Keeping our fingers on the pulse of social media is a big part of what we do, and a key element of this is watching trends rise, fall and plateau in this constantly evolving and ever-exciting arena. Here are 5 social media trends making waves this year:
1. Video content
As predicted, social platforms have continued to embrace the meteoric rise of video. Statistics from MarketingInsiderGroup.com revealed that last year online video accounted for 64% of all consumer internet traffic - this is set to rise to 69% by 2017 and 79% by 2018. As well as the popularity of video giants such as YouTube and Vine, 2016 has also seen a rise in engagement with short gifs and cinemagraphs - the latter reportedly receives 60% more engagement than static images. Additionally, YouTube is now considered to be the second largest search engine in the world after Google, with more than a billion users.
2. Live streaming
It seems that 2016 is shaping up to be the year of live video. Periscope users generated 200 million live broadcasts on the app in its first year and with the launch of Facebook Live Broadcast, teamed with Facebook’s announcement it will prioritise video in news feeds, this is an area that looks set to explode.
3. Purchasing through social channels
Social shopping, where consumers can buy from brands via social networks, is firmly on the scene since Pinterest made waves last year with their ‘buyable pins’, Twitter tested the ‘buy’ button, and Facebook announced plans to push more browsers into buyers with developments to the app’s dedicated shopping section. Instagram too, has made its foray into e-commerce with direct response ad formats that enable users to ‘learn more’, ‘install’, or ‘shop now’. Recent research from analytics organisation Aimia, revealed that more than half (56%) of consumers following brands on social platforms state they do so to browse products, so it’s unsurprising that Snapchat has confirmed plans to bring out its own e-commerce platform.
4. Influencer marketing
In just a few short years, influencer marketing has taken off in a huge way. It started with brands paying YouTubers and has now spread like wildfire to Instagram, Snapchat, Periscope, Twitter, Facebook and blogging platforms. SocialMediaToday.com reported that in 2015 alone, influencer marketing more than doubled within the year. From leading game manufacturers and communities developing partnerships with YouTube’s top gaming influencers such as Sssniperwolf to beauty brand Birchbox using popular lifestyle bloggers to promote their products, the investment in influencer marketing is expected to rise.
5. Rise of social customer service
The past few years have seen a steady rise in consumer expectations from brands on social media, and according to Business2Community, 90% of enterprise companies say they use social media to engage with customer service queries. Social platforms provide the opportunity for customers to engage with brands directly and publicly, asking questions or airing grievances. Marketers need to make sure they have systems in place to deal with customer service queries in a timely fashion in order to foster solid relationships and maintain their reputation.
We are interested to see how these trends pan out as the year moves on - after all, staying abreast of the ‘next big thing’ is a key part of staying one step ahead of the competition. And we like to help our clients do just that…