Every year a new social media trend appears, a new trend that is hot for companies engaged in marketing.
But isn’t going to kill your marketing efforts if you are spending your time chasing trends and trying to adapt to each one of it? Well, yes. It will. But this doesn’t mean you don’t have to know what’s hot on the market or not, what can help your marketing strategy and what not.
Knowing what the latest social media trend is, will help you understand where are you now with your brand and what the audience is interested in.
Social media is about the audience. And, this means that if the audience is changing their behavior in relationships with the type of platform they use, the type of content they create and consume, brands should know about it and create a strategy around it.
So what are the latest trends in social media?
1. More importance on Stories format
Stories got an importance when Instagram launched their own Snapchat inspired feature, called Instagram Stories. Since then, almost every major platform started using the vertical format type of digital content. We have Facebook, Facebook Messenger, Instagram, WhatsApp, Medium, Skype, Snapchat who came later with similar formats.
Why are more and more people using the Stories format?
As I mentioned in an article I wrote for SocialBakers, there are 3 main reasons why it’s so common:
- Stories are designed for mobile – And the mobile consumption is going higher and higher. Mobile is the new drug. You won’t go from home if you won’t have your mobile phone with you. And yes, mobile content is one of the major trends in social media in 2020.
- It doesn’t have to be a perfect content – While Instagram came with the trend and a common sense of publishing only the best photo you have, since Stories, you can publish as many photos you want and it doesn’t even have to be perfect. Photos, videos, boomerangs, live videos, types, music, you can share almost everything you want.
- Grabs the attention and encourage engagement – this type of content is encouraging the user to check in more often. So the creator have to put less effort to creating the content and have a much easier way to interact with his/her following.
How do companies use stories for their marketing strategies? Well, let’s take a quick look at some of the most suggestive examples you can encounter in today’s digital market:
First, we’ll take a look at Converse, one of the biggest sportswear brands out there:
Here’s how their Instagram feed looks like:
Now, take a look at one of their Stories:
There are a lot of similarities between regular posts and the images that compose a Story.
Branding elements are present through these similarities and we can observe that Converse is showing consistency between different channels of their marketing strategy.
Harmony between the feed and the Stories is a good thing but it is not something to consider as mandatory.
Another great example of proper Stories use comes from Buffer. They publish a lot of content via Instagram Stories but what really interests us today is the way they managed to engage their audience via #buffertriviathursday polls and quizzes.
Engagement is a big thing on social media. Polls and quizzes on Instagram Stories gives you the proper level of engagement you need with the audience and ensures that they’ll come back for more questions and answers.
You can even create tutorials and how tos based on the community’s questions and deliver them via Stories.
2. A big engagement on Private Groups (Communities)
Facebook invested a lot of effort and resources into Groups. They came with features like “participate as a business Page”, updating with Stories, uploading certain files, posting live videos and creating social learning units.
With the drop of the organic reach on Facebook Pages, social media managers had to find out a new way on how to interact with their community.
Therefore, creating a Facebook group was a good decision and also the best fit for that specific moment. As I have already anticipated and I am sure you did as well, Private Groups are one of the biggest social media trends, today.
But Facebook is not the only social network that allows the user to create groups: we also have WhatsApp, Instagram DM groups, Linkedin groups and others.
Eliot (the @Dunk creator) said in a podcast interview that he currently has multiple IG groups for his community because they give him the leverage to communicate, interact, and see what kind of content they want to engage with on Dunk’s profile.
In these private groups we get to see how the real community manager deals with interaction and also with transparency.
A good example of how efficient a Facebook Group can be, comes from Black Milk Clothing, a fashion brand from Brisbane, Australia.
They did not create this closed group but nevertheless, they understood its potential and they eventually encouraged it, allowing their fans to buy and sell Black Milk products.
If you need a branded group, take a look at Bannersnack’s Assembly, a Facebook group aimed at professional designers who can exchange ideas, ask and answer questions and connect with peers in one exclusive place.
If you are not willing to create your own exclusive group, on the other hand and you are not yet that popular so that your community will join together in order to create their own group, you can join groups of professionals that are already there and exchange ideas, links and information, share your company’s announcements or build a reputation.
A good example in this case is the Digital Marketing Group on LinkedIn with over 1 million members or, the Marketing CMO | Business | Digital Group.
