Social media is a phenomenon which continues to grow without signs of slowing down. Approximately 45% of the global population is on or has been on social media, with more developed countries having penetration upwards of 67%. Are you aware of the trends of social media marekting?

Social media statistics

So with how absolutely massive potential market is, how does one penetrate deep enough to be heard? Doing exactly what everybody else won’t help because that practice has gone out of style. That is where discovering the trends of social media becomes your gateway to success. So what exactly are they? This article details all the social media trends you can follow to make your business succeed!

Transparency

Transparency

With the number of privacy issues social media giants face, jeopardising all of their user’s information, it would only be natural that we gradually start losing trust. Privacy isn’t a new trend of social media, but brands are beginning to give greater importance to consumer trust.

Consumers are belief buyers. This means they’re more likely to stick with or boycott a brand if they line up with their views. As social media evolves, consumer demands for certain rights begin to do the same, and the data shows. 

Studies have shown that a whopping 94% of customers are likely to show loyalty to brands which are completely transparent.

Facebook, social media juggernaut with 2.45 billion monthly active users, said that in April of 2019 that they would be taking steps to “better protect people’s privacy”. Later that year, there was a leak of around 419 million user’s phone numbers, a blunder which left the company in turmoil. This led the public questioning how safe their data really is.

As Facebook is the largest social media platform online, the amount of economic and political power they have is enormous and continues to grow each year. Due to this, consumers hold facebook to the highest responsibility and demand transparency such as:

What is Facebook doing with our data?

Is my data safe?

Does my data funding Facebook?

The catastrophe above was so significant due to how Facebook chose to handle the situation. The announcement was made 1 month after the incident took place. The storage of these passwords and phone numbers were found to be on an open servers. 

The exact numbers seen saw some downplay to try and contain the impact, but this leads to a further backlash, prompting the government to finally step in 

Engagement

Engagement

Gone are the days of engagement baiting strategies as we look towards creating genuinely engaging content to generate meaningful interactions. With how the current algorithm functions, constant changes being made which redefines the criteria of what type of content sees the front page and what doesn’t. 

The key to a successful social media presence and sales is the approach you take. Users want content to consume posts and content that make me them emotions. From grief, laughter or inspiration, content which has these qualities will inevitably generate engagement. 

Organic reach is slowly fading away due to the pay-to-play nature that social media is becoming, but it is still extremely important to regularly engage with your customers.

It’s a universal fact that consumers engage with posts that are relevant to them. So to score a higher engagement rate with your following, it’s important to pay attention to the consumer wants and stats.

58% of consumers prefer visual content, rather than written. 

Due to how vital of a role social media plays in bridging the gap of communication, engagement will remain the foundation of building up a brand digitally.

Live Videos

Live Videos

Video marketing has been a rising trend with no signs of slowing down. We as consumers love videos due to the visual stimulation it provides. Movement captures our attention and videos are the ideal medium when it comes to consuming information. This also fits with the model digital marketers are moving towards, which is creating content that is mobile-centric. 

Live videos are a feature which first came into the scene on YouTube back in 2008, with Facebook adopting it in 2016 and other platforms promptly following. 

Platforms utilizing live videos have almost limitless opportunities to boost their brand awareness, interact with your audience and generate engagement. Q&A sessions, educational lessons, exclusive interviews, behind the scenes, giveaways, introducing a new product and so much more.

Now just because you may not regularly watch live streams of pay no mind to them doesn’t mean that there aren’t hot right now. Stats back up this claim.

Speaking of live content, live streaming platforms, particularly gaming-heavy, have seen steady growth over the last few years. This can potentially be a gold mine for advertisers, creating ways to reach a target audience through sponsorships, events and features. 

Stories

Stories

What began as a unique feature to Snapchat was quickly taken up by Instagram, Facebook, WhatsApp and later by YouTube. Stories are currently the best way for users and brands to post on the available platforms.

Stories have become a successful feature as it adheres to rules which play into how social media appeals to us:

  • Exclusivity
  • Bite-Sized Information

The reason social media appeals to us is due to these two points. So if a particular feature would be made which embodies these characteristics, it’s bound to be the next big thing. Essentially, stories work because they are simple.

We as consumers love the idea of exclusivity. Exclusivity is just basic supply and demand. The sneaker industry does this extremely well, with different brands releasing limit supply of their kicks, inflating the price and increasing the value of getting a pair. 

Every story is exclusive, as they only last for 24 hours. Afterwards, they will not be viewable again. Stories being easuer to understand help users consume them in bulk. This creates opportunities for brands which extend past conventional posts. 

Instagram step up how exclusive a story can be by introducing the feature “Close Friends”, allowing users to create a separate list from their friends which only they can view. Everybody not on the Close Friends list will be unable to view the story. 

Camera Features (AR)

Camera Features (AR)

Many of us may not be aware of it yet, but we’ve been using Augmented Reality (AR) for a while now. Platforms such as Snapchat, Instagram and Facebook all have stickers on their camera apps. 

