Let’s face it: there are a lot of social networks, myriad ways to engage with your audience, and many tried and true tactics that work (if only you could find the time to implement them). But what are the experts doing? I reached out to members of the Spark Insiders community, as well as influencers in the social media marketing world, to discover which trends in social media are deserving of our time and energy this year.
Video is here to stay (but keep it short!)
The answer is video. Only video. BRIEF video that earns us attention and the opportunity to connect and serve. – Chris Brogan, business advisor
There’s no denying that short and sweet videos are the key to keeping people’s attention, while passing on as much information as you can in a very limited timeframe. There’s a reason why Hubspot found that videos on Instagram that averaged 26 seconds received more comments and engagement than longer ones. The best length for Facebook and YouTube videos weren’t much longer either, at one minute and two minutes respectively.
Grabbing a viewer’s attention before they even click or pause long enough to watch is important too, so take care to select the best cover image for your video possible. Creating YouTube thumbnails using Spark Post is one way to ensure your viewers know what they’re in for!
Instagram is the new hub for “microblogging”
I think we’ll see a a lot more of platforms like Instagram being used for microblogging, not simply for quick snaps and short captions. Users are craving connection with more depth, and longer narrative captions offer the kind of personal storytelling that was so common on blogs a decade ago. – Gina Munsey (creator of the blog Oaxacaborn
We’ve definitely seen an uptick in more in-depth Instagram posts, which invite conversation in the comments (incidentally, that’s the best way to beat the algorithm). While a poppin’ comment thread is always the goal, an image that pops on the feed is important to slow the scroll. Hook with the image; then win ’em over with your thoughtful, clever captions. And sometimes it makes sense to put more content into the images themselves. If you’re hosting a workshop or event, for example, put all the relevant info right in the image — that way, nothing gets missed as they’re scrolling on by.
Tap any of the following designs to start creating your stand-out graphics for your Instagram feed.
Creating content for interaction
Instagram Stories has taken off in ways we couldn’t have imagined, and have enabled influencers and businesses with highly curated feeds to be a little more personal and fun in their Stories, which are more ephemeral.
Stories can be a great way to start a dialog with your customers and readers, and creating prompts is a perfect trick for getting the conversation rolling. Creating templates that you can share (which people can then screenshot and copy onto their own Story) is one way to do this. Check out some options below.
Communities get customized
Several of our influencers and Insiders that we spoke to believed that creators and community builders will start moving away from the big platforms that do little to support them or their communities, or might retreat into private groups where they have more control over the experience. As we continue to define for ourselves how social media fits into our lives, we see communities getting creative with how and where they connect. Creators are building communities on platforms like Patreon, where they can better monetize their offerings, while brands are turning to messaging apps to connect directly with customers, and specialized groups turn to message boards or smaller groups to create safe corners of the Internet. The where and how may evolve, but the need to create connection remains constant.
Those who share political content geared towards black/ brown people and sexual minorities will begin shifting off Facebook as a platform for smaller platforms with fewer restrictions on free speech. – Kiki Bryant (writer / social media marketer / co-host of the Uppity Negress podcast)
Users narrowing to focus on fewer platforms/apps to reduce exposure (privacy, foreign propaganda, etc). – Jessica Mae Stover (writer / director / actor)
Many users who say they have no time for blogs are spending that same time in closed Facebook groups instead. I think we’ll see a shift in the way content is delivered, with an increasing number of bloggers delivering content directly to the user inside these groups, rather than forcing the user to click on an outside blog link to retrieve the content. – Gina Munsey
This also falls under the common best practice of “knowing where your customers are.” It’s fine to cast a wide net on social, but sometimes there’s a clear winner in terms of which network is receiving the most engagement. Focus your energy there, and figure out which kinds of content serves those users best.
You can do that by experimenting with different types of content — are livestreams working well? Which comment threads are most robust? And don’t forget you can always ask your audience directly what they want to interact with and where. Social media is a great, easy way to gather feedback to inform your marketing strategy.
Got any other predictions that you want to share with our audience, or comments about the ones above? Share them on social with the hashtag #AdobeSpark, and we’ll look out for them.