3 Social Media Trends Brands Are Adopting
In the past year, a lot has happened in the social media world. For brands, some of those changes have been great. Others, not so much.
On the bad side, ad blocker usage continues its meteoric rise, increasing 30% year over year, making it tough for brands to break through in paid channels.
It’s getting tougher for brands organically, too. Several social media platforms, most notably Facebook, have consistently tweaked their algorithms to demote content from brands in favor of posts from regular users.
Here’s the good news. Brands are getting more creative than ever with finding ways to break through on social media, and delight and engage their fans. Let’s review three creative approaches brands are adopting on social media.
1. Influencer marketing
Complementing the fall of brand visibility on social media is the lost of consumer trust in brands. Only about 22% of customers still trust brands.
So how are customers learning about brands, and more importantly, growing loyal to them?
By listening to their favorite influencers. 88% of consumers trust influencer content over branded content, and 92% of them trust influencers over celebrities. Smart brands are building relationships with well-known vloggers and bloggers to spread the word about their products and services.
Influencer marketing has come a long way since its debut. There are plenty of ways to partner with influencers besides the traditional (though still effective) Instagram post:
- Viral hashtag campaigns coordinated with dozens of influencers on Twitter or Instagram
- Dedicated blog post reviews or YouTube tutorials featuring branded products
- VIP events, speaker opportunities, and in-person fan meetups
- Discount promotions, giveaways, and contests
- Sponsored content and guest posts
2. Ephemeral content
Many marketers aim to create “evergreen” content – content that lasts forever, earning social shares, backlinks, and traffic for years.
Evergreen content still works, but consumers have a growing appetite for ephemeral content. We’re talking posts from Snapchat, Facebook, and Instagram Stories that only last for a limited amount of time. Fans like this content because it feels unscripted and real. And there’s something exciting about catching it when it’s live.
Social live video falls in this category, too, although many platforms allow you to post videos to your profile for posterity (technically making it “evergreen”).
Live brand video content performs exceptionally well on social media. Over 80% of consumers would rather watch a brand’s live video post than read their blog, and Facebook users spend 300% more time watching live video and leave 10 times as many comments.
Consider how your brand can use ephemeral content to connect with your fans. Use ephemeral content to promote flash sales. Share sneak peeks of your team beta-testing a new product. Livestream exclusive interviews with influencers from your events on social media – so all your fans can participate, whether or not they could attend in real life.
Ephemeral content offers the added advantage of encouraging fans to check in with your brand more regularly. If they don’t want to miss a discount or an influencer interview, the only way to avoid FOMO is by staying an engaged follower.
Platforms have added features that make these ephemeral posts more profitable for brands. Both Snapchat’s Paperclip feature and Instagram Stories allows brands to add hyperlinks to their posts, driving traffic or sales off-platform.
3. Augmented reality
Just like with ephemeral content, augmented reality (AR) content is another experiential way brands are connecting with consumers. In fact, all three of these trends have that in common: they create experiences for consumers, not just content.
Brands are evolving from advertising that talks at customers, to social content that creates an engaging, shared experience between the brand, influencers, and fans.
Branded Snapchat and Instagram filters allow brands to helps their fans see the world in new, funny, and interesting ways. Similarly, Burberry’s AR app lets fans create a virtual fashion lookbook inspired by Burberry designs, drawing, and artistic effects.
AR-enabled apps also bring brand products into their fans’ homes, making it easier than ever to shop online. Some brands, like Converse, use AR to not just help customers shop, but also show off to their friends on social media. Users can take a photo of themselves wearing virtual shoes and get feedback from their friends before buying (driving organic brand discussion on social media in the process).
Join the Trend
There’s a lot for brands to be excited about in social media this year. But with so many options, it can be tough to figure out the right marketing mix for your brand. Is it influencer marketing, paid social, live video, or a mix of the above?
At Your Marketing People, our social media experts work with you to develop the right social media strategy for your business – which will serve you both today and well into the future. Contact us today. It’s time for your brand to connect with customers.