While social media marketers are attempting to determine the patterns in the general public’s behaviour on their favourite social media networks and utilize them in their marketing agendas, the online community keeps taking a turn on them. Trends are one thing and it is ok to attempt to ride that wave, but the realization that the web is a living entity with different personalities in different areas is crucial. The types of content and interests that go viral are very diverse throughout every year and they tend to be quite strange and beyond anyone’s guess.
Last year, as well as the beginning of this one, really gave more than a few examples of popular but unexpected viral content, much of which even penetrated into the offline media. There were also a few interesting stats that most people don’t include into their image of the social online sphere.
Let’s talk trends
Trends can come from a lot of directions and come out of the blue. Sometimes they are just clever, other times plain weird, and a lot of times both. Hashtags are the easiest way to follow and join in on trends that are active on social media. Here are some of the more interesting ones.
SWAG for books
#LiterarySwag became very popular when Yahdon Israel, a writer from New York, started using it on his personal posts on Instagram and Twitter. He posted photographs of well-dressed street readers attempting to popularise literature with the younger generation who associates with the popular SWAG concept, and it worked! I mean let’s face it, a big part of the online fan base is somewhere in their mid-20s and we like to dress well and adore reading. While SWAG was always associated with a more dynamic and debauchery filled lifestyle, we need to realize it has grown quite a bit larger than that. The story of Yashdon Israel was even covered by BuzzFeed in an article with some of his posts included.
Lips got weird at one point
The Kylie Jenner Lip Challenge really doesn’t sound as something that can be drastically graphic, but first impressions may deceive. The popular trend started amongst the fans of reality star Kylie Jenner who used glasses, Pringles boxes, mugs and so on to emulate the star’s full lips by sucking the air out of the containers in order to create a cupping effect. The results were, well, disturbing in some situations and painful in others. #KylieJennerChallenge is thehashtag if you want to see some examples, but be warned, it can be messy.
Do you even eyebrow bro?
Ok, Instagram gets weird a bit more often than other networks, but this time, it’s fun. It seems that there is an ongoing trend of showing off your eyebrows and it leads to some really expressive photos that show a lot of attitude. Why? Basically because it’s fun and goofy! The trend was started by Kim Kardashian and although she might not be everyone’s favourite person, she’s very good at getting the Web’s attention. Let’s remember that she even tried to “break the internet” very recently with partial success. #EyebrowsOnFleek is your hashtag if you want to see what’s going on or add your brows into the mix.
The statistics not many know about
While most marketers are aware of the general social media stats, like how many people are on Facebook right now and how much Twitter has grown in the past year, not many search for stats that can make a difference for them specifically. The things that you can really capitalize on are the more specific stats that are focused on content type, length, posting patterns and similar activities which are basically more focused on the effectiveness of social media activity.
User generated Content
Everyone is talking about remaining natural in their marketing campaigns, but turn to marketers to show them how. In my humble opinion, this makes absolutely no sense, especially if we take into consideration the continuous bloom of user generated content. Social media users are kind of taking over the on-the-spot journalist’s role by posting updates on their profile, especially on Twitter. The gaming sphere is a great environment for user generated video content, live-streaming and uploading pre-recorded content. The amount of live-stream gaming content has grown by 122% in the past year. User shared and curated content on Facebook racked up somewhere around 4 billion views per day and has gone up four times in the last six months. If you are seeking for a way to market more naturally, you might want to take cue from regular people - even the big marketers do it.
The risk of advertising on social media
A lot of businesses are investing half-heartedly into social media marketing for fear that they won’t get their money’s worth. Well, put your worries to rest since according to a study done in 2014 by HubSpot, as many as 80% of businesses reported a significant increase in traffic after putting in an effort on various social networks. If you are still unsure if making a social media effort pays off, the answer is yes. They help you get your content out there and engage people with your content marketing campaign, create brand ambassadors and establish a firmer brand position. The thing that you need to focus on is finding those that fit your brand and your content best.
Image centric social media promotion
Images are essential parts of most content and are one of the major factors in content promotion and other activities. If you base your promotion around image content, you should be aware that Instagram has 4.21% higher engagement rates than any other social network when it comes to images. Instagram has 58 times larger engagement rate per follower than Facebook and 120 times than that of Twitter. Still, if Twitter is more up your ally, you should be aware that picture backed content on Twitter gets 150% retweets.
See also: Hashtag Tools for Social Media Marketing
The thing that marketers are going to need to realize is that the social media environment is a place where change is a regular thing and that any rigid strategies are going to lose their effectiveness after a time. Social media marketing success is connected to a marketer’s ability to keep his mind open for new things and opportunities and an open ear for new trends. Not all trends will be good promotion opportunities, but some of them might and when they pop up, you need to be there to take advantage.