Social media is constantly evolving and changing over time. Paying attention to upcoming trends can be vital to your social media survival. We’ve done some research and compiled lists of upcoming trends to watch out for.

The shift of marketing to Generation Z

Currently, you’re probably marketing most effectively toward millennials. That makes sense! Millennials are the people currently buying for their families and kids. However, Gen Z is coming into the workforce very quickly. The youngest millennials are around the age of 23, settling comfortably into their careers and their family lives. Gen Z is getting ready to enter the workforce and will soon have the buying power of the millennial generation. At the ripe young age of 22, Gen Z is something to watch for.

Of course, it is important to market effectively to Gen Z. I know it is hard to put yourselves into that perspective, but adapt to their currently used social media platforms. In essence, use the data that you get from your Gen Z customers to find out where they’re looking for their newest trends. Depending on your business, this could be in a number of places. Facebook still seems to be hot among Gen Z, and Instagram is trending for them. Snapchat is also an up and coming platform for Gen Z. Also, Gen Z wants to be positive about their presentation. Try to make their lives better with your social media marketing.

The trend of your customers to take to social media

You may have noticed that people are now taking to social media before they bother contacting you when they feel they’ve been wronged. Upcoming trends indicate that this is likely to continue and expand. Your customers are more likely to take something to social media than to email you and tell you that you’ve made them unhappy. What this means is that you have two opportunities here: one, to increase awareness around your brand and two, promoting your ability to make things right.

Letting these complaints just hang out on social media is a mistake. Of course, you don’t want to take personal information out to the open web, but you do want to resolve the complaint. Make sure to reach out to your customer via the original method of contact, whether it be Twitter, Facebook, or Google+. When I have a complaint on Twitter, I respond to the complaint and take it to a private method of contact. This is always a good way to go. It keeps the resolution private, but lets your other customers know that you’re responsive to feedback.

Personally engaging content is more important than ever

Yes, Gen Z is getting to a point where their buying power is going to be important, but millennials are still the current demographic that retains the buying power. Because that is the case, we still need to pay attention to our millennial customers. What appeals to millennials the most is personal stories. Millennials want to know how your product impacts the daily life of an average consumer. If you have a product that markets to parents, how will your product make their lives easier? How will your product make their lives better? You’ll notice that viral products generally have a personal vision. The busy mom, the working professional, the student, all of these people exist in your demographic. You just need to figure out how your product will help them live their lives.

Livestreaming is going to be the next big thing

The social media audience seems to have moved on from video content to live video content. The masses are demanding a lot more responsiveness from those seeking to distribute their product to the masses. You may be sensing a theme here, and you’d be right. Live content is the ultimate form of responsive content. You’re getting out there and providing information about your product in a forum that can take live feedback and answer any questions that they want. I’ve been involved in quite a few live broadcasts myself, and the reason that they are so successful is the degree of spontaneity. Because the broadcasts are recorded live initially, the feeling is that you’re talking directly to your audience, even in a recording.

To keep your live recording on track, though, have a general timeline of how your broadcast is going to go. I’ve seen a few live broadcasts that had no plan. These usually will not have a direction. They lack focus. To maintain the integrity of your live broadcast, make sure to keep your ideas on track. It’s ok to go off on a tangent for a moment or two to answer questions, but make sure that you’re still sticking to your points. Don’t engage the trolls or the people who seek to just throw off the broadcast. Think of them as the tourist that is antagonizing the Buckingham Palace guards. They are trying to make you move from your post. You don’t have to indulge them. Keep your broadcast on topic and to the point.

Local marketing is likely to be on the rise

Getting closer to home seems to be likely. In this world, people are looking for the stuff that makes a difference in their lives. Local businesses are more likely to get the support that they need. Therefore, marketing to those around you immediately will get you much needed attention. Particularly if you’re a brick and mortar operation, the word of mouth marketing is critical. Those local platforms become so much more important, and networking becomes the most vital operation in your rulebook. Use your neighbors as a starting point. Start networking with those people directly around your business. Generally, those people will see your posts, then will talk to your neighbors a little further out. And, of course, the rest will be history. Keep your neighbors happy as well.

What we talked about with support is even more important if you’re a local business. If you have a complaint hit your social media, take action immediately. Either reach out to respond, or take steps to correct any issues. This will show the community that you put good faith efforts into addressing customer feedback.