media update’s Nakedi Phala went into ‘search mode’ to find out what’s happening on social media as of late. 

By now, we’re sure you know that social media is becoming an essential part of peoples’ lives. What were originally meant to be platforms for staying in touch with family and friends is now becoming a playground for businesses, brands and organisations. 

But, let’s not shy away from the topic at hand. Time to cure your curiosity! 

Here are the latest social media trends you’ve been missing out on: 

1. Chatbots are gaining momentum 

Chatbots are designed in a way that fits almost all social media platforms. But, what made these technologies gain momentum? 

Well, many businesses and organisations have been operating at a minimal level due to lockdown regulations. And so, some brands opted to use the chatbot system, which is great because it’s available 24 / 7  to answer and assist current and potential clients — especially regarding any frequently asked questions (FAQs) they may have. 

For example, Capitec bank introduced its own chatbot system on WhatsApp during the midst of a level 4 lockdown in 2020. Although some brands had already been doing this, it seems that it is now becoming a convenient thing for all brands.

Implementing chatbots allows consumers to have their queries regarding products or services sorted without having to call or even leave the comfort of their homes. 

So, why not check if your service provider or favourite brand has a chatbot on their social media platforms and start engaging? What do you gotta lose?

2. Live videos are now the ‘in thing’

Sharing pre-recorded video content on social media is great and all but what seems to be the ‘in thing’ now is live video content. 

Social media platforms such as Instagram have a Live feature, which has been used by prominent celebrities and brands to build engagement with their online following.

Brands often use the feature to showcase background scenes while some celebrities use it to engage with their audiences on a more personal level. 

Photo Credit: @The_BForce

This showcases the audience and the host in real-time (LIVE) and also allows you to see users’ comments, likes and how many people are watching the stream. 

As you can see, social media is bringing the fight to traditional television’s doorstep! Where, normally, to see LIVE content, you’d have to wait for your favourite shows to be programmed, scheduled and broadcast.

Not anymore! 

Now, live videos are becoming the new, cool kid on the block! 

3. Influencer marketing is growing

Influencers continue to play a role in promoting content and directing leads to the brands they work for. Be it Facebook, Instagram or Twitter, they are present and they only keep multiplying! 

About a decade ago, it was normal to see a celebrity being an ambassador of a popular brand. Fast forward to today, and social media has given users who feel they have that X factor to represent brands on their platforms, helping them to be discovered as well. 

As a brand or agency, if you haven’t thought about using influencers for marketing purposes, now might be the time to consider playing in that pool. Who knows? You might discover one that helps you reach your marketing milestones! Finally!

4. User-generated content is making waves 

Before we hop onto this point, you might be wondering: what is user-generated content? Simply put, it is any branded or unbranded content generated by users on social media platforms. And it is starting to dominate and benefit brands at large.

For example, if a user were to post on social media about how great Chicken Licken’s hot wings are — simply by sharing an image of the branded packaging or the brand’s hashtag— this literally becomes free advertising for the brand by the happy customer. The best part? The brand can simply then comment, like or reshare the positive post for added traction! 

User-generated content is starting to become a point of referral for brands, whether they’re aware of it or not. Like in the above Twitter post, it can be used as part of a brand’s marketing strategy since it’s authentic and the agency had no influence over the content whatsoever. It can even be used as testimonial content, much like traditional earned media! 

Now that you know what’s hip and happening on social media, did we miss anything? Let us know in the comments section below. 

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As we said, social media never sleeps! Gain additional knowledge by checking out these Top social media developments to look out for.