Our guide to the latest social media trends for consumer tech brands
Snap this, gram that, Tweet them; the world of social media is forever changing. There are times when it feels like trends are setting in for the sake of having a new trend. I mean, how many hashtags and stories do you really need?
Despite the social overload however there’s no need to fear! For every baffling new thread that crops up, there are more that can prove incredibly useful for your consumer tech brand. To break it down a bit and make the whole thing a little more digestible, we’ve outlined a few recent social media trends to help you stay one step ahead of the game.
Investing in long-form…
The jury is still out on whether milenials do indeed have a shorter attention span than their elders, though there’s one thing that certainly isn’t up for debate; the ways in which people, and young people in particular, are consuming content is changing.
One of the main changes in this space is the continual rise of video. According to Facebook, there is a 60% increase in time spent watching videos year-over-year, and Instagram’s stories feature continues to go from strength to strength.
The recent launch of IGTV is a prime example of one of our key social platforms reacting to the change in consumer behaviour, as Instagram made its move to provide its audience with longer video content alongside its primary short-form footage.
The ability to invest in longer, more immersive video content on IGTV provides a different avenue for brands to reach their followers. Examples such as GoPro, which has uploaded a number of fascinating videos to its channel, showcase the potential to turn your Instagram account into more than a page of brief, aspirational insights.
You can become educators and guides, providing your audience with a more consuming form of escape.
As with every new venture, IGTV isn’t perfect. For example, the inability to search for specific content means that, currently, only the channels themselves can be searched. For all of its plus points, it isn’t quite up to scratch with platforms such as YouTube, which it’s seemingly taking a swipe at with the launch.
Regardless, there’s no doubt that being able to present long-form video content to your Instagram audience is a huge opportunity for brands.
…and live video content
One of the other main recent social media trends is the development of live video content. According to Livestream research from 2016, live video is particularly appealing to brand audiences: 80% would rather watch live video from a brand than read a blog, and 82% prefer live video from a brand to social posts.
Whereas IGTV immerses your audience in content that has been carefully edited and managed, live gives your audience the chance to get behind the scenes. BuzzFeed are masters of the viral video, and their live video content is the king of getting its audience in the moment and using the feature to really build its engagement.
With over 11 million views and 17,000 shares, take a look at its live video of two employees exploding a watermelon by putting elastic bands around it and tell us you weren’t immersed.
Watch us explode this watermelon one rubber band at a time!
Posted by BuzzFeed on Friday, April 8, 2016
We’ve worked with a number of clients on live videos, and there are a couple of things you do need to bear in mind.
Firstly, is live really the best option? How important is it that your audience is in the moment? Often an image, slideshow or other video content is enough, and is much easier to manage.
Secondly, are you comfortable being on live? You don’t need to be super funny, but you do need to be engaging. A few pre-runs never hurt anyone, and is sometimes a life saver if you’re a little uncertain.
Getting on board with the bots
Bots may sound like a dirty word, though it’s one that consumer tech brands should be looking to get familiar with regarding social media.
In short, they’re automated responses to customer requests. You might be thinking of lazy customer service and pointless feedback, though in reality they’re a really useful tool to keep your customers happy.
Let’s start with the basics; providing a good customer service is of paramount importance. As is highlighted in this Salesforce article, it can cost five times more to get a new customer than keeping an old one, and by increasing customer retention by 5% can increase profits up to 125%. Streamlining your customer service should be towards the top of your to-do list.
Chatbots should, in theory, be a step in the right direction.
The support by major companies such as LinkedIn, Starbucks and eBay is helping drive this expectation that bots will succeed. Providing quick responses as well as knowledge around a service or product on social can be tricky, and chatbots help mitigate those kinds of challenges.
Let’s take a quick look at an example to see what we mean.
Spotify uses its Facebook Messenger chatbot to help its customers search for, listen to and share music. Over time, it will learn what kinds of playlist recommendations you might be interested in, cutting down on Spotify staff hours while remaining responsive and intuitive to your needs.
Basically, it’s an efficient way to manage your customer service and a social media trend that offers real value.
Listen to the (digital) world around you
Listening is an important part of any kind of social arrangement. Social media, in this respect, is no different.
Popular social media management platform Sprout describes social listening as: ‘’The process of tracking conversations around specific topics, keywords, phrases, brands or industries, and leveraging your insights to discover opportunities or create content for those audiences’’.
In short, it’s tracking and acting on topics your audience is talking about.
One of the most useful features of social listening is sentiment analysis. You might not be able to please every customer all of the time, but being able to respond to issues that crop up time and time again is an incredibly useful skill.
Sprout’s research actually found that social media is the most popular avenue for people that have an issue with a brand to turn to voice their opinions, surpassing email and the phone. Without attentive social listening, you might miss a lot of this sentiment, and so losing out on the opportunity to rectify your mistakes.
Social listening is also capable of highlighting the good in your brand. 96% of people talking about your brand apparently do not follow you, meaning you’re missing out on a lot of the noise. Losing out on these potential avenues could be a game changer, making social listening all the more important.
Having used Sprout for a number of our clients, we’d certainly recommend it as a fairly simple but really insightful platform to try your hand at some social listening.
Alternately, free options, such as TweetDeck, are also a great place to start.
Social media shopping is only a click away
The struggle to get consumers from checking out your latest product to actually buying it is real. Success varies from platform to platform, though maximising the rate at which people are buying your stuff direct from your social pages is a focus whether it’s Facebook or Pinterest.
Unsurprisingly, our social media overlords are totally aware of this. The launch of Shopify, the Facebook Shop, back in 2015 was the start, as Facebook began its move to become a go-to site for shoppers. Allowing users to sell their products on Facebook, it nonetheless wasn’t as easy as most consumers would like to simply buy on demand. Safe to say, everything changed earlier this year.
The launch of Instagram shopping capabilities and Pinterest’s ‘Shop the Look’ finally allowed users to go direct from photo to purchase in one fell swoop, as they can click on certain images to take them straight to the product to buy.
Instagram’s feature requires a business profile and has to be connected to an ecommerce business on Facebook, such as Shopify. As a platform with one billion monthly active users worldwide as of June 2018, this feature should be gobbled up by brands in the consumer tech space and beyond, encouraging users to make the purchase as soon as they are won over by your beautiful imagery.
Pinterest is the other primary social platform that is monopolising this trend, and is arguably the platform that brands should be using the most. Despite having far less users than Instagram, at around 175 million, Pinterest nonetheless is really effective when it comes to converting them.
According to Pinterest research, 90% of weekly Pinners use Pinterest to make purchase decisions, with 78% of the people surveyed saying they find brands’ content on the platform useful.
The specific usefulness of Pinterest above other platforms is also fairly stark; again according to Pinterest’s research, the platform drives 33% more referral traffic than Facebook, 71% than Snapchat and 200% than Twitter.
Although we’ve got to be careful around using Pinterest’s data alone, selling directly on the platform is another of the recent social media trends consumer tech brands should be considering.
Want some expert help getting your head around new social media trends? Get in touch at firstname.lastname@example.org!
This is the second entry in our series of posts looking at social media for consumer tech brands. Check out our first post on maximising your social media here, and our third post on four consumer tech brands nailing their Instagram content here!