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Credit: Business Insider

The reasons aren’t clear, but many believe online shopping habits play a major role in the challenges of traditional brick-and-mortar retail stores. What does this have to do with social media marketing? According to the Pew Research Center, eight in 10 U.S. shoppers purchase products online, with 15 percent of those sales generated via social links.

Credit: Pew Research Center

This is a clear call to action for retailers still on the fence when it comes to increasing social media marketing efforts. Here are six emerging trends in social media marketing retailers can leverage for social success:

1. Social Media Video Posts Increase Engagement for Retailers

Video has become a very valuable social media marketing asset. Instead of the static post with content and image, retailers are using videos to increase engagement. The number of likes doesn’t hold much water anymore. Engagement is easier as well because there are online platforms that can connect your business with active and interested consumers for quality leads and faster conversions.

2. Internet of Things (IoT) is Enhancing Social Media Buyer Funnels

IoT has now integrated with social media marketing efforts due to the large amounts of data IoT-connected devices collect. In fact, IoT connected over 7 million units of consumer data last year alone.

This data allows marketers to create social media marketing assets for every buyer funnel stage, and deliver it without fail across the preferred social networks of their targeted audiences.

3. Social Chatbots Are Next-Level Customer Service Reps

Artificially intelligent (AI) chatbots on social media have become quite useful for customer service and support. Why? Over 8 billion Facebook messages are sent between consumers and businesses each month. AI chatbots are answering customer questions, helping customers shop, and even upselling based on past purchases, all on social channels.

Credit: Facebook

4. AI Social Media Bots Are All About Abandoned Carts

Retailers with an online marketplace may be experiencing a bit of abandon cart syndrome. This can happen for a number of reasons. However, retailers should use those abandoned carts as a reason to connect with customers on social media. For instance, AI chatbots can reach out to nudge customers with a discount or free shipping in an effort to get them to click checkout on abandoned carts.

5. Social Media Ads Are Very Audience Focused

Social media ads were always hit or miss. However, social networks have really stepped up their ad game for retailers. Now, businesses can deliver highly focused ads based on location, interest in a brand, age, gender, activities, and more. “Utilizing a multichannel approach to marketing, we target visitors across many social Ad platforms to drive visitors inexpensively,” said Michael Lawrence, director of marketing for DirectLiquidation. “We then retarget on Facebook to remind visitors we are there, converting them.”

6. Retailers Are Harnessing the Power of Micro-Influencers

High-profile celebrity product endorsement is no longer seen as “worth the social media marketing spend.” Instead, retailers are opting to use micro-influencers, who have smaller, but far more loyal customer bases to recommend their products. “Micro-influencers have smaller followings, between 1,000-10,000 people,” Kristen Wessel of Forbes said. “They’re usually in more niche markets with highly engaged and loyal audiences.”

Wrapping Up

Social media marketing has real value for retailers in today’s digital age. With smartphone use part of everyday life, retailers now have a direct line to consumers 24/7. It’s truly unprecedented, and when leveraged correctly, can have profitable outcomes.

Andrew Rayment is the founder and co-creator of Dopel.io, a social media platform that connects users with like-minded “Dopels” through predictive analytics and personalized ‘likes’ and ‘dislikes’ rankings. 

This content was originally published here.