The Under-the-Radar Social Trends You Should Be Following

The Under-the-Radar Social Trends You Should Be Following (Source: - used as royalty free image)

We love to keep an eye on the various ways that content marketing – including blogging, email, and social media – changes over time. But statistics, shock value, and industry-approved talking points only get us so far. 

With that in mind, let’s take a look at three major social media trends that have flown under the radar in 2016 – and explore what they may mean for digital marketers in the months and years ahead:

The Rise of Privacy

Since the advent of social media, there has always been backlash, often tied up in questions of privacy. Should we be comfortable letting third parties have access to so much of our information? Is it OK to publish personal content on Twitter or Instagram for what is essentially a public, worldwide audience?

Well, consumers have spoken, and social media is increasingly becoming a less public affair, as traditional channels cede ground to services like Snapchat, WhatsApp, and even Facebook Messenger, which all emphasize more private, direct communication(that doesn't always mean your private communications are safe.) We’re also seeing an increasing lack of “personal” content being posted across Facebook and Twitter, and more Instagram accounts are being set to “private,” particularly among millennials.

Shifting Algorithms

We’ve talked before about Twitter’s switch from a purely chronological timeline to one that promotes popular, relevant content to the top (rather than simply slotting in tweets as they get posted). And Twitter isn’t alone in tinkering with its timeline. In recent months, Instagram has rolled out a new algorithm that has left many users flummoxed, while Facebook has attempted to “build a better newsfeed” by emphasizing posts from “friends and family,” rather than branded content or clickbait.

The main takeaway? Social media is always in flux, and marketers need to be ready to roll with the punches. The techniques that have traditionally worked won’t stay relevant forever, and it’s important to stay aware of the best practices for each of your preferred platforms, the better to promote sharing, discovery, and conversions.

Changing User Expectations

Just as our social platforms are dynamic and ever-changing, so are the massive (and still-growing!) audiences that use them each and every day. User expectations in 2016 are wildly different in many ways than they were just a few years ago, and it’s important for marketers to be willing to pay attention and adapt to changing audience tastes, in ways both large and small.

What do we mean? Well, on the “large” side of the spectrum is the massive, culture-wide shift to mobile devices, which by some metrics account for 85% of Facebook’s users, and 80% of Twitter’s. But this shift in consumption has also led to a shift in what we want to consume. For instance, while “vertical video” was once considered taboo, it is now increasingly the norm, due to the rise of Snapchat and other social, mobile-first video services.

Similarly, user expectations about load times have gotten shorter and shorter over the years; a majority of mobile users are willing to wait just six seconds for a page to load – which is going to have a massive impact on the way we code and optimize our sites for responsiveness, moving forward.

All of these little trends, spikes, and ebbs add up to a sprawling picture, one that can be a little hard to keep a firm grasp on. That’s where we come in! Our team of Geeks eats, sleeps, and breathes content marketing, including blogging, social media, and web development. Ready to redefine your brand on social media? Drop us a line to talk strategy!

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Jason Finn

Founder & Chief Geek

Jason has nearly 20 years of consulting experience, predominantly in the technology space. Most recently he was the COO and Director of Technology for Rich Casto & Company, a national training and consulting organization in the real estate industry.
As a consultant for IBM, PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP, and Envision Consulting Group (now IMS Health), Jason has served clients of all sizes, including Big Pharma, Fortune 500, and Global 1000 companies:

  • Allstate Insurance Company
  • AOL (America Online)
  • Astellas Pharmaceuticals
  • Eli Lilly and Company
  • Ford Motor Credit
  • Wockhardt USA (formerly Morton Grove Pharmaceuticals)
  • Norwich Union
  • PNC Bank
  • Reynolds and Reynolds

Sarunas Budrikas

Creative Director

Sarunas is a web design and development expert with hundreds of successful projects in his portfolio. He is passionate about delivering extraordinary user experiences for every client and consistently goes above and beyond everyone’s expectations. As an SEO expert and strategist, he can optimize your website, or app, to get the most out of it, day in and day out. Sarunas holds a degree in Electrical Engineering from Kaunas Technology University, in Lithuania. Sarunas now lives in Chicago, and calls it home.

Alexandra Olsavsky

Client Experience Specialist

Alex specializes in content generation and social media promotion for Geek | Chicago clients, helping to solidify their presence in the online community. This includes blog writing, graphic design, co-ordination and design of weekly newsletters, and active engagement on Facebook, Twitter, Google+, and LinkedIn. Outside of Geek, Alex is a classically-trained soprano who professionally performs around the city of Chicago (most recently with the Chicago Baroque Band, and with the Rolling Stones for their "50 and Counting" tour).