In the past year and a half, social media and online communication have proved essential for keeping people connected during a time when society could not be together physically. According to a report by datareportal:
With so many people online, social media strategy is more important than ever, and for small businesses trying to reach as many people as possible, staying on top of social media trends is half the battle. Here’s our take on some popular social media trends (and handy tips on how to utilise them!).
Stories are like a main feed post on Instagram and allow you to share images or videos. The difference between them is that stories are a short-term viewing format, with the post disappearing after 24 hours or less.
According to Statista, as of January 2019, Instagram reported that there were 500 million daily active Stories users worldwide.
Stories are an effective way to share content such as behind the scenes shots or PR coverage without affecting the aesthetic of your main feed. Consumers don’t expect perfection in these types of posts, so there’s no pressure on production. It’s a simple way to keep your existing audience engaged and attract new followers. The Instagram algorithm favours users that utilise all the platform’s features, so make sure you give stories a go to help market your business.
The stories feature also encourages real-time interaction and feedback (e.g. polls, Q&A) and lets you track exactly who’s viewing and responding to your posts. Using interactive features like this will help your audience feel included and showing that you value the opinions of your audience can build a tighter connection between brand and consumer.
Short-form and User Generated Content: Instagram Reels and TikTok
Short-form content is great for targeting people with a short attention span (the average attention span is only eight seconds!!). Video sharing app TikTok currently has over one billion monthly active users. Instagram, which also has around 1 billion active users, has a feature called Reels that works similarly to TikTok. If you’re keen to boost your overall engagement on Instagram and strengthen your brand’s presence on the platform, Reels is where it’s at.
If you’re targeting a younger audience, such as Gen Z, TikTok is essential because almost 53% of the App users are in the 18- 25 age bracket. Short videos are an effective way to visually showcase content that’s relevant to your brand. You can tag relevant topics to appease the algorithm and reach even more people by hopping on hashtag and audio trends that are gaining traction.
As an example, if you own a baking business, you could post a video of the process of you making and revealing your bakes to a song that’s trending on TikTok. This will increase the chances of your video being noticed as users can search the audio tag.
When it comes to User Generated Content (UGC), brands can encourage users to post videos as part of a UGC campaign. A perfect example of this would be Uniqlo’s #UTPlayYourWorld campaign on TikTok: TikTok users were encouraged to share videos of their “creative, authentic and inspiring ‘UT moments’ while wearing their UNIQLO UT clothing of choice.
While Uniqlo may have partnered up with TikTok for this campaign, nothing stops you from launching a hashtag campaign on the App and encouraging users to post about your products! This works best if you already have an established community on social media.
While closely related to the previous point, this is still quite a thing of its own. Once you’ve clearly defined your target audience, it may be worth teaming up with influencers who share the same values as your brand. When it comes to finding the perfect fit, be sure to investigate both the demographic the influencer belongs to, and the users that follow them too. This way you can ensure you’re targeting the most relevant audience possible.
Working with micro-influencers can be highly effective. A smaller but active audience that engages with the influencer regularly will be more inclined to take an interest in what they’re promoting. Influencers that are big on blogging can use their posts to connect your brand with potential consumers through direct links, which some other social media platforms don't have the allowances for.
Location/Geo-targeting and Geo-tagging
A person put their location in their profile. Or someone is out for dinner, in a fancy restaurant, and wants you to know they’re there - that's what the location tag function is for, right? It’s quite common for people to tag the place they visit, or where they took a specific photo - but that information can be more valuable than people realise. This information can assist Facebook with their enabled features that allow you to target ads to your local audience; giving you options to target ads to people based on their location, even narrowing it down to a specific country, city, village or postcode. Location-specific marketing can be perfect for small businesses that operate locally and want to attract local visitors. Say you have a pop-up event, or you want more people through the doors of your restaurant – location-targeting is an effective way to get your message out there.
Keeping an eye on emerging platforms and features: Clubhouse and Spaces
Clubhouse is an audio-based social media App that is used to host conversations, with groups able to join the room/conversation by invite only. Features allow attendees to virtually raise their hand and join the conversation on a topic of interest. Clubhouse users quickly realised that the App had great potential for bringing attention to their professions, services or business. By hosting or being a guest in a Clubhouse room, you have a whole group of people to network with, learn from and share information with.
As of May this year, Clubhouse reported more than 10 million weekly active users, and 300,000 rooms being created each day. Clubhouse’s usefulness in assisting social media marketing has been recognised and platforms are taking note; Twitter launched a feature similar to Clubhouse called Spaces and Facebook launched Live Audio Rooms.
Paying attention to trends is an important part of building a business social media strategy and can benefit the process of growing your small business. Make sure to stay on the lookout for more marketing trends and tips in the future.
Got a question about social media? Email firstname.lastname@example.org
Sophie Marsden, founder of LIT Communication