Earlier this year I found myself inspired by my sister’s decision to take a social media break. Her discoveries got me thinking about how much social media influences our decisions, and how understanding social media habits benefits businesses and brands. For example, I genuinely bought a packet of Nina’s Popcorn once because I thought the floral packaging would make a nice post on Instagram.
As marketers of the digital age, having access to all sorts of resources that highlight the latest trends and tips is important for social media strategy. Yet while the vast number of articles and webinars out there remain hugely important for social media growth, it’s sensible to take a step back sometimes and simply think about the day-to-day habits of social media users and how these can be used to advantage social media growth.
Habit: Anecdotally, many people admit it has become normal to wake up in the morning and check social media before doing anything else.
Top tip: Think about your audience. Check the peak times for traffic on each platform and schedule posts to go out accordingly. (Hootsuite and Buffer are great tools for scheduling and managing accounts). You’ll find extensive research online about peak times based on demographic groups and social media analytics should allow you to see what times of day your followers are more active.
Habit: Stories, stories, stories. Who knew sharing and viewing photos or videos with a 24-hour life span could become so popular? Stories are up-to-date, readily available on social media homepages and usually roll through to the next ones without even having to click. Consumption has been made so easy that catching up on Instagram stories, for example, has become a daily habit for many of us.
Top tip: Firstly, and quite simply – use stories! Keep content authentic and less sales-focussed to hold viewers interest better.
Habit: The ease of social media and the way in which it’s intertwined in most of our lives means that finding information on it has never been easier. Due to the nature and pace of the platforms, it’s expected and believed that social media pages are updated more regularly than websites. Lots of people (myself included) will now head to social media pages for basic business information such as opening times and contact information.
Top tip: Think about what information might be of interest to your audience. Ensure this information is clear and easy to find on your social media pages. Also, keep it consistent across all platforms (including your website!)
Habit: The rapid growth of Instagram means that products with aesthetically pleasing packaging are doing better every day. Instagram users love to share images of beautiful things and nowadays, people will genuinely make purchasing decisions based on how they think items will perform on social media (like how the popcorn got me!)
Top tip: Depending on your target audience, set aside time and budget to work on your brand packaging to appeal to this segment. Send out samples, never underestimate the power of influencers and share images of your own products too.
Habit: Video on social media is a huge current trend, however, the duration is one of the keys to success. Shorter videos perform much better. Many social media users (again, myself included) will be guilty of dropping off a video if the second that an advertisement shows or if it’s minutes long.
Top tip: Aim for videos on social media to be less than a minute long. 30 seconds is ideal. Also, check the analytics to find out when video viewers drop off, and use the insight for future content.
The rise of social media has seen consumer behaviour completely change, and simply recognising the fascinating habits of social media users could be the difference between blending in online and standing out to gain that all-important competitive advantage.