Key takeouts from Hootsuite’s social media trends report

From brands becoming more human and rebuilding trust to the need for closing the ads gap. Here are the key takeouts from the newly released survey from the social media management platform.

#1 Rebuilding trust

2018 has been a tough year for trust on social media. Facebook, among others, has been in press in the wake of Cambridge Analytica and a Congressional hearing. The platform faces huge amounts of pressure from its users. 

As the report points, smart brands are focusing less on maximising reach and more on generating transparent, quality engagement. What’s more, “earning trust and providing real value are key for continued engagement.”  

Some of the recommendations for brands from Hootsuite for building trust include creating a branded hasthag for Instagram, participating (or running) a Twitter chat, or building a Facebook group around a core interest of audience. 

#2 Storifying social

64 per cent of survey respondents have either implemented Instagram Stories into their social strategy or plan to do so in the next 12 months, according to Hootsuite. 

Stats also show that millions of users watch stories every day. 

As the survey points out, stories feel real, immediate, and intensely personal. We’ve seen them on Snapchat, then consequently on Instagram, and Facebook, and recently, even on LinkedIn

#3 Closing the ads gap

78 per cent of respondents have either invested in social advertising or plan to do so in the next 12 months, while 64 per cent identify decline in organic reach and the need to increase paid budgets as big challenges moving forward. 

There’s no doubt we live in the era of paid social where organic content isn’t as effective as a few years ago. Marketers, in order to reach the audiences, apart from budget, also need apt targeting, creative, and investment of time.

#4 Improved social shopping tech fuelling sales

According to Hootsuite, 28 per cent of the respondents have either implemented social commerce or plan to do so in the next 12 months, whilst 17 per cent have either implemented shoppable galleries or plan to do so in the next 12 months. 

Facebook’s Marketplace and Instagram’s shoppable posts delivered many sales this year for brands in the last year. Those two are not only platforms implementing technology bridging the gap between social media and commerce. 

70 per cent of China’s Gen Z now opt to buy directly from social platforms. As report considers, this is due to the mix of peer engagement and strong visuals which has made purchasing goods via social so dominant. Hootsuite predicts that this technology is due to change ecommerce landscape across the globe. 

#5 Shift from public to private spaces

With the raise of messaging apps (see: Reuters Institute Digital News Report), we’re now moving from sharing to messaging. Marketers seem to slowly adapt to this change, with 46 per cent of the Hootsuite survey respondents having either implemented messaging apps or are planning to do so within the next 12 months. 

One-on-one social experiences with brand that consumers demand are a huge challenge for marketers. They need to be careful not to intrude users with irrelevant messaging, ensuring there’s a clear context for contacting people and being part of the conversation. 

This trend brings a lot of new opportunities for brands. As Facebook’s study finds, 69 per cent of US respondents say that directly messaging a company helps them feel more confident about the brand. 

For the report, Hootsuite used data from over 3,000 customer surveys, interviews with industry analysts, and market research. 

You can download the full report from here.

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