I’ve come to learn that one of the greatest early indicators of success in marketing has been a willingness to adapt. To elaborate, trendspotting is an invaluable skill to marketers in order to reach a target audience. Paying close attention to social media trends in 2017 allows your business to take advantage of the generational shifts in purchasing power. Generations Y and Z, who bring a new set of standards in business-consumer relationships, are more tech-savvy and primarily rely on digital outlets for their news, entertainment and shopping needs.
According to data collected from 2005-16 by PEW Research Center, social media usage by demographic is as follows:
- 18-29: 86 percent
- 30-49: 80 percent
- 50-64: 64 percent
- 65-plus: 34 percent
As of November 16, 2016, at least 69 percent of U.S. adults used at least one social media site. How does all of this concern your brand? Your marketing strategy needs to be able to expertly adapt to these trends to stay competitive and capture one of the largest growing consumer needs.
As more Americans have adopted social media, the social media user base has also grown more representative of the broader population. Young adults were among the earliest social media adopters and continue to use these sites at high levels, but usage by older adults has increased in recent years. – PEW Research Center
While you may be aware of the latest trends in social media, you may not be maximizing their potential for your business. Luckily, I’ve got some insight to share with you on the top social media trends of 2017.
To begin with, augmented reality had a big year in 2016. What is augmented reality?
Merriam-Webster defines it as, “An enhanced version of reality created by the use of technology to overlay digital information on an image of something being viewed through a device (such as a smartphone camera).” In layman’s terms though, just think Pokemon GO!
Three weeks after its July 6, 2016 launch, Pokemon GO! shot to the top of Apple’s app store sales. It earned more than $35 million in net revenue in three weeks to become one of the most successful augmented reality apps to date. Another more prevalent example of augmented reality is the Snapchat selfie lens. These applications create a hyper-immersive user experience and although the first two examples are skewed towards entertainment purposes, several big brands have already adopted the technology.
As early as 2013, IKEA began rolling out augmented reality apps after discovering up to 14 percent of its customers took home furniture that didn’t fit its intended location. Thanks to being early adopters, customers can now try out products in their homes via a mobile app on smartphones or tablets. Augmented reality creates new opportunities for your brand to connect to your target audience via a shared experience rather than sales information.
For starters, let’s get a clear understanding of micro-moments.
The term micro-moment was coined by Google, meaning moments “When people reflexively turn to a device to act on a need to learn something, do something, discover something, watch something, or buy something.” Ninety percent of smartphone owners have used micro-moments to take huge steps toward their personal goals. Here’s a list of a few micro-moment scenarios by Google:
- Is It Worth It Moments
- When weighing purchase decisions on in-store items, it’s helpful to have a quick pricing comparison. Through our smartphones, we can price match, read online reviews, or quickly browse online retailers for a product we aren’t completely sold on. It allows us to make more educated purchases knowing the options available.
- Show Me How Moments
- Products often come with directions on how to use them, however, some explanations can leave many questions. In Show Me How Moments, smartphone users can rest easy in knowing that they are not the only ones who have struggled with product usage or assembly. Oftentimes, another user has taken the liberty to create a video demonstrating proper use of the product.
- Is your table quite literally on its last leg? Has your refrigerator been leaking for over a week? The components of our daily routines (furniture, appliances, etc.) will inevitably require a repair or replacement, and in Time For a New One Moments we can painlessly order or schedule a new product for delivery.
- I Didn’t Plan for This Moments
- In moments of crisis, information is at a premium and the growing nature of the IoT makes it possible to access resources immediately.
- One Step at a Time Moments
- The only way to reach a big goal is to chip away at it. Micro-moments help users reach future goals like purchasing a home or continuing education by taking the small steps in your spare time.
- Ready for Change Moments
- Career decisions can be made in the blink of an eye, yet until recently we’ve had little ability to act upon those decisions immediately. When you’re ready for a change, be it in your career or living situation, it’s as easy pulling out your phone or tablet and submitting your resume/application.
- New Day, New Me Moments
- Ready to kick an old, unsavory habit or pick up a new hobby? It’s as simple as downloading an app. Whether you seek to quit smoking or learn how to mediate, the path to a better you is accessible 24/7 via micro-moments.
- I Want to Talk to a Human Moments
- There’s no substitute for human contact and occasionally an automated response (no matter how well designed) just isn’t sufficient. In situations where you need to contact a business/organization, your best bet is to use your smartphone for its most seemingly-defunct feature: Talking.
Think with Google says, “For each of these moments you want to win, put yourself in the consumer’s shoes. Ask ‘What would make this easier or faster? What content or features would be most helpful for this moment?’” Perhaps the most popular example of micro-moments currently is live video.
Social media apps like Snapchat and Instagram stories allow users to create high-quality video content. Just as these videos provide a live-feed into an individual user’s daily life, if utilized for marketing, these features allow businesses to build a brand identity. More importantly, live video is endearing to users because it provides the greatest level of transparency into the people behind your operations and leads to building brand affinity.
Live video or ephemeral content differs from evergreen content in that its shelf life is extremely limited. Due to the unscripted nature of ephemeral content, it is not designed to be used or viewed at a later date. While this may seem like an exercise in futility, it actually creates a greater level of personalization to your brand by bring your social media pages to life with daily activity and is key for customer engagement.
Just as augmented reality apps like Pokemon GO! converts your daily routine into an adventure, live video gives you your own broadcast network. As I said earlier in, human-to-human interactions will only become increasingly more important when marketing to Generations Y and Z. This is why it’s imperative you have some fun and experiment with these free branding tools. Here’s a few examples of ephemeral content to showcase your brand’s authenticity:
- How-to and/or DIY Videos
- Behind-the-scenes Looks
- Contests and/or Giveaways
- Social Media “Takeovers”
- Live Streaming
- Video Series
- Product Reveals and/or Reviews
Studies have shown that shoppers tend to shop with brands they trust, so your exercises in building brand affinity won’t be for nothing. Social media e-commerce is on the rise and as you gain a loyal following of shoppers, you can leverage your engagement into sales.
Social Media E-commerce
As we become an increasingly connective society, social media apps are now being utilized directly for sales. The days of having to visit an external site aren’t numbered, but shopping through an app will only further increase the convenience of online shopping.
Nearly a third of online shoppers say they are using these channels to browse for new items to buy. Facebook is the most popular network people are using (26%), followed by Instagram (8%) and Pinterest (6%).” Mindi Chahal, MarketingWeek
While websites are still the number one source for e-commerce, 30 percent of the general population use social media to research products before buying them. However, circling back to social media e-commerce, Instagram and Snapchat have started testing and rolling out features that will allow users to purchase products directly within the apps.
Social media users access these different platforms to interact with fun, interesting content. By utilizing micro-moments, you can create content displaying ways shoppers can use your product/services, for example gift ideas and instructional videos.
Social media will continue to gain ground in the coming years because of the level of interconnectivity it provides and early adopters will continue to reap its benefits. So, there you have it. While it’s important to keep a thumb on the pulse of reality, how exactly are you using that pulse? If you’re not utilizing these tools for business, I can tell you personally that you’re missing out. And don’t forget, although it’s business, make sure it’s enjoyable and not a task you’re merely crossing off your to-do list because most of all, you want to engage with your customer base in a real and authentic way.