If you spend any time at all browsing social media, then you know just how quickly trends can come and go. It seems like every day there’s a new meme, a viral hashtag, or a TikTok challenge that everyone’s talking about.
It’s not just the content of social media that changes at a rapid pace; the fundamental landscape is equally fluid and volatile. In the last year alone, we’ve seen significant behind-the-scenes changes at Twitter, including some major shake ups to the algorithms and the user interface. And that’s just one example among many.
Such volatility is meaningful for the end user but it’s also impactful to marketers, who must be ready to adapt their strategies accordingly. This raises an important question: What are some of the social media trends that marketers should have on their radar?
Key Trends in Social Media Marketing
In our estimation, these are some of the trends that will likely have an oversized impact on social media marketing in the months and years to come.
The Ubiquity of Video
It may be difficult to recall a time when Facebook and Twitter were primarily text-based, as visual content has become increasingly dominant. This is particularly true of video: TikTok, Reels, and YouTube Shorts have really upended the social media landscape in a major way, making it more imperative than ever for marketers to invest in high-quality videos that are optimized for social media feeds.
The Advent of Social Commerce
It’s always been possible to “sell” a product or service via social media, in the sense of advertising or promoting it. But now, there are more and more options to directly facilitate transactions online, including social commerce features directly embedded into platforms like Instagram. In the future, we expect to see more and more social media content that’s not just aimed at marketing, but at guiding on-the-spot, real-time conversions.
The Rise of Micro-Influencers
Influencer marketing has long been a hallmark of social media. Simply put, one of the best ways to boost brand awareness is to associate with a celebrity or popular online personality. What we’re seeing lately is that influence marketing is becoming more granular. Brands are less likely to seek big-name endorsements, and more likely to court micro- and nano-influencers, social media users who have smaller but heavily engaged, niche followings. Micro-influencers are becoming more and more effective as brand advocates, making it possible to connect directly with a highly targeted audience.
Concerns Over Privacy
One of the big tech stories of the past five or six years is the rising concern over online privacy and confidentiality. Consumers are increasingly vocal about if, when, and how they want their personal information to be cataloged, something that has had a major impact on social media marketing. In particular, it’s more difficult than ever to obtain meaningful third-party data, which means marketers and advertisers must innovate new ways to gather first-party data. Surveys, polls, and other such tools are increasingly vital for fleshing out buyer personas.
Social Media Customer Service
Something else for social media marketers and small business owners to be aware of: Platforms like Facebook and Instagram are increasingly seen as viable channels to offer customer service and support. Indeed, a lot of consumers would prefer to interact with a representative via direct messaging, as opposed to picking up the phone to make a call. This is an invaluable opportunity for businesses and brands to foster user engagement and brand loyalty, using social media not just as a chance to promote their wares but also to flex their customer service muscles.
Balance Between Paid and Organic
This last one isn’t necessarily anything new, but it’s been such a dominant theme over the past decade that we think it warrants a mention here. We often hear clients wonder whether it’s more effective to reach their audience via paid social media ads or organic reach, and the short answer is that you need both. The algorithms are designed in such a way that some paid activity is necessary for breaking into a new audience (in a highly targeted way), but good, organic content marketing remains essential for audience retention and customer loyalty.
Stay On Top of Things with Your Social Media Marketing
Social media has never exactly been static, but the last few years feel like they’ve been more fluid, more transitory than ever before. It’s critical for marketers and small business owners to maintain their ability to pivot and adapt as the social media landscape changes.
One way to stay on top of things is to work with a digital marketing consultancy like enCOMPASS. We’re here to help you navigate the ever-evolving world of social media, effectively positioning your brand for success. Reach out to us any time you’d like to chat with an expert.
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