How to win at Social Media, Step 1: Understand Social Trends

Social Media

By Lena Brechtelsbauer & Diamanta Hykaj on 07/06/2021

This is part 1 of a 4 part series on building a winning social media strategy. Step 1 is understanding and successfully implementing Social Media Trends. Stay tuned through the month as we continue to shed light on the key steps for amping up your social strategy. 

WHAT ARE SOCIAL TRENDS?

Social Media channels regularly introduce social trends by introducing new ways for individuals to interact and connect. Moreover, these trends have a more direct impact as social platforms shift towards social commerce

As we have now understood what Social Trends are,  let’s evaluate the newest social trends and see what this means for your business.

SHORT-FORM VIDEO: A KEY SOCIAL TREND

Short-form videos have been trending on Social Media due to their addictive nature. Studies predict that by 2022, 82% of online content will be video

Short-form videos can be split up into two main categories. First, ephemeral content that is only available for a short period. This is usually a 24-hour window after which content disappears. Examples of this type of content are Instagram or Snapchat stories. The second type of short-form video are reels, where users can share content between 15-60 seconds long. Examples of such videos are TikTok or Instagram Reels. 

In 2019 the number of daily active Instagram Stories was up to 500 million. The FOMO (Fear-Of-Missing-Out) is a key factor influencing the surge. Instagram story features such as Q&A, polls, and music allow brands to build personal relationships with their customer base.

Instagram Social Trend, Instagram Stories example
Instagram Stories Example. Source: Hootsuite.

Instagram Reels and TikTok have also gained popularity as a social media trend. TikTok for example is often associated with “challenges” that create organic user-generated content. These short-term videos focus on a lighthearted and entertaining approach. This can be a more playful and engaging way to interact with users on TikTok.

What this means for you: Create Content with shorter arcs

As Social Media is booming, it also creates a shorter attention span among users.

TikTok Reels, for example, are relatively easy to create. However, brands need to figure out their authentic voice on the platform. Not every TikTok sound or format will align with your brand strategy. Thus, don’t force yourself to participate in every popular “trend” or “challenge”.  Instead, focus on creating a niche that reflects your key brand values.

The key idea here is to match the voice of the platform. Plus, your content needs to get to the point or hook users a few seconds in. Therefore, repurposing TV commercials or other videos may not bear the same impact on social.

AUDIO CONTENT AND ADVERTISING ARE GROWING

What are social trends that have given rise to new media forms? 

Audio has regained popularity, through podcasts, and given rise to platforms such as Clubhouse. This relatively new platform sees up to 10 million active users weekly.

After the launch of Clubhouse, other social media platforms such as Twitter, Facebook & LinkedIn have all jumped on this social trend. Facebook has been testing its audio feature called “Hotline” and Twitter rolled out “Spaces”. Moreover, now even the business-orientated social media platform LinkedIn has announced that it will introduce an audio room feature within its platform.

What does this mean for you: Monitor this trend

It’s important for you to understand your audience’s needs and wants while evaluating if this trend is a good fit for you. Audio apps allow personalization and story-telling that are strong marketing strategies. 

Nonetheless, trends come and go. Plus, audio production can be expensive and time-consuming. Use your industry, lateral categories, and competitors as a benchmark to see if audio is relevant for your business.

The key idea here is to create audio content that can generate a following. Something episodic and insightful is best suited for this medium. 

SOCIAL COMMERCE IS EVERYWHERE

In recent years, social media has evolved as a major marketing channel and has played an increasingly important role in consumers’ shopping. Now customers can actually shop directly on their favorite social platform, thus enjoying factors such as convenience, customization, and control. As a brand, this means you can interact with newer segments of shoppers through this social trend: 

  • With Shops on Facebook and Instagram, you can build online stores. 
  • Instagram Checkout, users can buy your products without leaving the platform this reduces the number of steps to conversion
  • Browsers on Pinterest can buy in-stock products through the Shop tab.
  • TikTok enables users to shop directly and allows brands to promote through ads.
  • If you have a big following on YouTube, it may be worth considering as it will soon offer in-app shopping.

What this means for you: Investing in the right channels could boost ROI

Your target groups are most likely already using different social platforms. Heavy social users are likely to also adapt easily to social shopping. You have a great opportunity to target your organic posts as well as ads with the wealth of data you can find on social media. Social commerce may offer you an opportunity to develop higher conversion rates. Customer journeys may also be shortened on social platforms, so you could benefit from this channel. 

The key here is to test social commerce on the right platforms based on your audience’s behavior. 

LIVE STREAMING CONTINUES TRENDING ON SOCIAL MEDIA

25% of marketing experts said that live video was the most important social content for achieving their company’s social media goals.

Live-streaming has been trending on social media, as it allows a wide organic reach and engagement, Socialbakers even stated that Facebook Live was the most engaging social format in 2020. This emerging popularity is beneficial for brands as it allows two-way communication between a brand and its consumers. Moreover, businesses are now using eCommerce functionalities within their live stream.

Social Trend of live-streaming example on Facebook.

Facebook Live-streaming example. Source: Facebook.

Livestreams also allows you to cross-promote products through influencers, related brands, and content creators. Influencer streaming has shown conversion rates of 26% in the general population and up to 44% among Generation Z. 

What this means for you: Watch out for Livestream shopping 

Livestream shopping can reduce barriers to shopping online, especially during the pandemic. It is critical to have “virtual try-on’s” and demos that help at-home shoppers with their purchase decision. 

The key here is to assess engagement on live sessions compared to your regular posts. If the engagement is significantly higher, it means it’s the right fit for your audience. 

VIRTUAL & AUGMENTED REALITY JOIN TOP SOCIAL TRENDS

Augmented reality is dissolving the boundaries between the virtual and real world. Social media users can try products through augmented reality lenses or filters. This makes online or social shopping easier. Lenses are available on Snapchat and Instagram. Further, many brands are utilizing them to lock customers in. Virtual reality is gaining popularity on social in two ways. First, as a fun way for users to engage with peers. Second as a way to try products before buying them.

With their popularity increasing day by day, social media platforms such as Facebook and TikTok are also implementing this new feature. AR/VR has applications in various industries such as clothing fittings, hotel previews, product tours/demos, and home decor.

Example of a company using a social trend of augmented reality on Snapchat

AR example on Snapchat. Source: Watersky Digital.

What this means for you: Reduce risk-perception

One major limitation of social media is the lack of trust. If you’re using social media to promote products or even facilitate social commerce, AR/VR can help. Trials, previews, 360-degree views, and product tours can make users feel more confident about their purchases. They can virtually experience the product instead of seeing static images. This can bridge the gap between the online and offline world, therefore reducing risk perception. 

WHAT TO DO NEXT

We hope this round-up of what’s trending on social media has been insightful for you. Stay tuned to our How to Win at Social Media series over the next weeks as we explore the next steps to increase your performance on Social Media. 

Curious about your current social performance? Talk to us: moin@watersky.digital