In the past year, there have been so many changes in social media, it's beginning to feel like a reawakening. After the birth of social, human beings rode the newness of the media like a wave. We stretched that sucker out as far as it would go, riding it all the way into the shoreline. But then we were left standing on the sand, staring at the horizon. Was anything new coming our way? What was once an exciting new medium quickly began to feel stale. We needed a change.
social media goes stale
When it became clear on social media that users wanted authentic content, companies scrambled to bring it to them. However, they did this in the ways they've always done their marketing. It was produced, formatted, mass distributed, and well, canned. But that's how we had always done our marketing, and it had worked. We sat down in a room together, drummed up ideas, drank too much coffee, created a campaign, and then dumped it into our channels. We thought interaction with our users meant liking their comments, responding to comments with the heart emoji, and sharing video content that had taken time and energy to produce. Users ate it up for a bit, after all, we were interacting with them! And then, as the newness wore off once more, they were quickly wanting more.
The emerging social media trends of 2019
In a scramble to give the people what they want, social media platforms have whipped up some truly awesome features on the last year that have completely changed the game. 2019 brought businesses killer tools like Instagram Stories, Facebook Groups, AI Messenger Chatbots, and Live video. Simultaneously, companies got savvy to the fact that they needed to be doing more from a content standpoint for their audiences. Instagram captions turned from sales-pitches to story-telling opportunities. Companies started answering their prospects at length online, from solving purchasing problems via Twitter, to answering questions with entertaining gifs on Facebook that made businesses feel more like a friend than an enterprise. Authenticity began to bleed into everything social. Companies began using their own employees as influencers, showing behind the scenes, and answering their prospects questions in real-time. And boy, did the people bite hard.
the social media trend of 2019 you can capitalize on right now
Of all the fancy new features on social media this year, the one that seems to be taking the internet most by storm is that of the vertical video. Think of vertical video just as it sounds, a video made to fit on a vertical screen, such as a phone or tablet. It implies a video that has been made quickly with a smartphone and is available mostly on social. As social media moves faster and faster, users are accepting a lower quality video from a smartphone than they are a highly produced one that feels less authentic and timely. It's a trade they're happy to make. When people reference vertical video, it's usually in relation to Instagram/Facebook Stories, Instagram Live, or IGTV. (If you're noticing right about now that Instagram seems to be where it's at, congrats, you get a gold star). Let's look at what each of these are, and some really easy ideas you can steal for your business and start using right now.
How to tap vertical video for your business
Vertical video is one of the easiest and strongest ways to get real with your audience real quick. We're going to break down each type of vertical video on social media and some of our best ideas for how you can start using each today to reach your audience in the way that they're looking for. Let's start with one of the most popular features to be released in the last two years: The Story.
Instagram and Facebook Stories
what it is:
If you've ever opened your Instagram to find the top of the app stocked with a line of little circles of those you follow, encompassed in a thin red line, that's a Story. You may have also recently noticed them on your Facebook home page, as Facebook bought Instagram back in 2012 for a cool $1 billion. (Not bad for 18 months of work.) Stories are short videos you can post to your Instagram that are viewable for 24, and then disappear. You can make as many of these as you want in a day, each one lasting anywhere up to a minute. Recently, Instagram has added nifty features like filters, gifs, stickers, music, polls, and question features to Stories. These features give companies even more ammo to interact directly with their audience.
STEAL THESE STORY IDEAS FOR YOUR BUSINESS:
As a business, there are few better ways to interact directly with your audience than a Story. The following are a few ideas for you to steal and start using now for your business.
Showcase works in progressShow users how you are putting together your latest project. If you're at a photo shoot, take photos or videos of putting together the set. If you're an artist, show some sneak peeks of what you're working on. If you're a marketing firm, take a photo of your team in a brainstorming session. Use the opportunity to tease about the final product and build anticipation.
Show customers using your productPotential buyers are suckers for user-generated content. They won't buy until they know others swear by your product, whether it's through testimonials or product reviews. Which is why featuring your customers in action with your products is so insanely powerful. Whether it's someone wearing your retail brand's clothing, a physical therapy patient making progress, or someone using your skincare products, feature it. Like right now. (Hint: to find this content, you'll need to provide customers with a custom hashtag to use when posting about your product).
Announce new products and offeringsJust added a new product to your online store? Feature it in your story with the ability to "Swipe Up" and view it on your site. Have a product idea but wondering about what your audience will think? Ask them! Use the question feature or poll feature to ask them outright questions about what they want to see, or have them choose between competing features like color, size, style, etc.
