What comes to mind when you think of Wendy’s?
Square hamburgers? Four for $4? “Fresh, never frozen”?
Maybe. But for me, a woman working in digital PR (who happens to be vegetarian) the first thing that comes to my mind is their trolling of fast food counterparts, McDonald’s, Burger King, iHop, etc, on Twitter. Who would’ve thought we would see the day where our go-to French-fry-and-Frosty restaurant would be making fun of the famous Golden Arches and others online? I guess that’s 2018 for you.
— Wendy’s (@Wendys) March 6, 2018
What does this have to do with communications? Well, along with strong visuals, augmented reality, and social messaging, lighthearted & fun brand interaction happens to be one of the top trends right now. Let’s take a look at the top social media trends of the summer that we have a feeling will be sticking around for many seasons to come.
So long are the days of posting about promotions, holiday well-wishes, and services offered. Now more than ever, brands are engaging in a more human-like way. We’re seeing more companies cracking jokes and engaging in conversations with other brands and users alike. While this obviously isn’t the first time companies have had fun on social media, brands are now starting to create entirely new social media personas. Just take Wendy’s or Pop-Tarts for example. These are just two of many big-name brands that have made a name for themselves recently through their use of humor on social- and people are loving it.
Can’t wait to try a burger from the place that decided pancakes were too hard.
— Wendy’s (@Wendys) June 11, 2018
It’s not that good
— Pop-Tarts (@PopTartsUS) July 3, 2018
While navigating the right things to say and joke around about on social media can get tricky, when they’re not trolling other users, they’re winning in the witty social media game with memes. Just take this tweet from Netflix upgrading Five Guys to the Fab Five:
— Netflix US (@netflix) August 2, 2018
Making sure you post nice-looking images isn’t a new concept, but brands and users are now spending more time deliberately choosing tools they can use to present their images in a new way.
As new features are constantly being released with each social media app, users are also finding new ways to use older features too. For example, users are taking advantage of the Instagram “grid”. When you visit a profile, you’ll find a grid of the users’ nine most recent posts. Instead of posting a full picture in each post, they will post a segment of the overall photo like a puzzle, so when someone visits their profile, they see one full picture.
Additionally, users are also able to make a bigger visual impact with Instagram’s new slider feature. You can now either post a sequence of different pictures, or split up one long photo into multiple slides to give the effect of one continuous picture, like the post seen below.
Although using strong imagery is generally more applicable to visual apps like Instagram, or Snapchat, don’t refrain from using visuals in all your posts. Accompanying a post with an image will still get you more clicks and engagements.
Taking a Stance
While lightheartedness is definitely appreciated, social media users are also beginning to hold brands accountable. Now more than ever, users want to know that the brands and companies they love also align with their personal beliefs and values. We’re at a point in time where our timelines are so filled with political debates – from environmental regulations, to gender equality, to immigration – that it’s impossible to ignore. If you think you’re making everyone happy by staying out of the debate, it may be time to rethink your approach. Not saying anything at all could end up being more detrimental to your company than if you were to make a statement.
Here are some examples of how companies are taking stands on social media:
we all pay the price when women are charged more. that’s why we dropped the price of chicken fries to $1.69 for everyone. pic.twitter.com/0h3CtaxPaR
— Burger King (@BurgerKing) July 26, 2018
We’re matching donations to @RefugeeAssist up to $150,000 USD total in support of systemic change & legal pathways to safety for refugees and other vulnerable individuals affected by the Travel Ban. Join us by donating here: https://t.co/0B0lmsj7kd
— Airbnb (@Airbnb) June 27, 2018
Augmented Reality on Social Media
One of the most recent technologies to come in and change the social media game is augmented reality. Want to see what a pair of sunglasses would look like on you? What about a shade of lipstick? There’s augmented reality for that.
We’ve come a long way since the days of Snapchat’s rainbow barf. Now, thanks to collaborations like Michael Kors and Facebook, you can try on sunglasses in the comfort of your own home with just the click of a button. Big believers in AR, Facebook isn’t showing any signs of stopping anytime soon as they are rolling out campaigns for Sephora, Pottery Barn, and Wayfair later in the year as well.
Whether it’s coming up with witty tweets or using visuals to make an impact, this year’s summer social media trends have been anything but boring. Looking to implement a fresh, engaging social media plan for your company? Let The Moak Group help.