Social media is one of the fastest growing industries in the technology sector. Major players in this space are led by savvy creatives who aren’t afraid to experiment, pioneer and keep up with the ever-changing pace of technology.
For social media marketers, the evolution of networks is a chance at enhancing content and customer experiences, the cornerstones of a successful social media strategy. It is worth your time to comprehend social media trends and determine whether they are worth pursuing. Here is a look at some new features and trends that should be on your radar if you wish to diversify your social media efforts and develop a mature presence on leading online social channels.
Instagram Stories is a great way to share your brand message creatively through multiple photos, and videos, which appear as a slideshow. You can also add text, doodles, filters and stickers. In Snapchat’s ephemeral style, they disappear after 24 hours. The feature has amassed over 200 million users, so you definitely want to consider it if you’re already on this photo-sharing app.
Here are some ways in which you can engage your audience with Instagram Stories:
Host a quiz or conduct a poll to encourage participation and get insights into what your followers like.
Announce specials, giveaways or events through compelling visuals to boost traffic to your website.
Spur conversations with a Q&A series where you elicit opinions from your audience on a brand-related or topical issue.
Cross-promote content with Instagram takeovers featuring employees, influencers, customers or community members.
Tune your audience into a new product, service or feature to generate top-of-mind awareness.
Do a product demo to give followers a feel for your product/service.
Explore other stories to plug – perhaps a behind-the-scenes look, headlines or clips of your latest blog, or building anticipation around your Facebook live stream. Leverage the potential of Instagram Stories to extract more value from your social media content and build a highly engaged community.
AI and VR
Virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) technologies are on their way to becoming mainstream, with social media platforms priming to offer enhanced, interactive experiences to their audiences. YouTube and Facebook are already offering 360 degree videos (see below), and as head-mounted displays move from being developer-centric – as they’re currently – to being available in consumers markets, the adoption of this new experience can be expected to be swift.
For businesses, augmented reality is yet another audience engagement method whose novelty value can be a big advantage early on, with consistent experiences delivered via AR platforms retaining interest and loyalty. Social media users are open to multi-brand experiences and quick to adopt new technologies. Even if you cannot invest in AR/VR in the near future, this is audience attitude is one to note. You still have the opportunity to refine your current digital media experiences to amass a highly involved audience who will stay with you when you make the leap to exciting new tech in the future. To understand whether it is finally time for social media marketers to plan for augmented reality, read this post.
Facebook 360 degree videos
It’s been two years since Facebook announced support for 360 degree videos on desktop and mobile devices. As AR/VR led immersive viewing becomes the status quo in a few years, it is helpful to review if 360 degree video content is a good fit for your brand. Though many 360 degree videos have promoted experiences that inform users what it’s like to be in a particular location or a situation, they can also paint a more compelling picture of a product or service.
The likes of GoPro and Tesla have used 360 degree Facebook and YouTube videos to provide a comprehensive perspective of their product and capabilities. Rockefeller Center and The Late Show with Stephen Colbert have taken people to the heart of the action in Manhatan during Christmas and a behind-the-scenes look at the Ed Sullivan Theater respectively.
As far as video producing equipment is concerned, you can purchase a high-end HD camera or explore free apps that allow you to manually create 360 degree videos for sharing on Facebook, such as the Google Street Video App. Facebook can process iPhone panorama pictures as 360 degree pictures; Android users can consider the Panorama 360 Camera + VR video app.
Automation and AI
Artificial intelligence has entered workplaces, so it is not difficult to fathom its impact on brand marketing and customer engagement. Imagine conversing with AI chat bots that sound human and deliver human-like interactive experiences. Or slack bots that can predict the success of different content and suggest those with the highest engagement potential.
The foundation for the next frontier has already been established. Businesses are amplifying their social media ROI with content curation apps and analytics tools. Facebook’s AI-powered facial recognition feature improves photo tagging, and can be incorporated into social media campaigns. For instance, you can offer coupons to followers who have posted their photos at your restaurant or store.
Social media marketing has steadily evolved over the years, driven by technology, innovation and fierce competition. Social video has truly arrived, requiring brands to think beyond text-based posts and leadership pieces to embracing audio-visual and interactive experiences. Those who are able to effectively utilize various formats have the best chance of maximizing their social media returns.
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