81% of the entire US is online. We’re clicking like, favorite, comment every day. Some of us for hours a day.
Because of the diversity of that audience, social media trends are changing rapidly. As a social media professional you know what works today may not work as soon as a month from now. Here are some of the biggest social media trends that the modern social brand should be using today.
1. Live videos that drive discussion
Live videos have evolved into a method for brands to share their stories and connect with their consumers on a more human level.
And they work, too. According to Facebook, people on their platform spend 3x more time watching live videos than pre-recorded content. They also beat written content – 80% of people would rather watch a live video than read a blog.
Finally, 82% of people prefer video to other types of social media posts on company channels.
There are a number of reasons why live video is so appealing to viewers. You can show behind-the-scenes footage, interview your employees and customers, show how a product is made or used – the list is endless.
But live video that truly drives discussion is hard. It takes a lot of planning and talented team members.
Take a look at this example, where Martha Stewart and Jennifer Garner went live for over 40 minutes for an impromptu cooking show, getting over half a million views and more than 600 shares (and a ton of great comments and discussion).
No matter the brand or industry, you can find ways to leverage live videos to create a stronger bond with your audience.
2. Testing augmented reality
Just a few years ago, if you were to use the words augmented reality and social media in the same sentence, you’d get quite a lot of strange looks. However, it starting to become a tool that any social media team can experiment with.
We are not talking about virtual reality, which puts you in a closed off virtual world. Augmented Reality merely enhances the one that already exists around you.
The trend has a promising future, with 25% of brands showing interest in incorporating AR in their marketing efforts in the times to come.
On social media, augmented reality is present primarily in the form of 360-degree images. Take a look at this example from Thomann International, showing off their guitars in a 360-degree photo on Facebook.
As another example, Estee Lauder uses augmented reality to let you pick a lipstick color and try it on, using your device’s camera.
While these types of photos are hardly spectacular, the future is looking bright for augmented reality, with promises of technologies such as live event AR. It’s something any consumer product company should be testing.
3. Appointment ephemeral content
The concept of ephemeral content, content that’s available for a brief period of time only, is nothing new. It simply disappears after a set time period.
Pioneered by Snapchat, ephemeral content has two main benefits. It uses FOMO (fear of missing out) and creates an immediate response from your target audience. As the content will be available for only a limited period of time (usually as little as 24 hours), your target audience feels compelled to react.
For example, as soon as Snapchat launched, they promoted their ads with a campaign for Fifty Shades Freed, which resulted in a 54% completion rate and a 12% open rate.
While posting content to Snap stories or Instagram stories every day is a bit of a drain on resources, strategically launching ephemeral content with a campaign mindset can get your audience interested because they don’t want to miss out.
4. Story ads that sell
In August 2016, Instagram launched stories, which at the time killed Snapchat’s growth and made users fall in love with the app even more. It enabled users to show glimpses of their everyday lives in stories (images, videos) lasting only 24 hours. Brands have caught on quickly and are now using stories effectively.
Story ads have been and still are one of the most engaging ad formats for social brands.
According to data from Later, 1/3 of the most viewed stories are published from brand profiles.
There are three basic formats for Instagram story ads.
- Videos (up to 15 seconds)
- Still photos (played for 5 seconds)
- Carousels (up to 3 images/videos in one ad)
There are numerous ways you can use story ads, such as retargeting, promoting an offer, asking your audience about something or anything else that comes to mind.
Whatever you do, make sure it’s memorable, because your target audience will be able to see it only once. For example, check out this great series of ads for an Etsy shop:
Whichever option you choose (image, video or carousel), you’re sure to get great engagement and ROI with story ads. If you are not already testing story ads, get to it.
5. Friendly chatbots that work
If you’ve been sleeping under a rock, you may have missed the fact that chatbots made it big in 2018, and the trend doesn’t seem to be going away.
The data speaks volumes – according to Facebook, there are over 2 billion messages exchanged between people and businesses every month on this platform.
People love chatbots.
56% of people would rather message a business than call customer service.
Some of the most common reasons your audience messages you through a chat bot:
- Asking a quick question to clarify info
- Asking for human support or assistance
- Getting a more in-depth answer to a question
- Resolving a problem
- Helping complete a purchase
A great example of this in practice is Domino’s Pizza. They allows you to easily make an order through their Facebook page, guiding you through the process – you can essentially take care of the entire order without interacting with a human being.
While we’re more excited about human communication, it’s certainly a great feature to have to increase your marketing efforts with minimal investments.
Social media for businesses is alive and well in 2020, and with exciting trends that dominated this year, we can’t wait to see what the future brings. If you want to stay ahead of the curve and engage your followers, some of the methods you can use are live videos, AR, ephemeral content, story ads and chatbots. Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m off to eat my pizza.