Understanding audiences by analyzing social media trends
A few days ago, I was scrolling down my LinkedIn’s newsfeed when I read something about a guy who paid 10k so a big influencer with a huge audience could promote his product. It was a fancy, expensive jacket I think. Probably the kind of jacket George Clooney wears. Anyway, this guy was really surprised to observe that this marketing strategy turned out to be a big failure with zero jackets sold.
Any idea why it failed? The answer is simple: audience!
I’ve been working at Brand New Day Agency for 6 years now and understanding audiences to better fulfill our clients needs’ and come up with the best strategy has always been key to us and there are many ways to analyse your target group.
1. There are market researchs. You can conduct surveys or make use of the existing ones to get acquainted with your audience. Quite traditional but still relevant (#oldbutgold).
2. Big data! Probably one of the best way to really understand your target group since we are leaving so much digital footprints through our browsing journey. Plus, it’s behavioral instead of declarative which makes it even more powerful because the difference between what people say and what they actually do is often quite big (yep little fella, Facebook knows you want to keep up with the Kardashians even if you pretend you don’t know who the hell they are).
3. Listening tools. Keep on eye on the conversation to see what people discuss, what they are concerned about, how they feel about a particular product or brand, etc.
4. Trends analysis. Wait, what? Why is it interesting? Well, being updated about the latest trends should not only be considered as a way to get the coolest marketing strategy. I think the example I mentioned with this guy using the influencer strategy is an interesting example because most people just rush into something because it’s new, trendy and exciting. Tik Tok has been on everyone’s lips lately. Does it mean you need to invest in this channel? Here again, I would just say one word: audience.
You need to take a look at the audience but even if it doesn’t quite match your target group yet doesn’t mean you don’t have to keep an eye on what’s happening there because as you know, a long long time ago, in a kingdom far far away, people used to say was Facebook teenagers’ playground.
Analyzing the trends is, in my opinion, a great way to take the temperature of the population. For me, it’s much more than marketing, it’s sociology, psychology, politics and even philosophy. And if it can help us, marketers, with our marketing strategy, well… Let’s not complain about that, right?
So before we go any further with these big social media trends, I would like us to take a moment to think about something that has deeply changed our lives over the past decade. Do you know what I’m talking about?
Yay, your’e right, smartphones! There was once an era without smartphone, where people where watching TV with their family, reading newspaper in the train, talking to each other in the restaurant.. And an era post smartphone where you have everything at your fingertips (literally). Are you hungry, thirsty, bored, lonely? Just take your smartphone out of your pocket!
We actually got so used to it that we don’t even notice it anymore but the smartphone has been a revolution in so many regards. Twitter for instance, a pure mobile app, changed the way journalists work. Facebook, changed the way people vote. WhatsApp has been used for revolutions in the arabic countries. Snapchat has changed the way people open up about their life. Should I really go on?
A smartphone is not only the way we communicate. It’s the way we consume and produce media and it won’t change anytime soon. Please take a look at these statistics.
Smartphones consumption has now overpassed television in United States and it’s growing. In France, we are on the same path and it won’t be long before we observe this in our country as well.
So, first thing first. If your website, your content is not mobile friendly yet, you’d better change it right now because mobile is not just a trend, it’s a reality, it’s a habit and it’s everywhere.
Now, since we are supposed to talk about the trends. Let’s take a look at the social media consumption.
What we observe is that Facebook still dominates the whole ecosystem with Facebook, Messenger, Instagram, WhatsApp and Workplace. We also see other messaging apps and surprise… Tik Tok is already here. So we hear lots of news when it comes to social media on a daily basis but what we can observe for 2 or 3 years now is that social becomes more personal.
You see all these messaging apps. It’s all about one to one or group conversations. And it’s funny because this is what Internet used to be. I remember using caramail and MSN when I was young. Then, Facebook came in and it was all about updating statuses, having public chats and displaying our social lives. Now, it feels like we are back to something more private again. Maybe there is a global feeling of mistrust since people started to realize that our data is being gathered, processed and even used against us sometimes. Cambridge Analytica has clearly played a great role in making people aware of that.
It also feels like people are now more into spontaneous and ephemeral content.
Since Instagram stole the Snapchat idea, stories production and consumption have exploded. Tik Tok is also crazy in terms of adoption. Just look at the numbers.
It looks like people are fed up with the newsfeed! They don’t trust it as much as they used to. They are also fed up with Instagram’s newsfeed fake perfect pictures that make them feel bad about themselves. The seek for authenticity can explain why stories and now Tik Tok have so much success.
The great thing for brands is that now, you don’t need to invest expensive money in producing great content anymore. Stories are a great opportunity to speak the truth and to showcase your values.
Also, these new formats make it easier then ever before to let your consumers do the work! Just check at this Tik Tok case!
It’s actually incredible because I’ve been working in social media fields for a while now and I observed how the Community Manager job evolved. At first, it was all about community, creating a group of people and interact with them. For brands, social networks (because Facebook used to be a network before it became a media) was an opportunity to start the conversation with the consumer. Then, Facebook algorithm changed, the newsfeed has evolved and it became a real media with really sophisticated advertising tools. Now, I feel like that with messaging apps and stories which you can only interact in private with, it’s more about community again.
So as a marketer, if you want to have a great social media strategy, you should certainly not undermine the importance of conversation and moderation and you should certainly have a great community manager that will be ready to step in and to interact with your audiences no matter what time of the day it is.
If I have to conclude this little observation of mine, I would say: Make sure you invest in trends that will last. Don’t rush into anything and if there is a few things you should definitely bare in mind it would be these 3.
1. Make sure your content is mobile-friendly and even mobile-native. It’s not only about cropping your picture or your video into the vertical format anymore. If you choose to do it, then play by the rules.
2. People are kind of fed up with newsfeed and spend more time messaging, consuming stories or new kind of channels such as Tik-Tok so make sure you make great use of it and start showcasing your behind the scenes. Tell your brand’s story. Don’t try to make it perfect. Just make it real.
3. Never undermine the importance of the conversation. Having a moderation process is key. If you choose to go on social media then you should be ready to interact with people. So having a great Community Manager is not luxury!