The COVID-19 pandemic caused a shift in consumer behaviour patterns throughout 2020, but we’ve also seen...
Social media marketing is on the rise, and in 2021 it’s bigger than ever. However, it’s a strategy that looks set to become even more important over the years to come, so what could be next in line for social media marketing?
With so much competition out there, getting heard can be a major problem, so brands are starting to get more creative. Being interesting, relevant and entertaining simply isn’t sufficient any more to get noticed. So, this has led to some exciting trends developing that are helping social advertising to stand out.
Here are a few of the latest trends which you should be tracking over the months to come.
Although some people think of blogging as old-fashioned, recent changes and developments have brought it back onto the scene in a big way. The arrival of Substack, for example. With Substack, the blogger owns their audience.
Once somebody has signed up, the blogger gets their email and gains transparency. Also, the writer gets to own the distribution, with consumers having the opportunity to pay more in order to receive exclusive content – revenue which mostly returns to the blogger, while also allowing content to be sent directly to the consumer, thus bypassing the traditional intermediaries.
Not only has there been a change in the world of written content, but the sphere of audio content has also seen some disruption. One trend to watch involves the new Clubhouse platform which represents in a microcosm the way that social media has begun to fragment.
This social media platform replicates traditional talk radio, allowing audiences to participate instead of just listen. Clubhouse is unique in being purely audio with an engaging social element. Listeners can see people’s bios and photos and choose whether or not to bring them to the stage.
Every marketer wants their message to be seen and heard, but due to algorithms, this is becoming harder than ever. For brands that lack the enormous budget required to make competitive content, finding ways to skirt the algorithms is key. An added problem is that more people are becoming concerned about cancel culture and privacy – you can easily be shut down if you’ve posted a video that YouTube doesn’t like, and that could be the end of your brand.
Essentially, it’s impossible to rely on most social platforms in the same way as was possible just a few years ago. For example, Facebook decided to eliminate Facebook Notes and this led to panic amongst those who had kept all their content there since it was instantly gone. This is why it’s so important to keep an archived homeroom to keep content where you own the audience and mailing list. Surrendering it to someone else is just a bad idea all around.
It’s also a good idea to keep an eye on the trend of regulation and the potential breaking up of social media sites. With possible investigations and lawsuits revolving around monopolistic behaviour and privacy, it’s almost guaranteed that there’s be some changes, but how those changes will impact marketing is still to be determined. Yet, with change almost inevitably on the horizon, it’s imperative to ensure you have grown a communications channel which you control so if/when things change or become restricted, your audience can easily be directed elsewhere. Getting phone numbers and email addresses from your audiences is the best course of action, then you won’t lose anything when the lie of the land suddenly adjusts.
Influencer marketing is big news right now. Many traditional marketing and advertising platforms and programs are diminishing. Advertising on radio and TV in the same way as was possible before simply can no longer be achieved, yet these brands and companies still have money they want to spend, and they’re looking for new places where they can spend it.
Although expenditure on digital marketing is still going up, it has its limits. There’s only a finite inventory amount available, and people quickly get annoyed by seeing too many adverts in their Instagram feed. Exceeding their limits is dangerous.
Since demand is increasing, digital advertising costs are going to increase too, since the inventory available is quite stationary. So, with rising costs, businesses will be seeking out alternative avenues and this will lead to a growth in influencer marketing.
Increased demand for influencer marketers means that some changes will be inevitable. Already, a shift is occurring from celebrity-type influencers with long-term marketing relationships to nano or micro-influencers who make one-off pieces of content.
These people, or “organic advocates” as they’re sometimes known, may not even need to pay for their services – many of them are happy to create the content in exchange for merchandise or exclusive access.
Agencies have even begun to spring up which are entirely centred around building up micro-influencer teams and although those influencers’ audiences are relatively modest at about 10,000 followers, they still have a positive impact on sales because people trust them – they are friends and experts in the field.
Even some of the traditional big advertising agencies have begun to move into the influencer space, branching out into talent agency work. If those agencies have control over the influencers, they’ll be able to have control over the power in many ways since only a finite number of influencers are out there to work for everybody.
The above trends are definitely worth a watch during the remainder of 2021 and into 2022. It’s clear that the world of social media marketing is in a state of constant fluctuation, and although it is still extremely relevant and beneficial to brands, companies must be willing to go with the flow and adapt to the changes if they want to maximise their marketing potential and achieve greater success over the months and years to come.
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