With over half the world (4.62 billion users) active on social media today, it is no surprise the influence it holds in our lives. Whether it be #GentleMinions
breaking box-office records with teens flocking to see the new Minions movie as part of the newest TikTok trend, or products flying off shelves after going viral, it is table stakes that brands understand the power this medium holds. Here are four trends brands should know:
1. The power of the influencer
Influencer marketing is becoming a more popular choice for brands every year—and for good reason, with the influencer marketing industry expected to reach $16.4 billion in 2022, up $2.6 billion from 2021. We know consumers crave authenticity, yet they are constantly bombarded by heavily manufactured ads, making an influencer a great alternative for brands to connect with their audiences on a human level. This can be seen through the surge of micro-influencers, who dominate 91% of the influencer market. Consumers want to feel a connection with their influencers and brands. Gearing towards smaller creators with heavily engaged audiences may fair better for brands than a massive celebrity endorsement.
2. Short form video content is king: original vs UGC
In 2022, 82% of all content online will be video. But not all video content sees the same level of success, and it is becoming clear that short form video is king. With its massive growth year after year, TikTok is here to stay. And with Instagram reels and YouTube shorts massive success, brands should look to engage short form video for maximum return. In addition, brands should rely more on original content, as opposed to User Generated Content (UGC) on Instagram, as they have changed the algorithm to favor original content.
Content should be thoughtfully created, but keep in mind consumers are craving authentic and even funny content from brands. In fact, 72% of people say they will choose a humorous brand over the competition, and 75% would follow a humorous brand on social media.
3. Transparency and sustainability
If the past few years taught marketers anything, it’s the importance of being intentional and transparent with your marketing. A recent study from eMarketer found that climate change is the leading concern for Gen Z and 89% of them believe brands should be doing more to reduce their carbon footprint. As a result, many consumers are looking for more sustainable choices when shopping.
Moreover, consumers are demanding transparency from brands and creators, and aren’t afraid to call them out. Transparency is the first step. The second? Your company and culture should reflect whatever you are preaching, and consumers will be quick to call out any “woke-washing” or “green-washing” they see. As consumers expect higher levels of transparency, that means following through with the stances you take—especially internally. Consumers are watching and taking notes of these shifts. Being genuine in your initiatives also helps drive participation with your brand.
4. Social commerce
Social commerce is an $89 billion market that is projected to grow to $605 billion in the next six years. It is a powerful tool—allowing a customer to buy a product directly from their social feeds, without having to open a browser. With 81% of shoppers already looking online for their products, it only makes sense to have in-app purchasing power. Facebook, Pinterest, and Instagram, for example, all have storefronts and shoppable posts that brands can use to easily track conversions.
Understanding where we are today
Social media is ever evolving. Long gone are the days of just a few, simple social media apps that connect us to our old high school friends. We have entered a new age of social media—one where valuable customer experience and transactions are integrated alongside the newest dance trend. Understanding the newest social media trends and knowing how to use them will enable brands to cultivate loyalty, launch exciting campaigns, and drive sales.