Social Media Week TO: The talks and trends that stuck with us.
Social Media Week 2019 included a range of platforms, innovative brands and interesting talks. There were trending topics that resurfaced throughout the multi-day event, but these are the 5 that have lingered longer in our brains and continue to be discussed around our water cooler.
- Brand collaborations – big and small – help to expand authentic audience reach
Brand collaborations can be brought to life in myriad ways. If you are a socially-driven company perhaps it is a co-branded contest that introduces new fans to your product or page. On a larger scale this could come to life with an interactive activation, connecting two brands into one seamless experience, as was the case with McDonald’s recent partnership with the Toronto Raptors, encouraging a captive Raptors audience to download the burger chain’s app, through reward. For a partnership to be effective you don’t need an NBA championship team (of course this doesn’t hurt), the most important element to keep in mind is consumer experience. Regardless of the offer or promotion the key is to prioritize how this partnership is going to offer both brands’ audiences a unique experience that will allow them to engage with the brand in a way that is authentic and mutually relevant to them.
- Community first, content second
Social media (at its inception – an indie form of marketing), has become a staple for brands. With so much content at users’ fingertips, standing out above the clutter is becoming increasingly more difficult, especially when marketing to younger consumers, like Gen Z, who have grown-up socially savvy and inundated with brand messages. In order for a brand’s content to stand out people need to engage with and share it regularly. Speaking to your audience is a form of content marketing, meaning it is equally, if not more important, to ensure as a brand you are fostering relationships with your fans and taking the time to have conversations with them.
- Running Commentary: People are engaging with longer, more complex narratives on social
While Instagram used to be synonymous with primarily aesthetics and brands were encouraged to keep it concise, this is no longer the case in every instance. Brands, influencers and users are using long-form captions to tell stories and develop narratives, which add depth and context to their message. These longer captions not only encourage the user to engage with the content for a longer time and on a deeper level, but can also result in participation and interaction. This is not only the case on Instagram, Twitter has introduced functionality that helps users follow narratives in longer threads, long-form audio has seen a resurgence in podcasts and the average length of a YouTube video among the top 250,000 channels is between 13 and 14 minutes (Pew Research Centre, 2019).
- Sharing is caring: Increasing engagement through video
We have long heard that video content is the future of the feed, but why? Video content does offer a dynamic way to deliver a brand’s message, it is interruptive amongst a sea of static content, but it also encourages engagement. One of the most prevalent ways people are engaging with video on Instagram is sharing, whether it be through their own stories, tagging friends or sending via direct message. Sharing is becoming one of the most important engagement metrics on Instagram for video and is also good for determining if your content is resonating with your audience to the point that they are inclined to introduce you to their friends.
- 5G and what it means for the future of social media
As we transition to a world where a 5G network is in our grasp, with it comes the promise of virtually limitless content dissemination and no lag time. Not only will this drive transformative change in consumer behaviour, but it brings forward new opportunities for brand connection with hyper-targeted audiences. What does this mean for content development? Because users will have a more immediate experience, lower bounce rates and no more load time, multimedia will become the standard. Live stream events will become more seamless as we move away from the limitations of 3G & 4G networks and video (including longer-form) will thrive. This shift will also enable richer, more immediate data analytics. It also means a trade-off of privacy settings and hyper-curated content, but personalization of information will be like never before. In preparation for this shift, brands should start thinking about their longer term content strategy and how they will start shifting their communication approach to better connect with their audiences on and offline.
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