Digital trends move quickly—that’s no surprise to marketers. The fast pace of the social media environment can cause marketers to sit on the sidelines. Or worse, it can lead them to make snap judgments about how to engage, believing that “seeing what sticks” is a better strategy than being left behind. Making quick decisions in the rapidly-shifting social media landscape doesn’t mean they can’t be smart and strategic.
Social media isn’t alternative media, it’s mainstream media, as reflected by the increasing spending across multiple platforms. In 2022, advertising spending on TikTok and Instagram will reach $177 billion, according to Zenith’s global forecast, overtaking TV for the first time. As a main source of information and entertainment, consumers are much less forgiving than they were in the early days. If brands are going to take advantage of these channels, they need to move quickly and get it right.
Here are three social media-focused insights and tips to consider when looking to accelerate clients’ social marketing presence by making smart, strategic choices about where and when to play:
1. KNOW WHEN TO ADOPT A MARKETING TREND AND WHEN TO STAY AWAY.
The question to ask yourself is: Why do I have the right to be engaging in this conversation? In other words, does your category directly relate to what’s happening in the trend? Is this truly relevant to your existing customers and/or target users?
If the answer to either of these questions is “no,” then your brand may get a boost by association—right time, right place—but you won’t fully leverage the potential of the effort. Consumers are very tough on brands they deem insincere. The price of aligning your brand with the wrong trend won’t be worth it if consumers decide you’re inauthentic.
2. EVERY SOCIAL PLATFORM IS DIFFERENT AND YOUR STRATEGY SHOULD REFLECT THAT.
As the fastest-growing social media platform globally, TikTok is a must-have for nearly every company or brand’s digital marketing strategy. That means understanding how best to use it and its features is imperative.
TikTok is a place where people—and brands—need to entertain if they want to capture viewers’ attention. Creating content on the platform that has tension is critical. What can your brand do that’s unexpected?
TikTok offers a place where brands can color outside the lines a bit or let their hair down, compared to other social channels. When brands show up in unexpected but still very authentic ways, consumers will reward them. And variety is key. Once you commit to a content medium like TikTok, you need to show up often or risk getting lost in the more than 1 million videos that are viewed every single day.
3. SHIFT YOUR FOCUS TO VIDEO CONTENT.
Video continues to become more important in the battle for consumer engagement. As social platforms revamp around video, brand marketers won’t have the option to keep static as the center of their social content efforts.
Recently, Instagram CEO Adam Mosseri revealed that the social media platform is planning to “double down” on its video features and focus efforts on the recently introduced Reels functionality. This indicates the TikTok-like feature is about to grow even more, and brands need to focus on how best to implement video-focused content quickly and affordably.
Remember, social media moves quickly and you should, too—but not so fast that you put a brand’s reputation in danger. Be smart, be agile, but most of all, control the urge to post, share, or create content for the sake of being part of a conversation. The repercussions of a bad move made on social media far outweigh 15 minutes of trending success.
Vice President at Blue Sky Agency, overseeing client relations and business development.