Trends often influence social media analytics. It’s safe to say that anyone who has ever touched the Internet is familiar with the concept of the “trend”. Whether the adjective “trendy” has been used to describe the latest Starbucks drink or piece of clothing, trends have become increasingly important, not only to the average person on social media, but to brands and companies looking to create more profit. Trends and predictions have become the future of social media analytics, and today, we’ll be uncovering why and how to use them.
What are social media analytics?
“Social media analytics” are a long string of words to explain something short and simple. The long definition is the ability to collect and analyze data on social networks and channels to improve business decisions, such as product development and customer experience.
Social media analytics help brands with many insights, such as identifying high-value features of a product or service and the performance of a product. On a greater level, social media analytics help with strategic business decisions. Using several different metrics to measure, such as audience analytics, like demographics, and influencer analytics, like past collaborations with companies, businesses can use social media analytics to elevate their business and form a close relationship with their audience.
What are trends and why do they matter?
In general, trends are a vital part of social media analytics and have been prevalent in analytics since the advent of social media. In the words of the social media listening tool, Youscan, the definition of a trend is “… a prevailing tendency, inclination, a general direction at which a specific niche is veering toward, shaping market demand and influencing business success”. For example, those who were on the Internet in 2016 can recall the “slime” craze that took hold on Youtube and Instagram.
Analytics can help a company spot trends in consumer behavior that are related to their products, brand, or within the industry of that business. However, social media analytics can do much more with trends. Another quote from Youscan sums it up perfectly: “It helps brands convey their marketing messages through a prism of the most relevant and actual topics to a target audience. When you know what customers are thinking and talking about on social media, it’s easier to speak with them in the same language and deliver information naturally and more effectively.” With trends, brands maintain their relevance on social channels, gaining the ability to lead markets– businesses can become so ahead of the curve that it becomes a sphere!
An important, notable feature of a trend is its length. From short-term to long-term trends, the length of a trend signals how a business can use it. It’s common for short-term trends to be used for tactical purposes, displaying a company’s high responsiveness to the always-changing needs of its audience. TikTok is notorious for short-term, fast-paced trends, and has received criticism for its negative impact on the fashion industry, specifically due to the rise of fast fashion credited to the app. Medium-term trends reflect what is important to customers at the moment. And lastly, long-term trends are more likely to be the core of a business and are typically based on a business’ core audience and their needs.
To conclude, following trends may not always be the most beneficial strategy for a business. But it’s still important for brands to analyze and gather data on trends, as that information is still relevant in terms of audience data and analysis, the state of the industry or market, and competitive analysis. Trends create a sense of belonging within people and often reflect the current state and desires of the public. Therefore, trend analysis is a way for marketers to communicate with their target audience and react to their reality, regardless of a business directly following a trend or not.
Trend analysis and what it looks like
After reading multiple paragraphs on trends and social media analysis, you might be wondering what trend analysis actually looks like and how it can benefit your business. Here’s the 4-1-1 on trend analysis.
Trend analysis is used in many ways. However, we’d advise that you’d use trend analysis for two major objectives. The first is to anticipate changes in consumer demographics, attitudes, needs, and global consumer trends. Gaining a deeper understanding of your audience is the best way to understand the trends that are affecting them and how your audience is responding to specific trends. Using audience insights, tools, and behavioral analysis can determine how your audience’s likes, dislikes, needs, and wants can change over time, especially in a world with fluctuating trends. Another use for trend analysis is to detect the emergence of disruptive technologies and new competitors. This is where trend analysis and competitor analysis intersect.
Although many tools are used for social media analysis, the concept of “social listening” is most relevant to the analysis of trends and predictions. According to IBM, social listening is “…monitoring social channels for products and opportunities”. Social listening is as versatile as social media– meaning that there are many ways to achieve social listening, whether through actual software applications or just scrolling on social media for a while. It is a way to seek opportunities for “newsjacking”, or using prevalent world topics to create content for heightened visibility. Through social listening and other trend analysis tools, businesses can obtain actionable insights into the trends that are influencing their audience and their industry.
As social media constantly evolves, it grows more important for marketers to pay attention to trends and use them for growth. There are a multitude of ways to utilize trends, especially depending on the social media platform. And with the rise of AI, trend analysis and data collection may become easier in the future. However, that’s a trend that we can’t quite predict yet!