Social media is a constantly evolving challenge for businesses and marketing teams of all sizes. It is crucial to understand the lay of the land when it comes to social media trends as new channels and features may present an opportunity to establish a competitive advantage or reach a lucrative new market.
The Emergence of TikTok
If you are not thinking about TikTok for your business then you may need to get up to speed on this new social media phenomenon. TikTok is estimated to currently have over 750 million active users on the platform every month. This is a spectacular stat considering the platform was virtually unheard of two years ago. Another stat worth noting is that 66% of TikTok users are under 30 years old. If you have a target audience that is under 30 years old then you may be missing a trick!
Experts predict that there will continue to be a rise in popularity for niche networks like TikTok. People are no longer looking for large online communities, they prefer relevant ones with less noise and more genuine engagement. Big brands like Pepsi, Nike and Sony have adjusted due to social media trends and are building significant communities on TikTok. They are aligning themselves with influencers and generating a dedicated brand following.
Brands are currently using TikTok to drive user generated content with no marketing spend on the platform. It is widely accepted that brands that are early adaptors to TikTok will benefit the greatest from this platform.
“66% of TikTok users are under 30 years old”
Social Media Wellness and Customer Engagements
Awareness about the impact of social media on mental health has become more prevalent in recent years. Social media channels have had to stand up and take note by making moves to make their communities friendlier and a lot less toxic. Social media addiction is now considered a big issue and is affecting how people perceive social media channels. As a result, an increasing proportion of people are taking actions to decrease the amount of time they spend on social media. This social media trend is more of a social movement than a crisis at present.
The movement #DigitalDetox is inspiring users to balance their social media usage and their mental wellbeing. People aren’t moving away from social media, they are just learning to manage their time more effectively on it.
Instagram has made the first steps on this social crusade to improve mental health issues caused through social media by hiding the likes for posts. This is expected to become more commonplace on other social media channels. This will result in a drop in engagement on posts but people will find a way to express their appreciation for a post in some way such as comments instead.
The advice from experts is to always post positive content on social media that reinforces strong mental health and to try and provide worthwhile information every time. There was 78,000 online conversations surrounding social media wellness in 2019 and this is expected to be vastly higher when the social mentions are counted for 2020.
“There was 78,000 online conversations surrounding social media wellness in 2019”
Augmented Reality and Virtual Reality is the Next Big Thing
Augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) are set to be the next big developments on social media channels. Big brands are expected to use this technology on social media to boost user experience and engage target audiences through gaming. The impending rise in 5G will allow AR and VR technology to be seamlessly used on mobile devices.
Japan Airlines in a good example of a company that is already embracing this technology. They are now allowing their customers to pre-experience trips before they book their tickets through VR. Sephora allows their customers to see what their make-up will look like when applied to their faces using AR technology before they buy online. IKEA also allows people to view what their room will look like with IKEA furniture and where they can place the furniture in their room.
Facebook owns OCULUS which is a major virtual reality company. It is widely expected that Facebook and Instagram will roll out features on the platforms that allow businesses to engage with their audiences through VR and AR technology in a tangible and affordable way within a relatively short period of time. TikTok already has many AR features which may explain the growing rise in popularity of this platform. Virtual reality could be the game changer.
The Challenges of Marketing to Generation Z are Coming
Online trends and indicators are highlighting that mobile search advertising spend will exceed desktop advertising spend within months. Another trend is the lowering average click through rate on social media ads. The general consensus is that advertising is getting a lot more difficult as people are showing less of an appetite for getting sold to. 84% of millennials have stated that they don’t trust traditional advertising. Many experts are advising that new disruptive technology such as AR and VR may be needed to add innovation to marketing strategies.
Other new methods such as voice search and social media e-commerce are driving more conversions. Millennials and Generation Z are very tech savvy and expect innovation, creativity, personalisation and transparency. Businesses will need to keep in mind social media trends, what these generations want and what will entice them to engage with a brand. Instagram introduced shoppable posts with an in-app checkout feature. This trend is expected to continue with other social media channels. It may be worth your while to take advantage of these new features for your business.
“84% of millennials have stated that they don’t trust traditional advertising”
Time to Invest in User Generated Content
It is estimated that 90% of purchasing decisions are led by user generated content. The era of celebrity influencers is now a fading social media trend which is being replaced by content that is created by regular people. User generated content now generates 6.9 times more engagement on social media than brand created content. This type of content is perceived to be more authentic, cultivated and created outside of the influence of a brand to pay for an endorsement.
User generated content helps brands to build a sense of community with their target audience and personas. Millennials and Generation Z don’t just buy into a product, they buy into the experience a brand provides. This is why AR and VR technology is expected to explode as brands will leverage this technology to create and maintain a unique and positive experience with their audience.
Many brands now have community groups on Facebook to build their brand loyalty. Some brands also offer incentives to their advocates through special offers, discounts or competitions to entice them to share their pictures and videos that can be used to promote these brands on social media channels. It is essential to make any user generated content that is posted on social media channels such as Facebook and Twitter shareable. In actual fact, audiences should be encouraged to share this content.
“It is estimated that 90% of purchasing decisions are led by user generated content”
There you have it! Now that you heard from the experts on social media trends, it is time to keep this information in mind for your content marketing or social media strategy. If you don’t have one of these strategies you may be missing out on very good opportunities to communicate with your target audience or you may be allowing your competitors to get the upper hand by leveraging new social media channels and features before you do. It is not fashionable to be late to the party when it comes to social media marketing.