If your business is not present and active on social media, it may just as well not exist at all. In 2019, it is a fact of life, whether you like it or not. However, just being present – or even being active – is not enough to achieve results. It has to be the right sort of activity and presence. So what should you focus your efforts on in the coming year? Here are the most important trends.
1. Ephemeral content
As humans’ attention spans get ever shorter, the way they consume content also changes. One sign of the times is ephemeral content – i.e., content that is available only for a limited time (think Instagram and Snapchat Stories). Despite its perceived inconvenience and wastefulness (you invest in content that will be around for only a short while then disappears forever), social media users seem to love it. The combination of short length, engaging content, and scarcity (i.e., if you do not see it now, you lose the opportunity forever) make for an extremely addictive mix, with people often scrolling through Stories for hours on end, looking for something interesting. Therefore, although the content is active for just a short time, it is much more attractive than standard content, so you certainly should start using it. According to a recent report by Hootsuite, 64% of marketers either already use Instagram Stories or intend to start in the near future.
2. Social listening
Social media should not just be about creating a presence for people to follow. These days, it is about reaching out to people that do not actively try to engage with your business. Social listening is a practice of tracking any mentions of your business and, in more advanced applications, any topics relevant to your business, and engaging with the participants of these discussions. For example, you might find a mention of somebody criticizing your company or complaining about a problem they had with it, then jump into the conversation to express your regret and ask for clarification so that you can try to rectify the situation.
According to a study by Cisco, by 2022, about 82% of all online content will be video. This clearly demonstrates the importance of video for your social media management strategy. If you are not yet churning out videos and sharing them through multiple channels, you should start doing so as soon as possible. People are getting less and less inclined to read text if they can get the same or similar content in video format, and you have to leverage this. Choose whatever suits your business best: it may be long-form videos on YouTube or the sort of short, engaging videos popular on TikTok or Stories. Incorporate them into your strategy and develop a recognizable style.
4. Market fragmentation
For the longest time, social media giants like Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube dominated the market, easily shrugging off smaller networks’ attempts to take a cut of the pie. However, in recent years, the situation began to change. A number of niche social media platforms not only managed to stay afloat but also achieved significant popularity. The secret is that they do not try to compete with the giants but offer a unique take on human communication and occupy a specific niche. A few examples include TikTok (popular among the younger generation), Twitch (focusing on gamers), and LinkedIn (preferred by the business community). This trend will likely continue, and we are going to see more significant fragmentation and specialization of social media. You have to decide what suits your business and focus your efforts on the platforms used by the majority of your target audience.
5. Instagram will get rid of likes
Ostensibly, the reason Instagram is looking to eliminate “likes” is that the number of likes determines one’s social value and depending on such validation is detrimental for people’s sense of self-worth and mental health. More realistically, Instagram is simply experimenting with ways of increasing its profits – currently, influencer marketing is extremely important, but brands are paying influencers directly and Instagram is annoyed that the platform is not getting its share. Removal of likes makes it harder to evaluate the ROI of influencer marketing, therefore encouraging businesses to pay for Instagram ads directly to the platform.
Focusing on these trends when building your social media management strategy for 2020 may be the best move you can make now.
To strengthen your social media strategy, “Spend Time Getting To Know The TikTok Video App.”