Social media is an ever-changing landscape that can be hard to keep up with, especially when preparing your social media marketing course. New social media trends crop up every few months or so, and you can be sure your students are keeping up. If you need help staying up to date or you’re just looking for easy-to-use resources for your social media marketing course, then look no further. Here are the top three social media trends to cover in your 2021 course with accompanying class activities and assignment ideas.
1. VIDEO CONTENT
TIKTOK: By now you’ve heard of the China-based video content app and the success it’s had in the last three years since its initial launch. TikTok is unlike any other video-sharing platform: videos are 60 seconds or shorter, there are many editing features available in the app, Gen Z makes up the majority of its users, and its parent company is branching out into the music streaming industry.
Marketers can tap into the unique TikTok market in a variety of ways by creating challenges and other social media trends and using celebrities or other influencers to reach certain audiences. Companies such as Chipotle and Fenty Beauty have been among the most successful to break into this platform.
- Activity: Divide students into groups and have each group create a TikTok profile. Each group will decide on a target audience and create a video in an attempt to reach and appeal to that audience. Encourage students to create a specific type of video such as a dance challenge, a cooking video, or something else.
- Additional resources: Ultimate TikTok Guide, The Ultimate TikTok Influencer Marketing Guide, and These Brands Will Inspire Your TikTok Strategy
PERSONALIZED VIDEO MARKETING: Vidyard defines personalized video marketing as, “video that has been customized to each individual viewer. This is achieved by inserting personal elements such as the viewer’s name, email, job title, profile image, company name, logo, etc. directly into the video.” This is easily achieved — there’s no need to make individual videos for each recipient. Instead, use a video personalization platform (such as https://www.idomoo.com/ and https://www.hippovideo.io/video-personalization.html), which will allow you to repurpose the same video.
Repurposing video for different audiences or different individuals will allow your company to leverage personalized videos and garner higher email open rates and higher click-through rates. It will increase engagement and build a relationship with customers. It’s becoming harder and harder to break through the noise of social media and social media trends, but this is one easy way to make direct contact with potential and current customers.
- Activity: Divide students into groups and have them create a personalized video advertising something in the classroom or at home.
- Additional resources: 10 Fun Ways to Use Video Creation in the Classroom, The 3 Components and 4 Best Practices to Creating a Personalized Video Strategy, and Top Video Personalization Platforms
2. INSTAGRAM CHANGES
HIDING LIKES: There have been theories swirling for years surrounding post engagement, influencers, and archived posts. “Facebook’s growth and data science teams developed a hypothesis that getting rid of likes would make users feel less self-conscious when their posts don’t receive much engagement, spurring them to post more,” according to Salvador Rodriguez of CNBC. Therefore, less pressure = more posting.
Instagram is slowly beta testing this hypothesis, but remaining cautious since hidden likes may cause more harm than good to influencers’ profiles. This is because influencers and other Instagram celebrities benefit from “like momentum” referring to other users liking a post simply because they saw another friend already liked that post. Instagram remains confident it will retain its influencer users because they have few other platforms to retreat to, despite influencers becoming such a movement in social media trends in recent years.
- Activity: Lead a class discussion on the relevance and importance of likes. Ask students for their opinions and how that has affected their posting, if at all.
- Additional resources: Instagram is Now Hiding Likes in the US: Here’s Everything You Need to Know, Everything You Need to Know About Instagram Hiding Likes, and Instagram Hiding Likes – What Influencers Really Think.
GROWING POPULARITY OF STORIES: As of the end of 2019, 500 million people used Instagram stories every day, and that number rises every year. Marketers can utilize Instagram Stories by posting daily on their company’s profile to keep the company top of mind for its users or customers. Marketers can also use Stories to launch ad campaigns and save those stories to be featured on their company’s profile.
- Activity: Come up with a variety of presentation topics for your students. Break students into groups and task them with creating a presentation using Instagram Stories to share with the class.
- Additional resources: How to Use Instagram Stories to Build Your Audience, Important Instagram Stats You Need to Know for 2020, and 15 Current Instagram Trends & Forecasts for 2020/2021 According to Experts
3. NICHE MARKETING
MICROTARGETING: How does your social media course define social media? According to Joei Chan of Social Media TodaySocial, media provides a way to connect with “bundles of audiences defined by specific interests.” This is achieved through microtargeting, which segments wide audiences into smaller groups by gathering demographic, behavioral, geographic, and psychological data on consumers. By segmenting customers into smaller groups, marketers can more effectively target those groups and create advertisements based on each group’s interests.
According to Social Media Today, “media diversification means there’s now content available for pretty much any niche group of fans. This makes it crucial for brands to understand online dynamics when promoting their products, as the messaging and context for one ad campaign may not work for another.”
- Activity: Using Facebook for Business Audience Insights, assign students to create a niche audience (based on demographics, page likes, location and language, Facebook usage, and purchase activity) for a certain brand and create an accompanying ad for that audience. This activity should help students identify that one ad doesn’t apply to all audiences, even if multiple audiences are interested in the same product. Alternatively, consider running a few rounds of the Mimic Social simulation in your social media course.
- Additional resources: Microtargeting: Marketing to a Niche Audience, What is Microtargeting and How is it Utilized in a Marketing Strategy?, and What is Microtargeting?
MICRO-INFLUENCERS: With fewer followers than other influencers — usually between 10–100k — micro-influencers attract more loyal followers. In fact, “they have better engagement rates, they’re smaller, target a niche-specific audience, and because their audience trusts their opinions – have higher conversion rates.” via MediaRails. Creating authentic content and nurturing trust makes micro-influencers the masters of word-of-mouth (WOM) marketing. They are also much cheaper than other celebrities like Kylie Jenner or Chris Hemsworth with their millions of followers.
- Activity: Conduct a micro-influencer activity. Ask students to identify a short list of micro-influencers on Instagram and select two sponsored posts to study and compare to two sponsored posts of a mega-influencer on Instagram. Have students create a list of differences and similarities between the posts: engagement (likes and comments), what the image looks like, and how many followers each influencer has.
- Additional resources: Think Micro if You Want to Do Influencer Marketing Right, 13 Influencer Marketing Campaigns to Inspire and Get You Started With Your Own, and The Smallest Viable Audience: How Micro-influencers Are Changing Marketing
Looking for more engaging classroom material on social media?
Check out Stukent’s social media marketing bundle “Essentials of Social Media Marketing” and the Mimic Social simulation for free.