The social media landscape is constantly changing, so staying ahead of the curve can be a key challenge for marketers. According to an article by Socialmedialondon.co.uk, there are 1.7 billion social media users around the world; a huge figure but probably not a surprising one to many marketers, considering the way many of us consume media today. Status updates from friends, funny cat memes and access to ground-breaking news and information is all just the touch of a smartphone screen away. This is indicative of modern society’s constant desire for connectivity, both within our immediate social circles and the wider world.
The ability to consume media instantly has become an expectation of consumers and ingrained in our daily routines. As social media usage has become intrinsic to society, large and ready-made audiences are connected and available via mobile devices, and social media has become a core pillar of content marketing.
Facebook is by far the largest social platform, with 1.35 billion monthly active users according to Statista.com. However, there is huge scope for brands to use instant messaging platforms for sending targeted messages to users and reaching consumers via these platforms will only help to engage users with the brand’s messaging:
The popularity of instant messaging apps like Whatsapp and Facebook messenger continue to rise. According to econsultancy.com, these platforms have seen considerable growth in 2014, and this is only set to increase in 2015.
Image Source: econsultancy.com
As Matt Rhodes reports in a recent blog post , more messages are being sent on instant messaging applications than are sent by SMS globally. In 2015 we are likely to see an increasing volume of discussions in these private micro-communities.
Apps like Whatsapp not only have the potential to replace text messaging, but also email, telephone conversations and discussions that occur in the public eye on social media, especially as people are increasingly becoming conscious about their privacy online.
Facebook remains the most popular social media platform, with 71% of internet users aged over 18 active on the site, according to pewinternet.org. Despite its huge user-base, many sources have reported on Facebook’s decline in popularity, particularly among teenagers. 16–18 year-olds tend to use Facebook to connect with older friends and family members, but use other platforms very differently. For example, popular mobile applications, SnapChat (which has 100 million monthly active users with around 71% aged under 25) and Whatsapp, are used to connect with close friends on the whole, whereas Twitter (988 million monthly users) and Instagram (200 million active users) are used to communicate with wider friendship circles and even strangers.
Image Source: jugnoo.com
In summary, 52% of social media users regularly check more than one platform, according to pewinternet.org. Whilst Facebook remains the most popular social media channel, it has significant overlap with other platforms.
Content that is produced in video format is believed to be one of the most engaging, due to the fact that it utilises both audio and visual content. Indeed, YouTube reports that 300 hours of video are uploaded to the platform every minute.
Many marketers are moving away from text and pictorial based posts in favour of video, which can be viewed, created and shared easily on mobiles, tablets and other devices. Platforms like Instagram, Snapchat, Vine and YouTube all enable brands to display products and deliver marketing messages using video, whilst Instagram has added in-feed advertising to their videos. The ads can target users based on age, gender and country and is a great way for marketers to get their message in front of their target audience.
Pinterest has enjoyed considerable growth and should be a key consideration for social media marketers in 2015. It has 70 million active users and around 80% are women who use the site to browse lifestyle related posts and areas of interest such as design, fashion and beauty.
According to research from Wayfair, shoppers referred by Pinterest are 10% more likely to make a purchase than visitors who arrive from any other social network, including Facebook and Twitter; they will also spend 10% more on average. For this reason, Pinterest is the social platform for brands to be on if they are interested in driving revenue from social media.
Twitter cards were launched last year, allowing businesses to embed rich media content, such as images and videos, into their tweets. This is displayed within a user’s Twitter feed, without the need for a user to click on the tweet to expand the content. This allows brands to engage with users in a new and meaningful way. Twitter cards are set to become even more prominent for brands in 2015.
There are three different versions of Twitter cards. The App card relays information about an app; including its name and features an icon, description, price and any other details. If a client’s app is in the Apple Store or Google Play, relevant information can be pulled into Twitter accordingly, thus allowing users to seamlessly download apps without needing to leave the Twitter platform, and therefore encouraging more app downloads.
The Gallery Card showcases a collection of images, as opposed to one individual photo. Twitter’s Gallery Card enables brands to display up to four images within a tweet, therefore increasing their engagement rate and improving CTR.
The Product Cards demonstrates products through an image and description, plus two customisable fields, where additional product details such as price or ratings can be included within the card. This means brands can preview their products into followers’ Twitter streams. As a result, users can purchase products without needing to leave the Twitter platform, enabling a seamless social shopping experience.
Which social media marketing trends does your brand consider key in 2015? Will you be looking to incorporate any of the above?