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Where is Social Media Going? The 4 Trends You Need to Know Right Now

Where is Social Media Going?

Despite the concerns over privacy and information security (we are looking at you, Cambridge Analytica), social media is still thriving. According to Infinite Dial’s research, there are 223 million users on all social media platforms in the U.S. from the age of 12 and above. In 2019, the number of new users has grown to 78 million from the previous year’s 77 million. These numbers show no sign of stopping.

So what is at stake for a business in this new age of social media? Where do all the users gather? Is Facebook still the “it” girl of the crowd? There are so many questions and myths an up-and-coming business needs to know.

And I’m here to solve all of them. Well, most of them, as the platforms are continually evolving, and these answers will need regular updates.

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Without further ado, here are the trends you need to know about right now on social media platforms.

In this blog post:
1. Step Aside, Facebook. Instagram is the New Black.
2. Does it Mean Facebook is a Losing Option?
3. Did Someone Say Twitter?
4. Messaging Apps: ROI at the Tip of Your Fingers

1. Step Aside, Facebook. Instagram is the New Black.

Where is your brand getting the highest social media brand awareness?

According to research by Infinite Dial, Facebook is still the queen of the game when it comes to building brand awareness. The platform boasts a 96% of awareness for social media brand, an increase from 94% in 2018.

However, Instagram is chasing closely behind, with an impressive 93% awareness for social media brand, a big leap from 87% in the previous year. Its growth rate is only matched by Twitter’s, which grows to 92% from 87% in 2018.

Not only that, Infinite Dial’s report says Instagram is winning on more grounds than social media brand awareness.

Most notably, while Facebook’s usage has been on a steep decline, Instagram is staying ahead of its game. The brand’s usage has grown from 36 million users in 2018 to 39 million users in 2019 – the highest growth rate among its peers.

Although Facebook still holds the position of the most popular social media brand, Instagram and Snapchat are taking up the market in big steps. In 2019, Instagram has 26 million users from age 12 to age 34, Snapchat boasts 28 million users of the same age category, while Facebook is barely leading the race with 29 million users.

So step aside, Facebook. Instagram is the new popular girl in town.

The stylish social media platform, with a strong focus on visual, images, and bite-size video storytelling, is taking the world by storm. With a younger population, higher brand awareness, and the exponential user growth rate, Instagram promises to be the key factor in a business’s plan to build a thriving, loyal audience.

If your business has not had a chic, stylish Instagram presence previously, it’s high time you build one. Right now.

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2. Does it Mean Facebook is a Losing Option?

Short answer: No.

Long answer: The population and usage on Facebook are changing, and you need to adapt your strategy to the shifting waves.

According to Pew Research Center, Facebook is still the most widely-used platform among the U.S.’s adult population. Most notably, the share of older users on Facebook has grown by 2x since August 2012.

Yes, the platform is growing older. Though a fair number of U.S. teens still uses the platform (51%, to be exact), the growth of the younger population is declining.

In the midst of the stagnant user growth rate, Facebook is facing a change in the users’ setting of the platform.

In specific, with a growing concern for privacy and a fear of losing personal information, 54% of Facebook users have adjusted their privacy setting over the last year.

In addition to an older, more conservative user population, Facebook is changing its algorithm to promote and encourage more human interactions. The platform’s news feed will place a stronger emphasis on content from a user’s friends, family, and interested groups.

So is Facebook still a feasible option to promote your brands? Of course, it is.

However, your digital marketing strategy will need to take into consideration the growing trend of an older population on Facebook, which demands warm, humanly connections.

If you are wondering how to integrate a more human connection into your Facebook branding strategy, add a group to your business. Consider the following advantages:
· With the new algorithm change, groups will have more visibility on a Facebook user’s news feed.
· Groups can help your business grow organically with minimal cost.
· With groups, you can build thriving communities for your brands’ fans and advocates, who can bring new awareness to your business.
· Groups are where new customers get immediate answers to their problems from a knowledgable community. It’s a great way to reduce marketing and customer service costs!

After all, what Facebook wants from your marketing strategy is more high-quality content that can drive meaningful engagement organically.

3. Did Someone Say Twitter?

With 330 million monthly users and a total of 1.3 billion accounts, Twitter is the Batman of your social media marketing. It is not the one you think you need, but it’s the one you deserve.

