The internet, online marketing and digital media have really grown to new levels year by year and even until quite recently, social media content has been quite short-lived. The content that was created, way drowned out by the mass of information and the more that was created the further your message was lost.
However the popular social networks are now finally giving some order to all of the mayhem, and really turning social media content into a strong and effective research tool for advertisers.
This is such a powerful tool as social media is full of user-generated content from all sorts of different people including digital creatives, businesses and your target audience. The result of this is an enormous amount of information in the world, but more specifically, you can also look into what things people worldwide (or in your city) are talking about on any particular day.
This kind of information can be very useful for marketing your business and by looking for timely consumer trends you have new ways in which you can engage with your online audience.
All throughout the day, every day of the year, social media users are talking about 100s of different topics; however, the topics which are mentioned the most move to the top and become ‘trending’ topics. This can be seen on both the likes of Twitter and Facebook. With both having evolved to show unique trends to its own platform. This alongside each new and improved search function has continued to improve, how easy and useful each network has become for research.
1. Twitter: real-time trends
Twitter, in my opinion is perhaps the best network for researching real-time trends and conversations. This is true for all sorts of projects and topics, however more so with sports, news and entertainment. An average Twitter user will be mostly engaged in conversations around large-scale live events.
Then Twitter’s hashtag system turns keywords into search results. Through these results you will likely see posts from Journalists, media personalities and publications who are all frequently active on social media, therefore making Twitter an excellent resource to collect real-time information.
Twitter have now took another leap by adding a live-content category, this allows Periscope streaming video to play directly on your feed. This move indicates the platform’s ongoing strategy to capitalize on its real-time nature.
2. Facebook: trend evolution
Previously Facebook was not the most searchable social network, however with it’s new improved search tool and it’s suggestions and results from public posts, it has become a more useful tool. Twitter thrives in the moment, with conversations and trending topics not usually lasting very long whereas on Facebook they appear to have a longer life span.
Keep in mind however that with Facebook search results you can only see public content, or that of your friends. So, although Facebook is still the largest social network, the majority of its public posts will likely come from publications, businesses and public figures, with most regular users set to private, rendering them unsearchable.
3. Instagram and Pinterest: trends In visual mobile content
Unlike the last 2 networks, Pinterest and Instagram are both purely image-based platforms. This therefore means that for finding topic related pictures they are most useful. Instagram revamped its app in June 2015 to help users discover images easier. Now meaning that users are able to discover trending hashtags and explore new posts based on what they already follow and like.
Like with Facebook and Twitter, Instagram’s search tool is powered mostly by hashtags, Pinterest however has become a well-organized archive of images which are searchable through user curation and very clever infrastructure.
Moving on to Snapchat, this app hasn’t really been engrossed by business owners and marketers looking to research just yet. The disappearing feature makes it more difficult for brands to analyse what content is being created and what is trending.
On the other hand, by looking at the “live” section it offers an insight into how users get involved with celebrities and pop culture with events such as the VMA Awards.
Overall, brands that are actively and regularly monitoring social media and it’s trends will sooner uncover insights on their target market and what content appeals to users. Then using this to structure their content strategy and moving forward their brand positioning.