There's a bit of meme right now that 2016 was a long, unpleasant year chock full of unfortunate events. Between the deaths of beloved actors and singers (R.I.P. Bowie), world politics, and more, there's no question that things went a bit screwy. Yet 2016 was also a great year in many ways – panda, tiger, and manatee populations are rising! The Cubs won the World Series. The Ice Bucket Challenge funded groundbreaking research that's identified a gene believed to play a key role in the disease.
At The Kingdom, we're grateful for 2016. It was a challenge, sure, but what year isn't? We've grown a lot since we first decided to start with a clean slate as an Adelaide inbound experts, including creating a powerhouse team to create and run our client's inbound marketing efforts. We won another HubSpot Integrations Award at Inbound 2016 – you can read the full story here – and Adam Steinhardt delivered an exceptional presentation that fired up sales teams all over the world.
2016 delivered a tonne of new and helpful tools for inbound marketers. From the perspective of social media marketing geeks like me, this year was excellent. Drift and Instagram Stories have all delivered unparalleled tools to connect and engage like never before. Today, I thought I'd gather together some of my [and the entire team's] favourite things from 2016 and challenge you to bring them into your social presence in 2017.
Simple, Free Live Chat from Drift
No doubt you've visited a website that offers live chat before. Live chat is an excellent addition to any website. Not only does it offer your customers a simple way to get more information from you, but it also allows you to learn more about them. Live chat is less work for a customer than a phone call or a form and lets them get their answers quickly from your sales reps. Until now, though, live chat has been a chore to get going. From high costs to limited compatibility, there were any number of reasons why we chose to forego live chat on The Kingdom website. Then, we learned about Drift.
Drift is not only dead simple to use and install, but it also offers a comprehensive free account.
With full integration with the HubSpot CRM and a Slack interface that allows your employees to answer messages directly within their preferred chat app, Drift blows its competitors out of the water. Already, we've been able to connect with several promising leads just by answering their questions in the moment. You can learn more about Drift and its powerful integrations here.
2017 Resolution: Make it easier for your web visitors to connect by implementing a live chat feature on your website.
Instagram Stories Bring Instant Viewers to Your Videos
You may have seen Instagram Stories pop up on your feed recently. While sharing what you're doing with a live, broadcast video might seem like a silly idea (remember back when you thought SnapChat wouldn't go anywhere), Instagram Stories have transformed the way we and other businesses are communicating with our fans and audiences.
Instagram Stories offer a new way for all businesses – yes, even B2B businesses – to talk about the latest updates and news.
From product launches to behind-the-scenes videos of how your business runs, Instagram Stories offer a new way to reveal the personality of your brand. And since stories disappear within 24 hours, they offer a fun way to offer sneak peeks into the people and culture behind your logo. After all, your Instagram followers are already some of your most loyal followers – embrace them and Instagram by creating your first Instagram Story today!
2017 Resolution: Post your first Instagram Story about your business and show your followers who your business really is.
Mindfulness in Your Social Media
One of the top trends of 2016 was mindfulness – from Marie Kondo's smash hits on joyful tidying to any given talk show, we've all heard about the benefits of focusing more of our attention to what's happening in the moment. The same is definitely true of social media.
There's no question that you get pulled in a lot of different directions when promoting a business or a cause. It can be tempting to let social media become a routine task. Well, I'm here to challenge you to rethink that and #postwithapurpose to your social media. The idea is simple: put some thought into what you're posting on social and how your followers will interact with it. Some simple guidelines are:
- Always including a link back to your website, like a relevant blog
- Answer your follower's questions
- Include a relevant eye-catching image
With smart tools like HubSpot's social publishing automation, there's no excuse to let your social decay. Let your brand shine with thoughtful social media posts that truly aim to engage with your followers.
2017 Resolution: Engage with your customers with thoughtful, engaging social posts that always include a link back to your site.
As 2017 gets under way, I couldn't be more excited for the new year. 2017 is a year to take action, to take control of your momentum and embrace change. At The Kingdom, we're looking to roll out exciting new offerings to our customers and the world and become a HubSpot Diamond Partner. There will undoubtedly be some exciting new evolutions in social media, too. As you start your new year, why not embrace some of the best parts of 2016, too?
You can learn more about smart social media strategy by visiting the Zaahnzibar Social Media Blog, or learn more about some of my favourite tools for smart social media here. You can also download our free guide to expert social media here, sign up for a free social media evaluation here, or simply ask a question in the chat box below.
And most of all, Happy New Year!