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What’s New in Social Media? 5 Crucial Updates You Need to Know About

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Each social media user is active on platforms for an average of 2 hours and 24 minutes every single day. With this number seeing steady growth over the past few years, there’s never been a better time to up your social strategy and start taking advantage of this active audience.

Of course, this isn’t the only thing that’s new in social media. With constant updates and trends to keep up with, you won’t get far if you’re not caught up on what’s hot and what’s not in the online world. Fortunately, we know exactly what trends you’ll need to follow if you’re looking to make an impact on socials this year.

Related: Why Social Commerce Is Growing Like A Wildfire Among Brands

Follow along to discover what’s new in social media with these 5 trends and updates and how you can use them to elevate your business.

1. Stories as a Form of Content

What started out as a Snapchat format quickly transitioned to what we now know as stories. While posting stories has been popular for some time now, with more and more platforms jumping on board, the impact of these stories has evolved.

What started out as a way to share updates and temporary photos has now become like a whole other platform. In fact, if your business isn’t using stories (and doing them well) you’re likely feeling the negative consequences.

Beyond impressive animations, videos, and well-curated content now featuring in stories, the rise of live streams has become the new norm. This means you’ll need to spend a whole lot more time on these live and short-lived posts to keep your audience engaged.

How to Benefit

So how can your business use this trend to grow? The answer is simple, get on top of your stories – and fast!

Use this platform to build relationships with your audience by letting them in on the behind-the-scenes stuff. Anything fun and interesting that gives them a glimpse into the secrets of your brand is always a winner.

Beyond this, investing some time in animation, utilizing the story features, and going live for announcements, events, and even tutorials is a great way to begin to build this ‘here today, gone tomorrow’ content.

2. Social Commerce

It’s no secret that eCommerce saw incredible growth last year. With so many people staying at home and shopping online, social channels had no choice but to hop on board the digital shopping train.

The development of social commerce means that shoppers can now browse, add to cart, and complete their purchase all without leaving the app. While this was a win for customer experience, it put a serious learning curve in the way brands sell.

How to Benefit

While it can be a challenge to adjust your selling platforms, this trend is actually incredibly beneficial for businesses. Because this new shopping experience simplifies the entire buying process, it actually encourages impulse buying and quick sales. In fact, you may even notice a lower percentage of abandoned carts in your analytics.

Instead of resisting this update and pushing people through to your website, accept the reduced URL traffic and move in the favor of sales instead.

Make your social store just as impressive (if not more) than your web experience and reap the benefits of this high-traffic spending channel.

Related: The Future of SEO in a Socially Driven World

3. Video Dominates with Reels

Video is by far winning the internet game. With higher engagement than any other form of content, brands have taken to video like a moth to a flame. With this in mind, it’s not hard to believe that video would be the cause of one of the new words in social media this year.

What started out on TikTok has now spread across the masses as ‘reels’. What’s more is that reels now make up for their own tab on the social apps and exclusively feature short, catchy videos.

These videos capture perhaps the highest volume of trending content with popular songs and sounds making them impossible to scroll past in your feed. In fact, it’s not uncommon to get caught up in a 2-hour scrolling session on just reels alone.

How to Benefit

Take a high engagement format like video and combine it with trending topics and dance moves (yep, you read that right), and you’ve got a recipe for success in 2021.

Who would have thunk that the largest brands in the world would be expanding their reach and raising brand awareness by dancing on the internet with moves developed by teenagers on TikTok’s. Nevertheless, your audience wants what they want and reels are all the rage.

To take advantage, duplicate the latest trends with your own personal touch or even start a new trend to skyrocket success.

4. Influencer Marketing Continues to Rise

Did you know that over 80% of businesses now have some form of an affiliate program?

Affiliate marketing or influencer marketing has seen an incredible rise over the past few years and it’s only expected to go up from here. With so many workers home-bound through 2020, the desire to start a work-from-home business online became a reality for many.

Now, there are influencers on all platforms from Youtube to TikTok, making a living by promoting their favorite brands.

The reason this marketing technique has become so popular is because of its impressive success rate. These days, users online take an influencer’s recommendation just as seriously as a close friend or family member’s recommendation. Combine this with a tempting discount code and businesses are able to generate sales they never would have earned otherwise.

Brands pay for their influencer’s recommendations via commissions or sponsorships, depending on the deal, and see a great ROI for their investment.

This marketing format is not only great for brands, but it’s also creating sustainable jobs and entertaining new audiences with ease.

How to Benefit

The first step to taking advantage of this profitable new trend in social media marketing is developing your own affiliate program.

Most programs offer influencers a code to share with their followers which will earn them 10-20% off of products. The discount provides an incentive for their followers to make a purchase following their shining recommendation. This code is then connected to the influencer’s account to keep track of the sales they are responsible for generating.

From here, influencers are paid a percentage of each sale they generated. This is usually around the 10-15% mark.

Once your program is in place, you can start approaching influencers who already have a quality following online. This could be bloggers, YouTubers, Instagrammers, and now even TikTokers. Of course, you’ll want to be sure you choose influencers who will represent your brand well and fit into your niche.

Their recommendations are only valuable if they are genuine so be sure to gather a team of affiliates who believe in your products and truly love what they are recommending to their following.

Related: 3 Best Social Media Strategies for Content Marketing

5. More Regulations and Legal Scrutiny

Social media’s evolution has come with a whole lot of ups and downs. Unfortunately, one of those downs includes an unsafe environment for many users. A shocking amount of social users have admitted they don’t feel comfortable on social platforms anymore.

This is mostly due to a plethora of demeaning or controversial content online. Fortunately, social channels are all over this with their continually improving regulations and increased security. These days, it’s much more difficult for accounts to get away with inappropriate content and comments, making the internet a more enjoyable place for all users.

How to Benefit

In simple terms, these regulations actually make your posts less likely to be trolled. This can be fantastic for brands looking to grow a positive image online, however, there are a few things you’ll need to watch out for.

There’s more and more that you can’t say online anymore. What was once a seemingly harmless joke is now considered an offensive post. Beyond this, sharing information online could be flagged as inaccurate. This can put a real damper on your brand’s authority and make it harder to build trust.

To get around this, the simplest solution is to abide by the more strict protocols and do your best to keep it controversy-free.

What’s New in Social Media Marketing

Now that you know these 5 new trends in social media, you can hop on board the social marketing train with confidence. From utilizing the platform’s latest updates to ensuring you’re well within the standards and regulations, we’re confident you’ll see results by keeping up with what’s new in social media.

Want more tips and tricks to elevate your digital marketing efforts and grow your business online? Check out our other articles to discover all the business news you need to know to stay relevant and trending in today’s social world.