Social media opens numerous opportunities for learning. There’s a whole trove of knowledge that you can unearth just by probing into the past and examining old strategies. Past trends can shine a new light on how you perceive social media, allowing you to understand more clearly what strategies worked before and what are likely to work today. If you’ve been in the digital marketing environment for a while, you’ll agree that branding in the new era is a challenge without a measured solution. In a landscape where everything goes, only one thing is for sure: Innovations that break through culture stick around. The social media atmosphere is so fast-paced that no single brand stays at the top for too long—you must up your ante to remain competent and relevant.
Social Media Trends to Explore
After much deliberation, we’ve rounded up five of the most revolutionary trends that have recently dominated the social media landscape and are likely to continue shaping its fate in the next few years.
1. The “Crowdculture” Phenomenon
Before an idea goes mainstream to officially become a trend, it must come from somewhere first. Most of the time, trends are a product of cultural innovation, which means that they blossom from the fringes of society—from marginal circles that are usually unheard of. From these small groups, the mass media would pick up would-be trends which will subsequently diffuse to larger audiences. This entire phenomenon is what Cultural Strategy Group Founder and President Douglas Holt calls as “crowdculture.”
There are two types of crowdcultures: subcultures and art worlds. Subcultures can revolve around any topic—from red velvet cupcakes and Lucy Pevensie to 3D house printing and Jimmy Carr. Before, subculturalists had to meet in physical locations, but thanks to the technological innovations of our time, they can now convene in virtual platforms. Art worlds are just like subcultures, except that they are limited to artistic circles composed of writers, musicians, designers, cartoonists, filmmakers, and the like. Artists come together to bounce off ideas and improve their craft, often resulting into some kind of creative breakthrough. Targeting crowdcultures is a crucial step in chasing after trends and ultimately staying relevant.
2. Omnichannel Marketing
With the advent of social media came a strategy that brands were quick to leverage: multi-channel marketing, the process of connecting with users in two or more platforms. However, shortly after this introduction, another strategy was developed to pull it all together: omnichannel marketing, where brands can not only engage with consumers through various platforms but can do so all at once. In other words, you can have a traditional physical store, but also have a website, several print ads, a couple of promotional events, and accounts in all social media platforms. You’re basically in every customer touchpoint, reinforcing top-of-mind brand awareness.
3. Social Influencers and Peers
Brands are realizing little by little that most consumers don’t really appreciate business-related content in their social media feed. They care little, if at all, about actively engaging with brands in social platforms. Social media is where people relax and have fun—it’s where they communicate with one another and form circles around their interests. Social media is where they talk about their favorite things and favorite people. That’s why in order for brands to garner any attention, they need to leverage influencer and peer marketing. As Influence-Central CEO Stacy DeBroff said, “These influencers will powerfully inform and guide us in our consumer decisions.”
4. Live-streaming Videos
Brands are leveraging live-streaming content in their campaigns because of the many benefits it offers. Other than helping you elicit interactions from customers, this trend also places your brand in a warmer, more personal light. Live-streaming videos can be an avenue for learning in the audience’s part. They can be a way for you to host product demos, drive engagement from viewers, and get real-time customer feedback. To quote professional blogger Harsh Agrawal, “I wouldn’t be exaggerating if I said live streaming will change social media and the world as we know it.”
5. Short Form and Ephemeral Content
In 2012, an app we all know today as Snapchat started the trend of disappearing content. By featuring ephemeral content that only had a 24-hour shelf life, Snapchat caught the younger demographics’ attention. People embraced the trend right off the bat because it imposed a sense of urgency. A shorter shelf life elevated the value of each content, making everyone hungry to be immersed in in-the-moment experiences. Brands who can use this trend to their advantage are primed for success since it provides a good avenue for them to develop their brand personalities.
As according to HubSpot Social Media Marketing Manager Marissa Emanuele, “The most important part of ephemeral content is to be human. This is a unique opportunity to show an unpolished, lighthearted side to your brand, so don’t be afraid to share content that’s humorous or otherwise ‘flawed’ in some way.”
Social media is not as arbitrary as it seems—you can’t just put everything together, cross your fingers, and hope for the best. While that sometimes works, it’s not always viable. You need a solid strategy to implement in order to be one step closer to digital marketing success. Leverage these five social media trends, and you may just find your way to the top sooner than later.
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Cole, Nicole. “In 2017 Influencer Marketing Is About to Go Through the Roof.” Inc. December 16, 2016. www.inc.com/nicolas-cole/in-2017-influencer-marketing-is-about-to-go-through-the-roof.html
DeMers, Jayson. “7 Social Media Marketing Trends That Will Dominate 2017.” Forbes. November 10, 2016. www.forbes.com/sites/jaysondemers/2016/11/10/7-social-media-marketing-trends-that-will-dominate-2017/#223d53add764
Harrison, Kate. “Top 10 Trends That Will Transform Digital Marketing in 2017.” Forbes. January 9, 2017. www.forbes.com/sites/kateharrison/2017/01/09/top-10-trends-that-will-transform-digital-marketing-in-2017/#738d57ae3bf5
Holt, Douglas. “Branding in the Age of Social Media.” Harvard Business Review. n.d. hbr.org/2016/03/branding-in-the-age-of-social-media
Manjoo, Farhad. “While We Weren’t Looking, Snapchat Revolutionized Social Networks.” NY Times. November 30, 2016. www.nytimes.com/2016/11/30/technology/while-we-werent-looking-snapchat-revolutionized-social-networks.html?_r=0
Radice, Rebekah. “7 Social Media Trends That Will Change Your Marketing Strategy.” Post Planner. n.d. www.postplanner.com/blog/top-social-media-trends