Social media has continued to evolve and drive new and innovative ways for brands to build awareness, drive sales, develop audiences and manage conversations.
As always, it’s the consumer who is driving the innovation – from creative ways to take videos and pictures to new hashtags, trending topics and more, as businesses it’s always worth seeing what your target audience is doing and how they’re expressing themselves on social media to get a feel for how you and mirror that in your own communication.
And with 2021 having been an odd year due to Covid-19, media trends have shifted as more people work from home, pivot their businesses to be more digitally focused, and use digital platforms and technologies to communicate.
So what are some of the key trends you should be aware of? Here’s a list of some trends that we think you should pay particular attention to…
1. Live Video
It’s a trend that’s been coming for a while, but 2020 and 2021 has accelerated the need for businesses to use live video functionality to communicate with their target audiences. Whether it’s a new product or service launch, an education drive, a brand awareness exercise or simply checking in to see how customers are doing, live video has become a go-to tool for businesses to retain that connection.
And with more than 80% of audiences preferring to watch a live video on social media, sites like Facebook, YouTube and Instagram have optimised their live video tools to make it really easy for businesses to use.
2. Storification is the content trend
Long-gone are the days of pure ‘direct sell’ content, with cold, hard-hitting features and benefits bullet points that promote your product or service over a competitor’s. These days, you need to earn your customer’s buy-in and trust with a more emotive approach, and with a serialization that builds a picture of your business and its approach over time.
Identifying the key touchpoints that match with what’s important in your customer’s life creates familiarity and affinity, and over time builds that long-term relationship that everyone is looking for (both the business and the customer). So, your content pitch on social media needs to align with this – what is the ‘personality’ of your business, and how do you tell that story?
3. Chatbots and social media
AI chatbots have become increasingly sophisticated, and integrate easily with social media pages, helping you have a 24/7 ‘ear to the ground’ and response capability to help your customers quickly and efficiently on platforms they’re familiar with.
4. AR And VR technology is the gap closer
As online shoppers, the one thing we miss out on is the ability to truly interact with a product – a picture and even a video is quite a ‘flat’ experience and cannot replace the real-world, hands-on experience of picking a product up in a shop. But Augmented and Virtual Reality help to bridge that divide – and with prices of VR headsets coming down and quality on the rise, platforms like Snapchat, Instagram and Facebook have embraced AR and VR media as a way to help customers get as close to the real-world experience as possible.
5. Influencers still have a role to play
The last 2 or 3 years has seen a polarization around the use of influencers on social media – some businesses have embraced the concept whilst others have moved away from using them as the fine line between pure self-promotion and opportunism blurred with the goal of effective brand development.
However, when used smartly with a robust set of expectations and deliverables, influencers still have a large part to play for many brands and businesses. As an indication of how effective a top influencer can be, when Portugal football star Cristiano Ronaldo removed a bottle of Coca-Cola from a table and replaced it with a bottle of water during a recent press conference, his single action wiped nearly $4-billion off the Coke share price!
The key here is to find someone appropriate for your brand, and to build a long-term relationship with them in which their story and your story are intertwined in a wholesome, heartwarming and authentic way. One-off posts simply don’t work anymore – audiences are more sophisticated and demand a more authentic engagement.
Developing a robust social media presence and content strategy can be a major boost to your business’s marketing activities. Find out more about the latest trends, how to develop your strategy and how to measure the effectiveness of your campaigns. Speak to one of our content marketing experts today!