In this digital age, it’s a given that brands and businesses are investing in creative strategies with social media marketing.
As an Instagram influencer (@janellejaw) for the past five years, I've been there from the beginning of this digital shift — from when brands first started “recruiting” influencers to promote their products on social media, to today’s landscape where seemingly everyone has the potential to be an influencer.
It’s been a fantastic hobby-become-job sort of situation for me, as I genuinely enjoy creating creative content alongside like-minded individuals.
It’s also been a challenge. As the influencer space grows, so does the emphasis on producing amazing content. That’s because this work is now a genuine source of income for many.
The perspective of being an “influencer” has also changed, with the term much more commonly accepted as a job in today’s digital world.
I’m also in my final year of studying a Bachelor of Public Relations and Communications, minoring in Marketing, at Griffith University.
So, speaking from an influencer perspective and as an emerging public relations professional, I’ve rounded up the top 3 trends dominating the social media scene this year.
1. Influencer marketing is here to stay
Social media influencers have become a major trend, and this allows them to go by different labels — depending on the platform.
For example, we have Instagram Stars, YouTube Creators, Twitter influencers or more generic terms like Bloggers and Digital Creators.
Their posts, vlogs or tweets are seen instantly by followers around the world, and prices for their services are generally lower than standard publicising methods. That’s why many businesses are choosing to engage in such alternatives, including micro-influencer marketing.
The potential for this form of social media marketing is massive in the industry, and I don’t see it stopping any time soon.
2. User generated content will increase your engagement
Technology has brought the world closer together, and user generated content (UGC) is increasingly important to businesses. UGC can help inform the current needs or interests of customers, based on what they’re posting.
It also provides businesses with more authentic and credible (non-sponsored) content options. This includes re-sharing posts by customers when they’ve tagged your brand on Instagram stories.
UGC is also proving to be the most trusted type of branded content, as much as five times more likely to convert consumers than non-UGC.
Not only do businesses engage with their audiences when they share UGC, it makes them feel seen and appreciated.
I see many positive reasons for businesses to focus their marketing efforts on UGC. The more share-worthy content is, the more people will talk about it on social media.
3. Use AI-driven experiences to grow your business
Social media is moving towards live interactions between businesses and consumers. An excellent consumer-brand relationship helps deliver a more personalised experience.
As an emerging social media and web monitoring tool, Artificial Intelligence (AI) in social media can provide more rapid understanding while also managing the social media footprint of your business.
From voice assistants to chatbots, new types of communication have arisen. AI can reduce manual work and it allows businesses more straightforward and better communication with their customers.
Although AI is still undergoing development, I see it having a significant impact on social media marketing. This is certainly the case with regard to how businesses analyse and generate content in the future, so it’s important to watch this space.
Keeping it personal
It’s crucial that we keep our knowledge and skills current to thrive in the ‘attention economy’.
As a brand or business, it’s important to understand your audience at a grassroots level, and to curate the most suitable and engaging content for them.
With that being said, I’m excited and eager to see what happens next in the social media landscape.
Written by Janelle Wong, Bachelor of Public Relations and Communications Student at Griffith University