How Marketing is Adjusting to the Shift in Social Media Following Trends

Recently, a meme made its way around social media. Stop following the filtered Instagram models, it admonished, and start following luminaries and intellects — people that have more intellectual power. This recommendation is a reflection of a shift in social media behaviors, and it’s one that marketers would do well to monitor and adjust their strategies as such.

Keeping abreast of consumer behavior shifts is one way that marketers can stay in tune with their audiences. For example, much of the language, particularly among millennial-aged consumers, is now shifting more to self-care and acceptance. Now, brands are becoming more inclusive in their marketing, striving not to alienate any groups of consumers who have felt silenced in years past.

How does a marketing strategy need to shift when bearing this change in mind? As more users on social media begin to curate their feeds a bit differently, removing the content that makes them feel bad about themselves (that shiny, filtered Instagram influencer may not make the cut) and instead filling it with more content they can relate to and that inspires them to improve their lives in some way.

With this in mind, brands should create content that doesn’t put the product or service out of reach of the consumer but rather places it right in their hands. For example, a brand that utilizes the services of a celebrity influencer may have difficulty reaching that consumer who doesn’t feel they should spend the money on the product or can’t see how it relates to them and their “normal” life.

Instead, consider appealing to consumers by relating the product or service to their needs, not those of someone more “popular” than they are. Create content that isn’t so shiny or filtered — make it more real and authentic.

How does a brand accomplish this? Even a simple aesthetic shift can make content more relatable. Instead of going for the perfect airbrushed look or the perfectly arranged product flat lay, try creating some behind the scenes content or posting a blooper or a “fail”. Brands may be surprised at how much showing the imperfections can actually bring a consumer closer.

This may not be a possibility for every business, and that’s perfectly acceptable. Another way to shift the marketing is to change the persona that the brand’s “voice” takes on. An audience persona is crafted to create the ability to speak to a specific type of consumer. This includes the tone and language used in copy, hashtags that are applied on social media posts, and email marketing sent to distribution lists.

Audience personas are an excellent way to hone in a marketing plan’s messaging, which should be reflective of the current consumer market.

And of course, working with influencers should also be taken into account in this new age of authenticity and realness. Perhaps there are influencers who have more authentic pull — someone who posts more about their work more than their appearance, for example. This is not intended to drag someone who has made a living out of marketing their appearance. There will always be a need for these types of aspirational influencers — but the industry is also shifting to include a wider array of potential influence. And brands should bear these shifts in mind when creating a marketing strategy that converts.

Ronn Torossian

Ronn Torossian is the founder and CEO of 5WPR and one of the most well-respected Public Relations professionals in the United States. Ronn is the author of "For Immediate Release: Shape Minds, Build Brands, and Deliver Results with Game-Changing Public Relations."

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