Every year there are new social media trends for you to master and incorporate into your marketing strategies. According to Backlinko, the number of social media users rose from 970 million in 2010 to over 3.96 billion in 2020.
Currently, the average internet user has 8.6 social media accounts and spends on average 2.24 hours a day on platforms.
Since the global Pandemic forced a chasm between businesses and their clients, not only has social media become indispensable, but it has created a world where complete transparency and authenticity are demanded and expected by your audience.
Here are some of the new features and movements of the Social Media world that every Marketer must get on board with to remain in the game.
1. Videos for Instagram Stories
This one isn’t too daunting, we are all familiar with Instagram which has been around for more than a decade and amassed over a billion users worldwide.
Whether as a result of Covid-19 or the perpetual quest for more appealing content, users are now far more engaged with videos than photos.
51% of brands have already moved to incorporating videos in their Instagram stories, finding the tap forward rate to be significantly lower.
A great example to check out is Converse, whose Instagram stories contain inspired and meaningful video content, often based around diversity.
With their product all wrapped up in this engaging material, it perfectly illustrates how to build your reputation without pushing your product.
2. Augmented Reality
If Virtual Reality elicits thoughts of archaic goggles and walking with outstretched arms à la Zombie, you will see why AR is the new VR.
With no hardware required apart from your smartphone, AR can now be incorporated into your social media marketing, allowing clients to experience your product or service from their phone.
This ability to try out products has become more essential during lockdown and the lack of physical shopping experiences.
Gucci has recently launched a try-on Application that enables the user to “Try on” their shoes. By pointing their phone at their feet, they can overlay the digital shoes onto them and see how they look when being worn.
Social media is relied on for connection, news and entertainment since it became impossible for many people to reach the outside world during periods of lockdown.
Inevitably, with more time on their hands, people have expanded and experimented with their social media activities which means you need to follow suit.
It’s no longer enough to have one account and hope your loyal clients will stick with you via that platform.
Tik Tok is a relative newcomer but has already changed the Social Media landscape attracting many millions of users.
Your online presence needs to straddle all platforms for your company to be seen and appear relevant. If you don’t know what Twitch or Periscope are, you need to do some research.
4. Live Streaming
Whether we like it or not (& many of us don’t), we have all had to embrace the new age of live streaming.
Zoom meetings at work, catching up with family and friends, or talking to your clients have made live streaming an essential tool in your Marketing Strategy.
People are turning to platforms like YouTube Live or Instagram Live for the virtual consumer experience via live events, interviews, product demos, Q & A sessions – the list is long.
It may take a while to be comfortable with live streaming but it has quickly become the norm.
Periscope is a popular choice among the biggest companies for Live streaming. This platform is owned by Twitter and enables live streaming from anywhere in the world, using a smartphone or tablet.
Many top brands like Nestlé, Cosmopolitan and Royal Caribbean are successfully using their Periscope channel to create interesting, unpredictable content.
Often presented by Influencers, the live videos offer people entertainment as well as watching some of their favourite faces.
5. Social Commerce
Using social media as a doorway to your website is becoming outdated as Social Commerce proves to be a more effective marketing option.
The shunning of advertising in favour of more authentic content by users provides an opportunity to sell via engaging content on your social media platform.
Social media provides your audience with a convenient one-stop-shop for entertainment, content, testimonials and purchasing.
Your customer is more likely to purchase directly through your Facebook page, for example, rather than leaving Facebook and heading over to your website.
If they are enjoying your social media, they are buying into your brand and business culture.
6. Purpose-driven Content
There is no doubt that these are tricky times for Marketers; you are expected to provide authentic, transparent information along with a strong ethical code.
Whilst people will get behind a brand that practices diversity and social responsibility, one wrong move could wipe out your popularity.
Social Media users know when a brand is genuinely respectable and when they are spouting ethical words in a promotional manner.
If you embark on purpose-driven content, for example, boycotting unethical suppliers, you must follow through and truly commit to the changes that you advocate, and be clear on why your wonderfully politically correct policies are worthy.
Starbucks has joined the UN Refugee Agency intending to reach out to refugees who need employment. The company has pledged that it will employ 10,000 refugees by 2022.
This is a great example of giving back in a way that will not only benefit those in need but sends an indirect message of how diverse their workforce is.
7. Inclusivity and Diversity
Again, you must practice what you preach or risk commercial death by Cancel Culture. Knowing your audience means knowing what matters to them and who they are made up of.
The employee demographic of your business should reflect your claims and vice versa. If your activism is deemed to be a marketing ploy, you will be called out on it.
Don’t join the movers and shakers without total compliance with and conviction to your contribution. It is better to say nothing at all than to be considered self-serving in your morals.
Large multi-nationals are embracing the vision of diversity and inclusion with behemoths Disney, Coca Cola and Mastercard proudly publishing the details of how they’re doing so.
From a marketing perspective, the movement of customer focus from prices to authenticity and social responsibility can be a minefield to navigate.
The adherence to complete transparency can work against you if you are anything less than genuine and morally legitimate.
If you’re suspected of making a misstep or letting clients down in any way, you have to own it and talk frankly to your audience if you are to maintain their trust and loyalty.
The focus on user-generated reviews became popular with the birth of internet companies like Tripadvisorback in 2000.
Stemming from people’s mistrust of glossy travel companies, Tripadvisor provided first-hand traveller reviews and photographs, giving people an unedited and unpolished insight into destinations.
Trust is now the most important connection between a company and its potential clients.
9. Connectivity over Advertising
The practice of connectivity fulfils audience expectation of authentic and honest content from businesses. Studies show that 75% of people don’t accept advertisements as truthful depictions.
Audiences want to feel that they’re looking at helpful, quality content that gives them a takeaway of some sort – whether that is entertainment, facts, stats or new ideas – your content must generate two-way communication and respect.
People are no longer tolerant of conspicuous advertising, perhaps except for TV ads which are largely aimed at the less social media savvy baby boomer generation.
From a Marketer’s mindset, your goal is that your customers choose you because you have ticked their ethical/moral/entertainment boxes.
Traditional advertising by comparison is an outdated one-way message with the sole aim of profits.
An indirect marketing approach may go against the grain of what we have learned in the past about successful advertising but encouraging people to get to know your company and its ethical policies will strengthen your market presence.
Take the sustainable shoe company, Toms. They don’t only sell canvas espadrilles, they sell themselves as a community whose aim is to improve the lives of people worldwide living in poverty.
Their clear message is that your money will be going not into the pockets of Fact Cat Executives but will be invested into grassroots organisations across the world.
If your content is authentic to you, it will be unique and your identity will be formed through more than just adverts and sales pitches.
Cultivating some of these practices may seem daunting, even counterproductive but corporate image isn’t what resonates with the social media audiences anymore, they want to see the faces, the personality and the ethics behind the brand.
Learn more about the top social media trends of 2021, and how you can use them to grow your business, by getting in touch with us here.
Hope this helped.