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Social media trends

The social media landscape is constantly changing. It’s always worth keeping an eye on the latest trends, so your business doesn’t miss out on a new opportunity. However, it can be difficult to know which trends to watch and whether there is value in integrating them into your marketing strategy. That’s why we have put together a round-up of the latest trends that are tipped to be dominating the industry over the coming months.

1. TikTok continues to grow

TikTok surpassed 1 billion monthly active users in September 2021, making it the 7th most popular social network in the world. The company has also been investing heavily in developing its ad platform, to make it easier for businesses to create a presence on the network. Given its growth and usage, it would be wise for businesses to get familiar with the platform, especially if they serve a younger audience.

For example: Le Creuset, a premium French cookware manufacturer known for it’s casserole dishes, has over 107K TikTok followers. To promote their products, they use their TikTok account to share recipe ideas and give tutorials.

2. Social commerce will become increasingly popular

Social commerce is when you buy and sell products directly from social media. The combination of increased social media consumption and a lot of users continuing to work from home has bred perfect conditions for the social shopping explosion. The trend is predicted to increase, especially as most major platforms have invested in in-app shopping solutions and are working to provide new features to meet rising demand. According to research conducted by The Harris Poll, 79% of retail businesses will be adding social commerce to their strategy within the next three years.

3. Creator economy matures

Creator economy has been around for a while. “Creator” means both professional influencer marketers and amateur content creators – so anyone who writes, edits, designs and films content. We’re not talking about YouTube stars with millions of followers here. Creator economy exploded during the pandemic, when people were looking for new ways to earn money, and it’s now common for ordinary people to monetise their hobbies, create a side hustle, or find freelance work through social media. As of 2021, 50 million people consider themselves to be creators and businesses are set to spend $15 billion on influencer marketing in 2022.

Social media platforms are responding to this boom by adding new tools, such as TikTok’s Creator Marketplace, Instagram’s Collabs and YouTube’s Brand Connect.

4. Short form content highly valued

Two years ago, when Instagram launched IGTV and Facebook launched Watch, it looked as though long-form video was the future. Even YouTube was rewarding videos that exceeded the ten-minute mark. Then TikTok arrived, Instagram launched Reels, and the rest is history. Instagram has deprecated IGTV, nobody mentions Facebook Watch, and YouTube has now introduced YouTube Shorts.

Instagram recently went one step further to compete with TikTok, by changing the algorithm to rank video higher and giving the app full-screen display. This was met with a massive backlash from users and the changes were reversed. But it seems that the algorithm is taking time to settle back to it’s former settings. Which strongly suggests, that whilst media users want to watch short form videos, they won’t watch just any short-form videos. They have to be entertaining and engaging too. Luckily, short form videos are more accessible to many brands than longer ones.

For example: Colgate – To celebrate Mother’s Day, Colgate launched the #MakeMomSmile challenge, which encouraged users all around the world to share videos in which they did something special for their mothers.

5. Social listening goes mainstream

Social listening, which is the act of tracking social media platforms for mentions of your brand, is having a moment. It’s true that social listening has been around for a while, but during the pandemic brands really jumped on board with listening, as they liked being able to respond to conversations in real time. As the pandemic continued, brands realised other benefits of social listening such as understanding their customers’ changing preferences and avoiding PR blunders. A Hootsuite study showed that Google search demand for keywords like “social listening” and “social listening tools” is up 22% year over year.

6. LinkedIn puts an emphasis on content

Although no actual figures have been issued, LinkedIn has reported continued growth for the last three quarters in terms of number of sessions and engagement. With this in mind, they have been putting a bigger emphasis on content and supporting creators. LinkedIn has added newsletters and LinkedIn Live Access to it’s creator mode, along with improved content analytics. It has also expanded it’s Creator Accelerator Program, which provides advice and support for rising thought leaders.

7. Sustainability becomes part of the buying decision

Climate change and sustainability are becoming a large factor in purchasing decisions.

A study by Insider Intelligence found that 28% of Gen Z adults were concerned about climate change and this was reflected in their purchasing decisions. A climate conscious consumer values transparency and authenticity from their brands. Savvy consumers are quick to spot corporate greenwashing.

Top take aways

1. If you are operating in the consumer market and the audience has relevance for your brand, it might be wise to secure your business name on TikTok, find your way around and make yourself familiar with how it all works. Especially if you are targeting a younger audience.

2. If you sell products to consumers, and haven’t already done it’s worth setting up a Facebook and/or Instagram shop or try Product Pins on Pinterest.

3. Whatever your consumer niche, there is likely to be a creator with an already established fan base waiting to partner with you. So, define your target audience, browse creator marketplaces and be ready to pay fair rates. Creators tend to know their worth. Remember to be cautious when implementing an influencer strategy. Do your research to ensure your chosen creator genuinely embodies your core values and brand messaging and avoid any conflict of interests e.g. are they already working with a competitor?

4. You don’t have to come up with the latest TikTok trend to do well on TikTok, brand challenges, product teasers, tutorials and behind the scenes videos go a long way to show authenticity and transparency of a brand. It will be worth keeping an eye out for further changes to the Instagram algorithm too, as we think that short form video will continue to rank higher.

5. For social listening, it can be as simple as setting up Google Alerts, to notify you when someone mentions your brand. Or, if you use a social media management tool, the software often comes with social listening capabilities, so you can monitor brand mentions, products or any branded hashtags.

6. If the majority of your business is B2B, it’s important to have a strong presence on LinkedIn. Regular postings of longer form content, is the current thinking, as these posts will be given a higher ranking by LinkedIn and help maintain engagement.

7. Be clear on what your brand values are, that way it will be easy to clearly communicate what you stand for to your consumers.

These are the social media trends worth considering when developing a social media marketing strategy. Clearly not all of these will be right for every business. If you feel one of the trends in particular would be ideal for your target audience, and you need some extra support, feel free to get in touch.