Indeed, a Twitter marketing strategy can work magic in growing your brands’ fans and followers, while improving your customers’ experience and satisfaction. According to Brandwatch, an average Twitter user follows 5 businesses, with 54% of users take a desirable action after seeing a brand mentioned in Tweets.

Notwithstanding, brands have shifted their customer service investment to the platform, which has seen a 2.5x increase in customer service conversation in the last 2 years.

A prominent example is Crate & Barrel’s effective and efficient customer service conversation on their separate handle, @CrateandBarrel. According to a Sprout Social’s study, an immediate response to a customer’s needs is the leading force behind her decision to convert.

Alt-Text: A quarterly study from Sprout Social demonstrates that being responsive on social media platforms is the major driving force behind a customer’s decision to purchase. Source: The Sprout Social Index: Edition XI: Social Personality.

The social media brand is also the leading platform for customers to conduct brand investigation and express their loyalty and advocacy.

So if your brands are excellent at offering entertainment through a 280-character tweet (a shout out to @Wendys, please), Twitter is the untapped market of bountiful opportunity for a high ROI marketing strategy.

An occasional snarky attitude with an attentive and responsive social care are the driving force behind Wendy’s massive Twitter followers. The fast-food chain is doing strategic Twitter marketing right.

4. Messaging Apps: ROI at the Tip of Your Fingers

The year of 2015 marked the first time since forever that instant messaging apps’ traffic surpassed the Big Four, which includes Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram, and Twitter.

Alt-Text: In 2005, WhatsApp, Messenger, WeChat, and Viber had a landmark victory against the Big 4 social networks in terms of monthly active users. These messaging apps’ monthly traffic continues to grow exponentially and promises new opportunities for businesses. Source: BI Intelligence.

A Statista study projects that by 2021, the popular instant messaging apps (WeChat, WhatsApp, Viber, and Facebook Messenger) will have total monthly users of 2.48 billion. This forecast brings many promising opportunities for innovative, effective, and personalized digital marketing campaigns.

If a projection is not convincing enough for you to decide on a messaging apps marketing strategy, here are some realistic facts and statistics by Facebook IQ:

· 63% of respondents say they notice an increase in customer communications with companies via messaging apps in the last two years.
· 56% of respondents prefer communications with brands via messaging apps than a voice call.
· 61% say they favor personalized messages from companies.
· More than 50% of respondents say they are more likely to shop at a brand that has a presence on popular messaging apps.

Interestingly, brands are not in a rush to take over messaging apps as an effective marketing channel.

Brandwatch’s study says that more than 71% of brands have not leveraged the power of messaging apps in their strategy, and nearly 51% of them do not plan to incorporate messaging apps into their marketing plan in the upcoming year.

Alt-Text: Nearly 51% of businesses say that they do not consider to incorporate messaging apps into their marketing strategy. The high number is a chance for new businesses to gain a competitive advantage against their competitors by being available on the promising marketing channel. Source: State of Social Report 2019 – Buffer.

So if you are looking for an effective strategy to gain a competitive edge over your competitors, messaging apps are a great channel to:
· Increase your brand’s popularity.
· Engage with your audience in a warm, humanly way.
· Build trust.
· Gain qualified leads with chatbot integration, and most importantly,
· Reduce marketing costs in the long run.

Need more convincing numbers? Take a look at HubSpot’s case!

The company was able to reduce the cost per lead by 477% by implementing messaging apps campaign to generate leads.

Social media platforms are continually evolving to reflect the modern population’s needs and concerns. New platforms are growing exponentially to serve the younger population’s interests. Thus, businesses must adapt their social media marketing accordingly to include the changes and the new trends.

However, the old advice is still applicable today: You need to be present where your audience is most active. Despite the tempting promises of high ROI and engagement rate, these social media platforms will work against your best interest if they are not incorporated into an inbound, holistic marketing strategy.

After all, the best marketing strategy starts from listening to your audience and finding the right channels to address their pain points.

Author’s bio: Written by Thanh Dinh. Thanh is an aspiring writer and digital marketer, whose favorite pastime is to divulge herself in breaking news and articles about social media marketing and content strategy. Her motto is “Always learning.” Besides a passion for all things digital, she is also a hard-core fan of literature and great music. You can find more of her blog posts and her content on Instagram, @tasteofsmallthings, or Twitter, @dinhphuo.

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