5 Upcoming Social Media Trends and How To Use Them

Maddie Cunning

5 Upcoming Social Media Trends and How To Use Them

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Social media can no longer be seen as “just a trend” – it’s here to stay. With 94% of adults having at least one social media account, and 40% of those users admitting to following their favorite brands on social media, it’s crucial to target that 40% in order to get them following your business. The upcoming year is not looking to slow down in the social media department – so it’s time to embrace the growing social media trends and make them work to your advantage.

94%

Adults with at least one social media account

40%

Users that admit to following their favorite brands on social media

The Challenges

2017 Social Media Trends

In order to know how to maximize your social media accounts, we first need to recognize the impending challenges in the upcoming year.

The Continual Decline of Organic Reach

In previous years it has been no secret that businesses organic reach on Facebook has been steadily declining. This decline is due to the ever-increasing amount of content available to users as well as algorithm changes that focus on delivering the most “useful” content to users with an emphasis on friends and families content over publishers and brands. The decline of organic reach means that businesses need to find innovative ways to up their reach in order to be seen more and gain more followers and users. One big way to combat this is to create interesting content that users react to – which the trends outlined below will help with.

Pay-to Play Increase

Due to the decline of organic reach we are seeing brands utilizing social advertising more and more, which ups the need to pay in order to best advertise your own social media accounts and content. This is an incredibly effective way to broaden your pages reach and more accurately target the audience that you want to see your content. The important thing to look at when paying to play is your ROI and how important your brand reach is to your business.

Shift Away from Vanity Metrics

Due to the current obstacles for brands to get to the top of people’s feeds – it’s becoming more important to ensure that all of your posts are related to your brand and useful for your followers. It’s one thing to post a picture of a puppy dog and get hundreds of likes – but businesses are starting to realize that these vanity metrics are not necessarily helping out their business. It is becoming apparent that it is much more important to focus on creating genuine engagement among followers and customers and providing them with useful content that makes them think about your product or service in a positive way.

The Trends

In order to combat the three main social media challenges that we are currently seeing, their are five major trends to follow in the upcoming year. First, recognizing the importance of social discovery will help drive you to beef up your pages with great content in order to draw potential customers in. Second, utilizing social selling will help you provide useful and convenient ways for customers to buy your products. Third, the rise of dark social is forcing businesses to create shareable content and find innovative ways to track their shares and interested audience. Fourth, video ads will help your business utilize and create more intriguing ads that will captivate your audience and draw in new followers. Lastly, utilizing your workforce will help to create user trust and engagement. Now let’s figure out how to utilize these trends to their fullest potential:

1. Social Discovery

social-discovery

What It Is

In younger generations especially – it is becoming commonplace to lean more towards a businesses social media account(s) to find information, as opposed to going through the conventional search engine methods. Users are tending to look more towards a company’s online presence, user reviews and comments, and any personal advocacies.

Why It’s Important

A 2016 study by the Global Web Index found that 36% of internet users aged 13-24 are using social networks to gain information about brands products and services. When you consider your target audience, if people within that group are part of it, it’s easy to see the importance of delivering information to as much of your audience as possible.

How To Utilize

First and foremost – don’t ditch your previous strategy, make sure to think about and recognize who your target audience is. Although younger buyers are starting to use social media for research, older buyers are still tending towards traditional search tools. So if your audience is in the older generation, make sure you are still utilizing SEO and search strategies to draw them in.

For the portion of your audience that are using social media, you want to ensure that your accounts portray credibility and trust from customers. Testimonials, reviews, and customer stories will all help create trust between your brand and a potential customer coming across your page.

Additionally, try to bring the discovery to your followers. We are seeing much more possibility in methods for getting content to people, through facebook live, instagram live, etc. This will help reach consumers who may not be visiting your website.

2. Social Selling

social-selling

What It Is

New tools are constantly being introduced to social media platforms that are there to further your business leads. One of the bigger tools right now is giving businesses the ability to take users directly to a product “buy” page or sell directly from their social media pages. Utilizing these tools adds a huge amount of convenience for your followers.

Why It’s Important

Who doesn’t like convenience? Buying is so much more intriguing when the opportunity is right in front of you. With “Buy Buttons” popping up on some of the bigger social media platforms (think Pinterest Buy Buttons and Instagram tap to view buttons) – it’s a good idea to start utilizing these ASAP to keep up with competitors and offer a convenient option to your customers.

