While we often talk a lot about the trends in the future, particularly at this time of year when we are all prone (me included) to do our customary predictions post, here are nine trends that are happening in social media right now.
In fact when it comes to using social to create buzz around new products, Heinz and Cadbury are two of the brands to beat. Cadbury now defaults to social for all its product launches, having previously used Google+ and Facebook to build excitement around its new product lines. And Heinz called on its Facebook community to help promote new variations on its Ketchup and soup products.
2. Super advocates are at the heart of programs. Forgive my chocolate bias here, but Wispa used this to launch their new product, Bitsa Wispa. They worked with their most loyal fan to have her launch their latest product, differentiating it from the traditional product launches consumers are used to seeing, and encouraging Wispa fans to share the news with their Facebook friends. The photo of super advocate Kate Mead holding the new product has attracted more than 1,500 ‘likes’ and 278 comments, meaning the launch will have also shown up in their friends’ news feeds.
3. Celebrate the rise of the Famebook Fan. This focuses around the use of a natural, organic comment on a Facebook page and the creation of a campaign concept from it, usually adding a layer of surreal comedy to it. The Bodyform example has been well publicized: after Facebook fan Richard Neil posted a tongue-in-cheek accusation of the company for altering the perception of what going through the period really entails, the brand created a parody video featuring their “CEO” who was directly responding to the fan’s comment.
4. Allow fans to control real world activations. Skittles is a brand that really has placed the fan and real world activation front and center in social media. Mob the Rainbow was a Facebook campaign that was created to activate and engage Skittles’ large social media audience. The program enlisted fans to take action on Facebook to take action by participating in real-life, physical events.
5. Listen and respond to controversial issues. McDonald’s Canada hosts online social media discussions around myths and connects with its customers directly. Since the campaign began, McDonald’s Canada has fielded more than 14,000 questions and responded with text on the website, photos, and the YouTube videos, highlighting the company as being open, honest and ready to deal with difficult questions.
6. Drive a new level of remarkable content marketing. My current social media brand crush is Red Bull. Felix Baumgartner’s Oct. 14 jump from the middle of the earth’s stratosphere, sponsored by Red Bull, made social media and space history. The almost 23-mile free fall jump set records, stunning and amazing people around the world, who reacted on social media. This represents a very specific content marketing strategy for Red Bull – remarkable content gets people talking and is shared, but is not about the brand or company itself. While Red Bull has now become synonymous with dare-devil adrenaline-based sports (we rarely see the brand talking about the product itself) and the jump is a prime example of how to focus content around a specific moment in time.
7. Instagram reaches young, visually-based audiences. Ben & Jerry’s is currently running a promotion that challenges fans to take photos that capture “euphoria” capitalizing on the fact that Instagram has over 100 million users and Facebook’s backing, making it ideal for marketers looking to woo a young demographic. The winning photos will be featured in B&J ads in that person’s neighborhood. Smart, simple and bang on target for B&J’s target audience.
8. Pinterest is a good traffic driver but not for all brands. Sony’s Pinterest strategy began with research into what brand content was already being shared by its fans. This allowed the Sony team to plan its potential boards and analyze the assets they already had in its Flickr community, in-house and in its archives. The resulting campaign has seen an 800% increase in traffic from Pinterest to the Sony store website, 2.5 times the traffic from its Twitter account. BUT it is not for all brands. It is very obvious this is a good use case for Sony. For some brands with different demographics – Pinterest still skews heavily female in the US – there is not a clear use case.
9. Memes enable responsive marketing. This approach to memes is something that is becoming an increasingly popular social tactic among large brands, capturing the popularity of sites like memecreator in a fun and brand-relevant way. Just look at recent examples jumping on the popularity of Carly Rae Jepsen’s track Call Me Maybe – from the shirtless A&F guys singing her song to Cookie Monster’s addictive ditty for Sesame Street. Both created a shareable relevant piece of content that is scrappy to produce and easy to share.
Do you have any trends to add to this list for right now?
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