Ep 14: Serious Social – Trends from TikTok to takeaways

Updates on how user numbers and engagements are growing on certain channels, suggestions about getting started on TikTok and Pinterest, and recent data on sectors like food and drink and travel as the UK starts to tentatively open up again.

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Full Transcript

Welcome to the Serious Social podcast, created by the straight-talking social media experts at immediate future.

In this episode, we’re talking trends. Be prepared as it’s packed with stats, and get in touch if you want to know more about TikTok!

Welcome to Serious Social Live – I’m Belle Lawrence. If you have any questions while we’re live, just drop them in the comments and the team will come back to you, or of course, send us a message afterwards!

Let’s get stuck in without any further ado.

Today we are talking about trends – you’re going to get some updates on how user numbers and engagements are growing on certain channels, suggestions about getting started on TikTok and Pinterest, and recent data on sectors like food and drink and travel as the UK starts to tentatively open up again.

If you haven’t been paying attention, and let’s face it, everyone has had a lot on their plates recently, social media use and engagement has grown hugely in the last couple of months.  

Recent data showed that general engagement rates are up 61%, Twitter had its biggest-ever quarter and users climbed by 25%, and consumption of live streaming has increased by 66%… a little clue as to why we’re doing these live streams! But there are two channels that have everyone talking… TikTok and Pinterest.

Pinterest engagement is up 75% – it’s huge. While people have been home, they’re looking for inspiration around food, health and fitness and home decor, as well as loads of other things. Now, while some debate whether it’s a social channel or not, it certainly allows users to follow each other and share inspiration to AND from the channel. On average, new content lasts over 100 days which is a lot longer than some of the other channels, and did you realise that 97% of user searches do not include a brand name? It really is all about the audience and inspiration.

If you’re using Instagram as a business tool, which is effectively a visual channel, there could be a case for Pinterest, too. Create a business account so you can see analytics, and they’ve recently launched a self-serve paid platform, with Shopify for retailers. Helping users to discover new and inspiring content by using hashtags could be a great way to reach a brand new audience.

Let’s talk about TikTok. Users increased by 34% in April, and there’s no sign of its popularity decreasing. You may know it as the channel for silly dances and cute comedy, but it really can be used for so much more than that! If the World Health Organisation can help us all be responsible around Covid-19 using TikTok, then surely brands can get in on the action, right? 

Well… it will take some strategy of course – like any channel, brands have to decide why they are on there, what their personality will be, what content will resonate – lots of users are on there for pure entertainment, but as the channel matures, how-to and helpful content is really gaining traction. This week I’ve been working on a 2-stage launch into TikTok for a client so here are a few thoughts for you.

First – TikTok videos are 15s or up to 60s long – what does that remind you of? Instagram stories (and, p.s. YouTube stories! Have you tried those yet?). My first recommendation is to look at your content store for evergreen 15s vertical videos and consider what might work well on TikTok. 

Now that you can load videos via the desktop site, it’s an easy first step to take – decide which hashtags you’ll use, add a short caption, because they’re shorter on here than any other channel, and away you go. 

The algorithm works by understanding the content and length of video that a user watches, then simply serves more of the same to them on the “For You Page” – home feed, essentially. Once they are following you, they’ll see it on a separate stream. Videos don’t really expire – there are no dates shown on the For You Page, so a video could trend weeks or months later than when it’s loaded – so start with evergreen content.

I could probably spend an hour just talking about TikTok, including the new ads platform *excited dance* – if you’d like to hear more, I’d be very happy to do a separate session – just let us know via the comments or DM me on social.

Quite apart from Pinterest and TikTok, all the channels have been releasing upgrades left-right and centre! There are now so many more people using Instagram stories that the Insta-bods are testing a double-height story row, Facebook are testing a voice-only conversations app in the States AND launched Rooms functionality for group videos. The list goes on – by the way, the best way to keep up is catching our Social Snapshot every Wednesday across our channels.

