So far, there is a range of major trends, which began to develop on social media this year. All of them have emerged due to the user’s continuing interest in social networks. This has become a particular driving force for innovative solutions with a long-term perspective.
The first and probably fundamental thing is stories. Predictably, the users have liked short video clips as a new format of storytelling.
A similar formant first appeared on Snapchat in 2013; it has been actively promoted on Instagram since 2016. What happened thanks to this innovative and advanced albeit not new genre?
It’s stories that have made the following characteristics trending. These characteristics are inherent in the modern and popular mass media, the top of which is the Internet of course. The fact that some of them are derivations of others doesn’t take away the possibility to consider them separately because their integration in other fields is already paying off.
It would be appropriate to talk about each one of them separately.
Seemingly, naturalness has always been sought-after. Actually, it’s exactly the era of social media development when the most important trend in both visual and textual contents became real emotions and poses – captured moments of real and candid life.
Besides, the design of «one preset» – i.e. in one color – is losing popularity. Whereas previously people used to buy filters-presets to create a one-color feed and could count on leading positions in trends, now they organize their feed on the basis of photo elements: shades, the contains of pictures (for instance, alternation of minimalism and all-or-nothing), poses, emotions.
We shouldn’t forget about current users’ high standards because there are enough «perfect» pictures on the Internet; the quality content will always be in demand. Picky audience reaches for a real, open, honest life and not for the standard «Say: «CHEESE»!».
In the context of stories, this term means an interconnectedness of your storylines. This holds the attention and helps to concentrate the audience on your storylines due to a human keen interest and not because of a need for the products or services. A certain logic in your stories turns them into a singular series, which people want to watch to end no matter how many episodes there are.
It’s nice when stories smoothly lead to the posts on social networks. The point is: if a person prefers a long read, he might read a post; if he’s more interested in short storylines – he’ll choose stories. A key to success is to give clients a possibility of choice.
It’s hard to deny that the well-like Instagram has become not only a very popular app but also the most efficient trading platform on the modern Internet. This forces businessmen to create their profiles on Instagram for a more effective promotion of their products. What do the self-employed people and freelancers do?
First of all, it’s important to show yourself as an expert in your field in the media – to demonstrate your successful works and provide as useful information as possible. In addition, you should consider the association aspect: if the page tells about an expert but the majority of posts show his nightclub parties or trips to Seychelles, then opinion about him will be formed not as of a specialist but as of a clubber and a waster. That subconsciously reduces the credibility of the author.
As to the personal information: it’s appropriate if it tells about you as a specialist and introduces your principles and beliefs to your audience. Tell how hard and how long you have been working, how successful and responsible you are, how much you care about your reputation. In such a way, you’ll increase the reach of the audience: your news will be followed not only by those, who are interested in you as a professional but also by people, who have liked your account in layman’s terms and who can become your potential clients.
The focus is primarily on the engagement
It used to be thought that if the information has enough likes then it’s worthy of attention. This is quite logical because if so many people have liked it, then it’s reasonable to read it. The problem is that owing to such factors as buying likes and obtrusive advertising of information, «thumbs-up» aren’t so important anymore. The reflex of evaluating information by likes has disappeared from our nervous system as fast as it got there. It’s engagement that is vitally important now. To understand what it is you need to dig into a broader concept – insights. It demonstrates the profile promotion, users’ interest in the content, etc. It consists of many criteria and the most important ones are listed here:
- reach is a total number of users (unique ones), who have seen your content;
- engagement – a total of likes and comments under a post or stories (in case of stories, the likes are replaced with polls and quizzes);
- impressions – points on the number of actions, not users (one person’s five views stay as five views; they aren’t converted into one);
- saves – unlike likes, it’s impossible to buy saves.
Amongst all these factors, the engagement is the most important one. An explanation is very simple: this indicator objectively shows how much the audience has liked the material by combining two things (likes and comments). A simple example: your account has 5 thousand followers and engagement of 45 people; therefore, your account on Instagram isn’t being demonstrated even to your followers. Put simply, your content isn’t interesting – people haven’t responded to it – nobody sees it. We have the main trend (parameter of engagement), which has triggered the emergence of several more selective ones. Putting aside the obvious «emphasis on interesting text and beautiful picture» and «high-quality content», we can highlight three most comprehensible and important things.
The first one is gamification.
No matter at what age the person is, he appreciates the transformation of advertising into a creative and interactive toy.
