It’s changed the face of businesses, culture and the societies in which we live, all around the world. Keeping ahead of the curve with the newest trends and innovations is essential for strategic positioning across every sector and this year, our Social Strategists attended Social Media Week to gather the latest insights from the very best in the business.
From TikTok to Twitter, key players took to the stage to showcase examples of world-class content and highlight how brands can harness the power of their platforms to tell great stories and build loyal communities.
Here are our top five insights to consider as we move towards 2020.
– We are social
From the disastrous Hello World scandal to James Charles and Tati Westbrook’s public dispute, it’s been hard to ignore the sour taste that Influencers are leaving behind. In a world where consumers are increasingly desperate to forge honest connections, seeing influencers living unrealistic lives on social media tarnishes the trust built between them.
In response, we’re seeing big names like Jamila Jamil using their platforms to call out bad behaviour and damaging endorsements. Those outside the niche ‘influencer’ bubble are also getting involved, with Sophie Turner and Celeste Barber actively curating their own content to mock the sheer ridiculousness of ‘influencer life’.
Back in January, we saw World Record Egg disrupt the social hierarchy, taking on Insta-famous Kylie Jenner and becoming a global phenomenon, with over 45 million likes. This unpaid campaign was hailed as an anti-celebrity revolt with the simplicity of its viral success.
As we move into 2020, let’s take time to consider the legitimacy of the influence we’re seeking for our brands and ensure that honest voices are being heard.
Are you having a laugh?
Social media was supposed to be fun.
Cast your mind back to the white belts and trucker hats of 2003 when, using a slow and bulky desktop, you created that first MySpace account. The original social platforms were untouched by brands and advertisers, created purely for the fun of making connections and sharing media.
Genuine, visceral, memorable fun is essential to achieving business objectives and in order to gain consumer trust, brands should start behaving like their customers. The success of TikTok as a relatively new platform can be attributed to the fact that users are sharing and creating content that makes them laugh. It’s light-hearted. It’s funny. It’s really, genuinely fun.
Designing social media campaigns for real fun can have a magnificent effect on results. The Honda Circuit game is a perfect example, with users spending an average of ten hours playing with gamification posts on social. Wendy’s fortnight campaign highlights the importance of understanding how consumers have fun and how harnessing this can create a relatable and memorable campaign.
Not many brands are targeting one of our most unaddressed, undervalued and deprioritised needs and those that do will reap the benefits.
You’re so vain…
– We Are Social
What value does Social Media hold if you take away likes and followers?
With every new campaign, we should be asking ourselves how we can remove vanity metrics and change perceptions to enrich content, making way for more valuable objectives. One million likes are all well and good, but how many people look at a photo after they’ve liked it?
Tracking metrics like shares, saves and positive sentiment can make a huge difference to the perceived success of a campaign and can give valuable insights into the behaviour and preferences of your target audience.
As we move further away from the grasp of vanity metrics, we can see that platforms are already taking steps to limit them for brands and consumers. In Ireland and Australia, Instagram has removed likes from feeds and de-prioritised the display of follower numbers. In the future, we may well see feed content disappear altogether, in favour of more tactile story content.
Put your audience first
It’s no secret that Buzzfeed is a media industry giant. With 750 million people per month digesting 500 pieces of daily content worldwide, they’re well versed in producing great content that resonates with a diverse audience.
According to Buzzfeed, fragmented social is a great way to go when you know the essence of your audience. Content needs to appeal to real humans and brands should remember that Social Media is a deeply personal space. Using different platforms, consumers curate different feeds, each completely unique and actively evolving to keep them entertained.
Asking yourself what kind of content your audience is seeking, how they want it delivered and where they want to see it is key for building a brand base.
Car Wow is a great example – as a car comparison site, they know their audience interests and have used their industry foothold to tap into AutoYouTube, reviewing new and exclusive cars. They may have started small, but they are set to overtake automotive beast Top Gear in 2023, simply from knowing their audience inside out.
Delivering Great Experiences
– Grad Conn
Each day, there are 3.4 billion users online, sending upwards of 60 billion messages. Half of the planet is connected online and changing the way that messages are communicated is essential for staying in touch.
Email and voice communications have moved on, replaced by the quickfire efficiency of WhatsApp and Snapchat. In order to reach our target audience, we need to consider a change of mindset. Traditionally, media companies have ‘broadcast’ messages to their customers, barking at them to ‘buy my brand’. Using new media channels, brands should be taking a more ‘conversational’ approach, inviting consumers to join them in the development and launch of their products and gently encouraging them to purchase.
In 2019, we can’t fall into the trap of telling consumers how to feel. Rather, we need to accept that we won’t be everyone’s favourite and focus on getting key messages to resonate with true brand fans.