It happened again. Just when we had a firm grasp on the latest social media trends, the landscape shifted. And for any organization looking to reach new followers and increase engagement, staying up to speed on recent updates and trends is imperative.
So let’s talk about what’s happening…
Just in the last six months, Twitter has become X and is showing some significant changes but without much engagement. The platform seems to be prioritizing video, which could potentially compete with YouTube down the road, but for now, we’ll ‘wait and see.’
Then there’s Meta and the new Twitter (now X) copycat called Threads. Threads is a text-only platform but without as many features as X. Although Threads caught much attention and curiosity at first, engagement soon fizzled. It doesn’t seem like something organizations should be prioritizing at the moment.
Amid these platform changes, one trend we’ve seen remain the same is the continued growth of short-form, vertical video.
In fact, 75% of social media engagement happens through this specific format.
First there was the explosion of TikTok, then the emergence of reels on both Instagram and Facebook, and now YouTube shorts.
Today, the organizations that are thriving on social are the ones who are unlocking their rhythms around creating consistent short-form vertical video that engages their audiences.
If you want to tap into these trends and elevate your social media presence, here are five tips that will help…
1) Define your audience.
One of the biggest mistakes an organization can make is trying to be everywhere.
Start with these questions: Who are we trying to reach? Is it a missional audience, a supportive audience, or a mix of both? What do we want them to do?
For instance, if you are trying to grow awareness with a younger audience, you might choose SnapChat or TikTok as primary platforms to distribute content. But if your focus is fundraising with an older demographic, you might choose something different like Facebook or Instagram.
Once you decide who you want to reach and how you want to reach them, choose 1-2 primary platforms. Then, take what you have already created and repurpose it to other platforms so you have a presence there. At that point, you can monitor upticks and see where the best engagement lies.
2) Start with what you have.
Let’s take the famous YouTuber Mr. Beast who has over 182 million subscribers. Do you know where he started? On his phone. When he made his first fifty dollars, he bought a microphone and connected it to his phone. After he reached 10,000 subscribers on YouTube, he bought a computer.
Start with what you have.
If you have a smartphone, you already have everything you need to create both video and audio content. As your ability to produce good content grows, there are countless tools and affordable hardware available such as microphones, webcams, video editors, and more to help you produce meaningful content and reach a greater audience. And if you still don’t feel like you’re ready, simply hit ‘record’ and just start creating. Sometimes it comes with reps. You may record some things that immediately go in the trash… but keep going!
Because if you do nothing, you’re guaranteed to reach no one.
3) Repurpose content via short-form vertical video clips.
Repurposed content (sermons for example) in places like podcast platforms is performing well. But more recently, speaking into a camera with a thirty to sixty-second inspirational message is outperforming everything.
In addition, short clips from sermons or podcasts in a vertical video form have taken off. Not only do they perform well, but once created on Instagram for example, you can then turn around and use that same piece of content on Meta, X, LinkedIn, YouTube, TikTok, etc.
All these platforms seem to be prioritizing this same form of content.
4) Ride the YouTube wave!
YouTube could currently be described as the most important platform for almost any organization. It’s also the platform that will most likely be around in the next five years plus, because there is not (yet) a legitimate competitor. With platforms like Meta, we’ve seen the trends rise and fall and with Instagram and TikTok, we’ve seen the rise and now the plateau. Not so with YouTube.
The average person on Instagram spends about 20 minutes a day on the platform, while the average person on YouTube spends over an hour a day on the platform. The YouTube sensation started on a computer, moved to mobile, and now more people than ever are consuming YouTube content on their televisions.
There has been a shift from silly, ninety-second cat videos to now long-form, hour-long+ content that people are consuming on all devices. They have also essentially copied TikTok with the popular YouTube shorts. It’s horizontal long form for TV and vertical short form for mobile.
Not to mention, everyone is on it. While other platforms are often specific to a certain generation, people of all ages are engaging on YouTube. It has the most attention and isn’t going anywhere anytime soon.
5) Pay attention to what’s coming…
Do those letters scare you? Don’t let them. Rather than replacing everything we do, Artificial Intelligence has the potential to be a very helpful tool when it comes to recommended scripts, email titles, editing videos, posting at the right times, emailing content to the right people at the right times, and so much more.
As leaders, we need to lean into it but not get overly excited about it. Keep listening, tinkering, and learning. Ask the question, ‘Where can AI be a support in my organization? Where is the need?’
But do it cautiously. AI is the tangible innovation that we’ll be watching for the next three to five years and it will shape almost everything we do from accounting to marketing. It has the potential to truly take a load off and help us do what we do more efficiently.
Try implementing these ideas into your social strategy and see where it takes you. But no matter what you take or leave from these tips, keep prioritizing short-form vertical video.
There’s no better place to be.
Nils Smith is Chief Strategist Social Media+Innovation for Dunham+Company. For more insight and tips around recent trends in social media, be sure to listen to the Cause+Effect podcast episode with Nils Smith and Trent Dunham, Is It Time for You to Get on Threads?