It is highly likely you are getting tired of advice about the importance of social media for your marketing strategy. You might be thinking, “yeah, yeah, enough, already! I get it!” However, it would be a big mistake to take a cavalier attitude towards social media. It is evolving, not so much the technology, but how people use it. Of course, new apps and tweaks are coming out all the time as well, so that makes it more complicated.
Your marketing efforts need to evolve with social media to avoid being left behind. Here are the newest trends in social media strategy of which you should at least be aware, and how it could affect your brand. However, if you want to stay on your own up to date with social media trends, you can see how to do it by following your influencers.
Social Media as a Marketplace
People have become so invested in their social networks that they don’t mind at all when you show up with something to sell. In many cases, making a social network platform the virtual mall is probably the most natural step in its evolution. If you’re not convinced, it is catching on, check out this snippet from the iDigic infographic on how Instagram makes money from this trend:
Instead of clicking away from their favorite network, they simply click on the “buy” button for anything for sale that catches their eye. Aside from Instagram, Facebook and Twitter are already cashing in on this click-away aversion by introducing e-commerce functionality in their respective the platforms. If you have something people can “Buy Now,” don’t be shy!
Turning Everything Around with 360˚
You have to admit, 360˚ visual content is pretty cool, and it is interactive, too.
It is no wonder that majority of it gets a ton of views. Facebook now allows uploading 360˚ photos and videos, so that’s one thing you can consider for your social media marketing before it becomes too popular and you stumble on them on every other post!
You don’t even need a special camera to take a 360˚ photo if you have the Google Street View app and a smartphone. You can use the concept to help you give you create some buzz for your page, or to actually help you sell a product by giving them the virtual experience.
Snapchat has put a new twist on ephemeral in social media, and while it doesn’t make sense for many adults, the teens love it.
Live-streaming and blink-and-you-miss-it video posts are currently very popular, and most of them are latecomers to the game. Aside from Snapchat, you also have the toddler Periscope and the baby Facebook Live. Don’t forget to check Brand24’s comparison between Snapchat and Periscope.
The first ever Facebook Live video aired a Q&A by Mark Zuckerberg with comedian Jerry Seinfeld on June 15, 2016, and got 9.7 million views. Here is an infographic snippet showing how Facebook Live (and live streaming in general) is kicking it.
Should you host your own live video stream on your social networks? Uh, ya think?
Despite what some research show, Facebook will continue to dominate for quite a while in social media marketing.
The prediction was that it would lose 80% of its audience by 2017 (the study was made in 2014), but it seems bound to be disproven really soon. The platform continues to dominate the social media stage, and while its growth has slowed down somewhat, it is still an upward trend.
This continued growth is attributed in large part to investments made in the mobile market and other improvements to the platform.
For the next few years at least, you should not abandon your Facebook social media marketing efforts for other platforms that show faster growth. It is very hard to argue against 1.5 billion plus active users monthly.
The Dark Side of the Moon
Lastly, you should be aware that there is a dark side to social media.
Referred to as Dark Social, it is literally dark, because these are shares that don’t show up in your analytics or other measuring tools. Most of these transactions happen in instant messaging (remember the 1 billion WhatsApp active users?) and email.
You should know about this because it comprises 4 out of 5 social shares. Suddenly, email and chat marketing sounds like a good idea, doesn’t it?
Instant Messaging on the Rise
The fact is, the stuff you tried last year that worked so well may be old news this year. You may not even be targeting the right platforms! Check out the latest statistics according to Smart Insights.
As you can see, good old Facebook is leading the pack in terms of active users, followed surprisingly by WhatsApp, which isn’t even in the radar of most social media marketers.
In fact, the next two spots are also instant messaging apps, so that should tell you something. If you have devoted a good amount of effort on your Twitter feed, you might just weep when you see the next graph.
That’s right, Twitter isn’t doing so well these days, while Instagram is on the rise. Still, Twitter maintains a pretty respectable 313 million active users, so don’t abandon your current strategy just yet. Just make sure you have a little space for doing something with the instant messaging platforms, and think about visual platforms like Instagram and SnapChat. How about Tumblr? There are 555 million active users there that could make your next article from Essay Scholar Advisor go viral.
Social media marketing is a crucial part of your marketing efforts, but it is a dynamic force. Because it is constantly evolving, you need to know what’s what. These latest trends should keep you going in the right direction for the next year, at least. To stay on top of trends, you can check our guide to following social media.
Stacey Marone is a freelance writer and a social media marketer. She creates magnetic content optimized for search. In her free time, she also does volunteer work and organizes some activities for children. Her passions involve painting, reading, and writing. You can follow her on Twitter.