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Effective and easy customer service, engaging video content and company transparency are three major keys to business success on social media. — Getty Images/oatawa

Social media is one of the best and least expensive ways to promote your business and keep your current customers engaged.

Facebook alone has more than two billion active usersand it remains the favored platform for social media marketers. However, Instagram actually outperforms Facebook when it comes to brand engagement.

Social media trends change so often that it’s hard for the average small business owner to keep up with them. Here are three things you need to know about connecting with your customers through social media this year.

AI will continue to change how businesses interact with customers

Everywhere you turn, artificial intelligence (AI) is changing the ways businesses operate and interact with customers. Studies show that customers often prefer self-service options as opposed to interacting with a customer service representative.

After all, 32% of customers that contact a company on social media expect a response within 30 minutes. But if you’re a small business owner, it can be tough to meet this kind of demand. This is where chatbots can come in handy.

Chatbots allow businesses to interact in real time with customers and answer questions immediately. To implement a chatbot, most businesses find that it’s easiest to set up a Customer Chat Plugin through Facebook Messenger.

If you do implement chatbots on social media, make sure that you

  • make it clear to customers that they aren’t speaking to a real person, and
  • make it easy for customers to request a customer service representative if the chatbot can’t answer their questions.

If your chatbot isn’t configured properly, customers may end up taking their business elsewhere.

Consumers also say videos are the number one type of content they want to see from businesses, both B2B and B2C.

Video marketing will continue to dominate

Every year, the value of video marketing rises as a result of customers watching more videos online than they did the year before. Consumers also say videos are the number one type of content they want to see from businesses, both B2B and B2C.

LinkedIn found that video content is shared 20 times more often than text alone. And LinkedIn ads that utilize video have view rates as high as 50%.

Instagram is embracing video as well, with Instagram TV and Instagram stories. Studies show that after viewing a company’s Instagram post, 75% of people will take some type of action, like visiting the company’s website.

One of the best aspects of video content creation is that it doesn’t have to be costly, making it achievable by companies both large and small.

Trust and transparency will be key

Just over a year ago, it was revealed that Cambridge Analytica misused datafrom 50 million Facebook users to influence election results. This was embarrassing for Facebook, which has been plagued by privacy concerns in the past year.

Meanwhile, Twitter had to remove tens of millions of fake user accounts from its platform. Many people used these fake accounts to boost their followers and make it seem like they had greater reach than they actually did.

The result of instances like these is that most consumers have become naturally distrustful of businesses and influencers on social media. To restore this trust, businesses should focus less on building a huge following and more on being transparent and creating engagement with a small, niche audience.

There are ways to create a transparent relationship with customers on each platform. Here are three examples:

  • Facebook puts a lot of emphasis on groups, so creating a private Facebook group for your customers could be a good place to start.
  • On Instagram, consider hosting live videos where you answer commonly asked questions.
  • For Twitter, participate in Twitter chats around specific hashtags. This is a good way to participate in conversations relating to things your customers are interested in.

CO— does not review or recommend products or services. For more information on choosing the best social media management tools, visit our friends at

CO— aims to bring you inspiration from leading respected experts. However, before making any business decision, you should consult a professional who can advise you based on your individual situation.

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CO—is committed to helping you start, run and grow your small business. Learn more about the benefits of small business membership in the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, here.

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