Lots of these stickers or filters gain popularity due to how they augment our looks and/or voices, along with the fact that they’re mostly seasonal, meaning they’re only available for a narrow period of time.

There was a particular craze which took the internet by storm. It was a filter made by Snapchat which can alter your appearance and change your gender. This, of course, was the majority of posts on all timelines on every platform. Amonst the participants in this craze included actors, influencers and the majority of social media users.

The craze was a proper taste of the potential AR has in influencing and causing controversy in our lives. For example, many users have made use of this feature to catfish fellow tinder users, leaving many saying that this filter is “offensive”.

Snapchat’s camera works as any other AR camera would. It scans the area, in this case, a face, searches for key features and overlays them with effects.

AR has seen a rise in popularity in games, with the most popular of course being Pokemon Go. Apple has also made strides to make AR a norm in games, with their recent iPhone line ups supporting AR functionality. 

Artificial Intelligence (AI)

Artificial Intelligence in Social Media

It seems all the latest inventions have AI integration it in some spectacular fashion. From smart speakers to watches to our everyday household necessities, AI aims to make people’s lives easier and more convenient. 

There are already iconic AI assistants, including Google Assistant, Alexa and Siri. All three of these assistants have capabilities which make our lives more convenient and comes with their respective smart device.

As our homes become increasingly smarter, we begin to get into ambient computing. In simple terms, ambient computing is technology, particularly smart devices, working in harmony to provide people with a smart experience. If you’re looking fir more to reading, check out this article.

Speaking about communication, how long is too long when waiting for a response? 

Well, 42% of consumers expect brands to answer their query within an hour. So how can we reach these near-impossible standards? 

Chatbots are a great and cost-effective way for brands to seamlessly communicate with their customers and answer any queries.

Instead of waiting hours for customer care queues or a reply online, chat boxes have the ability to quickly answer any general queries or allows specify problem at hand before resolving the issue.

Despite the warnings and the ominous movies made, AI is here to stay, and brands agree, as it is essential for furthering their reach, engagement and the convenience of communicating with their customers.

Influencers

Social Media Influencers

Influencers are people with a following who are paid to promote a product of a brand. Think of your celebrities, the YouTubers you follow and personalities on the internet. 

Before, brands had to rely on major celebrities and large scale influencers to sell their products, but times have been shifting. 

It’s been seen that when one source of advertising remains as reliable as it was a year ago, but the cost to use it rises and loses the positive image it had in the past, that said tool has lost its value. There has been a constant race to find the most cost-effective method of selling products. So was only natural that brand would eventually make their way to signing micro-influencers.

Micro-influencers have been taking centre stage as the goto choice for advertisers.

Word-of-mouth marketing has quickly gotten more effective due to micro-influencer ready to put their names next to a brand, suggesting their audience to purchase it.

The reason micro-influencers work better than bigger influencers is due to how close, the trust they hold, how often they interact with their community, as well as how it is easier for them to maintain a positive public image.

Although the use of influencers aren’t for every brand, in terms of ROI, it certainly does rank towards the top of the most cost-effective methods.

Groups & Communities

Social Media Groups & Communities

Groups are a gathering of people sharing similar interests. Groups can be anything from following an influencer, liking a business page or joining an online community. 

The rise of social media has seen an increase in the number of groups and led to generation of reach opportunities, such as getting feedback on your product or generating additional engagement.

Similar to stories, groups too, have a certain degree of exclusivity. Public groups apart, in order to be apart of a private group, a certain criterion of needs to be met, such as sharing a similar outlook, owning a certain product or passing a certain test. This segmentation can lead to higher growth and help define the future of social media marketing.

Storytelling 

Social Media Storytelling 

We’ve slowly come to the realization that brands may not be as trustworthy as we thought they were. Instead, we have the tendency to trust people and their stories using a certain brand or product.

Previously, the creation of brands were made off of impressions through advertising, but as the environment begin shifting, it’s clear that brands need to evolve. It’s more difficult trying to think of unique ways to make your customers go “wow” or get inspiration through an ad, and often the mark is not hit, including the bigger brands

That is where brands took advantage of User-Generated Content (UGC), specifically positive experiences customers have had. 

UGC generates 28% higher engagement rate when put side by side to normal posts.

Consumers find UGC 9.8x more impactful than influencer content when making a purchasing decision. 

Humans Of New York made a UGC campaign and took storytelling to the next level. Their posts portrays that of the interviewee along with their story told in an inspirational fashion. The posts were rather long, so in order to avoid fatigue from reading a single piece of text for too long, they split their posts in parts

The results were extremely positive thanks to the spotlight they provide to their users. A chance to be on their page and tell a personal story on a well-know platform is what many consumers dream of. 

Social media is slowly becoming the main driving force of advertising strategy. It’s becoming increasingly important to follow the trends currently happening, standing out and looking towards the future for any potential trends which will accomplish your goal. Think you know all there is about social media? Do let us know! 

For those with interest in learning more about social media marketing, do check our website!