Very few marketing channels change more often than social media platforms. New channels are constantly appearing and taking market share, such as TikTok. Algorithm updates across the board change how we create content. New features are tested monthly, and influencers are gaining more traction with social media companies. With all these changes, companies who use social media are constantly looking for an edge to continue to drive traffic from social channels back to their sites. To stay relevant, you must stay in touch with the latest features and trends in order to optimize your social media strategy and connect with the audience you’re targeting. We know it can be overwhelming, but we’re here to help. We’ll go over a few of the top trends to keep on your radar for the remainder of the year and into 2022.
Trend #1: Influencers Are More Powerful Than Ever
Social media influencers provide businesses with a massive audience to promote products or services to. With the number of influencers increasing every day, social media channels are changing their policies and giving influencers more opportunities and options to make money and spread the word about good brands or products. While influencer partnerships are not the right approach for every business, many businesses can speak directly to their audience with the right influencer partnership.
A 2019 survey found that businesses made $5.20 for every $1 spent on influencer marketing, that’s a significant return. Not every industry works well with influencer marketing, but a few of the top industries are health and fitness, fashion & beauty, travel, entrepreneurship, and technology. Channels like Instagram and YouTube lead the way for influencer marketing but don’t be surprised if other channels find ways to incorporate this tactic and provide marketers with new opportunities.
Trend #2: Social Media Channels Adding New Content Avenues
We’ve seen channels incorporating new, exciting features. For example, Instagram and LinkedIn have added Snapchat-style stories and Clubhouse, a new platform, offers live rooms where users can jump into audio-only conversations. Twitter is attempting to replicate Clubhouse with ‘Spaces’ and Tik Tok is even testing stories.
The opportunities for marketers to reach the necessary audiences are growing. It’s up to us to stay on top of the latest changes. It’s important to think about how your business can use these new features naturally to provide value to your audience and connect with more users. An interview with a lead designer for a product in Twitter Spaces could add some extra details for a potential customer to make a purchase. Or maybe including the production process of working with a client within Instagram stories can answer a few questions for a software company.
Trend #3: More Buying Options Within Social Media Channels
Pretty soon, you’ll no longer need to leave social media channels to make a purchase. This year, Instagram added more opportunities for shopping right inside its platform. LinkedIn created ‘Services’ or ‘Product’ pages so businesses can provide their services directly in-channel and customers can reach out. Even Twitter is testing shopping on its platform, replicating the likes of Instagram.
The goal is to keep users invested in and fixated on the channels; keeping them coming back for more (and more often). If you offer products or services on your website, there may be a way to incorporate sales directly into your social media channels, giving your potential customers another easy way to convert. That’s an important conversation to have with your team. Are there products or services that you can feature on your social media channels more organically? Is there a way you can test the process with one product or service at least? There always is. Don’t forget, testing leads to new opportunities within social media.
Trend #4: More and More Video… and More Video
Every year, we see the need for video on social media growing. Some channels only offer video options, such as YouTube or Tik Tok, while others like Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter prioritize other content, like photos, on their channels. SproutSocial describes the latest algorithms with, “As a growing trend, all networks’ algorithms reward native video content”
If you want to reach your audience, or potential customers, video is a must. With the improvement of technology, most of your production can be done through Zoom or computer webcams (or even the phone in your pocket). For years, short-form video was the majority, but a growing increase in long-form video offers new opportunities with many people cutting cable subscriptions. That gives digital marketers new tools in their playbook to provide a variety of content to their customers. Create a recording of a long-form conversation with the CEO updating your audience on the direction of the company. Or interview your software developer on the latest updates to the financial software. If live video is an option, we recommend that as well – plus your audience can be engaged real-time.
It’s a golden age for digital marketing on social media. Keeping up with current trends while preparing for the future is crucial in social media. The key is allowing flexibility in your marketing plan to test, adjust, and review new opportunities. If you’re looking for a trusted partner to help you optimize your current social media plan, we’d be happy to help.