Social media is ever-changing. What’s hot today could be nowhere near as hot tomorrow, and it is often Generation Z who are first to hop on to the latest and greatest social trend before it goes cold. Yes, they think we’re old.
From the rise of ‘realness’ to the continuing growth of video, from the growing significance of personal marketing, to the newly introduced #DigitalDetox – here’s a list of the trends that marketers are discussing now and what we will be looking out for in years to come.
Transformation from mass marketing to personal marketing & ‘Dark Social’
More and more users are shying away from public interaction and taking their conversions into private settings on Messenger, WhatsApp, Instagram DMs, and more, otherwise known as ‘Dark Social.’ As a result, marketers must consider how social media is no longer a mass marketing vehicle and think about altering digital strategies so they are more personal and communication-driven.
Building of private ‘communities’ online
Leading on from the personal marketing trend, there is also a continued rise of closed social media communities. These private communities form because users now more than ever wish to spend time and share content with people who are like them and who share similar interests, rather than communicating with the mass general public where there is an over-bombardment of conversation. Marketers need to consider how their marketing efforts can become even more targeted and personal to their customers – how they can create ‘brand communities’ online in which users can interact with one another and connect as brand ‘fans’, and not just consumers.
Social responsibility and ‘realness’
Brands are now viewed as living, breathing things with morals, opinions and belief systems. With this comes accountability, social responsibility and ‘realness’. Gone are the days of robotic, sales-focused messaging. Businesses can no longer ignore big social issues and talking points, because otherwise they are not human and will get left behind. Brands must share stories, tell jokes, show they care about the world, ask questions, share what they believe in and show they are actually striving to make a difference and not just make money. This in itself gives them a competitive edge.
Social platforms such as Twitter, Instagram and LinkedIn are now enabling people to share longer pieces of content. In fact, some platforms, like Facebook actually reward posts that have no links and are more content-focused with higher reach and engagement! As well as this, Facebook now allows us to format posts with bullet points, headlines, subheadings and bold/italics etc. This means anyone who is on social can become a micro-blogger, posting their opinions and knowledge online. Marketers must now balance those important call to action links with strong content so as to maintain good reach and valuable engagement.
‘Back to basics’ storytelling
Things are slowing down and shifting ‘back to basics’. Marketers must not simply ‘jump onto bandwagons’ and join the latest craze for the sake of it, but should attempt to do more with less. Strategies need to be stripped back to the ‘why’ with focus on the actual story they are trying to tell. This way, marketing is targeted but also genuine and authentic. And this leads us nicely onto the…
How can a digital marketer possibly pay attention to the #DigitalDetox? It’s simple, really. You cannot ignore the trends, not even this one. The #DigitalDetox encourages users to step back from social media and take time out to focus on their mental health. Brands can show a socially responsible and caring interest in customers on social, because after all, we are all only human. Engage them with purpose, brighten their day and make their time following you on social worthwhile yet completely non-invasive.
Video, video, video
Video continues to dominate our social feeds. This is an ongoing trend that social media marketers should be embracing – whether that be to raise brand awareness or to show the ‘behind the scenes’ of a business. Video is now and it isn’t going anywhere any time soon!
User-generated content and the rise of TikTok
Think of that famous Instagram egg from last year. Now with over 54.1 million likes, the Insta egg proves that user-generated content can actually trump brand-created content. It is amazing when customers get involved and generate their own content. That’s why it is great to make sure your social media content is shareable and engaging and to encourage customers to get involved, take on challenges and post their own ideas/reactions. This is extremely valuable engagement and can help build brand communities. Take TikTok for example, a platform made up entirely of UGC. Users can create videos that display ‘how-to’ ideas or funny trending dance moves. The content is not completely perfect or polished, but rough around the edges and human. Brands do not necessarily have to jump onto the TikTok trend, but they can ensure that they are reactive to cultural trends and reach out to their audiences and relate to them by encouraging and sharing UGC.
It can be difficult for brands to keep up with the ever-evolving nature of social media. The key take-away here is that users want to see engaging content that is ‘real’ and personalised. Video, UGC and on-trend/socially responsible content on social media can cultivate communities of consumers who actively follow and interact with your brand’s story.
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