Trends and Insight in association withSynapse Virtual Production

Five Social Media Trends Happening Right Now

Production Company
New York, USA
Mamou Kilambi, senior digital marketing manager at Firewood, shares tips for brands and influencers

If there’s one thing that’s always true about social media, it’s that it’s constantly changing. From new platforms to evolving best practices, the only constant in social media is change. Now, with the prevalence of social distancing in this time of the Covid-19 pandemic, it’s time for marketers to rethink their 2020 social media plan and incorporate these five social media trends happening right now. 

1. Going live 

With social distancing being practiced across the globe, brands and personalities alike are finding new ways to stay connected to their fans and followers. One of those ways includes utilising the “live” functionality on Instagram, Facebook, and YouTube. Available to anyone using these social channels, going live allows users to stream in real-time while engaging with their followers. From celebrities hosting virtual concerts to gyms hosting workouts, live gives brands the opportunity to reconnect with their followers and remain top of mind. 

Tips on running a successful live-stream:

Develop (and stick to) a run of show. What’s the story you’re telling? How will you tell it? Which aspects of it lend themselves to being told live, as opposed to prerecorded? Think of the beginning, middle, and end of your live-stream and how you’ll get through each point. Create a solid outline for your session identifying talking points whenever applicable. Make sure to emphasise the aspects of your story that make it truly unique as a live experience.

Provide a secure internet connection. The last thing you need is to have your live-stream cut in and out because of a bad network connection.

Promote. Let your followers know the date and time of your live-stream in advance. Similar to an in-person event, proper promo will make or break your broadcast.

Collaborate. Facebook and Instagram both give you the opportunity to go live with one additional user. Adding users will help spice up the content but will also give you access to that person’s followers, thus expanding the reach of your live-stream.

Engage your viewers. Connecting with your viewers in real time will help you establish a valuable relationship which could translate into lifelong brand advocacy. 

2. Movement continues to reign

Videos and overall movement continue to serve as a popular format for social media and should be looked to as an important way of communicating with followers. In fact, according to Social Media Week, “viewers claim they retain 95% of a message when obtained via video.” And, now that we’re all indoors spending a lot of our time on social, it is important that brands find ways to diversify their content formats. What does that mean for you? Whenever possible, find ways to plug in movement. Whether that’s through the use of long-form content like YouTube videos and IG TV, or short-form content like GIFs, upping the use of movement on your social channels can result in an increase of overall channel engagement. 

According to Joe Youngblood, founder of strategic digital marketing agency Winner Winner Chicken Dinner: “2020 is the year that video content on social media is no longer a nice-to-have, but a must-have”. He continued: “Consumers now appear to expect video content from a brand they are going to do business with. If you haven’t started experimenting with video, now is the time to get going or you’ll risk falling behind the competition.”

An even cooler way to take advantage of movement is to create content made for 'sound off' environments. Our phones have become an extension of ourselves and we’re almost always scrolling on social. For the times that the scroll is happening in a quiet setting, utilising closed captioning or editing in your own text overlay will make your content enjoyable no matter the environment. 

3. Instagram Stories is taking over

The stories format, fashioned after Snapchat, has been one of the most successful trends of the past few years, and 2020 is proving to be no different. With 500 million daily users, Instagram Stories gives brands the opportunity to produce content in unique and interactive ways. The platform feature has many formats to take advantage of: interactive polls, music, animated stickers, event countdowns, live event updates, and so much more. If you have an Instagram Business Account, you can make use of various format upgrades like GIF layouts, shout-outs, and templates

If you have a verified account or over 10,000 followers, you can also take advantage of their swipe-up feature, which allows you to embed a link directly into the story. Instead of users having to check out content from the link in the bio, each individual story can lead to a different link. And, now that Instagram has released new business features for stories, you can be sure we’ll see more exciting developments in 2020. 

4. New (and really popular) platforms

Gone are the days when checking off Facebook and Instagram was enough for your social strategy. Now there are new platforms garnering well-deserved attention, especially from Gen Z. 

TikTok: There has been a significant uptick in TikTok use as bored-at-home users have begun looking for new apps to try out. TikTok, a short-form video creation platform that is loved by Gen Z, allows users to incorporate music, effects, text overlays, AR filters, and more. The app is also great for staying in the know, with the majority of recent social media challenges—like Renegade and Oh Na Na Na—coming directly from it. According to Hootsuite, with “more than 800 million monthly active users [spending] an average of 46 minutes per day on the app,” TikTok is the perfect place for unpolished, snack-size bites of fun content. 

Caffeine: Similar to Twitch, a video live-streaming service, Caffeine is a social broadcasting platform for gaming, entertainment, and creative arts. “Twitch is our competitor, for sure. What I’m trying to do is build something that’s far more mainstream than Twitch. I want it to be more about not just gaming but sports and gaming and eventually entertainment as well,” Ben Keighran, CEO of Caffeine, told Sport Techie. Backed by 21st Century Fox and Disney, Caffeine’s approach to an already-crowded market is to develop unique technology, work with top influencers to create content, and provide live TV programming. While Caffeine is still young, the app has recruited celebrities like Doja Cat, Kyle Kuzma, and Offset to help increase its relevance. Since signing Drake to a multiyear partnership - a deal that includes securing the Ultimate Rap League - if Caffeine isn’t on your radar yet, it should be.  

5. Shop till you drop

With the nation sheltering in place, brands must find creative ways to sell their products. Instagram shopping is one solution. Since becoming popular during the latter half of 2019, shopping within the Instagram platform is going to see a rise in 2020. That’s especially true for Gen Z. Why? This generation is all about ease. Instagram, a platform that 70 percent of shopping enthusiasts turn to for product discovery, has seamlessly integrated a user’s shopping experience. Users see a product advertised on their feed and with a simple tap can see which items are tagged. The app even offers an integrated checkout process, so you never leave the platform. “It’s a nice addition to my sales channels,” Audria Brumberg, founder of silk scarf company Manner Market, told “People can find me organically and see how the scarves are styled and worn, which can inspire them to purchase.” Although currently only available to a select group of brands and to customers in the US, the checkout feature is set to roll out to more stores this year. 

So, there you have it. The five social media trends topping the list for brands and influencers…at least for today. But the social media landscape is changing daily, which is why it’s the perfect place for brands to experiment and try new things in an effort to connect with, entertain, and engage followers.