By Sarah Curry, Associate Social Media Director
August 14, 2019
Staying on top of trends in the social media space can feel daunting, as things change ever so quickly. Here are a few trends that are on our radar.
Reemergence of Facebook Groups
If you were an early user of Facebook, you may remember the plethora of groups that dominated the social network. Most of them were silly or meaningless and no real engagement took place among users. But now, with a renewed emphasis on individual connections and “meaningful social interactions,” Facebook dusted off and revamped its groups. While a group could just be a collection of individuals coming together around a shared interest or topic, they also present a unique opportunity for brands and other publishers.
First and foremost, groups are a great way for brands to have an open dialogue with their communities and fans. Not only do groups see above average engagement, they can also be hyper targeted. For example, a food-focused brand could create several groups to reach different segments of its audience—healthy living, busy parents, those who love to bake, etc. You can also use groups to learn more about your audiences through calls-to-action or polls.
Second, groups are a way to circumvent the dreaded Facebook algorithm. Because groups inspire what Facebook considers meaningful engagement, they get preference within the Newsfeed. Creating groups on a brand page makes content much more likely to show up in the Newsfeeds of your fans.
Rise of Social Media Ecommerce
Brands have long tried to figure out how to use social media to drive sales of products, but social networks have been slow to introduce ecommerce tools. Both Facebook and Instagram have product tags, allowing brands to link specific products within a post, but currently, that requires sending consumers to an outside ecommerce experience. With the launch of Instagram’s native shopping tools, things are about to change. The new shopping tools allow consumers to browse and purchase products directly within the app. They are now limited to only handful of brands and influencers in the fashion and beauty space, but could have huge implications and opportunities in the future.
Scroll through your Instagram feed and you’ll likely see dozens of carefully staged photos that have a similar vibe—bright, glossy, whimsical. Go to any trendy event and you can bet there will be some kind of photo booth, photo-op or photo wall. Even restaurants with brightly colored wallpaper or neon signs can become Instagramable. But is that changing? In early 2019, The Atlantic published a piece declaring “the Instagram aesthetic is over.” This sparked quite a debate, particularly regarding authenticity among influencers and brands.
There seems to be a growing demand for sincerity with younger influencers leading a charge toward non-staged and unfiltered content. This approach has also started to filter down to brands and other consumers—meaning less perfectly curated posts and more behind-the-scenes, off-the-cuff content. Brands should consider what that might look like for their social media presence and personality. Things are only complicated further by various formats of content available—from short form video (like Instagram Stories) to traditional posts and now even IGTV. This reinforces the importance of a social media strategy that clearly outlines both a content and channel strategy.
Trust in Social Platforms
We can’t talk social media trends without mentioning the corroding trust in social platforms. Not only are users wary about privacy and security on the social platforms themselves, they are also increasingly distrustful of brands and marketers using the platforms. A Sprout Social report found that while 86% of consumers believe transparency from brands is more important than before, only 15% believe brands are already very transparent.
So, what does transparency on social media look like?
For brands, this means engaging in honest, open conversations with your fans—soliciting their feedback, admitting any mistakes and proactively sharing updates on your products. Facebook groups can be great for this type of content sharing and transparency. In some cases, it may even make sense to leverage your own employees to be the “influencers” on a specific topic—something that can lead more credibility and authenticity.
The bottom line is, trust underpins all social media efforts and is not something to be ignored any longer.
To learn more about our social media process, or see how S&B can help you fine tune your social media strategy and creative, send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org!