Now more than ever, social media use is on the rise: 49% of U.S. respondents to a GlobalWebIndex survey said they are reading more news stories on social media channels as a result of the COVID-19 outbreak, making it the primary motivator to use social networks across all market, gender, and income levels. Americans have also increased social media use to keep in touch with friends during these uncertain times: 41% say they’re doing so. (GlobalWebIndex, April 2020)
As your audience consumes more content on social media channels, now is a great time to review your marketing program and align your practices to incorporate these social media trends to help you make more meaningful brand connections. Here’s what should be on your radar:
Lead with video. More than any other channel, video quickly and effectively delivers your brand message: Social video generates 1,200% more shares than text and images combined; and video drives 157% increase in organic traffic from search engines (Brightcove).
According to a Cisco study, by 2022, 82% of all online content will be video content—so revise your strategy accordingly: Start by using features like Stories in addition to your traditional image- and text-driven social media posts. And don’t overlook creating branded content for TikTok and YouTube.
Create shoppable posts. Your goal is to create less steps for your shoppers, not more: Selling directly on social media simplifies the sales process and decreases the chances of sales abandonment. Social commerce is on its way to becoming a mainstream retail channel on par with other mediums like websites and offline stores. Last week, Pinterest rolled out a new shopping feature: https://techcrunch.com/2020/04/07/pinterest-adds-new-shop-tabs-connected-to-in-stock-inventory-style-guide
Watch for more social media platforms to introduce pro-selling features like Instagram Storefronts, where you can leverage your brand while seamlessly incorporating social commerce into your sales strategies.
Use ephemeral content. There is something compelling about content that is available only for a short duration—and then disappears afterwards. Instagram and Snapchat Stories are perfect examples of this type of content: They’re short, engaging and addictive in a way that people can spend hours scrolling through one Story after another. Put your brand on your customer’s scroll using these Story posts.
Get (even more) personal. While most consumers happily engage with brands, they’re are also becoming more selective about their interactions. Consider using features like Instagram Threads and Facebook Group marketing to make your social media posts feel more like a personal connection with your tribe, and less like a one-size-fits-all campaign.
Encourage user-generated content. Prompt your customers to share their brand experience using hashtags with customer photos; it’s is a smart move for engagement and for the sake of social proof.
Employ interactive content. Visual-forward platforms with augmented reality and virtual reality will continue to be a hot trend this year. AR amplifies the real world around you, enabling users to see virtual items or information while looking at real things. Snapchat’s lenses that take a selfie is an authentic example of AR.
Also think about using interactive (and increasingly popular) Instagram Stories and Polls as a way to engage with your audience and start conversations surrounding your product or brand.
Don’t overlook influencers. Unlike celebrities, micro-influencers are medium-sized influencers with narrower niches—popular enough to be influential, still in touch with their followers and not overloaded with sponsorship offers. In addition to being more affordable, micro-influencers also often have a better engagement rate than the more popular influencers.
Explore alternative niche social media channels. Alternative social media channels are already seeing new interest and promising growth levels. If you can start developing your presence on these “secondary” sites now, it’s likely to pay off in a few years as they continue to rise. In particular, Snapchat, Pinterest, Medium and Reddit are becoming new favorites for marketers.
Social media continues to change. So, to be successful you’ve got to keep up: Realign your marketing program by incorporating these latest trends. If you need help refining your social media plan, don’t hesitate to reach out.