In the fast-paced, ever-changing world of social media marketing, staying ahead of the curve is not just an advantage—it’s a necessity. A recent panel of industry experts — including Dante Nicholas (Spotify), Hannah Peery (Houston Rockets), Jon-Stephen Stansel (Chaotic Good Studios) and Gina Salvatore (Tampa Bay Lightning) — shared their perspectives on the future of social media marketing, offering invaluable insights to help us navigate this dynamic landscape.
If you missed the webinar you can register to watch the replay here.
Instagram Threads: A New Frontier or Just Another App? 🧵
Instagram Threads, the latest messaging app from Meta, aims to offer a more intimate social experience. While still in its nascent stage, it’s already generating buzz among marketers.
Data released this year showed that Threads had over 100 million sign-ups in its first five days. On July 7th, it was averaging 21 minutes in daily usage. However, this dropped to just over six minutes a week later.
🗳️ So it wasn’t surprising to us when, in a live poll, 91% of our attendees said they haven’t consistently created content on Threads since its launch.
“I think Meta is going to put its weight behind it, similar to what they did with Reels,” says J.S., an industry expert. “If you don’t have a presence on Threads, you’re not going to get reach over on Instagram or on Facebook.”
Among all the panelists, the consensus was that they didn’t have high hopes for Threads in the immediate future. However, they anticipate that Meta has big plans for it—we’ll have to wait and see!
The Transformation of Twitter into “X” 🤯
Twitter’s rebranding to “X” was a significant move in the platform’s history, aiming to redefine its identity and appeal to a broader audience. Over the years, we’ve seen Twitter transition from a microblogging site to a major news and social interaction platform. The rebranding was a bold step, signalling a desire to reinvent and stay relevant in a competitive market.
🗳️ In a live poll, 93% of attendees said they still refer to the app as Twitter, not its new name “X”.
However, it’s not just the branding and name that’s changed. The panelists spoke about the repercussions of Elon’s actions and behavior, sharing that since the takeover, it’s created uncertainty amongst consumers and brands who actively use it as part of their strategy.
Hannah shared, “We’ve experienced some hesitance from partners as far as sponsorships go on Twitter. The biggest change we’ve experienced has been in terms of monetization.”
So it seems it’s going to take some time to rebuild the trust with users and get buy-in for the new brand.
The TikTok Revolution: More Than Just Viral Dances 🎶
TikTok has fundamentally changed the social media landscape. It’s not just a platform for viral dances; it’s a hub for brand discovery and meaningful engagement. “TikTok has changed the way we approach storytelling,” notes Gina.
Brands are starting to see the value in connecting with a human rather than just being a brand. They understand that they need to approach TikTok differently and they’re leaning into joining in on conversations and engaging with people to build relationships and intentionally showing they’re relatable in trends and content that fits in with their brand or customer.
Dante shared, “Tik Tok has been good for changing the psychology of marketers. C-suite level people are more open to organic, raw, comfortable-feeling content. When we’re doing content with music artists or talent, even with Spotify, we’re thinking about how to make it look like it’s shot on a phone versus a $50,000 video production.”
The popularity with the app has created other changes marketers are managing, particularly around search. With TikTok experiencing a 70% increase in search queries amongst Gen Z users in the app, it’s clear that the platform is becoming a significant player in the discovery phase of the consumer journey.
🗳️ There’s clearly still some work to do for the app though as Google took the lead amongst our webinar attendees with 57% saying their go-to channel was Google and 33% said their go-to channel was TikTok.
Empowering the Creator Economy👏
The creator economy is booming, with estimates suggesting that 50 million people worldwide now identify as creators. The creator economy could double in size over the next five years to $480 billion by 2027 from $250 billion today.
You can understand the forecast in growth for the creator economy when understanding cases like ‘Tube Girl’ who recently went viral. Sabrina, a 24-year-old law graduate from the UK who gained fame for her confident, unapologetic lip syncing selfie videos on the London Tube. Has become the face of MAC Cosmetics, walked in London Fashion Week, and recently featured in the Boss fashion show in Milan — all in the space of a few weeks!
Dante highlights the shift in how we view these individuals: “Creators are not just influencers; they are brand builders.” This rise in the creator economy is changing the dynamics of brand collaborations, offering a more authentic way to engage with audiences. “Creators bring a level of authenticity that brands can’t replicate,” adds Hannah, emphasizing the value of this burgeoning economy.
🗳️ Our attendees couldn’t agree more with 85% saying that they believe creators are the new power play for brands.
J.S. was able to share his experience from the other side as a creator. “HootSuite approached me for a B2B marketing influencer campaign. It was my first time doing any sort of creator or influencer work. Being on the other side of the table was educational. I understood what goes through the minds of creators. It’s helpful for social media managers to sit on the opposite end to understand the process better.”
Navigating the Legal Minefield⛔️
As social media platforms become more integrated into our marketing strategies, understanding the legal landscape is crucial.
J.S. referenced a meme trend he had seen some brands take part in. “The Getty Images watermark is right there; we should all know that Getty does not fool around with copyright — Ignorance is not an option when it comes to legal restrictions.”
Gina adds, “a solid understanding of legal boundaries is essential to avoid potential pitfalls and costly mistakes.”
In addition to image rights, brands are also facing music licensing restriction with the rise of TikTok.
🗳️ In a poll we asked our attendees, 35% said that they had used unlicensed music in content and 65% shared that they hadn’t.
It’s been an area of content creation that social teams have had to learn as the landscape’s evolved due to the legal consequences that come with it.
Gina shared,“When we started the account in 2021, we had a couple of videos go out with unlicensed music. Our legal team reached out and asked us to take them down. We stick to using the commercial music library, but it’s challenging.”
Hannah explained how the Houston Rockets introduced Clutch City Beats, their own record label with five music producers creating music just for them. Because of this they’ve been able to use their own music on social, in the arena, commercials — pretty much anything!
Whilst we know that social teams feel a sense of pressure or urge to jump on trends to stay relevant, that it’s really something they should approach seriously. Or even think of other creative ways they can take part and make it their own — after all, no one wants a lawsuit as a result of a 15 second tiktok video!
AI: The Double-Edged Sword 👽
Artificial Intelligence is making its mark on the industry, with 33% of marketers using AI to generate ideas or inspiration for content.
“I haven’t used AI a ton for work, but some of our content creators have used it for sound editing, and it has made their lives a little easier,” shares Hannah.
However, the jury is still out on whether AI can truly replicate human authenticity. “I don’t think you can be authentic with AI yet,” cautions JS, adding that AI could be a “great assistant” but not a replacement for human creativity.
🗳️ The results from our in-webinar poll completely supported what our panelists said, with 52% of people saying that AI is enhancing their social media efforts and 48% of people saying it’s complicating it.
It seems that AI is a buzzword we’re seeing everywhere but for social media managers, the jury is still out! We’ll have to see where AI takes us in the coming months and years and if it really can help lighten the load that many social teams have to carry!
The future of social media marketing is a complex tapestry of exciting opportunities and formidable challenges. From the rise of new platforms like Instagram Threads to the booming creator economy, the avenues for innovation are endless. However, we must tread carefully through challenges like legal restrictions and the ethical use of AI. As the landscape continues to evolve, staying informed and adaptable is not just a strategy; it’s a necessity.
You can watch the full discussion and dive deeper into everything we uncovered with our experts here.
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