Right, back to trends – I mentioned that we’ve all had a lot on our plates, and, in fact, I do mean that literally, too! It’s been great to be able to work out at home with so many fab PT’s and yoga lessons online – in fact, Google searches for this are up 31% YoY, but I’m afraid that stats are telling us that we’re also eating and drinking more! 50% of us have increased their alcohol consumption and 43% of people in Europe say they are snacking more. While pubs and bars are still closed, there’s been a rise in mentions of cocktail recipes – mentions went up 71% between March and May, compared to the previous 3 months. Savvy brands who haven’t been able to create online shops or deliver to their customers have been sharing videos with great recipes to inspire us in the kitchen and the drinks shelf! 

The trend for online shopping and delivery is unlikely to go away anytime soon, with 20% of us switching, but when the shops do open up, 62% of shoppers who have used more local businesses during lockdown have promised to stay loyal to them and continue to support them. In general, there’s a global trend starting to emerge around sustainability and people’s views of the social, economic and ecological value of food production are shifting. Many consumers now say that they are more likely to focus spending on necessary food products, cook more with the new skills they’ve learned, and waste less food. 29% of people want to buy more local food, and I’m sure I’m not the only one preferring the deli’s and the farm shops to the supermarket these days.

Food brands have been forced to make fast changes to their supply chain – just recently, Heinz launched an online shop for their products in just 5 days, and Nestle will be partnering with Deliveroo to allow our favourite drinks and snacks to land straight on our doorstep – great for all those snackers out there! GWI reports that 12% of us in the UK use food delivery services more frequently these days.

With that all in mind, whether you’re a retail brand or not, you need to think about how you can reach your audience in their homes. Do you have product tags already on Instagram? If so, Facebook shops will be available to you in the coming weeks – you’ll create it on Insta first. For those who don’t have this already, it’ll be a few months till Facebook Shops will be available, but if you’re keen, then start working on your Facebook channel for Shopify. When it comes to e-commerce, you need to be savvy with your tracking, too – make sure you have pixels set up on your site, as well as for basket abandonment and other metrics to ensure you can use retargeting. We’ve got a video and a podcast about Data for social if you’d like to know more.

Research released by PWC on the 4th June showed that while some consumers are cutting back on spending, with some very real fears around job loss and financial instability, some have increased their savings. 21% of those surveyed have increased their current account value and 8% of all surveyed are planning to spend some or all of this extra cash. 

Where is this cash going? Well, top of the list is home improvements, renovations, furnishings and appliances – if you’re like me, you’ve been thinking about painting a wall for 12 weeks, but haven’t actually done it! 

That’s a big one, with 61%… I’m thinking Pinterest is becoming more necessary here! – next, a quarter of people will spend on clothes – could this be related to extra snacking, perhaps? Electronics is next, then it’s pretty even stevens on 16% choosing a holiday and 15% a car. 

Usually, travel would be high up the list for the disposable income of course – but in the UK it’s really a case of watching this space to see how things develop – if you’re a travel brand on social, it’s important to note that 87% of holidaymakers are interested in practical tips and information – be consistent, be as transparent as possible and keep the inspiration, hope and joy in your posts. 

Last on this list for spending is eating out and socialising, again, with the difficulties around social distancing, it’s hard for consumers to see how they can enjoy food and gatherings outside their homes again. So, we’re back to the cooking, eating and drinking at home trend there. By the way – searches on Google are up 93% YoY for this topic.

As our digital audience grows, there’s increased demand for content. If that presents your business with an opportunity, then social is the first route to generating top-of-funnel interest. 

Brands really need to follow the data – pay attention to the trends and then create hyper-relevant campaigns. 

If this has inspired you to get serious about social, or simply to trial TikTok and you want more advice – get in touch. Thank you for tuning in this week, set your diaries for the same time next week when it’ll be CJ’s turn to inspire, haha, no pressure!

Don’t forget you can catch up on all our Serious Social episodes on YouTube or as a Podcast and follow us on social, too!

See you soon

If you’re after more know-how to break the social boring, subscribe now and check out the show notes for links to our website and social profiles.

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