Social media is bigger now than it ever has been before - whether you’re sharing your fancy food in a restaurant via Instagram stories, or posting videos from a Tiktok account you made on behalf of your dog, us as humans have become utterly infatuated with the online world.
So why should brands get involved and move their pride and joy into the online space? The simple answer is because everyone else is already there so why wouldn’t they want to get their products/services onto the screens of the millions. A huge 77% of social media marketers say that social media marketing has been very effective for their company this year, but why is that? Hopefully we can provide some answers. Below are 5 different social media trends that are essential for brands to prioritise this year.
Tiktok (previously known as Musical.y) has been around since 2016, but skyrocketed in popularity over the 2020 Covid lockdown, and now has 1 billion monthly active users. It’s an app where people can learn new skills, relate to others across the globe and take part in lighthearted, short-form content for free, and brands now more than ever are beginning to utilise this ever growing platform to build their online presence and ultimately reach their end goal.
Researchers have revealed that when it comes to video content, less is more. Tiktok is brilliant because the most successful content is authentic and doesn’t require prep or planning - jumping on the latest trend/sound and recording it with your phone will generate the most engagement. It means brands can pump out this quick and easy content and experiment through the use of the For You Page, reaching different audiences. Brands like Ryanair, Nandos, Asos and Black Country Living Museum are crushing it on TikTok by ensuring their content is relatable, humorous where possible and consistent.
Microinfluencers and their effectiveness
We all know our Kim Kardashians from our Rihannas, but macro influencers are a thing of the past. Micro influencers are utlised now more than ever with brands, to really get their products and messaging to tight knit, loyal communities that rely on these smaller influencers for genuine opinions and recommendations.
Micro influencers get 47% more engagement on their posts than macro influencers. This comes from the fact that they often have their own niche, specific audiences, meaning brands can really reach the right people and increase their social following and hopefully sales (goal dependent). Not only that, but the cost to utilise micro influencers is far less than trying to source influencers with a huge following. Brands can invest in multiple micro influencers with a higher overall engagement rate than one influencer with 1M followers but an extremely low engagement rate with their audience.
The rise of Instagram reels
Instagram reels were introduced to the app back in 2020, and have since quickly become the most popular form of content on the app to increase engagement and reach audiences beyond your following. This comes back to my previous point of the rise in short form content - people love that ‘less is more’ feel. Instagram created reels to compete with Tiktok and almost to ‘stay relevant’, and in doing so, it has allowed brands to see their engagement soar.
The Instagram algorithm prioritises reels vs static posts, and it is a known fact that the algorithm prefers to push reels out to non-followers, therefore it is key for brands to get on board and get creating some video content. 87% of gen Z’s view Tiktok and Reels as the same, and so cross-posting content across both platforms is a great way to utilise assets and play into the hands of Instagram’s crazy algorithm needs.
Both Tiktok and Instagram have the ‘shop’ feature - allowing audiences to purchase from their favourite brands without even leaving the app. Instagram brought this feature in in 2020, with Tiktok following behind in 2021. But why is it necessary for brands to utilise this feature?
With so many brands all competing to try and generate sales in the same space, it's safe to say there is a lot of noise online. It also may be difficult to get your audience from your social media to your website and then to purchase the item - so why bother allowing them to make that long journey? Having your products available to purchase on the app they’re already viewing them on just makes that user journey more straightforward, and users are therefore more likely to purchase from your brand. It is also brilliant because you can make use of relevant hashtags to gain that extra traction to your page and be seen by audiences that may not have been exposed to your brand previously. All in all, it is a no brainer for brands already making use of these social platforms.
Humanising the brand
Now more than ever we are seeing brands drop the ‘corporate’ and formal tone of voice on social media, and adopt more of a ‘human’, behind the scenes approach. This is super successful, and gives the audience a real insight into the brains behind the operation. Humanising the brand is so important because not only does it allow for a deeper connection to be made with your audience, it also creates a sense of trust which is essential in developing that loyalty to the brand and therefore increasing repeat purchases.
Sharing more of the brand beyond the surface by injecting humour, speaking out on issues that matter and make a positive impact on the world and being transparent and interactive with your audience all play a pivotal role in breaking the barrier between consumer and brand.