Saying that social media has become a part of our daily lives is an understatement. It seems like social media has taken over most of our lives nowadays. Aside from the sole purpose of connecting with family and friends, social media has also become our primary source of information, entertainment, business, and online marketing.
A recent study shows the estimated active social media users can reach up to over 2.77-billion users for 2019 alone, that is about 40% of the world’s population. With most of the people checking up on social media from time-to-time, it is only best for a brand to take advantage of this platform to level up their online marketing strategy.
Halfway through the year, and we’ve already seen some social media trends that give online businesses an extra boost. Below are the top 10 social media trends of 2019 that every brand should jump on; after all, it is never too late to join the bandwagon.
Pump Up Your Audience Relations
Level up your audience relations and increase your social media engagement by showing your audience some love and making them feel important. Brands are doing this by interacting with the audience accordingly; being responsive to their messages, engaging in the comment section by acknowledging their thoughts and consistently answering their questions.
Study shows that 9 out of 10 consumers are more likely to communicate with brands using messaging apps. Another research shows that 68% of respondents say that they build trust and confidence with a brand when they can connect or message them directly on social media.
Manage your audience relations and responsiveness by using proper monitoring and social media tools, sites like Sortlist can help you monitor your social media and sites traffic growth. Remember that when jumping on this particular trend, consistency is the key.
2. Feature User-Generated Content
Featuring your audience’s content is another way to increase engagement and not to mention, free online marketing. Brands jumping on this trend encourages their audience to post their personal experience with the brand or service and share it on social media by using a specific hashtag. This way, the audience will effortlessly talk about your brand.
To be honest, users get giddy-up when their favorite brand features content that is meant to showcase a love for the brand. The engagement feels more personal, and the audience feels like they are valued as a loyal consumer.
One good example is how the women’s clothing brand Aerie launched their #AerieReal campaign. This Instagram campaign encourages ladies to post their unretouched swimsuit photos in exchange for donating a certain amount to charity.
In the end, the brand gained more engagement and have raised ample amount for the charity they are supporting. Genius strategy, isn’t it?
3. Storytelling Format
There’s no better way to feed your audience with content by giving them pleasing visuals. Another social media trend that leveled up businesses’ online marketing this year is video storytelling content that captures the hearts of the audience.
Regardless if it is a true-to-life or fictional story, an excellent storytelling content that is visually and emotionally appealing will definitely have a brand recall. The brand will be known as the company that touches their hearts and moves them to tears.
One good example is the storytelling series of the fast-food chain giant in the Philippines called Jollibee. The campaign tagged as #KwentongJollibee features heartwarming stories about family, friends, and relationships that are 100% relatable to Filipino audiences. In the end, Jollibee subtly incorporates how the product plays a role in the touching story.
4. Selfie Videos and Stories
It is no wonder that the vertical disappearing video pioneered by Snapchat has taken social media by storm. People are so into it and has developed a habit of sharing their day-to-day activities and thoughts. Because of the hype, other social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube already followed the trend.
With the continuous growth of the so-called “selfie culture” in this “selfie generation,” this kind of vertical photos and videos feels more personal. In May 2018 alone, at least 1-billion accounts are recorded using Instagram stories, be it for personal or for online marketing use.
Brands jump on this bandwagon by having vertical photos and videos that look raw, unedited, and unique. They smoothly incorporate a campaign link through hashtags and embedded links. They also take advantage of the selfie-style live streaming video and get to interact with the audience through the live-feed comments.
5. Work With Small-Time Influencers
Featuring a small-time and relatively unknown influencers is like putting a face and voice to your brand. Having these influencers represent your brand is also equal to earning the trust and loyalty of your target audience.
But why is it better to work with not-so-popular influencers? It is because the audience can easily relate and connect with them on a personal level. It makes them feel like the brand is reachable, and the partnership with the influencer is not just like any ordinary online marketing strategy.
Businesses can also have their employees as influencers, employees have first-hand touch or experience about the brand, making them a much more reliable source.
6. Use of Private Social Media Groups
Being present on social media will not just give a product a simple reach to their audience but a wide range of customers with different levels of interest to the brand. That’s why brands take advantage of private social media groups to give proper segmentation to a loyal and highly interested audience.
Private social media groups do not only address the audience’s needs, but it’s also a room to increase engagement, gather quick feedback, and market research.
In Facebook alone, there are tons of private groups users can participate in depending on their interest. Social media users are into it because these private groups give them easy access to information, advice, and answers to frequently asked questions (FAQs) about a specific niche, product, or service.
7. Showcasing Transparency
Brands showcasing transparency through their social media accounts instantly earn respect, trust, and loyalty of the audience. Transparency through the means of admitting mistakes, giving an honest response to inquiries, product pricing, changes in product or service, and company values.
It is recommended for a brand to create a campaign hashtag that will promote the things that a brand are being transparent to showcase transparency on social media. Showing transparency in different aspects is also a way to regain or rebuild trust among audiences.
8. Automated Customer Support
Chatbots or automated customer support has been around social media for quite some time. But this year, more brands are hyping up their artificial intelligence support to become more responsive to the needs of their audience.
Aside from responding to FAQs with canned yet informative responses, chatbots also provide increased engagement. They can also cater to customers at first touch, qualify sales leads, and round-the-clock customer support.
Below are some examples of how brands successfully use automated customer support in communicating with their customers:
9. Social Media Shops
Today’s generation is not just a “selfie generation” but also an “online shopping generation,” because why not? Who would not love to scroll, swipe, add to cart, and check your way out to shop than enduring long hours in traffic and crowded malls?
Online shopping apps are everywhere, but social media shopping options are now taking a full swing. Consumers find it more comfortable since they no longer need to leave a specific social media app to buy what they need.
The Verge recently reported that Instagram is also on its way to building their standalone shopping app. This app, which may be called “IG Shopping,” will surely take Instagram users’ social media shopping to the next level.
10. Organic to Sponsored Content
Paid content has always been the go-to online marketing strategy on social media. Sponsored materials aim to increase the brand’s online visibility, increase page engagement, and convert it to sales.
But these paid contents also mean cost for the brand, and not all sponsored contents are successful in converting their investments to sales. That is why brands are innovating by filling the so-called “ads gap.”
Instead of wasting money by blasting a particular content, brands are now just investing to boost their most engaged or highly performing organic material. The goal now is not only to increase the content’s visibility and reach but also to increase engagement and discussion.
One thing is for sure. Social media platforms will continuously evolve. It is our role as marketers to catch up on the latest trends that will make our brand survive this day-to-day evolution.
After all, there is nothing wrong in trying on the best practices of successful brands as long as you know your brand’s vision and target market.