The social media landscape is changing, and the future is looking less than rosy. Organic social reach has started to decline. Trust in key social media platforms is at an all-time low. And pay to play is pretty much a necessity for brands to break through. But here’s the good news. While there are red flags, there’s also still plenty of opportunity.
If you're already using social media for your brand, great, but it might not be enough. Things are moving faster than ever now, so if you plan on catching on to the next big wave, then you need to be ahead of the curve. We've outlined 7 top social media trends we're seeing amazing opportunity in.
#1 - Social Listening
Social listening is a growing trend. The number of people using social media to talk to the brands is increasing exponentially (let’s face it, gen Zs probably don’t even know how to use a rotary phone); the number of social listening tools is growing; the data that presents the overall image of your brand is more robust than ever.
The main goals for social listening are keeping up great customer service and assessing overall brand reputation. While this will obviously remain important, another goal may have more impact, and that goal is lead generation. Brands generally struggle with finding new customers. A social listening tool lets you find hot leads on social media - people who are vocally looking for a product or service like yours.
#2 - TikTok
TikTok is tricky. So far, it’s only really effective if you’re targeting very young people - the majority of TikTok users are under 35. On the other hand, it might be the only platform besides Instagram that’s effective in targeting them.
TikTok was a huge success in 2019: the platform hit 500 million active users, which made it the 9th biggest social networks site. It was also the third most downloaded app in the first quarter of 2019. I expect TikTok to become mainstream in 2020 and repeat the destiny of all other social media networks.
TikTok also introduced ads, which means brands can try to reach their audience both organically and through good old advertising. Feel free to check out the TikTok work we've been putting in.
#3 - Facebook & Instagram Stories
The past couple of years have seen the rise and rise of vertical content, and we expect this trend to keep growing. But being trendy isn’t the only thing you need to be conscious of.
Vertical content is also addictive: you manage the pace at which you see things. Also, you absorb a variety of genres based on your preferences and likes. This is great for advertising as well. Facebook, over time, will know what brands and genres interest you most.
There is a lot of good things happening in Stories. If you're using it great, if not get with it, but also be on the look out for changes. Recently they increased the length of videos that can run in stories, to make it somewhat easier for advertisers to use their better content peices.
#4 - Live
Quickly and surely, social media is going live. We now have Facebook live, Instagram live, Twitch, and YouTube live…
The reasons behind live videos being so popular are intersected with those described above. They are time-limited. They let you communicate directly with the brands and people that you’re following. But also, they are preferred by Facebook algo, so your audience simply has a bigger chance to see the live video compared to a recorded video.
According to a survey by the Interactive Advertising Bureau, 47% of live streaming video viewers worldwide are watching more live video compared to a year ago. 44% said they watch less live TV as a result of live streaming. Live videos are predicted to be a $70.5 billion industry by 2021.
So, going live might be something worth trying in 2020. What can you record? Firstly, anything that fosters the connection between you and your audience: background scenes, employees, the product launches, the making of the product. Secondly, you can record any kind of content you usually post on social media or your blog (e.g., tips and tricks on how to get the best out of your product) as a live video.
#5 - Micro-Influencers
2020 will see a decline in the reputation of the biggest social media influencers. The time has come when social media users see them as celebrities and trust them as little as they trust actors and singers. Sure, celebrity influencers still raise brand awareness like crazy: a single post might be seen by millions of followers at once.
But micro-influencers can do more. Unlike people with millions of followers, micro-influencers are part of the community, the experts, the ones that can’t be bought. The level of consumers’ trust is safe with them. Their recommendations are far more likely to be perceived positively. And, it’s much easier to collaborate with micro-influencers.
With Awario, you can find all kinds of influencers and brand advocates and reach out to them right from the tool. They will appear in the Influencers tab if you use industry keywords and brand keywords.
#6 - Podcast
Podcasts saw a huge rise in 2019. In the US, the number of people listening to podcasts jumped to 22%. That’s 17% more compared to 2018. They are used to entertain and teach business owners, marketers, and media. They include the same type of content that you can find on blogs and news sites. Just the competition is less populated as of now.
My own Podcast has helped me tremendously in validating my craft. By creating episodes specific for Media, Marketing, and Film, I help solidify myself as a leader in the space. And getting started has never been easier. I personally use a service called Anchor, which very easily helps me distribute my content to 20+ platforms, including the two biggest podcasting platforms, iTunes and Spotify. Take a listen and subscribe to my own podcast here.
#7 - Humor
Using humor in marketing isn’t new. But it’s trendy, effective, and much needed. While coming up with a hilarious ad is surely a good idea (in most cases), acting light-hearted and making jokes on Twitter regularly works even better. People don’t just chuckle once and forget about the brand: they follow accounts, become part of the community, look at sales and product updates. All because the brand’s posts are fun to read once in a while.
Brands actively use humor in their marketing, no matter their industry and brand image. From toilet paper to dictionaries, from Spotify to Pornhub. And when they do, the consequences are pleasant and clear. They get more followers, boast higher engagement rate, get free media publications.
In summary, as we approach this new decade, technology and social media are going to be the norm. So much so, that if you aren't using these tools, you will be considered out of touch. But it's not that hard. Many of these options are at your fingertips, and they just need a little creativity to get the ball rolling.
But if you're looking for some help with any of these, you know that's where we come in. Just send me a message with what you need help with, and I'll let you know what to do. First one's free, then we'll talk numbers.