The new year brings the opportunity to discuss what we think some of the important social media marketing trends for the service industry will be in 2016.
The importance of social media will only increase in the future, which means it’s important for business operators and owners to stay up to date. It’s never a good idea to have to play catch-up, and it’s never a good feeling when you have to call on your young employees to explain what the hot new social networking app is. The worst part is, and chances are, your business is being talked about on that app.
Staying up to date can also give you another way to communicate with consumers and employees, allowing you to build a long term relationship and brand loyalty.
Here are four trends you’re going to want to pay close attention to as the year progresses:
Mobiles will increasingly replace PC’s
Currently, the estimated amount of mobile phone users in the U.S. by Statista.com is 184 million. By 2018, that number is expected to grow to 220 million.
The ability to market to your consumers right into the palms of their hands is the stuff science fiction stories used to tell about, and with the usage estimated to grow you simply cannot afford to miss out on the move to mobile phones.
Furthermore, consumers are now more likely to respond to marketing that speaks to them on a personal level as opposed to one broad and generic call to action. Phones offer that personal level.
If you’re a restaurant operator you’ll have an even greater ability to call immediate attention to what’s currently going on in real time, possibly allowing you to sell specials faster and allowing you to rotate inventory before it passes its expiration date.
Hotel managers and staff will be able to better sell rooms by using location-based technology such as iBeacons, RFIDs, and Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE). Imagine being located close to an area where a convention or large sporting event is going on and broadcasting room availability specifically to those attending the event.
Integration of the ‘Buy Now’ button
Along with smartphones becoming the number one way in which consumers interface with your brand or business, the importance of the ‘Buy Now’ button will skyrocket.
Impulse buying has long been a bad habit of Americans which companies have taken full advantage of and the ‘Buy Now’ button was invented to take care of this, as well as to make purchasing more convenient for the user.
This should become a major source of revenue for you, especially when partnered with the location-based technology that makes it able to precisely target your consumers. Your consumers will be able to jump on offers immediately.
Social media customer service becomes the expectation
Quite possibly the most important social media marketing trend of 2016 for the service industry. Communicating with your consumers on their time and schedule is now the expectation.
To be fair, many operators in the restaurant industry have always kept a close watch on social media to make sure that they catch any complaints, but it seems the hospitality world still has a lot of work to do. A recent post here on Serviceable illustrated the top and bottom companies in customer service experience for the consumer. Alarmingly, some of the larger hotel chains were near the bottom.
Consumers now check twitter, Facebook, and of course, Yelp for accommodation information before booking a room or trip. They notice complaints on brands and brand locations and know when these concerns are not addressed. In most cases, the consumer’s immediate reaction is to simply move on to the next business on the search results list.
Not caring about customers online means you don’t care about them face to face.
Social Sites will develop their own search engines
According to these statistics from Kissmetrics, consumers are increasingly likely to search for you on a specific social site to see what kind of business you are, what kind of presence you have, and what others have to say about you. All of this information can be found on your business’ Facebook page, for instance.
If your page or profile on the social sites is appealing, provides a good experience, and has the buy button to immediately seal the deal, you’ll provide consumers with a one-stop shop where they can learn, buy, and share in one or two clicks. All of this equals better customer service and a better customer experience.
As you can see, in 2016 all of the important social media marketing trends for the service industry start with the mobile phone and intertwine from there. In a business where things already move fast, get ready for even more demand for quick problem solving to customer issues. Consumers already have up to the minute, real-time ways to book reservations, book rooms, and to lodge a complaint. Now they will expect us to respond to them with the same speed they are used to interacting with us.
If you’ve spotted any trends you think should be on this list please share with us and our community.