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When you look at what social media has become, it’s amazing to think less than ten years ago we were merely on the brink of its potential. Social media, and the ways we analyze and use it, continues to grow rapidly, and that won’t change in the coming year.

Here are some social media marketing predictions for 2019, as heard from the experts at our recent NetBase LIVE conferences in New York and Los Angeles.

Inclusiveness with a Focus on Generations Y and Z

Calls for greater diversity are being heard in industries across the country, with Millennials and Centennials in particular rewarding brands that take a stand for important causes. Austin-based tinydrum calls it “Speaking Human” – and it’s the best approach to win over any audience heading into 2019.

Use social listening to uncover the causes that matter to your audience, and the actions they’d most appreciate by your brand.

Experiences that Resonate

It’s no secret that customer experience is the biggest differentiating factor for brands now, but that may not mean what you think it does. As we learned from Altimeter Principal Analyst Brian Solis, we’re shifting away from the CX of old to “experience” at a higher level.

It’s not simply about ensuring the basic experience of shopping and checking out is pleasant. It’s about creating new experiences that are memorable to consumers, powered by your brand.

As Brad Engle, Senior Marketing Director at Purple Strategies reminded us, it will take an integrated approach to bring all the necessary insights to bear – but state-of-the-art social analytics tools make that a breeze.

Stories that Grab Consumers by the Heart

Storytelling has become such a crucial cornerstone of connecting with consumers that multiple brands and agencies – including GoDaddy, Intermark Group, IMAX, and Taco Bell – spoke about it at our NetBase LIVE October conferences.

Again, this comes back to connection – whether for increased engagement on social, or for that sense of being part of something bigger as relates to your brand. The latter is especially noteworthy in bringing influencers into the fold.

This trend will continue, as it’s something that is possible for brands of all sizes, no matter your budget. And the approach shared by Billy Grenham, Global Director of Marketing & Communications at Taco Bell levels things up to storymaking – where your audience becomes the storytellers, which deepens brand impact across the board.

Sentiment analysis comes into play here – as it always does. Find the topics that resonate, and the people most passionate about these topics, to create and share your brand stories.

Embracing Artificial Intelligence (AI) Will Open New Doors

Brands sometimes shy away from new technologies until they are proven, but the landscape has become too competitive to allow much time for waiting. At the very least, those who get in on emerging trends early reap the benefits.

Dominos UK is a great example of this. At the time they took their first mobile phone order in 2010, online sales “accounted for less than 30% of revenue. Eight years on, Dominos have a market share of more than 50% and digital transactions account for more than 80% of sales and the UK smartphone app accounting for more than two-thirds of those sales.”

AI is at that tipping point, where brands should start embracing all it has to offer. For starters, look at smart speakers – think Alexa, Google Home, etc. – all are ripe for ad opportunities.

Further, incorporating AI into your analytics broadens and strengthens them, as we heard from 113 IndustriesRazi Imam, Founder, CEO, and Anupam Singh, Founder and President. Their Consumer Behavior Modeling is a proprietary process that uses NetBase, IBM Watson and other AI technologies to help answer the why behind the what.

Want to understand what drives fanatical brand loyalty – something all brands aspire to? They can tell you exactly that as it relates to their offerings. Talk about having an edge.

NetBase Will Continue Skating to Where the Puck Is

With these predictions in mind, and knowing that new discoveries are always around the bend, NetBase will continue to offer innovative solutions to keep brands ahead of the curve in how they access social analytics, and how these insights can be applied.

As CEO Peter Caswell shared at NetBase LIVE, we’ve got our sights set on AI and the ways it enhances use of social analytics tools – and that’s just the beginning.

And as we always do, we’ll push the boundaries of what’s possible, and deliver cutting edge features to our customers along the way. These features will enable brands to expand the ways they empower their teams to carry social insights into all facets of brand operations. Which is the only way to roll if you want to get ahead in 2019.

So keep these predictions in mind as you craft your New Year strategies – but be sure you’re following in real-time, to be attuned to the winds if they shift, and adjust your sails accordingly. We’ll be doing the same.

Want a real-time demonstration of our social analytics tools? Reach out and we’ll show you all they can do!

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