Even as we emerge into a post-pandemic world, the trend of spending more time online for both professional and personal pursuits is here to stay. Over the past year and a half, the public has looked to the internet like never before as a way to connect with others, to gather information, and to seek out new products and brands. As such, it’s no wonder that social media marketing has evolved to meet this growing trend.
New Developments in the World of Social Media
The biggest recent change to social media platforms such as Instagram, Snapchat, and Facebook has been the introduction of “stories,” which allows users to upload free-flowing content in both photo and video format. This type of fleeting content, which has to be viewed within a 24-hour timeframe before it disappears, has gone a long way towards increasing engagement. It encourages users to check in often so that they don’t miss anything!
Given the popularity of the stories feature, marketers have been quick to get on the bandwagon and are incorporating temporary content, uploaded frequently, into their social media strategy. They are also creating more video content, which has proven to generate higher engagement rates.
Whatever Happened to “Likes”?
Instagram has experimented with removing the visibility of how many likes a post gets. While users can still like a post, the total number of likes is not visible, which makes it harder for brands to measure the reach of a particular post. With this in mind, marketers are relying more than ever before on the use of paid Instagram ads, which allow for better metrics tracking.
This is another reason why marketers are relying more heavily on stories, as noted earlier. Posts uploaded into stories can be tracked by the profile’s administator to record the number of views. On Instagram, business accounts are even able to track how many viewers watched the entire story, as opposed to immediately swiping to the next one.
The Growth of Social Commerce
With the presence of brick-and-mortar storefronts on a continual decline, it’s no surprise that there has been a boom in the buying and selling of goods directly through social media. While Instagram and Facebook used to just be a source of product information and reviews, now users are able to engage in the entire shopping process without leaving their favorite social platform.
The Lure of Video Content
With the rise of YouTube and TikTok, video has proven to be the most engaging form of content and is predicted to remain a primary focus of online marketers in the coming years. This is why we are now seeing so much more video content on other platforms such as Instagram and Facebook, which used to be mainly photo-sharing apps.
Influencers Leading the Social Media Marketing Trend
If it seems like there are more social media “influencers” out there than ever before, you would be right. Brands are allocating more of their marketing budgets to both big-name social media celebrities and to lesser-known “micro-influencers” who have engaging pages and a loyal following.
What we are also seeing more of is brands sharing free social media content that is generated by users. This strategy is a win-win because Instagram users tend to love having their content shared! This type of organic marketing material is a nice compliment to the more staged and curated content generated by influencers.
Building Social Media Communities
Digital marketers are recognizing the advantages of cultivating social media community groups to build more meaningful connections between customers and brands. In 2021, we have begun to see more brand-managed groups that create an online meeting place for customers.
If you’d like to learn more about how to build your brand’s online presence through social media, contact us at Blue Zone Marketing today!