Did you know social media advertising budgets in the United States have nearly doubled over the past two years, jumping from $16 billion in 2014 to $31 billion in 2016? Clearly, social media is bigger than ever and shows no signs of slowing down, with experts predicting social media spending to increase to $36 billion in 2017. In addition to the industry constantly getting bigger, it is also constantly evolving and adapting to the latest trends. Companies need to stay up-to-date on what is happening on social media in order to stay relevant and on top of their competition. Let’s take a look three of the biggest trends in social media right now.
1) Posting Videos
Videos have exploded in popularity over the past few years on social media. Remember when you used to not be able to post a video on Instagram or Twitter just a couple of years ago? Now, people have become accustomed to viewing videos when they check almost any social media platform. Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg said in a 2016 interview that, “We're particularly pleased with our progress in video as we move towards a world where video is at the heart of all our services." Not only are social media companies like Facebook and Instagram adapting their platform for videos, but businesses are taking advantage of this trend to reach their consumers. According to a recent survey published in Forbes, 63 percent of companies say they now use video as a marketing tool on their social media feeds.
Starbucks is just one company that frequently posts videos on their social media accounts, such as this one pinned to the top of their Facebook page with over 9 million views.
2) Avoiding Automated Posts
Social media content calendars are a good tool for companies to use to organize and plan their social strategy, but scheduling posts to automatically go out is becoming less popular, according to Alex York of Sprout Social, a social media management company. “There’s a point when businesses start to realize the difference between efficiency and autopilot,” York said. “Automation feels robotic, while consumers want real, humanistic interactions.” Additionally, scheduled posts risk causing a controversy if the public deems the timing to be insensitive or inappropriate. There is no way to know what will be going on in the world the day a post is scheduled for, such as a tragedy or natural disaster, so if companies are not careful, they can embarrass themselves. By keeping scheduled content to a minimum, companies are focusing on posting timely and more genuine content.
3) Using Social Influencers More Than Ever
Just as companies are leaning away from automated posts in order to appear more authentic, they are also turning to paid social media influencers to break through the clutter of regular paid advertising. According to CJG Digital Marketing, companies are now using “the power of influencers to create authentic content for their brand to acquire new customers and establish a trust to their audience.” Additionally, 84 percent of marketers are planning on using at least one influencer campaign within the next year. Whether it is a big company paying a celebrity, or a local business paying for a post on a small blog, paid influencers have become a powerful force on social media.
This post from Kylie Jenner is clearly sponsored from the company Fashion Nova, trying to reach new customers among Jenner’s nearly 100 million Instagram followers.
Christian Snyder is a junior majoring in Strategic Communication at The Ohio State University. He is also minoring in Media Production and Analysis. He is an Account Associate on the School of Communication and CHOICES team for The PRactice.