experience.
– 2014 Parature State of Multichannel Customer Service
- Trend: Less in-house knowledge
This trend is the strangest.
As social media becomes more widespread, individuals managing the mediums in-house are becoming less educated. It’s one thing to use social media in personal life, but a different beast in the business world. This is especially true for in-house teams looking to make a difference in their community building and customer service.
The options are — train staff to be proficient in social media, or outsource to an agency full of individuals who’ve make social their LIFE.
It’s up to you, but I’d take the blue pill Neo.
New research from LinkedIn found that the majority of small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) are turning to social media for growth. Roughly 81% of SMBs are using social media, according to a LinkedIn study released Thursday, and of those that use social, 94% do so for marketing purposes.
- Trend: Sales and Customer Service
Reality follows expectation. The majority of consumers want social customer service. In fact, many are already using social to reach brands. This trend is only speeding up.
In addition, social has become it’s own marketplace. With one-click purchases living on social channels, the medium has become a hub for sales as well.
Does your brand have a customer service and sales department strictly for social? Depending on your size, that’s what you’ll need to invest if you want to keep social management in-house.
Or, you can outsource your social media management to an agency who can listen, monitor, and take care of conversations for you. An agency will create a crisis escalation plan that remains in place all hours of the day or night, and will protect your brand, your community, and your reputation even when you sleep.
Nearly half of US consumers use social media to ask questions, report satisfaction, or to complain.
- Trend: Video Content
As with 2016, video continues to trend. This is no surprise, considering social platforms are all investing heavily into the ease and technical excellence of their video sharing abilities.
Instagram introduced their Stories feature, as well as their Live feature. Snapchat is struggling to keep up, with Instagram capturing 100 million users in just two months – a full two thirds of Snapchat’s audience. Facebook Live, as well as native video, continues to outperform both photo and text posts. Youtube is its own beast, where creativity and content are king.
Video is and will continue to reign supreme. Outsourcing some aspects of your social media — customer service, moderating, listening, etc. — will give you the time to engage in the more creative aspects of social. Like video.
However you structure it, your brand needs to make time for video, either in-house or out, or face floundering in 2017.
90% of user say that seeing a video about a product is helpful in the decision process.