How To Utilize

Every brand is different, which is why you need to experiment and find the processes and tools that work best for your brand. Start by setting a goal for a small campaign like a promotion. Try out your campaign and see if it works for you – you’ll also get ideas for what you can do differently next time.

A few different ideas for drawing customers into your campaigns are using videos or fun incentives. As we will mention below, video is growing in the social media world in many different ways (from video ads to live streaming). Why not get your brand out there with some videos that help showcase your products and draw customers in? An additional approach is giving incentives to buy – because who doesn’t like an exclusive deal? You can offer small rewards to buyers who use your new social media tools to buy products.

3. Working With Dark Social

What It Is

Dark social is the ever increasing instance of users copy and pasting links to their own accounts or direct messages to friends as opposed to using trackable share buttons. This lowers your ability to track your content shares, and thus lowers the amount of engagement you see compared to the actual amount on your social content (think blog posts).

Why It’s Important

84% of social sharing is done through dark social.

A 2016 study done by radium one found that 84% of social sharing (from publisher’s and marketers’ websites) is done through dark social. The more that we can learn from dark social shares – the better we can market towards our audience and the people that are sharing content.

How To Utilize

Instead of hoping that people will use share buttons provided to them, we need to find ways to embrace, work with, and track dark social shares. It’s unique for each company and brand – however we’ve outlined a few general methods below to get your started:

  • Use standardized UTM Codes to track all of your campaigns
  • Add simple ways for users to share – adding “copy link to clipboard” or “share via email” buttons to campaigns for instance
  • Figure out and be aware of members of your audience that are more likely to find your content through dark social (an email link sent to them for example). Include those people in your marketing plans and campaigns

4. Video Advertising

video-advertising

What It Is
Using video on your social accounts in order to showcase your products and their features or your business and services.

Why It’s Important

Just as major social media platforms are adding tools for social selling, they are also adding many tools for businesses to implement video adverts. You can tell much more of a story with a short video than a single image – so it’s important to keep up with the game and utilize video ads.

Additionally, we are seeing a huge jump in live streaming videos on social media accounts (Think Facebook Live, Instragram Stories, The Periscope App, etc.). Due to the popularity of these videos, the social networks are starting to implement new ways for businesses to use video adverts within live streaming (Snapchat putting a video advert in between stories for example).

How To Utilize

Figure out the social networks that you would like to utilize video ads on – starting with where the majority of your followers and target audience are. Study a few big brands – even better if they share the same industry as you – and what they are doing for their successful videos (e.g. showing customers using products, implementing video testimonials, or showcasing unique ways to use their products, just to name a few). You will want to create short and visual videos that will capture and hold users attention, keeping in mind that a large portion of users will watch without their sound turned on. Start out by trying out a few different clips and see which ones do the best on your accounts.

5. Connected Workforces

connected-workforce

What It Is

Utilizing your workforce to advocate for your brand and products on social media in order to give your accounts a more personal feel.

Why It’s Important

With technology taking over so many aspects of business – people want to talk to and hear from real people that are behind a brand. Every voice counts along the way to gain user trust: the employees that believe in their company’s products and services, the consumers that have experience with the company, and peers sharing with their peers.

How To Utilize

Get your workforce involved by recruiting them to post about your company’s products, engage with consumers and encourage reviews. Be sure to train your workforce on the voice that you want behind the company and to ensure consistency and professionalism across all posts. Another aspect that your workforce can get involved in is social selling, which we mentioned above. Layering this on top of your existing sales tactics will add another layer of potential income.

The Bigger Picture

With so many advances in social media tools and technology, it’s incredibly important to ensure that you are keeping up with the current trends in order to stand out and stay ahead of your competitors. Users want to see engaging content on their feeds and the current trends all revolve around creating useful and exciting content to hold users attention.

You’re here because you want your social media strategy to succeed – we understand. And we can’t stress the importance enough of following the current trends and taking full advantage of the ever-changing social media platforms and all of their new tools being introduced. It can be overwhelming at times but we’ve got your back. If you’re looking to stay up with the trends – get in touch with us and we’ll help you achieve your social media goals.

Maddie Cunning

Maddie Cunning

With a keen eye for detail and a background in Computer Science, Maddie combines her skills to create finished products that accurately and creatively reflect the client’s vision. As our in-house social media producer and specialist, Maddie writes on trending Social Media Marketing topics.