4 Social Media and Content Marketing Trends You Need to Start Following … Riiiiiight About … Now!

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In a recent survey of 344 social media managers, nearly 80% of them said their businesses use social media, but only 52% said they achieve any significant revenue growth directly related to their social media efforts. So, what are those 52% doing that is so right? For one, they are following the latest trends in social media, adjusting their strategy and using those trends to direct people into their sales funnel. “What are these trends, anyway?” (<<<<< That’s you talking.) Well, we’re glad you asked. Let’s take a look at ‘em.

Social Listening

Social listening isn’t new, obviously. It’s been around for a long time and brands have consistently used it to keep an eye (or would it be ear?) on their brand’s reputation online. However, it’s now more akin to market research than just reputation monitoring.   Gone are the days when a brand would just toss some light marketing material onto a random mention about it online. Now, brands are actively looking for leads, gathering crucial feedback data and developing social media campaigns that put them front and center in conversations. Clutch recently published a study that says a quarter of businesses they asked said they use social listening to actively improve their products and services. Another 42% said they use social listening to improve customer relationships and 85% use it to monitor ongoing customer requests, issues and inquiries. Formerly the domain of Facebook and Twitter, social listening is now done on Instagram, YouTube and even places like Reddit that aren’t normally associated with social media. What to listen for and how to use it: Ensure the data you gather is shared across your entire operation. Note ongoing complaints regarding your brand. Look for opportunities to insert your brand into subjects that are generally associated with it. Build your social media brand awareness and lead generation campaigns around the data you collect. For a great example of a brand using social listening to not only insert itself into a conversation, but actually become the conversation, look at Kleenex’s campaign where they monitored posts looking for people who talked about being ill. The brand then had a representative contact the person’s family and friends so it could organize a surprise “Kleenex Kit” to be delivered to the ill person. The kits were filled with items meant to help the person get over their illness. The campaign created that coveted positive buzz around the brand.

Ephemeral Content

Ephemeral content is content that disappears after a set amount of time, a la Snapchat and Instagram Story. Although many brands might see this temporary content as impractical or difficult to use, if they are trying to appeal to younger demographics, it would be well worth it to try them out.   According to Pew Research, 78% of 18-24 year olds use Snapchat every day and 71% of those users use it multiple times per day. Since introducing its Stories feature (which it did to seem more like Snapchat), Instagram has seen an increase in daily users from 51% to 60%. A big reason that younger people like this disappearing content so much is because it’s more useful for mundane, everyday type of conversations among close friends, a recent Cornell University study has concluded. Because ephemeral content posts aren’t sitting around on someone’s profile forever, people don’t feel the need to present a highly polished and idealized version of themselves. Rather, the fact that the posts disappear facilitates more casual chatting among friends. Brands should keep this sentiment in mind when dealing with ephemeral content. For Snapchat posts, which disappear quickly, share only “human” moments or really amazing offers that only last while the post is up to generate excitement and anticipation. For Snapchat and Instagram Stories, which last for 24 hours, try: Promotions that offer good deals that end once the post is gone. Offers personalized toward a highly specific follower group. “Slice of life” type moments that show the human side of your brand. (Think something that a person rather than a company would share.) Geofilter marketing, which can be used to create promotions with regional games for followers and generate excitement.

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With nearly 40% of Twitter users acknowledging that they have bought a product after a recommendation from someone they follow, it’s no surprise that 48% of brands say they plan on increasing their influencer marketing budgets this year. When looking for social media influencers, the current trend is leaning away from the full-blown social media celebrities (people who have more than 500,000 followers) and more toward so-called “micro influencers” who have fewer than 500,000 followers. This is because these micro-influencers typically have a higher engagement rate from their audience. Also, look at who your target audience tends to follow so you can tap into collaboration opportunities. Sometimes these may just fall into your proverbial lap, as was the case with Posca paint pens. Artist Matt Cummings started posting drawings he had done with the pens, which influenced other artists such as PaperBeatsScissors to do it, too. This actually turned Posca Markers into a trending topic on Twitter with one user saying: If that ain’t influencer marketing, we don’t know what is!

Animated Explainer Videos

And, our favorite trend; the increased usage of animated explainer videos on social media. Last year, the number of video posts per person rose by 94% in the USA and Facebook averages more than 4 billion video streams every single day. And when it comes to explainer videos, animation just wins out because it works for pretty much anything. HubSpot, Video Brewery and Switch Video all created lists of the best explainer videos on the internet that equal 50 videos in total. Only seven of those videos across all three lists are non-animated. Hop on these trend bandwagons to get your social media marketing strategy humming. If you need some help with that last one, click here to use our price estimation calculator to see approximately how much your video will cost. (We know that’s your No. 1 question.)

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