2020 is a year that set the world ablaze – literally and figuratively. Whether you began 2020 considering yourself tech-savvy or not, COVID-19 has pushed many businesses, schools, and people to go online in a whole new way.
This year has revealed just how much social media has changed and what social media consumers truly want has become critical. To finish out 2020 as best as possible, be it running a company’s social media account, trying to expand your small business online, or simply upscale your own personal content, we are here to break down how you too, can be social media relevant.
Using Social as Brand Research
Consumer audiences are using social media for brand research in rising numbers. The use of search engines is starting to fall behind social searches in some demographics. If you don’t have an active and up-to-date social media account, you may be passed over for another competitor. Using related hashtags and locations can help customers find you in related searches before they are aware of your company.
Social budgets have also been skyrocketing. A targeted social media ad will have a much better return on investment (ROI) and data tracking than spending money on traditional print/mail advertising.
In August, Instagram released Reels, which is a dupe of TikTok. Instagram has successfully taken the format of Snapchat’s temporary vertical videos and AI, and created Stories. Over 70% of Instagram and Snapchat users watch Stories on both platforms daily and as of January 2020, there are nearly 1 billion monthly active users on Instagram.
It is much too early to tell how successful Reels will be and if it will begin to take away from TikTok’s growing number of users. Right now, Reels is not as refined and still has quite a different overall experience than TikTok.
So, if you want to jump onto this trend, gear your content to resemble that of TikTok. Keep it fun, entertaining, and use music and text elements in your video. The key is that they don’t have to be polished professional videos, they should come off as fresh and authentic.
TikTok is a very different side of social media. It is creative, fun, and meant to be addictive. It is not meant to be used as a marketing tool though. Many marketing campaigns have been ripped to shreds in the comments, mainly because the app feels like a safe space for young creatives aside from all the marketing on other platforms.
However, some brands have found a way to leverage TikTok. Successful ads come from brands that are targeting the right audience (Gen Z), on the right platform (TikTok), and are the right brand (geared towards young people, trendy). Hollister ads on TikTok have been pretty successful due to using these three elements correctly.
However, the future for TikTok is quite tentative with the ban in India being a huge hit to the platform, as it is the second-largest audience. Alongside that, the U.S. government is currently at work to ban the app due to security concerns. TikTok is owned by the Chinese technology giant ByteDance. The company has an internal committee of the Chinese Communist Party as well as partnerships with the Ministry of Public Security and Chinese Communist Party-supported ventures in Beijing and Shanghai. This leads to concerns about China using access to steal personal data or blackmail U.S. officials.
Whether the TikTok lawsuits prevail, ownership is shifted, or it is banned, we will have to wait and see. Luckily, even if you don’t jump onto TikTok you will not miss out on all the action. There is a lot of social media overlap, so you can still reach many of the same audiences without it. Instagram has really grown and a huge group of millennials are devoted users. This is a great audience because millennials are older, buy more products, and have a larger income.
Social Responsibility & Purpose
The role of social responsibility in brands and marketing has also changed. Companies are no longer seen neutrally as only sales and marketing. People are looking for transparency and community in social media.
The idea of purpose was put to the test in 2020 through COVID-19 and social issues. Companies who are purpose-driven are shown to time and time again outperform companies that are not purpose-driven.
Purpose however is a stance backed by action, core ideology, your employees, etc. It is not simply a blanket post or statement. It is authentic, not just good PR. Brand purpose is successful when it is engrained throughout an organization.
Engagement Over Content
Look to have more one on one interaction with your customers and followers. Responding to negative complaints and positive comments can do much more for brand perception than just pushing out more content.
People will come back to a social media page where they feel valued, heard, and seen. If all you are doing is pushing products or a service without also giving value and engagement, you will lose brand loyalty in the long run.
Need Help with your Social Media Strategy?
As always, at Coeus Creative Group we are here to help you bring your brand and company to the next level. If you or your company could use help with social media strategy, planning, content curation, or having a staff or personal training in social media, please reach out to us!
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