Emerging Trends in the Social Media Industry: Adapting to Market Changes

Let’s Get Real. The era of “just woke up like that,” picture-perfect, rounds of photoshop, and heavy curation is over. People today value authenticity. Members of Gen Z are using social media to show who they really are and share real moments.

We’ve seen enough photo editing, filter magic, and photo angles. We used to scroll through our feed, impressed at how picture-perfect influencers were. And then we found out that we could do it too; now everyone’s perfect.

And it’s getting boring.

 
 

Kim Kardashian has been posting pictures and stories of herself bare-faced, living her everyday life, yet she’s still one of the ten most-followed accounts on Instagram. Despite her international celebrity status, people see that she is human behind that screen after all.

They feel close and connected. The truth is, the new generation of media consumers want to feel like they can relate to the people that they support and follow.

Gone are the days of portraying ourselves as perfect and flawless on social media.

 
 

Perfection = Deception?

According to poll results from Kobe’s recent shopping season webinar, 73% of marketers and business owners prefer raw, authentic content with some flaws for their brands on social media.

Numbers and statistics in recent years have shown that when it comes to branding and creating content on social media, it is important to BE REAL. Brands and content creators should start sharing their moral and social beliefs, ethics, personalities, and even mistakes.

Millennials and Gen Zs appreciate vulnerability, and they no longer only buy products or services. They buy because they share a brand’s or content creator’s moral compass and ethical principles.

Humanizing brands and the content created for social media platforms lets consumers relate and empathize. The more a consumer relates to a brand, the more likely they are to follow and make a purchase.

Did you know that 91% of consumers are willing to reward a brand for its authenticity with a purchase? Talk about the power of keeping it real! People consume brands because they feel like they can identify with them. The most successful brands on social media relate and create personal connections with their audiences.

Humanizing Content on Social Media

Companies with successful brands work with like-minded content creators who believe in creating raw and genuine content, whether for a storytelling campaign or an always-on approach.

No more hold-and-pose Instagram posts highlighting the USPs of a brand, its products, or services. Content creators are now sharing honestly about their initial feelings of skepticism when receiving certain sponsored products from brands. At the end of the day, consumers value honesty. Chances are, the more honest content creators and brands are, the more consumers will take interest and engage.

I agree that Storytelling campaigns can be curated and scripted to a certain extent when sending specific messages to a target audience or when protecting a company’s branding. But what matters most is the alignment, trust, and rapport between brands and content creators.

People follow content creators for their unique personalities, personal opinions, and beliefs. The fact is that content creators themselves know their followers best. A common trend in these successful collaborations is a brand’s trust in its influencer’s creative freedom.

As authentic sharing becomes much more popular, more brands, creators, and consumers are turning to platforms that allow users to express their thoughts and feelings openly without judgement.

Most brands who participated in Kobe’s live poll stated that Instagram remained the most used platform when reaching out to consumers, despite the social network’s declining reach. The popular platform for advertisers and marketers seems to be gradually moving away from the picture-perfect scene, especially with Instagram Stories and the addition of Reels, as it adapts to ever-changing consumer dynamics.

The use of TikTok to view authentic and lighthearted short-form content, on the other hand, has been on the rise.

“Don’t make ads, make TikToks.”

The catchy line makes creators feel like they are free to create content with no heavy edits even if they blundered.

My point is, regardless of the brand, platform, or campaign approach, it’s important and acceptable to reach out with authentic personal emotions and experiences. Perhaps users are merely not doing it right on Instagram?

Be Tasteful, Not Dodgy

Consumers these days are savvy. They are highly exposed to ads, and there is so much content out there that it is easy for them to simply swipe away. Remember the feeling of reading through an interesting long article only to realize it was a sponsored one without disclosure?

If you’re more upfront about ads, people who stay and consume your content are truly engaged and can process your brand information. Ads can be done tastefully, and when content is more relevant and caters to specific situations, it tends to engage.

 

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