A killer social media strategy is all about keeping up with trends



Flo Lau, Associate Creative Director, Shutterstock

Expert

By Loren Webb

When Aussies are swiping away on social media platforms, being able to stop a consumer from scrolling is much harder than it sounds. These days consumers’ attention spans are shorter than ever and as a result, brands are faced with a dilemma — how to create thumb-stopping content that breaks through the noise.

The simple answer? Looking at the trends impacting culture to create social content that is relevant to what your consumers actually care about.

Why trends?

A brand is nothing without its customers, despite the size or history of the brand in question. In fact, building and nurturing relationships with customers are key priorities regardless of industry. The biggest shift over the last decade has been the addition of a new customer touch-point for brands — social media. Platforms like Twitter, Facebook and Instagram are acting as new avenues for brands to develop relationships with customers, but these platforms are becoming increasingly saturated. And competition continues to increase.

In our current digital age, using social media to share smart, creative visual content with consumers has become a critical part of any brand strategy. A sure-fire method to succeed with this is to look to the trends that your consumers are following and take part in conversations that will get them engaging.

Not only do Australians love their sport, but this is a trend worth keeping an eye on this year. Based on billions of image, video and music searches and downloads, Shutterstock’s 2020 Creative Trends report found that ‘sport’ searches increased by over 1600 per cent in 2019. And we have already seen a rise in brands leveraging this ‘Game on’ trend to connect with consumers and insert themselves in relevant conversations.

Social media strategy - imagery

Shutterstock image

A good example of this is Facebook jumping on the 2020 ICC Women’s T20 World Cup to support women’s sport, specifically women’s cricket via Facebook and Instagram. Facebook partnered with the ICC to create high-quality video content to not only engage its audience like this one but also connect the brand with the hot topic at the moment, women’s sport.

To stay ahead of the curve, do your research on what trends your audience is connecting with, and incorporate this into your social strategies.

Building authentic relationships with consumers

Something to be cognisant of is that Australians are expecting more from brands than ever before. Consumers want to build authentic relationships with the brands they interact with and social media content has become a great way to build long-lasting relationships that keep consumers engaged.

This trend for brands to have a voice has grown significantly. Recent research from Accenture found that nearly two-thirds of consumers globally (63 per cent) prefer to buy goods and services from companies that stand for a shared purpose that reflects their personal values and beliefs. With this in mind, social media has become a key platform to communicate a brand’s values with its consumers.

Climate change is a great example here. Not only was 2019 a huge year for sustainability, but we saw more brands than ever fight for the planet. From proudly taking to the streets to protest climate change to encouraging regular Aussies to do the same on social platforms like Instagram and Twitter — social media have been key in sharing the beliefs and ethos’ of brands.

In terms of visual content, this move towards action will continue to trend this year. Protest art has grown dramatically in popularity, with over 90 per cent of Aussies concerned about climate change and 70 per cent more Shutterstock customers searching for the term ‘environmentalism’ year over year, brands that are able to build authentic relationships with their customers will be the ones that can connect with them on deeper levels.

 

Social media platforms imagery

Shutterstock image

What happens when social is on point?

The benefits of good social media presence are obvious first and foremost for the additional customer touchpoint it provides brands. Across the globe, consumers spend over two hours a day on social platforms. In order to execute on a successful social strategy, brands must tune into the trends that consumers are following in order to create eye-catching content that makes them stop scrolling in their tracks.


Flo Lau is the Associate Creative Director at Shutterstock.

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