6 Social Media Trends That Are Forcing Brands To Adapt Quickly
Social media rarely stays the same for long. Social media platforms are always changing to keep users interested and optimize themselves for new technologies. These changes are a mixed bag for marketers; in many cases, these changes mean new opportunities to reach new audiences or engage with our existing audiences better. But in other cases, these changes are confusing headaches that always seem to change again the moment we get used to them.
But aside from new features, new functionality, and new algorithm changes, there are changes in user behavior that we need to watch for; oftentimes, these will arise in response to the new platforms and functionalities that companies release, but in other cases, they emerge organically. In a combination of these two influencers, brands are being forced to adapt quickly on social media. Here are six specific trends forcing brands to adapt their social media practices:
1. Diminished Corporate Returns
Facebook FB -0.04% has been decreasing the organic reach that companies and organizations are able to achieve for several years now, meaning the average number of people a non-promoted post reaches has gone down significantly. In fact, in June, it released a new algorithm update that caused a crushing 42 percent dip in organic reach for publishers.
When Facebook started, it was all about connecting individual friends—corporations and brands were added later. Though some have speculated that this is a subtle move to force organizations to buy more advertising, the likelier story is that individual Facebook users prefer seeing content created and submitted by friends than they do organizations and corporations. Because of this, newsfeed algorithms have shifted to accommodate user preferences for content submitted by other users—greatly enhancing the value of personal brand-based promotion.
2. In-the-Moment Favoritism
Users are also preferring more in-the-moment types of content. Now that most social media platforms are used as mobile apps, rather than desktop-based websites, it’s easier than ever for people to immediately syndicate content like images, videos, and even basic posts to their friends and followers. Because this content can be exchanged and consumed much more rapidly, users have begun to crave it, sparking a number of new trends like live streaming video in social apps. Retrospective posts are no longer as effective, so it’s in your best interest to stay active, in the moment, as things unfold before you.
3. Fewer, Better Posts
4. Diversified Reactions
People are also finding new ways to react to posts once they’re made, which is forcing posters to find new ways to engage in turn. The best example of this is Facebook’s recent addition of emoji-based reactions, which allow people to react as emotions like “sad” or “angry” instead of only “liking” posts. This addition is driving new changes in the ways users engage with one another, increasing the priorities of conversation and reaction for major brands.
5. Shorter, Faster Exchanges
There are a number of changes forcing the rise of shorter, faster exchanges on social media. Part of this is the fact that most users are using mobile apps for their social needs, making it harder to type out any kind of extended response. Another is the rise of visual content over written content, such as images and videos. The presence of fast, emoji-based reactions is also making it easier for users to respond in more concise, non-verbal ways. Together, these are influencing posts and conversations that are shorter, more concise, and faster. You’ll need to step up your game to keep pace.
6. Dying Clickbait
It wasn’t that long ago that clickbait-style articles dominated newsfeeds, and the snappiest headlines could almost guarantee some measure of social media success. Now, thanks to user wariness of such gimmicky tactics, the reduced power of organically posting publishers, anddeliberate crackdowns on clickbait, clickbait-based articles are seeing significantly lower rates of success and engagement. If you want to be successful with your social media content, you’ll need to make sure there’s some meat to it.
These alterations to social media posting paradigms are occurring gradually, which gives you a little more wiggle room to adapt—but keep in mind they’re already unfolding as we speak. As usual for an online marketing strategy, social media success isn’t about picking the right plan and sticking to it; it’s about being able to roll with the punches and iteratively change your approach to match what your users expect. Here, you’ll need to start paying attention to more subtleties of your posts—from your timing to your choice of wording—to keep pace with your users’ rapidly shifting demands.