How to set yourself apart from the competition on social media outlets

Connecting with your customer base can be challenging given how inundated we are with social media posts: whether it is through Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn or emerging platforms such as TikTok. With the rise of social media, everyone has been given a voice online, making it harder to stand out and be relevant. For brands to generate awareness and be relevant to consumers means staying on top of the ever-changing social media landscape. What worked a few months ago is not necessarily going to work today, meaning companies need to stay ahead of the trends in order to stand out to their audience.

Following, we will discuss three trends to follow when generating social media marketing material that coincides with three up and coming trends: minimalism, wellness and personal connection.

Minimalism

People want simplicity: not only with the content with which they interact, but also in how they approach their lives. When serving up new content, always strive for simple imagery and direct video content. Technology continues to have an increased presence in our lives, making us feel increasingly distant from the physical world.

By decluttering the social content you post on your accounts, you can create a consistent powerful message across all of your digital touchpoints: including social media platforms, digital ads, and your website. The following post from Tasty blurs the background to create negative white space around the focal point (instructional text), while the post from Home Depot presents a less streamlined, more complex, and cluttered image:

Sources: Tasty, Facebook 11/11/19; and The Home Depot, Facebook 11/8/19

Straightforward, simple to understand content will increase engagement with your audience. In many instances, “less is more” – as said by Ludwig Mies Van der Rohe, a German-American architect that helped pioneer the minimalist movement.

Wellness & Nature

People are looking to seek balance through nature: as a way to counteract the stressful, technical and disconnected worlds in which they live. According to Janine Garner, “What you actually need for exponential growth is a network of transformational rather than transactional connections. It’s about connecting in the right way, engaging in two-way conversations and sharing value with each other.” The following Instagram post offers organic coffee and connects to nature in a clean and simple way:

Source: Amy’s Drive Thru, Instagram 11/12/19

The products and services that draw attention on social media increasingly represent the desire to de-stress, and feel reconnected with nature and natural products. Wellness does not only represent the physical; but includes mental, emotional and spiritual states. Content that connects an audience with this balance speaks volumes, making for powerful marketing efforts. The following example on Groupon promotes a winter getaway, using nature and an outdoor activity to promote a vacation package:

Source: @GrouponUS, “Doesn’t this just wanna make you buy a new pair of skis? Facebook, 11/9/2019

In short, use imagery that is calming, clean and up-lifting when it appropriately reflects your brand message. Clean, simple and calming messaging draws your audience to interact and engage with your brand.

Engagement via Personal Connection

The amount of technology that we interact with on a daily basis can be overwhelming. People crave personal interaction, which can be accomplished using social media as a tool to interact with others. Marketers can inspire interaction through content such as instructional videos, ratings and reviews, or requests for tips or suggestions on both products and services that you have to offer. While the following example from Starbucks draws criticism from followers wanting other beverages from years past, it appropriately sets the stage for indulging in specialty holiday coffee:

Source: @Starbucks, “Coffee. Mint. Chocolate. Whip. Woo! The #PeppermintMocha is back.” Instagram, 11/8/2019

Likewise, personalization can promote feelings of personal connection. The following landing page below from Stitch Fix highlights an inclusive, inviting approach, with main categories for men, women and kids helping to offer a personalized shopping experience for those respective shoppers:

Source: www.stitchfix.com

Summary

How your brand messaging is designed will determine how compelled your viewers are to engage with your content. Images should be clean, crisp, and concise in order to capture the attention of your audience and future audiences. A simple message presented through calming, yet highly effective means can be a powerful tool for engagement with your audience. In addition, being aware of environmental and cultural trends that are grabbing the attention of consumers can have a strong impact on your marketing.

Being mindful of the things that mean the most to your audience when developing the imagery and video content should be top priority to your marketing efforts. Set yourself apart from the pack by engaging your audience with clean, calming, and consistent social media marketing content, and watch your brand continue to grow.

Authors: Shannon Olear and Matt Sharritt, Ph.D. (CueCamp)