Social media content is changing — we know that much. But what’s the future of social media content? And what opportunities does that future provide marketers? To skip straight to social media content marketing opportunities, scroll through.
What is the future of social media content?
Transparency and cause marketing: Transparency, contributing to a bigger cause and having strong brand values will be crucial. Gen Z is starting to have more purchasing power and transparency in knowing what they’re supporting is crucial. Showing transparent content, like behind the scenes for example, let’s fans know they can feel good about buying from that brand. With this kind of content, brands need to be ready to back up everything they say because if Gen Z smells B.S., they’ll call the brand out immediately and their loyalty will be lost instantly. In 2013, 54% of consumers purchased a good associated with a cause or social issue. In 2017, 87% of consumers purchased a product because a company advocated for an issue or cause they cared about. While this mainly speaks to brand values, this also needs to include transparency in how the consumer’s data is used, collected and stored so that fans feel safe.
Community: People get a lot of fatigue from the negativity in the media and their friends being annoying on social. Users are making their social feeds a place that gives back to them instead of making them feel sad about reality. With that, people who want to be positive and happy will flock to each other and support one another more which will lead to a strong sense of community. If brands can chime in on that conversation in a way that’s authentic, not gross and not one-sided with the brand talking at the fans, that will strengthen the fan’s loyalty.
Digital cohesion: Omnichannel strategy and presence on all digital channels will be mandatory. Extra points will be awarded for social having a special set of content that amps up the conversation.
Inclusivity: Diversity should be considered mandatory but the key is to do it and not say it. It’s about showing and as soon as you start telling, it’s not authentic.
Sustainability: Single-use plastic, carbon footprint, recyclable materials, etc. are becoming a larger conversation and huge opportunity when it comes to selling points. If brands can commit to helping the planet before it’s mandatory for brands to jump on board, fans will love that they can feel good about shopping with that brand.
Personalization: Fans want to feel understood and brands are constantly upping the bar for personalized content. Surprise and delight will also be folded into this more as fans want to be sought after for their love and attention — if you can show you know them while delighting them, you’re golden.
Female presence: Ladies are speaking up and social is helping amplify their message and presence. They’re a strong focus for a lot of brands as female equality and empowerment only become bigger conversations within politics, entertainment and the general media presence.
Beating the system: Algorithms, congestion of so many brands talking on social and having to pay for consumer’s attention — these are some basic things that brands have to maneuver around and it’s only going to get harder.
Video: Social continues to see a lot of success in video. When people are overworked and fried at the end of the day, video is easier to consume than reading for a lot of people. Video drives a 157% increase in organic traffic and it’s a great way to grab attention in a congested conversation and feed. 64% of consumers say watching a marketing video on Facebook has influenced a purchase decision of theirs in the last month.
Customer service: Brands are jumping to the front of the pack with amazing customer service. Not only is it expected at this point, it’s mandatory. To continue to improve in this area, chatbots will continue to be refined and finessed so that humans can deal with the deeper customer service issues.
Spark education and curiosity: People are valuing education and curiosity more and more. Self-development, self-care and learning something new continues to grow in popularity among consumers.
Data and better A/B testing: Data continues to be a huge conversation and it’s getting better for people to be able to accurately track KPIs if they have the right tools in place. With this, defining clear goals and tests on the outset of campaigns is essential in order to glean true insights. If they are thought of after the fact, it is not a true test.
Shoppable features: Social will continue to develop features to enhance the shopping experience through digital storefronts and use of augmented reality for people to “try on” products.
What are the future opportunities for social media content?
Customer-focused stories: Move towards being more customer-centered. You might share fan UGC, but there’s a huge opportunity to tell your brand’s story through your customers’ eyes, employee eyes, and fan stories about their relationship with the brand as well. There are so many stories waiting to be shared.
Shoppable content: Taking advantage of shoppable post features, shopping ad units and using lifestyle content through all of it. The imagery should feel like a snapshot from a real moment that people would love to drop right into and can relate to. UGC that’s pulled in to show product on the brand site or in paid ads is incredibly engaging.
Knowing the consumer: Keep pushing to learn more about who your customers are through interviews, posting questions on social, closer monitoring of conversations, interactions, etc.
Playing with social features: Be quick to adapt and try new features as they roll out on social. You should ensure you’re using the variety of features monthly to keep content fun, fresh and unexpected.
Brand values: Find a way to tell people about what your brand stands for. Sharing PR efforts, talking about how the brand gives back and educating fans on the values that the brand is built on is a great way to be authentically transparent and engaging.
Use your influencers: Take advantage of partnerships and ambassadors. If you partner with a brand, take advantage of their larger audiences.
Digital cohesion: Work cross-departmentally to ensure that all social messaging ladders up to the overarching marketing approach.