4 Social Media Trends Brands Should Be Aware Of
August 31, 2021
Streetsense is here to help you navigate the ever-changing world of social media – here are four trends for social-savvy brands.
Audio Only is Here to Stay
A few months ago, we wrote about the “Race to the Audio-Only Space” as apps like Clubhouse and Twitter’s “Spaces” capitalized on audio-only capabilities. That trend hasn’t gone anywhere, and Twitter’s actually doubling down. The platform recently shut down “Fleets,” its version of “Stories,” due to low usage, freeing up that top-of-the-timeline real estate to showcase Spaces, arguably its most ambitious product since launch. Now Twitter is focusing on discoverability. Twitter’s testing a new option that will show you the spaces that people you follow are tuning in to, evidence that it’s on the right path to make Spaces more discoverable organically.
Meanwhile, Clubhouse exited its beta phase and is no longer invite-only. It’s now facilitating 600,000 rooms per day in the app, up from 300,000 back in May.
Spotify has also entered the mix by officially launching Greenroom. Greenroom is a mobile app allowing Spotify users worldwide to join or host live audio rooms but takes the concept one step further by allowing users to turn those conversations into podcasts. This niche feature could give Spotify the upper hand, as brands and creators can easily take advantage of it.
At Streetsense, we’re also dipping our toes into the audio playground through our client, Logitech. Our team has worked with Logitech on the launch of the LogiTalk podcast, an interview series featuring the makers, creators, and groundbreakers pushing beyond reason to change the world.
Vertical Video Takes Center Stage
TikTok is known for its vertical videos, and many platforms have tried to emulate this feature on their own. Instagram has said it is no longer just a photo-sharing app and has plans to experiment with different video feed options, one of these being a vertical content feed for Explore, which would allow users to swipe through Instagram’s content recommendations, and swipe across on multi-image posts.
Additionally, Reels, Instagram’s vertical videos, can now be up to 60 seconds, showing Instagram is continuing to enhance the feature. Our team has been getting on the Reels train with some of our clients, as Reels are a great way to diversify content types if a brand is already on Instagram. Check out this example our team helped execute for Logitech!
The TikTok algorithm (and thus content recommendations) still reign supreme, in large part since TikTok only offers one type of content to interact with, and every move you make informs that algorithm. Meanwhile, Reels are just one small component of a larger pool for content. Instagram’s new Explore feed could improve Reels discovery, since by keeping people in that content stream longer, Instagram can learn more about user preferences.
Meanwhile, YouTube has also rolled out its beta version of vertical video, Shorts, to all regions. While YouTube definitely has the following to rival TikTok’s, it may fall short in that it’s not typically thought of as a traditional social media platform where users can easily interact, direct message, and share videos with each other. Shorts may also fall short in that they’ll be integrated into the YouTube experience, rather than being a standalone app like TikTok where the sole focus is vertical video.
Social Commerce is Continuing to Expand
Pinterest is adding Product Tags to Idea Pins, its own version of Stories, allowing creators and brands to tag specific items within these pins, enabling users to shop the products from there. According to Pinterest, “Pinners are 89% more likely to exhibit shopping intent on products tagged in Idea Pins than on standalone Product Pins,” so this could be a huge win for brands.
Twitter is also testing new shopping features for businesses, allowing a handful of brands to place a “Shop Module” at the top of their profiles that links to products their followers can buy.
Shopping features are becoming more ubiquitous across social platforms, and we expect to see a more shareable, more engaging shopping experience for consumers in return, as well as increased brand awareness for brands who do participate. Shopping features keep users on the platform, so they can make a purchase without leaving the content feed, and then get right back to scrolling (and hopefully more shopping!)
New Ad Formats are Here (or on the Horizon)
As platforms are integrating more shoppable features, they’re also innovating ways for brands to advertise. TikTok launched Spark Ads, which allow brands to identify existing organic TikTok videos and connect to the creators to repurpose into paid campaigns. Promoted clips through Spark enable brands to utilize TikTok’s ad targeting tools, so brands will benefit from both reach and targeted focus. The key here is that brands will benefit because they can put spend behind videos that have already gone viral. They know that they resonate and perform well, versus putting money behind a new ad where performance is unknown.
Meanwhile, Instagram is testing an ad module in its Shops, including both single images and the option for an image carousel, indicating a further investment to its eCommerce business.
Brands can capitalize on the four trends outlined above to create more engaging online experiences for their consumers as well as drive reach to new audiences, and we’re already helping some of our clients do so. In the meantime, we’ll be keeping a close eye on what’s coming next.