It’s that time of year again! Leeds Digi Fest arrived with a bang, and Bewonder* kicked off proceedings by attending ‘The Future of Social’ at Duke Studios. Hosted by Becky Boyd, AKA ‘The Social Media Geek’, the event took a long look at the social trends we’re likely to see more of in the next five years. Here are some of our favourite takeaways from the discussion:
- Appeal to generation Z. Boyd made a clear distinction between millennials(guilty) and generation Z, who have never known life without the internet. While we remember the clunk and whine of the dial-up modem, they remember the silent efficiency of wireless connections at every corner.
This generation might trust the Facebook page of a brand over their website. Social media is often their first point of call for information, and we need to tune into this.
It goes without saying that content should always be tailored to your target demographic. For generation Z, this means video content, memes and concise, catchy copy.
Generation Z’s ability tune out embedded adverts will make current advertising methods less effective. To get through to this generation, marketers will therefore need to look at new means of engagement.
- Relay it in real time. Where 2017 was the year of video content, 2018 is tipped to be the year of live streaming! Almost every social media platform now has the capacity to do this, with Facebook leading the way. But will they remain in first place with the likes of Instagram on their tail?
Streaming could cover anything from events to Q&As, and the live comment feed is a great opportunity for engagement and viewer feedback.
With this in mind, remember that confidence is key. Boyd predicts that social streams will play a defining role in the perception of brands online, and if you want your consumers to see the best of your brand, you’ll tap into this technique.
- Incorporate influencers. There’s no doubt that 2017 was the year of the Influencer. Since then, they’ve really learnt the power behind their brand. Reviews or mentions from the likes of Zoella, Tanya Burrand Marcus Butler are invaluable to brand awareness.
This advice rings true for both international corporations and SMEs, because the range of influencers available is never ending! Don’t know where to start? Sites like TRIBE can match you with influencers by location and cost. From YouTube sensations to local mummy bloggers, there’s a collaboration out there with your name on it…
If you can, try to think outside of the box. Discover micro-influencers, build up a little-black-book of individuals who don’t necessarily want to make their own brand but can add something to yours.
- Make it unique. One thing most successful businesses have in common these days is social media. So, what can you do to be ahead of the game? To stand out from your competitors?
Experiential social media like person activated ads are one way of achieving this. Just Eat recently launched a Facebook campaign which asks the user to place their thumb on the ad in order to start the video. This is a memorable experience which feels personal, even though it was rolled out nationwide.
Tight budget? Interactive social media can be done on a small scale too! Tools like Facebook and Twitter polls, the check-in option and custom Snapchat filters are mostly free, and just as effective.
- Tune in to visual. It’s no secret that platforms such as Instagram and Snapchat are being incorporated more and more into businesses. In fact, Boyd predicts that if you want to stay ahead of the game you need to start implementing visual now.
Understanding how these visual platforms appeal to consumers and how they differ from other social channels is key to digital progression. It’s basic future proofing, and if you don’t adjust, your business might be at risk of falling behind…