In 2018 we saw major strides in live streaming, video content, and augmented reality. However, we also saw data privacy scandals, ahem, Mark Zuckerberg, going before Congress. While it wasn’t all good, it certainly left much to be desired in the new year. We have curated a list of the top social media trends we think will benefit your business if executed correctly. Let’s dive in!
A big, big, big one this year! With consumer confidence at an all-time low, now more than ever is the time to be real with your audience.
Users are more cautious than ever giving out information on digital platforms because they have been burned in the past. Mislabeled advertisements, an overwhelming amount of ads and promotions, and their private information being used outside the platform. If you can avoid these three major pitfalls this year you are already off to a great start. Aka, don’t let your company go through something similar to the Facebook information leak.
Most importantly is appearing and ultimately being trustworthy to Millennials and Generation Z. As both groups have experienced the misuse of their information first hand, they have a zero tolerance policy for any marketing that comes across as disingenuous. Therefore, your company will need to determine new ways to build consumer trust.
You can do this by focusing on authenticity and finding a way to directly connect and appeal to your consumers within what is a highly targeted market. If your brand can figure out how to provide value through your content, you will have a captivated audience that will listen when the time comes to ask them to make a purchase.
The more flooded the social world becomes with business and personal accounts, the harder you will need to work to stand out. The best way to accomplish this is by truly being personal and authentic online. People will not connect with stagnant content, they want to see something dynamic that will ultimately influence how much they interact with your brand in the future.
By creating posts of photos and videos that tell stories, you will accomplish a number of things such as making your brand more of a human voice. Rather than hiding behind stock images and less than interesting videos.
This is your chance to truly connect with your audience, and help them relate to your brand but telling honest and touching stories. It could mean showing them behind the scenes at your office or of how your products are made. Don’t always go for the clickbait and the calls to action. If there is something trending online, like a funny meme, go ahead and repost it and see the types of engagement you get. Not every single post needs to bring in dollars. If you connect with your audience it will take you farther by giving your brand a face that people will trust and enjoy interacting with.
No matter what specific kinds of content you choose to showcase on your social media platforms, you want to be raw and real. Inauthenticity can be spotted a mile away and if anything it will drive people away from your profile. Establish credibility by being upfront, especially if your company makes a mistake that is affecting numerous people. Own your flaws!
Ok ok ok, we have all made that mistake of going to record a video and turning our phone horizontally. Then when we go to upload it, we realize the mistake we made. A horizontal video just simply don’t translate well to social media, because the majority of social platforms are vertical video focused.
Although SnapChat was really the pioneer in this digital space, Instagram television is on the rise now. There are so many artists and brands that have forgone horizontal video and now focus solely on vertical video instead. Not only does it look great, but most viewers are consuming their video content directly from their phones. Vertical video is efficient, and it requires less from the consumer being that they can hold their phone in an upright position.
With fewer people using their laptops to scroll through video, it would be smart to focus your marketing efforts in a place where it will pay off most. Mobile friendly is the time we live it, get on board or jump ship!
Quality over Quantity
The key to successful digital marketing is creating quality content that adds value to your audience and is visually appealing. What will help make your brand a success on Instagram is authentic content that creates a lasting connection with your consumers. Ideally, you will want to create engaging content that is impactful, purposeful, and creative.
While you are providing value to your followers and entertaining posts, you are also growing your online relationships and getting the word out about your brand.
Purposeful content does not mean bombing your audience with multiple posts per day, though. If you post too frequently, you’ll run the risk of annoying your audience and in return, they will likely unfollow your brand. Instead aim for intentional content once per day, or less, to really connect with your followers.
Creative content will help you stand apart from the competition. The more thought-provoking, unique, and innovative your posts are the better chances you have of gaining likes and followers.
Remember, thoughtful and well-positioned content will have a greater impact on your audience than content that is uninspired. Your audience will be able to tell the difference!
What is an influencer?
An Influencer is someone on social media who has a much greater following than the average person. No matter what market or industry they are influencing, they are most certainly experts in the field and are great at conveying their message. They have established a certain amount of credibility and in return, their audiences trust their opinion about products, places, and events. These social influencers have spent a lot of time reaching out to their target audience and making them feel approachable and authentic.
Influencer marketing continues to develop and grow on social media platforms.
In the last few years, influencer marketing has become an increasingly popular tool for various businesses to utilize. Not only can it help to increase views, build company awareness, and reach new audiences, but it also adds a human element to brands.
While this approach to marketing is still fairly new, it has proven to effectively create authentic ways of reaching prospective and current customers. If your target audience is millennials, you will be pleased to know that over 70 percent of millennial consumers trust peer endorsement over celebrity endorsement. That is great for your business and budget too! In that same financial vein, studies are illustrating that for every $1 spent on influencer marketing companies are seeing a $6.50 return according to Tomoson.
Buying directly on social media
As much as social platforms are a way for companies to reach their audience in a visual forward way, new capabilities on Instagram are allowing viewers to convert to customers. With simple content creation like videos and photos, a business can tag up to 5 of their products in each post.
Instagram also announced the ability for its users to purchase tickets and make reservations directly from profiles. These new features are paving the way for social media buying and changing the social advertising landscape, making it more viable.
Now, rather than just a place to interact with beautiful content, social media is a place of action! By luring in your audience with curated content you can offer information on your products like names and prices, as well as a link directly to that product. With Instagram stories alone, your brand can add product stickers and swipe-up links! Though swipe-up links do require that your Instagram have over 10,000 followers or a verified account, it is a great way tool to utilize in order to direct consumers to a specific product page.
Tips for shopping posts:
- Create a one shopping post in your feed to activate the “Shop” tab on your business profile.
- Feature one or more products in your posts for more engagement
- Use various shopping formats in your feed by either tagging one photo or video or create a carousel with both types of content
Tips for shopping stories:
- You can customize the text colors on product stickers to complement the visually creative side of your brand
- Use product stickers in your stories for launches or sales announcements
- Keep the product as the focal point in videos when using a product sticker
More Meaningful Interactions
Last year 70 percent of the United States population had a social media profile. With this many people living in the digital age, it makes sense that the rise of meaningful interactions online has increased.
Messaging apps such as Facebook Messenger and WhatsApp are more popular than ever, but so are platforms integrating direct messaging capabilities. When someone can share a private message between certain friends and family, they feel more connected to one another.
Another important thing to take note of is that messaging apps are no longer specifically designed for friends and family. If your target audience is using these types of apps, you should be too. Businesses can get direct feedback from their audience and they communicate more directly with their customers.
Many companies are also using chatbots as a cost-effective alternative to paying real customer support representatives. Chatbots on messenger apps have grown exponentially in the last year. Customers have also reported they like chatbots, as they are professional, free from bugs, and work on a number of different devices. While they won’t replace people in the long-term, they can save on your companies bottom line and help with your conversion rates. Not too shabby for artificial intelligence!
While it’s hard to predict exactly what will happen on social media this year, we have good indications to believe that these trends are here to stay. We can only hope for further innovations and new features to be developed that can help every business grow digitally on social platforms. Go forth this year with transparency and gain the trust of your followers online. If you think of another trend for this year that we might have missed, go ahead and let us know in the comments below!