Share testimonialsAll the testimonials. Have written testimonials from your clients? Don't leave them on your website alone, spread them like wildfire! Take the time to stick them in a branded template (via apps like Photoshop or Canva), and put them out there for all your potential buyers to see!
What it is:
Instagram Live is very similar to a story as far as how they are created. Whenever you open the camera in the top left corner of your screen that takes you to your Story, you will see a few different options below the camera button. You'll have choices like Type, Live, Normal, Boomerang, Superzoom, and so on. Select Live. Be ready! Once you begin recording, you've just created a live video that will live on your profile for the next 24 hours. For smaller businesses, they can video for up to 10 minutes, while larger companies with more followers can video for up to an hour.
STEAL THESE live IDEAS FOR YOUR BUSINESS:
Instagram will notify some of your followers that you're starting a Live, and invite them to watch before it's gone. Here are a few ways to use the Live feature for your business.
Ask them to ask you questionsLives are one of the best ways to connect directly with your audience in real time. It's one of the only ways to talk directly to your customers without any delay and should be taken serious advantage of. Whether you've had them ask you questions in a Story that you're now answering in a Live, or are simply streaming an "Ask me anything," Live's are a great way to serve your people.
Educate the heck out of your people
Showcasing your process and educating your audience on your process via a Live is one of the best ways to establish yourself as a boss expert in your field. If you're an artist, show them your process for prepping a canvas. If you're a beauty blogger, show the do's and don'ts of applying foundation. If you're a realtor, walk your audience through how you prep a home for an open house.
Explain offers in detailIf you've got a giveaway coming up, a new discount on a product, or a new package structure, Live is a perfect place to explain it more fully. It gives you the time to go into detail, the opportunity to answer any questions your prospects ask about your offer and address any concerns they may have.
Do a joint video with another businessIf there is a business you work closely with, it's always a good idea to consider doing a joint Live with them. The perk of this is that you each reap the viewership of the other business, bringing your double the numbers. Talk about what it's like to work in your industry, common misconceptions or questions you each get, and what they want your customers to know.
WHAT IT IS:
IGTV is similar to Live in that is a longer form video, but this video isn't going anywhere. The acronym stands for Instagram TV and works just like it sounds. You have your own channel to which you can posts videos that viewers can access whenever they'd like. You can post bits of these videos in your actual feed, and invite viewers to continue watching on your channel.
STEAL THESE LIVE IDEAS FOR YOUR BUSINESS:
IGTV grants you the opportunity to create accessible content that remains permanent for your followers to find. It also allows you the chance to include links to your website, helping you guide prospects along your sales funnel. Here are a few ideas for how to best use IGTV for your business.
Repurpose old video or contentVertical video doesn't mean you have to lose any video content you've previously posted on Youtube of WhatsApp. You can repurpose this content and share it again on your IGTV channel. Also consider taking longer form content that already exists, like a blog post, and converting it to video to share with your audience.
Create an educational series your audience can dogearWith a Live, your audience may want to access the content you're discussing, but might not have a window to do so in the 24 hours period it's accessible. While this is the draw of the Live, sometimes you want your audience to be able to hold onto important content. Creating educational videos they can access at a later time is a great way to stock your channel. If your a dietitian, create a handful of videos featuring different recipes. If you're a beauty blogger, film a series of how to create different looks. If you're a personal trainer, put together a log of how proper workout form shorts.
Demonstrate how to use your product with tutorialsUse your channel to showcase different products and how to use them. Really want to up your game? Have an employee do it, instead of you. This taps into the employee advocacy that users trust so deeply. The tutorial allows you to showcase your products different features and have potential buyers see them in action.
Come up with a weekly or monthly seriesThis is technically television, after all. Create a scheduled series your users can anticipate it and look forward to. Of course, you'll want to promote each episode in both your feed and on your stories (see how it all comes together?) and tease your audience. You could feature users who inspire you, share your client's stories, discuss a book you're reading, or share a mantra you've been focusing on. Whatever it is, keep it consistent and user-focused.
What do you think? Seem like something you can snag and start implementing quickly? We promise, it is, and you can. Don't worry too much about your vertical videos being super polished and spiffy, this is all about authenticity, remember? Have any other ways you love to use vertical video? Share your ideas with us in the comments below!
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