Globally, individual behaviors have changed a great deal over the past year. Fear of contagion from COVID prompted lockdowns and social restrictions. But they also affected the types of activities people felt comfortable doing. In many ways, people have embraced new ways of doing things. Online retail, grocery deliveries, and remote videoconferencing are just a few of the more obvious. Even with a coronavirus vaccine being released, most believe many of these behaviors will persist in a post-COVID world. And this has significant implications for the future of digital marketing as well as on social media marketing trends.
As a result of quarantines, many found themselves spending more time inside as well as online. Likewise, social distancing and other restrictions made social interactions more difficult. Therefore, it’s not surprising that social media use increased substantially. These changes in social behavior will affect the future of digital marketing going forward. In fact, social media marketing trends are already on the rise as a result of this year alone. For businesses looking ahead, social media will need to play a much larger role in their marketing efforts than previously.
“I see a huge positive shift towards the digital world post-COVID. People of all background are adapting to the digital lifestyle and I predict they will be craving for more social media content.” – Esa Mbouw, Deputy Head of Business Administration, Swiss German University
Social Media Trends by the Numbers
The increase in social media marketing trends is occurring for a reason. Notably, social media use was quite popular prior to the pandemic. But since COVID struck, the increases in use have been substantial. Between July of 2019 and 2020, social media use increased 10.5 percent year-on-year. That made social media use the second most common online activity among consumers. Surveys have indicated that three-quarters of people consumer more social media. Almost half describe an increase in social media posting. All of this means more time is being spent on social media, which naturally affects the future of digital marketing.
One of the biggest stories related to social media marketing trends involves the use of video content creation apps. Since the pandemic began, TikTok has excelled significantly, reporting an additional 12 million US users in March 2020 alone. Its short video-segment formats are more engaging for social media users. Likewise, these promote creativity and social interactions to a greater degree. While Instagram remains the most popular social media platform this year, TikTok as well as YouTube are not far behind. These rankings are worth noting when considering a company’s future of digital marketing strategies.
“My prediction is that social media content from businesses will become more creative and the digital strategy will be better than ever. The businesses that pushed up their sleeves and got to work on social media marketing efforts during a major crisis will reap the rewards when the crisis starts to fade.” – Anna Rudicel, Marketing Director, Cyclone Social
Retail and Social Media Marketing Trends
The rise in social media use over the last year involves more than just entertainment and social connections. Consumers increasingly used this platform for retail as well. Based on recent surveys, roughly 8 out of 10 consumers get information about brands from social media before purchasing. Two-thirds state that finding a product on social media affected their buying patterns. And nearly a third are making new purchases directly from social media. Companies recognizing this have shifted their social media marketing trends. They believe the future of digital marketing for their company must include these strategies.
Understanding these shifts in behavior, it’s not surprising that consumers are also seeking product testimonials on social media as well. The trust economy remains alive and well. Product reviews have played an increasing role in the retail sector for years. But now, social media influencers and personalities are also affecting consumer buying habits. Many therefore believe that the future of digital marketing will involve partnerships with these social media influencers. Notably, some businesses have noted these social media marketing trends and offered influencers contracts. While celebrities and popular personalities will continue to be sought after, so will those with large social media followings.
“…out of all marketing strategies, I believe that social media will be the main one to thrive in the post-COVID world. For one thing, it’s easier and cheaper for brands to leverage social media and for another, people all over the world are spending more time indoors than outdoors – and therefore, more time online.” – Lilach Bullock, Business Coach and Author at Social Media Examiner
Social Media and the Future of Digital Marketing Strategies
For businesses looking to excel, several important social media marketing strategies will need to be considered. Based on information from social media users, most want content that’s engaging but also fun and entertaining. Given the stress and seriousness of the pandemic, many are burned out on such topics. While consumers appreciate authenticity and informative content, they also enjoy something that’s more lighthearted. Thus, experts suggest that social medial marketing trends will favor this approach.
In addition to these suggestions, the future of digital marketing will still focus on brand consistency and omnichannel outreach. As one of these channels, social media marketing should align well will other company messages. Likewise, consumers are more likely to engage content that is interactive in nature and promotes community. This works to business’ advantage, particularly if the content being promoted can be shared. Based on existing social media marketing trends, these concepts should guide a company’s digital marketing strategies.
Connecting with Customers in a Post-COVID World
Eventually, the pandemic will be controlled, and some resemblance of normal life will resume. But the adoption of social media by consumers is likely to persist and continue to expand. As always, the future of digital marketing will encourage companies to connect with their customers emotionally and authentically. This can be achieved on social media as marketing trends as of late has shown. Of course, it never hurts to secure expertise in digital marketing for these purposes. But regardless of the approach, it’s clear social media marketing is an essential component of any effective digital marketing plan.
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