It’s no secret that social media has become a big part of people’s lives. People who rely on social media are addicted to it to the point that when they wake up, the first thing they do is check their socials. As the world of social media evolves rapidly, with Facebook and Instagram constantly changing their algorithms and introducing new features, brands need to keep up with these trends and changes to stay ahead of the social media curve. They will need to review their social media strategy consistently and keep their target audiences engaged and entertained.

Here are six social media trends you need to follow and implement in your social media strategy.

Short-Form Video Content Will Continue to Gain Popularity

People today have shorter attention spans and are more distracted than ever before. Brands need to find ways to gain their target audience’s attention. This has led to the skyrocketing popularity of short-form video content. TikTok is one such example. Its videos are short yet engaging and addictive that people can spend hours scrolling endlessly on their feeds. TikTok saw nearly 383 million first-time installs as of June 2021, making it the most downloaded non-game app globally.

Live Streaming will Become the New Norm

The COVID-19 pandemic has seen businesses pivoting to stay afloat. Live events were cancelled and retail shops were ordered to close. They adapted quickly and turned to conduct live streaming to reach out to their customers. More than 100 million users watch live videos every day.

A lot of brands have jumped on the bandwagon and are going live regularly. Instagram has seen an increase of 70% in the use of the Live feature in March 2020. One such example is Lazada, which has an in-app live streaming feature, LazLive that allows users to interact in real-time. These days, the quality of products or services is essential for brands, but it’s not enough. Customers value authenticity in brands, so live streaming enables brands to connect with customers on a deeper level.

More Brands Will Adapt to Augmented Reality

Most social media users have probably come across Augmented Reality (AR) filters, whether it’s on Instagram, Snapchat or TikTok. They’re hyper-immersive, interactive and highly engaging, generating a lot of traction online. In 2019, Instagram has introduced Spark AR Studio, where people can create and publish their AR filters for Instagram Stories (). Recently, TikTok followed suit and has launched TikTok Effect House in beta. Brands also leverage AR filters to enhance their brand presence or promote a new product to provide a better shopping experience for customers. This helps keep the target audience entertained and engaged and even gain new customers. For example, users can try out colours from Kylie Jenner’s Lip Kit collection without having to put on actual makeup.

Ephemeral Content Is Here to Stay

Ephemeral content is content in video or photo format that is only available for a limited period. A powerful way to keep your audience engaged is to condense your content down to 60 seconds or less. There are over 500 million Instagram accounts using Stories every day. According to Hootsuite, 58% of users became more interested in brands and products after seeing them in Stories. Brands should include IG Stories in their content strategy. It allows them to engage followers via polls, quizzes, mentions, etc. It also humanises your brand as the content tends to be more informal. For instance, showing a day in a life of an employee in an organisation is a perfect example of ephemeral content.

Influencer Marketing will Help Grow Your Brand

Influencer marketing has been around for a while now and many brands have used influencers as part of their digital marketing strategy. By 2021, influencer marketing will be worth $13.8 billion. 

Influencer marketing isn’t about the number of followers an influencer has anymore. It’s about engagement and authenticity, that’s why many brands tend to work with micro or nano influencers. While they may have a smaller following, they tend to have a highly engaged audience, thereby lowering the cost per conversion. They don’t charge as high as influencers who have a large following.

Influencer marketing has evolved from exclusively collaborating with one to two influencers to working with a whole network of smaller, relevant influencers. These influencers are much more relatable and their content is perceived to be more genuine than mega or macro-influencers.

User-Generated Content Enhances Customer Experience

User-generated content (UGC) has always been a viable strategy for brands to build relationships with their customers. Before purchasing a product or engaging in a service, customers want social proof and reassurance that a brand is credible. UGC is considered more authentic and trustworthy than branded content, which helps to build your brand’s image. It is 5x more likely to convert customers compared to non-UGC. Brands also save time and resources when planning and executing campaigns.

Airbnb, for example, focuses mostly on UGC. In addition to sharing UGC from around the world, Airbnb asks questions and offers suggestions to their followers every day. It facilitates discussion with wanderlust travellers regarding booking with Airbnb.

Social media is constantly evolving, in terms of both how social media platforms add or change their functions and how people use them, so these trends can help to elevate your social media game. It is important to recognise social media trends today so that brands can strengthen their presence in the future.