Digital interaction is our primary form of communication in a post-pandemic world. As I’ve mentioned in my 2021 Trends Report for Digital Marketing and Business, Lockdown has accelerated the shift to eCommerce by 5 years (Tech Crunch), but just because adoption of eCommerce has been accelerated does not mean we have learned how to truly connect in this new platform in that same time frame.
With social media usage increasing by 50% according to Facebook, essentially it’s like getting bumped up 1 year ahead of your classmates. Intellectually you are on par, but emotionally you may not have matured to match this new level. This means that overall, we have yet to know how to truly connect with each other online.
So, how should you adjust your social media strategy to reflect the powerful human relationships you have built in person?
First, ask yourself: What has been the most powerful way you’ve connected with your audience in the past?
The more that we are connecting with each other online, the more we realize that “not all people process information the same way”. There are more unique and impactful ways to utilize the same platforms, you just have to find the ways that align with you and your brand.
6 trends on social media worth exploring as your refine your marketing strategy:
1. Social Proof and Engagement is how Brands Rise Above the Throng
As the advertising landscape becomes increasingly competitive, it’s no longer just about getting as many people through the door, but getting them to stay and be excited to bring friends to you.
Currently, one of the most successful forms of advertising is simply promoting User Generated Content (UGC). Why? Because UGC is the visual and digital representation of word of mouth.
Most importantly, UGC content brings together brands and buyers in a connected mission. What makes a powerful brand is not just the product quality or the buzz of people talking about the brand, but the number of actively engaged customers who believe in the joint impact they are creating.
For a full breakdown of the future of UGC check out Social Media Today’s article.
2. Communities are the next form of connection for brands.
Where UGC is the visual representation of word of mouth, communities are what fosters loyalty and passion in your customers to talk about you and your larger mission.
Communities are where brands can connect with their customers at a more personal level They replicate engagements in conversations similar to as if you were at an event in person building human connection. It allows businesses to support their customers beyond the functional need they’re providing in the service and product.
Most importantly, communities allow customers to meet each other and invite more potential customers to be connected with the brand based on values instead of just satisfying the functional needs.
If you want to explore more about communities check out this blog from Sprout Social.
3. Instagram is the new microblogging platform as users explore being human
As more writers share their rawest thoughts and allow vulnerability to show and foster connection with their audience, it’s no longer about “keeping it simple”, but telling stories. People are looking for connection, and sharing personal stories can be the catalyst that takes you from a username on someone’s feed to a person or brand they want to check in on regularly. Not to mention it’s a prequel to the new Instagram Guides that will be coming soon to a phone near you.
If you’ve always felt limited by that 200 character limit, consider exploring micro-blogging on Instagram, Facebook or Linkedin. Just remember that the first line is what draws people in.
4. Short video reigns supreme
Gone are the days of having that perfect photo or video – Stories/Reels/Tiktoks or short-form video are the best way that allows for real human connection with an audience. Today, people want to know that you are real AND they want it in a format that is easy to consume.
That need for real connection is what made stories a format available on every platform (yes, I said EVERY – including Fleets). Reels/Tiktok are much more than dance videos, they are great bite-sized videos where people share and learn some of their favorite tips, life hacks, and stories.
Which platform should you use? The key is always – meet your audience where they are and duplicate the content to other platforms.
5. Social listening is as important as social posting
The power behind good marketing is meeting the customer where they are at. Social media is no longer just a megaphone, but instead, a direct connection to your customer. Customer service has a new outlet in the form of social media messaging with 3/10 consumers using social media to communicate with a company (Drift, 2019). Using social listening tools will let you have a good ear to know when to speak up about certain topics. You want to know what your customers are seeking and what your industry is saying.
Adjusting your content to be relevant to what’s going on in our world is the best way to make sure your audience feels seen. Businesses make a big impact in how our society shows up, and we need to make space for being human within our business. Knowing when “Keeping business as usual” may come across as tone deaf is a good start point.
Pro-tip: Talk with all major marketing players to build a crisis communication plan ahead of time so you can intentionally react well in the moment.
6. SEO is a part of the Social Media game plan
Yes, Instagram and Facebook have made all copy searchable so make sure you are updating your bio to be easily searched. We are going beyond the realm of hashtags. So the best way to stand out is being known in specific topic categories that Instagram organizes. For example – if you’re a Wellness brand:
- General: Health and wellness
- Specific: Keto, mental health, etc
- Niche: Fun 20 min recipes
That’s what we have so far in 2021.
As we all know, new trends and features will pop up close to every single week. If your mind is overwhelmed from reading all of this, take a deep breath my friends.
Remember, it starts by choosing ONE piece of this info that resounds with you to go explore more on. Be curious, but most importantly have fun and be patient with yourself as you play with these new features.
Have fun and may the algorithm be forever in your favor!
Need a brain space partner to filter through what you should do first? Feel free to set up a complimentary discovery call with me to chat more.