Emerging Trends in Social Media Marketing
Social media marketing is still very new. That’s not to say our understanding of it is poor, but we’ve only been able to utilize social media marketing strategies for a relatively short period of time. Given the constant changes that platforms make to their policies and features, as well as the multitude of new platforms being developed each day, it can feel overwhelming.
Don’t let those feelings of frustration or fear of failure get the best of you. Instead, SMASH right through them by trying some of these trends that have caught our eye.
Ephemeral content is what gave rise to platforms like Snapchat, as well as features such as the wildly popular Instagram Stories and Facebook Stories. It appeals to what is referred to as the ‘fear of missing out’, or FOMO for short. This seemingly innate instinct is what humans feel when we worry that other people are having fun without us, or rather that we are missing out on something that everyone else is enjoying. And in a world dominated by viral dances, influencer scandals, and controversial online challenges it is easy to worry about falling behind – there is a lot to keep up with. Content that is temporary will take priority over content that is here to stay.
Ephemeral content is also thriving outside of the standard twenty-four-hour lifespan, as made evident by the YouTube experimental project ‘Unus Annus’, which is Latin for ‘one year’. It was built on the premise ‘What would you do if you only had one year left to live?’ and it released a new video every single day for a year – after which it was deleted completely. It aligned with a philosophy held by one of the creators of the channel, the popular video game YouTube personality Markiplier, who wanted to emphasize the idea of “not everything being immortalized on the internet and that the most treasured experiences lie within those unique, fleeting moments”. Surprisingly deep, and highly effective.
Augmented reality is a technological advancement that is being implemented in a variety of fields, so this trend isn’t exclusive to social media. Virtual reality technology has yet to make its mark on social media however, so AR is currently dominating – and it likely will continue to do so. AR was popularized through the filters on Snapchat and Instagram.
Aside from social media, AR is quite popular amongst clothing and cosmetic brands. Many brands offer AR features through their websites and mobile apps that allow customers to ‘try on’ items before purchase. Some shoppers are able to do so through Facebook Messenger, further highlighting the potential for augmented reality and its place in the future of social media and social media marketing.
One of the benefits to influencer marketing is that they allow you to connect with a niche audience within your target market. Influencers draw their popularity not from mass appeal but a loyal fanbase who provide consistent views and make purchases based on their recommendations. And every day, hundreds more are venturing into the world of being an influencer.
There are two major benefits to working with influencers. One is that they are always actively seeking out sponsors and corporate partners to support their career. The other is that they take the place of ad campaigns, saving you a great deal of money that would otherwise be spent on experimental messaging. Marketers can work with many different influencers at once, unlike the traditional celebrity-corporate partnerships. Influencers have a stronger impact on their viewers; oftentimes these viewers watch influencer content solely for the information about brands.
User-generated content is hardly new for brands that use social media to enhance their marketing strategies, but it has experienced a boom in recent years, and with good reason too. It’s free, it’s easy to acquire, and -most importantly- it’s authentic. Branded content is a little too good for its own good in a sense- high budget, flashy, spit and polished to perfection. Customers know that their experience will be nothing like an ad, and access to someone else’s experience can give them the confidence they need to connect with your brand.
Sending content to their favorite brands is a rewarding experience for consumers, especially when they have been encouraged to do so. Running a campaign for user-generated content can be very fun, creative, and engaging to the point where it doesn’t even feel like marketing. It gives you a way to connect with your customer base that makes them feel appreciated and heard, which improves their opinion of you and your overall image.
This raises one very important question though- if everyone is doing it, how can brands use it to stand out? As always, innovation is where it’s at. Right now Chobani is leading the pack after it created a TikTok challenge for fans to win limited edition yogurt that wouldn’t be available in stores.
Social listening is slowly becoming a new norm. You may have already engaged in social listening and not even realized it because it’s just common sense. The practice itself isn’t an emerging trend, but leveraging the data it can offer is something that marketers everywhere are increasingly finding value in.
Simplified, social listening is simply using your various social media to gauge your popularity. It’s the act of ‘listening’ for mentions of your brand, your products, your competitors, and any other relevant information that tells you how strong your presence is or what people think of you. It’s essentially finding unofficial reviews, feedback, and criticism in blogs, vlogs, social media posts, and so on, and then applying what you find to your marketing strategies. Think of it as the digital equivalent to ‘keeping an ear to the ground’.
The information you find offers key insight on fluctuations in how often your brand is mentioned, the overall sentiment towards your brand, and if the sentiment is changing. It should inform your future marketing campaigns and improve the connection you have with your customer base. After all, the key to being a good listener is about more than hearing what’s being said, it also means taking those words to heart. Your customers are literally sharing exactly what they want to see from you, and it’s almost entirely unsolicited! Otherwise you may find yourself competing with Coca Cola for “one of most memorable marketing blunders ever”. And unless you’re an industry giant like them, that’s a sure fire way to SMASH your reputation to pieces.