Social media is a gateway to the world through a digital medium. The power of rapidly shared content via easily accessible channels has enabled brands to thrive, built strategies for marketing campaigns and facilitated a platform for consumer conversation. We only need to look at where hashtagging on Twitter is now compared to where it was a couple of years ago - from using the feature to create a gimmicky buzz within your social circle, transforming into defining social media trends throughout multiple platforms.
Using social media as a tool to boost brand awareness has become common practice. Now, the current trend is the content creation that helps to stimulate engagement. Facebook pages that are owned by businesses are creating hype with linking posts to industry-relevant curated content. On Twitter, handles as well as hashtags are being used to promote the content of brands. Throughout every single business social platform, the penultimate aim of content strategy is to now promote, share and inspire.
Social Media Trends - The Context of Content
“Content is king, then context is god” - Gary Vaynerchuk.
The truth has never before been spoken with such meaning. In terms of social media trends, the context of content creation drives the direction of consumers. A mistake that is commonly made by brands is to drive content on their social media platforms without relevance to their core value, which is a confusing head scratcher for consumers.
Although everyone enjoys watching videos, scrolling through HD pictures that spark emotion and imagination, or reading highly engaging articles, in the branding landscape the context should always fall part and parcel of their business model, culture, philosophy and service value offering. This is to ensure that the lines of communication are never blurred, but instead consistent and transparent.
Social Media Trends - Sourcing, Branding and Marketing Through Content
Lobster is a social media content access company that provides agencies and brands with highly diverse range of pristine images spanning across a multitude of elements, locations, themes and applications. The photographic ‘marketplace’ also helps to connect Flickr and Instagram users to media professionals.
Companies like Lobster are innovating image sourcing and granting their clients a gateway into an easily accessible basin of images and videos for social media campaigns.
Olga Egorsheva, Co-founder of Lobster: “At Lobster we are building the world’s place to find and license social media content for work”
Recently, there have been two factors facilitating trends and forming part and parcel of brands’ (who are content savvy) social media strategies. These mediums of communication are channeled through multiple platforms and should aim to be quality driven, whilst still relevant. They can also be intrinsic to digital marketing, in order to attract and secure a return with potential consumers.
Blogs sites - Not everyone might enjoy reading essays or long, padded out novels, but most online consumers love to troll for insightful articles or blog posts. This is where social media comes hand in hand with ensuring the right tools are available to push content onto their sites. An interconnected link exists between blog posts and being able share them through Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and LinkedIn. Blog sites can either be linked to a business’s actual websites or they could choose to have a microsite facilitating the content. Some websites, such as WordPress, offer a segmented bar tool, which in essence secures the option of quickfire content promotion. An important aspect of blogging for content marketing and brand awareness purposes is to link back - either to previous posts or to other influential bloggers/companies. This encourages a network of “shoutouts”, and will later help to kickstart the chain of consumer conversation. The context of these blog sites (as long as they run through parallel lines) could actually be endless - the sky’s the limit for brands, the brick wall only stops a content marketer when he/she spins some yarn on beef when they work for a chicken company…if you get the just of it.
Video content creation - Video content is increasing its presence on social media, with many brands pushing links to inhouse videos, product ranges, especially video advertisements. How is this different from traditional advertising? It’s the evolution of brand storytelling, of insights into the culture of a brand when consumers have only been able to measure a brand via tangible experience. Now, any consumer can go online onto Facebook and Twitter and experience the true essence of a brand via video that they have uploaded. Whether it’s an interview on a TV channel or news channel mention, an internal interview with the CEO or creative innovators, or an explainer into how they run their business, video content on social media is thriving - and the “clicks” are soaring through the roof.
Social Media Trends - Legal Implications of Content Creation
Let’s move away from the branding landscape for a while. What about privatised content? Freelance photographers, visual artists, and writers who may not necessarily be representing anyone but themselves. And what about those who classify themselves as “hobbyists”, having no financial ties to the work that they produce? Who “owns” that content? Many people tend to believe that whatever goes on social media channels is free game for ownership, sourcing, redistribution and so forth.
We bring up the case of Daniel Morel, a Haitian photographer who won his lawsuit against Getty Images and AFP, of whom he sued for 1.2 million dollars. The case? The two companies “willingly” redistributed 8 of his press-ready images of the 2010 earthquake in Haiti. This was quoted as a “miscarriage of justice”, and violated the Digital Millennium Copyright Act.
The laws, protecting creatives, writers, photographers, and the brand communications landscape are not to be taken lightly. Luckily, there is a great source of free content available on the Creative Commons domain.
Social Media Trends - Some Interesting Stats on Content
So, if you’ve gotten this far, we’ve drilled you on why brands use content on social media to engage with their consumers and how it can drive influence, conversation, and a monetary return through the chain of awareness, engagement, and purchase.
Now, to promote a more “chilled” vibe, we’ll give you some insights into interesting stats surrounding social media and content.
- The amount of video content from private users and brands on Facebook this year has more than tripled from last year (2014)
- 87% of interactions on Facebook brand pages are in relation to posts including photos.
- Images are the best way to optimise a text-based medium of social media communication.
- Internet advertising (including social media) will comprise of 25% of all adverts worldwide by the end of 2015
- 70% of consumers would rather get to know a business via social content than advertisements.
- 93% of business to business (B2B) marketers use content marketing in their strategy…yet 54% of business lack an official Content Director.
- Blogging on average has the potential to increase a brand’s online traffic by 55%
- There are 27 million pieces of content shared each day.
- Two thirds of marketing firms plan to increase their spend on video content marketing in 2015.
- 62 % of marketers use video in their content creation.
And of course, we wouldn’t be hypocritical… Enjoy this video on “5 Crazy Ways Social Media Is Changing Your Brain Right Now”