Social Media started in 1997 with the launch of Six Degrees and AOL Instant Messenger, in 2002 LinkedIn appeared swiftly followed by MySpace and Skype in 2003. Between 2004 and 2010 we saw Facebook, Flickr, Bebo, Reddit, YouTube, Twitter, Tumblr, Pintrest and Instagram. Finally in 2011 Snapchat and Google+ came along.
That’s 21 years since the first forms of social media platforms were launched. Like anything in the digital marketing world, adaption is key. Now businesses are finding they must consider social media trends, usage and availability when putting together a digital marketing strategy.
Approximately 2.8 billion people use social media, with these levels of popularity and interaction, businesses not engaged in social media could be missing out on a huge opportunity. Some social media trends will likely fade away, others may not be relevant to a particular business, but it is important to keep one eye on what those trends are. If there is something that could work for you and your business, with a potential audience of nearly 3 billion, it’s got to be worth a look?
So here are some of the current and upcoming trends for social media:
#1 Social Media Advertising
When social media platforms first came about the key objective was to build a user base, not necessarily generate income. Now Facebook, for example has over a billion users and its focus has switched to using the platform as an advertising tool. Twitter, Facebook and YouTube count advertisements as one of their primary sources of income. Ad growth on social media platforms is only expected to increase giving brands a huge opportunity to reach targeted audiences all over the world.
#2 Personalised Experiences
Imagine you are at work and an ad pops up on social media to let you know that your local pizza restaurant is offering a deal, buy one get one free, the pizza restaurant is just around the corner from work so you go on the way home to pick up dinner for the family.
Scenario two – you are at a shopping centre and an advertisement shows that your favourite clothing shop has a 20% off sale today only. Chances of you visiting that clothing shop are high because a) it’s your favourite shop, b) you are nearby, and c) there is a discount.
Personalising experiences via social media allows businesses to be more specific with their digital marketing efforts. Using the information on the social media platforms as valuable marketing data and targeting users based on their preferences, geographical locations and activities.
#3 Videos and Live Videos
Videos have always been a key marketing tool for businesses. Short, snappy, informative videos have proven their popularity. Why read about someone decorating a cake when you can watch it? Why try and picture a new car when you can see a video of it? Cool DIY trick? Artist painting a picture? An event? Leisure activity? The list is endless. Videos are more likely to evoke a feeling or reaction from the viewer and trigger an action.
Social Media videos have gone up a level with the introduction of features such as Facebook Live. This not only allows businesses to directly interact with their customers, it offers endless marketing opportunities such as live demonstrations, interactive workshops, and scheduled Q & A sessions.
#4 Analysis and Monitoring
Social media is offering businesses real-time analysis, offering the ability to connect with social buyers at the moments that matter. Marketing Automation and Social Media monitoring work together to provide triggers for certain marketing based on users interactions.
There is a wide range of social monitoring tools providing important insights and analysis data relevant to the brand.
#5 Generation Z
Generation Z are those who have grown up in an entirely digital world. They’ve never not known smartphones, the internet has been a permanent fixture in their lives and technology appearing futuristic to most is the norm for them. Generation Z are defined as born late 1990s to mid 2000s, and making up a huge proportion of social media in particular Snapchat and YouTube.
Generation Z are important market segment for businesses as they are entering adulthood and developing their own purchasing power. They won’t have purchase preferences yet, but have access to a huge social world, making them a perfect target for marketers.
Due to the social media habits of Generation Z, businesses will start to adapt their social media marketing. Snapchat is the most widely used platform by Generation Z, primarily for keeping in touch with their friends, but brands will be looking to infiltrate Snapchat gaining access to approximately 67% of Generation Z. Content will need to be engaging, relevant and thought provoking to the audience as Generation Z will dominate the market.