Now the user automatically clicks on popping up windows of questions, polls, and quizzes. A code to the success of this novelty is obvious: the user has the opportunity not just to watch a micro-storyline but also to participate in it. He thinks: «Why not?», his fingers are clicking on the active space themselves – it’s good for everybody. The user gets a moral satisfaction because someone’s interested in his opinion and he’s allowed to express this opinion with one movement, to play a mini-game instead of typing a long comment. The author gets a greater interest and each user’s engagement. The more gamification is in stories and the more various it is, the more interesting it’s for the viewer to watch these storylines all the time.
The second thing is the low-density hashtags.
What a hashtag is necessary for? As a rule, the answer is standard: for the search for needed information. It’s the truth but only in theory because over time due to the emergence of a large number of outside services the amount of irrelevant information using high-density hashtags has increased.
For this reason, it’s not only useless but also harmful to post such a hashtag. Firstly, even a good post with excellent content and an amazing picture may get lost in loads of similar posts and stories with the same hashtag. For that very reason, unique hashtags are trending right now and they make it a lot easier to find an author and information about his business. The fewer times this hashtag is mentioned, the better.
The third thing is to give up on the mass following
. For the time being, the feed on social networks, in particular, on Instagram consists of posts, which the audience is interested in, and not of those, which have more likes. You can waste your time and money and buy likes and followers to lose out to a competitor eventually, who has converted his minimum of followers to clients, customers, and partners. You shouldn’t forget that buying likes and followers provokes the algorithms of networks and puts your profiles in danger of blocking.
Capgemini consulting company has conducted research about the users’ interest in voice assistants. As a result, 24% of respondents would rather use a voice assistant than a website. This is a great market share, to put it mildly. Moreover, this number increases every year. Voice assistants emerge in the networks and a special marketing direction, which is focused on the work with voice assistants, is being planned. This is confirmed by messages of the Bloomberg Company, which has stated that voice messages sent via the Messenger app have been listened and transcribed by hundreds of Facebook contractors (clearly, upon the condition of full anonymity of these messages). This was done to check if the transcripts generated by artificial intelligence correspond to the spoken words and sentences.
Siri, Google Assistant, and others are becoming more and more popular because they learn due to the communication with the users and can help in a bigger number of operations. By 2021, there will be about 7.5 billion devices with embedded voice assistants in the world according to the predictions of Napoleon retail.
We shouldn’t forget about an amazing new genre on social media – podcasts. Let’s assume that you’re going to work or lying on a deck chair, but you don’t want to waste your time. Why not listening to useful information then? Nowadays there are quite many players in the market, but if we’re talking about the most well-known ones, then we can’t fail to mention those, which are on top positions according to Brand Analytics: YouTube, Soundcloud, Apple Podcasts, VK Podcasts, Mixcloud, Yandex Music, Google Podcasts, Spotify, Castbox, and Podster.
Source: research by Brand Analytics
Described above stories play a significant role in the promotion of voice assistants because the users of social networks get used to seeing the voice as a main source of information and they use their own voices for this purpose.
Is it worth implementing in your company? If there are innovators and high-tech admirers in your target audience; if the content can be adapted to a similar assistant; if the outcome is predicted and suits you – it definitely is worth it.
So, we’ve tried to acquaint you with a sort of «a trend tree», where trends derive from one another and integrate into one another; however, they can exist separately as well. That is why each one of them is self-sufficient and self-sustained at this stage of SMM development no matter how much it influences the next one and how much it depends on the previous one.
We can’t speak only about nice things. Along with the nine positive trends, two dark giants have also appeared – Tik-Tok and advertising by bloggers.
We’ve called them «dark» because they initially had had amazing potential, but they lost it due to improper handling.
It’s impossible to overestimate the popularity of this platform now because everyone can use simple programs for video editing without financial investments and make an eye-catching and interesting product out of an informative video. The problem is that Tik-Tok is publicly available, which means that it’s littered with low-quality content, which the whole world is watching. This makes all talented content makers’ efforts wasted. It doesn’t mean that this app should be ignored. You just should remember that it needs a continuous development of your content because the user with something simple and uninteresting may outmatch a creative professional at the international level, as luck would get it.
Advertising by bloggers
Advertising by bloggers has become popular a long time ago and it’s a real trend still. It increases the audience and generates income, so what’s the problem? The problem is the same as on Tik-Tok – oversaturation. Although, on Tik-Tok it has transformed into a change in many users’ tastes in favor of popular but not so interesting content makers; it has caused a burning hatred in this field. Every second popular blogger integrates advertising in his content. There’s nothing bad in it if it doesn’t affect the information component of the video. When these two parts are in striking contrast, it causes a dissonance in the user’s head, which makes him actively or passively shut himself off from the obtrusive advertising by switching to something more harmonious.