Social media trends. Do you know of anything else that changes so often? TikTok has a new dance monthly, Instagram adds a new feature at least once a year and Facebook is just trying to keep up. Social media isn’t static, it’s always changing and adapting depending on the latest memes and songs in the charts. So how do we, as businesses and brands, keep up, stay relevant and make our mark in the online world?
The first major social media platform was Facebook, which was launched in 2004, you can read about the growth of social media over the years here. Facebook has subsequently bought Instagram and Whatsapp, which gave it a market share of 52% for social media in 2019. While Facebook has become known as the platform for parents and grandparents to share photos of family outings, Instagram has stayed relevant to younger audiences, especially following its release of Reels, which many called a ‘TikTok copycat’. Instagram stories are also seeing 500 million users interact with them daily. These features were originally seen on TikTok and Snapchat respectively, but it doesn’t mean they can’t be utilised on Instagram as well, seeing as of January 2021, Instagram had 1.2 billion users.
Another major platform is TikTok. Some love it, others despise it. TikTok was first launched in 2016 and following the rise of ‘TikTokers’ such as Charli D’Amelio and Addison Rae, teenagers and early twenties have flocked to the app. This platform has also seen an increase in passive browsing, where users don’t have to create content, just watch it.
Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, Youtube, Twitter, TikTok. There’s so many social media platforms these days that it can be difficult to be consistent on all platforms. The chances are some of the platforms gain more traction than others. If this is the case, why are you putting your energy into platforms that aren’t giving you your return on investment? In the five years since TikTok was launched in China, it has seen exponential growth. As of April 2020, it has been downloaded more than 2 billion times worldwide on both Apple and Android phones. If you’re not already on TikTok, this is your sign! TikTok has a younger demographic and a vast array of influencers, who you can utilise for advertising your business. An influencer is typically thought to have millions of influencers, but a new marketing trend is the idea of micro-influencers. They have a bare minimum of 200 followers and are considerably cheaper, so you can use multiple micro-influencers and reach a wider audience than just one big influencer.
Instagram, on the other hand, provides you with loads of varying tools. Stories have become their own form of content planning and creation, just like Snapchat Stories, they are only public for 24 hours, but they can be saved to be viewed later. You can also post to your feed as a way to keep your followers up to date and involved. Reels and IGTVs have also been released in the last few years. They both give you other options of how to reach your audience and to make an impression. Because Instagram is owned by Facebook, it also offers an online shop, so you can upload your products and tag them in your feed posts.
Of course it depends on who you want to advertise and what your business offers. Facebook would be for the older generation, Twitter would work for short, sharp snippets of information and Instagram would be for visual posts, a short video or an eye catching image. No one platform will fit everyone’s needs.
But how do you get traction? It can be a tricky one, the easiest way is to jump on the social media trends. Following the majority of the world being in lockdown last year, some people are still apprehensive about going out again. This means the increased popularity of virtual reality might have come at the right time. Audiences can now appreciate the world without leaving their home. Live streams also became popular last year, as audiences can interact with brands and influencers without having to go anywhere – in Italy in the height of Covid views of Facebook and Instagram Lives doubled. You can use them as a way for the audience to get to know you and your business on a more personal level.
These are some suggestions, but don’t forget being creative and trying something different never hurts. Social media is becoming saturated by similar content, why not stand out and be unique? Statistics show that social media videos generate up to 1200% more shares than texts and images combined. Videos can vary hugely depending on if you use people or animation or stop motion, it takes longer, but audiences are more likely to engage with high value content. Did you know that YouTube is the second most popular site on the web, behind only Google, which shows the popularity of video. Video is a quicker and more visual way to convey information, compared to infographics or plain text. You also don’t need a big budget to create top quality videos, video is so varied you go down any route and make an impression with it.
Social media trends change so often it can be difficult to keep up and stay ‘on trend’, but as long as you have a clear aim, social media is your friend. Just don’t sell, sell, sell!