food for thought

7 essential social media trends

Our newest team member, Bre Patterson, is a social media maven and is the blogger and influencer behind Bites with Bre. She is always looking for the next way to break the ever-changing algorithms behind social media and keep two steps ahead of the current trends.

Last week, Bre led the ROOT PR & Marketing team through a social media training to teach us new ways to leverage engaging tactics and let our clients shine in organic ways. Our one hour training flew by with all the great topics we covered. We have seven great takeaways we have to share with you.

Engaging brands for engaging customers

If you want your customers to engage with you, you should engage with them. A lot of companies post something on their social and will disappear until their next post. Creating engaging content with questions, or a call to action (i.e., “double tap this post if you agree”) allows your followers to naturally start a conversation. The work doesn’t stop there – if they respond to you then you should respond back. This might sound simple but a lot of companies don’t realize they are missing this opportunity.  Another great way to engage is to comment on posts you are been tagged in. Keeping the conversation going is key to earning brand loyalty with your customers.

The rise of small, local businesses

The best part of social media is that everyone can be involved. Small, local businesses can interact with their guests in a way they couldn’t before through social platforms. If you are a small business, this is your time to break into the social world with a loud voice. Claim your social and start speaking with the people who already love your brand. Your next goal is to get those loyal customers to talk about you with their friends. This will help you organically increase your reach and gain new customers.

screenshot of instagram account

Ephemeral Content (aka Stories)

A little over a year ago Instagram allowed users to create Stories similar to its competitor Snapchat. These Stories disappear after 24 hours and consist of a video or picture. Stories have proven to be a higher engagement tool with your followers than posting a photo to your feed. An effective way to use Stories is to show a sneak peek into the behind the scenes of your most recent photo. It’s also effective to drive buzz to an old post, i.e., something from last Thanksgiving that you are offering again this year. Stories can be shared from Instagram to your Facebook business. The use of Stories on Facebook is currently less viewed than Instagram, but it is expected to increase use in the coming year.

Live Video (aka Facebook Live and Instagram Live)

Both Facebook and Instagram live are a great way to connect with your audience in real time while also engaging in conversation. You can ask them questions and they can respond to you through comments. You can notify your followers through a Facebook Post or Instagram Story to come back at a certain time. While Facebook Live only notifies your followers who are on the Facebook site or app, Instagram Live notifies them through notifications on their phone screen. If you can use both, that’s more eyes on you.

The rise of Chatbots

As phone calls are decreasing, chatbot use is increasing. Chatbots are commonly used for customer service. On your company side you can create answers or conversational pieces that are triggered by specific keywords a guest writes to you. If a guest messaged your through Facebook asking, “what are your hours?”, a chatbot can quickly respond based on the keyword ‘hours’. Chatbots are becoming more responsive, “natural” [mimicking a human], and sophisticated.

Augmented Reality, Geo Locations and GIFs

Along with stories, there is a huge demand for augmented reality filters, such as the infamous “Snapchat Dog” face filter. Brands can capitalize on these filters, but they can be costly. Last year Starbucks launched a “turn your face into a Pumpkin Spice Latte” filter for the start of their September PSL campaign, and this year they created multiple Autumnal filters that included a geolocation of their store with their logo. They recently even added GIFs of Starbucks cups dancing and tumbling for users to insert into their stories.

Pictures are able to tell a different story through adding a location (geolocation) and a mood (through augmented reality and gifs).

Evolution of Influencer Marketing

Influencer marketing began with bloggers a few years ago and has really exploded over the past two years. We will dig deeper into this topic in a future post!


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