The Millennial Report: The Changing Landscape of Social Media 

Social media has completely changed over the past two decades. Friendster launched 20 years ago, setting the stage for popular platforms like Myspace. Then, ten years later, Facebook went public, transforming into the social media giant we know today. And in 2012, Facebook bought Instagram, a two-year-old app bringing in zero revenue at the time. 

Facebook and Instagram have remained in the top 5 social media platforms for many years. But even so, social media continues to transform as consumer preferences evolve. 

All this change is leaving retailers struggling to follow marketing trends. And now, just as we’ve all adjusted to Instagram’s latest algorithm modifications, social media trends are taking yet another hard turn. 

Are you prepared for what’s next?

Social Media Continues to Change

Video conferencing launched approximately ten years ago, but it didn’t become mainstream until the pandemic in 2020. Of course, the massive virtual shift came with a handful of glitches, but people were ultimately surprised to see how society thrived with virtual tech. Over the past two years, video has utterly revolutionized how we work, learn, and play. 

As society shifted toward virtual conferencing out of necessity, we also gravitated toward video socially. TikTok grew 75% in 2020, which prompted Instagram’s introduction of Reels later that year. People love video content now—so much so that video actually generates 1200% more shares than images or text!

One reason for the sudden rise in video popularity might be the lack of real, face-to-face social interaction. Consumers crave interactive content rather than stagnant photo imagery to fill the void of in-person communication.  But perhaps a more significant contributing factor is the revolutionary AI technology that literally reads users’ minds and presents them with content they didn’t even know they wanted to consume.

It’s difficult to say if photo imagery will one day be a thing of the past, but there’s no doubt that we’re heading in that direction. 

How Retailers Can Pivot Their Marketing Strategy

Social media’s constant evolution is challenging to keep up with, emphasizing the need for an Agile marketing strategy. Here are a few tips for adapting to the new social media rulebook and keeping your audience engaged by prioritizing video:

  • Gather data. Before you invest in any new social media craze, start by researching your target audience. Gather consumer data, including age, location, and interest, then narrow the social media platforms your customers use most. Gen Z consumes video content on Youtube, TikTok, and Instagram more than any other platform. Millennials, however, are more present on Instagram and Facebook but have been late to join the TikTok trend. 

In addition to researching your consumers, be sure to closely examine your competitors, too. By reviewing their social media marketing strategies, you’ll be better positioned to compete. 

Once you’re ready to start posting, track your engagement to gauge interest and measure success. 

  • Build a community. You can more effectively build your online presence, garner interest, and drive more sales by increasing audience engagement. To foster user engagement, you need to create a community that will share your videos. Try cross-posting videos on various platforms, like Reels and TikTok, to broaden your visibility. Then once you extend your reach, connect with your followers by responding to comments and videos.
  • Utilize influencers. Advertisers have used celebrity endorsements to promote products for ages. We’ve all seen the ads of Matthew McConaughey pretending that he drives a Lincoln, right? 

Influencer marketing is essentially the modern-day celebrity stamp of approval. Social media influencers have a built-in community of supporters, so a simple product mention or trial video from an influencer can create the buzz you need for your brand.

  • Pay to Play. According to new research, TikTok ads reach 17.9% of all internet users over 18—that’s nearly 900 million people. Though TikTok ad campaigns cost more than advertising on comparable social media platforms, the sheer reach may be enough to start.

Video is now the most consumed category of social media content, so retailers will benefit from shifting their marketing to reflect this change. But what will the next new type of content be? There’s no telling where we’re headed. Stay on top of marketing trends—whatever they may be—by contacting Sophelle today.