The world of social media is still a big question mark for a lot of brands. It’s ever evolving, ever changing and it can be difficult to keep up with what you should be paying attention to. So we’re going to break down a few of the newest, and most disrupting social media trends that you should be taking notice of:
The continuous rise of Influencer Marketing.
Think influencer marketing is dead? Think again. This industry is still alive and well, and not only that – it’s set to grow even more. In 2018, the industry was estimated to be $1.07 billion. In 2019, it’s forecasted to grow to $2.38 billion. If you don’t know, Influencer Marketing is a strategy used to connect brands with audiences who tend to ignore traditional advertising strategies. It’s essentially like a modern day, social media version of a brand ambassador. Influencer Marketing identifies Influencers that have access to a large or targeted community and marketers and influencers will coordinate activities in an attempt to convert the Influencer’s followers into actual customers of the brand. However, with the introduction of #ad and Instagram and Facebook offering label – sponsored ads, the level of transparency between the Influencer and their followers is crystal clear. Meaning that as the number of partnerships continue to increase, Influencers will need to be very open, upfront and honest about the brands and products they’re representing and why if brands have any chance on profiting from these posts.
Algorithms are here. So figure out how to make them work.
Depending on what you use social media for, the introduction of the social media algorithms was either the best, or the worst thing that’s ever happened to you. If you were just a casual user, then you’re probably pretty pumped that the days of scrolling through dozens of posts from brand you followed forever ago but now don’t really care about, are now over. But if you’re a brand or an Influencer who is now reaching out to an audience that is roughly about half of what it used to be, then they’re so good. But rather than dwelling on it, if you’re a business or an Influencer, you need to figure out how to make them work. Ultimately, the biggest thing that needs to be noted, is that if you have a marketing budget – think about allocating your resources to social ads. That way your pretty much guaranteeing that your content will at the very least, be seen. Yes, they will say “promoted” or “sponsored” but they will still look like organic posts. If you have the resources and the knowledge (aka a digital marketer that knows what they’re doing) then you should definitely be running some tests on your social ads to see how you can get the best return for your spend. If your business isn’t quite there yet, don’t stress. There are a few things you can do to in an attempt to “beat” the algorithm and get your content seen. Ask questions to your followers – the more people that engage with your post (ie click, share, comment, like, retweet) the better. Make sure you’re sharing targeted content – don’t assume that what you’re posting is what people want to see. If you have a few posts that don’t go very well, try and figure out what it was and then make a change, switch it up. If you need to alter your strategy – then do it. Finally, you can also ask people to turn on their notifications so that they get an alert every time you make a post. A lot of people don’t really do this, but it doesn’t hurt to ask as you will capture some that do want to receive notifications.
Messaging Platforms and Automation.
The rise of messaging platforms is huge. Right now, WhatsApp has approximately 1 billion monthly active users, and Facebook Messenger has over 900 million. To put that in perspective for you, these messaging platforms now have more users than almost all of the social media networks. However, chat on mobile is becoming more than that. It’s essentially becoming its own platform, or portal and in some cases even an operating system. We’ve seen that with the introduction of WeChat, which was created by a company called Tencent. The messaging app was designed to be more than that, and as such, became a place where users could purchase movie tickets, book doctors appointments and check into flights all from one place. We’ve also seen this with the use of Automated Bots in Facebook Messenger. A messenger bot is a piece of software that uses artificial intelligence to communicate with customers. It has essentially transformed the way that businesses can engage with consumers. Conversational marketing is on the rise, and research has pointed to the fact that Gen Z prefers to communicate more 1-to-1 or 1-to-few, instead of feeling as though they are one of the many. These users like feeling like they are being spoken to directly and that something, whether it being an experience or a product has been created specifically for them.
Featured Instagram Stories are a feature of Instagram that have been flying under the radar for businesses for a little while now. With the rise of Influencer Marketing, that is designed to drive a huge amount of traffic to a brand’s main Instagram page, featured Instagram stories are a way to capture and educate your potential customer before they even land on your site. Yes, they could just scroll through your Instagram feed and figure out what you have going on, but with the change in the Instagram algorithm, a lot more users prefer swiping across and watching stories rather than scrolling up and down. These featured Instagram stories give you the ability to convey your brand in the most efficient way possible, with only the most relevant information you want to share. When used correctly, they can be highly informative, eye catching and engaging and they give you the opportunity to tackle any road blocks your brand might face before the user goes searching for them on the website. You also have the ability to design your own cover photo which allows you to be as branded (or non branded) as you’d like, depending on your target market. Instagram stories themselves are also becoming more and more popular, especially with the introduction of the new interactive features. They give users the ability to ask questions to their followers, rate things provide an answer based on an already written question and are even being used by brands to give their followers quizzes, where they repost the pre-written quiz and write in their answers. All of these things can be used to engage with your followers if you’re a business or an Influencer and can be used to drive awareness and traffic to your page.
As a platform, Instagram TV is still finding its feet. But in saying that, a lot of brands were quick to jump on it, figure it out, and are already absolutely killing it. If you’re not quite sure what we’re talking about, Instagram TV is Youtube’s younger, cooler, more laid back brother. It’s the first feature, platform that’s proved to be a massive competitor for Youtube. It’s their new feature designed for watching long-form, vertical videos from your favorite Instagram creators. While Youtube still makes you flip your device if you want to watch your video full screen, Instagram let’s you watch the videos vertically. Additionally, unlike on Instagram, videos can be up to an hour long. The feature also lets you watch videos and keep searching for other content all at the same time. It’ll also start playing content for you the second that you tap on it and will continue to feed you content based on your likes and interests. So long story short, it’s pretty cool. But – if you’re brand isn’t quite there yet, don’t worry. It’s not worth your time or your resources right now to ensure that you get this app off the ground for your brand. Keep a loose strategy in the back of your mind, and start thinking about the video content that could get produced for your brand that could then lend itself to Instagram TV really well. It never hurts to come up with a strategy, but it’s not essential that you implement this one tomorrow. Just keep an eye on it as one to watch, because sooner rather than later it will become the “new Youtube” and be far more commonly utilized.
So in conclusion, the world of social media is still evolving and growing. While you as an individual might use these platforms in the same way every day, there is far more going on behind these apps that you need to take note of. For businesses, exciting opportunities lie ahead and the way that one can market to the online consumer. The trends discussed in this blog are all aspects of platforms that your brand most likely already uses, that can be further explored in order to help grow your business.