3. Micro-influencers are the next big influencers
Micro-influencer marketing get sometimes to be ignored by companies and marketers who are always taught to think big, on a large scale, and aim at big audiences. However, it has become one of the major new social media trends, and it cannot be ignored anymore.
Sometimes, you get to those big audiences by engaging random people who are active on social media and who have a lot of friends, colleagues and relatives on the same platform as them.
How can you use micro-influencers?
Well, there are two possible options and they can all work together.
First, you can engage all your friends and colleagues in your campaign, even members of your team or your employees.
Secondly, you can search for people who are sharing quality stuff related to your campaign on social media and try to enlist them even if they are not some of the most popular people online. They still have friends, they are capable to reach out to significant groups, they are all worthy of your attention.
Here’s an example from Tom’s Of Maine, a manufacturer or personal care product that uses only natural ingredients. According to this report, they partner with thousands of micro-influencers with 500 to 5000 followers, people who were not influencers per-se but who had some reach on Instagram.
The results are speaking for themselves: For each 1000 micro-influencers involved in the campaign, the company received 6000+ social media interactions.
4. Dedicated content for mobile
Mobile audience is a big thing you need to consider when it comes to social media marketing. And, as I already told you, mobile it’s like a drug.
Smartphones are the devices we always take with us wherever we go. And, as mobile speeds increases, when it comes to Internet access, so does our dependency of these little computers.
We’ve already seen some examples of mobile content. Instagram Stories and Instagram Feeds are two of the most powerful channels for mobile based marketing.
Let’s not forget, however, that Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter and Pinterest have all social media mobile apps and that most of the people access their social media channels via their smartphones and as of consequence, via these dedicated apps.
50% of all digital budgets are spent on mobile. While more than 80% of all Internet users own smartphones, it’s only obvious that you need to focus on mobile content.
And, since a mobile device is usually held in an upright position, the ultimate trend in this area is the vertical content.
Not all the social media channels understood this need so far but we’ve seen some big moves towards implementing this format during the past few years. Pinterest and Instagram are the two biggest examples in this case, Instagram TV and Instagram Stories being the most important ones, since they focus on vertical content only.
I have already covered this topic in a previous post and I have also published some really inspiring examples.
And here, is another one, from Netflix, which went viral despite it being entirely boring.
What they did? They published a one hour IGTV video featuring male actor Cole Sprouse eating a burger.
5. Audio will make its place into social media
Even if the audio content in itself is not a social media platform I believe that it will be one of the top social media trends. Not from the platform point of view, but more from the content point of view.
Today we are seeing that more and more podcasts are being launched, even if we talk about only audio podcasts or video interviews that are also published as audio content on Apple Podcast, Spotify, Stitcher and other podcast streaming platforms.
Today there are 3 big issues podcasters are dealing with at this moment:
And social media can help with the first problem – with social media you can make your podcast popular and create a powerful brand around it.
But social media is more visual and less audio. Exactly.
You will need more content and more creativity to invest in your podcast to make it popular, to target the right audience on the right platform.
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How to make your podcast more discoverable on social media?
For example, you can start a podcast show and you can also record your show and publish it on Youtube and Facebook and maybe do an Instagram live show as well.
Let’s say you record a video interview. Then you get your audio and publish it on your podcast. After this, you create an article on your blog, embed the video, publish the audio player and write the text using the right keywords that are the closest and most relevant to your topic.
Doing this, you have your podcast published in several types of formats.
Social media converts when it comes to digital marketing. Chasing the latest popular social media trends may not help you if you forget to focus on your existing strategies that are already proven to be working but it may help you learn more about the market.
You get to learn more about your audience, what they like and how to adapt better to a rapidly evolving market.
I’ve discussed here some of the current social media trends, trends that are big this year and I have also given you some really good examples of companies and brands that have already moved on into applying these trends.
How to keep up with social media trends?
Well, if you are interested in this industry and I am sure you are, since you have made it this far in this article, you can subscribe to my newsletter and get all the information you need right in your inbox, without any fuss and almost instantly.
Also, you can follow me on Twitter (@katairobi) and follow Matt Navarra as well, (@mattnavarra) since he is also constantly posting about this stuff and everything else that is related to social media marketing and the latest trends in social media marketing.
What other trends on social media are you aware of, or expect within the next months and how do you plan to implement them?
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