Quite a number of people have admitted to blindly groping for their smartphones before opening their eyes in the wee hours of the morning signifying just how some of us are addicted to social media.
The advent of social media may have not seen this coming but social media is such an integral part of our lives that a good number of people have also confessed to burning food, not hearing screaming babies, walking into electricity poles, and glancing at their social pages during work meetings, regardless of how high-profile they are.
Dubbed a social media country, Kenya boasts about 11 million social media users, a significant increase from last year where reports placed the number at 8.80 million users
Since most of our eyeballs are on social media it makes business sense to have a social media presence to connect with customers and consumers and this also applies to fundraisers, politicians, influencers, and so on. Given the information overload online, you may need to fashion your message appropriately to connect to your target audience for retail, product discovery, and even customer service. You can do this by catching up with the latest online trends of 2021 and below are the latest we have observed;
1. Live streaming
The past year has been very difficult with the effects of the Corona Pandemic being felt all over the world, changing our everyday lives forever. Unlike in the past where customers had to visit brick and mortar buildings and social events were held physically, these days live streaming is working for different brands and for social activities such as weddings, burials, and graduations.
The older generation has had to adapt to using smartphones whereas they would have preferred to remain with feature phones. At the workplace, desks have been deserted in favor of online meetings on platforms such as Zoom. Live streaming is here to stay as it also presents convenience for instance consumers being able to interact with various brands and products in real-time.
2. Video still dominating
From videos of live podcasts, radio program sessions, long YouTube videos, or short Tik Tok, stories, this trend is among the most engaging content forms. According to a study done by Cisco, in the next two years, 82% of online content will be videos. So if you want to engage users online make use of this form of content in your communication strategy. For now, include videos in your advertisements, traditional content, and social media content.
3. Ephemeral Content
Given the fact that people have a short attention span online, Ephemeral content is very necessary. Ephemeral content is defined as content that you can only get for a short duration such as the stories often found on Facebook, Instagram, or Snapchat. Short stories are very addictive and Hootsuite reports that 64% of marketers have already incorporated or plan to include Insta stories in their strategies.
4. Influencer Marketing
Influencer marketing is going to be around for a while indeed social media is awash with influencers who are raking in big amounts of money from brands eager to promote their products and services. The popularity of this trend is seen by the ever-increasing number of influencers as well as the top-dollar being spent on them. According to seasoned marketers, it is cheaper to engage influencers than to run ad campaigns.
Additionally, there is the fact that an influencer can meet various marketing goals as opposed to just generating leads. Most marketers prefer to work with a small unit of niche, relevant influencers as they get more engagement and do not cost much as opposed to working with one celebrity.
5. Social Media for Customer Service
Just this week one of Kenya’s utility companies, had a technical hitch that affected its online platforms leaving social media users who depend on it for bills and general inquiries at a loss. It was a total mess as there were bitter complaints from customers who feared interruption of services especially now that they have to work at home. They had to work to restore online services first and issue a heartfelt apology as they continued to attend to other systems.
Over the years, such companies have relied on social media to connect with customers and the trend is expected to continue as both parties feel it is the most direct approach to reach customers. As expected, social media customer service personnel have to be very careful because a bad encounter with a user could reflect badly on the organization in front of so many people.
6. Social Media Commerce
Social Commerce is here to stay with platforms like Facebook Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest leading the pack as the most popular in this regard. Given this trend, it is expected that more platforms will introduce pertinent selling features such as storefronts, shoppable posts, and so on.
7. User-Generated Content
This trend continues to grow in popularity and it entails users generating content on social media platforms then tagging well-known brands and this gets them featured on the platforms of the companies. This means that the brands are leveraging user-generated content for connection with consumers while users leverage the brand of the company to get more eyeballs.
8. Social Media Communities
Social media communities are not new by any standards and they entail like-minded people who come together to network and discuss issues that affect them. Some brands have created platforms for their customers as well. In most cases, brands will use the platforms for customer feedback, to launch any new service or product, or get customer insights.
9. Re-evaluate Metrics
For most brands, taking up social media as a marketing tool is a move that is taken up without any goals in mind other than likes and an increase in followers. These vanity metrics are taken into consideration at the expense of valuable metrics. In 2021 more brands will go for goal-oriented marketing that will take into account metrics such as created awareness, engagement with potential clients, conversion and customer feedback as well customer satisfaction score.
10. Social Listening
It is an open secret that social media is a data gold mine and the home of useful insights for business. With so many listening tools available, businesses are having a field day getting insights for their strategies. Social listening informs social media campaigns, brand perceptions by consumers. You can experiment with several tools to get the ideal one for your business.