Social media is built on disruption. Way back when, in the mid-2000s, Facebook completely took over the world of digital marketing and through their acquisitions over the years — like Instagram and WhatsApp —the company, now called Meta, managed to stay on top. But for the first time, the world of Facebook is facing struggles like layoffs, and serious competition in the form of TikTok.
Instagram created Reels to leverage TikTok’s successful short video format, and the original video platform, YouTube, launched YouTube Shorts. So that’s it, right? Great! Let’s all just start making short videos and call it a day.
Sorry. It’s not quite that simple.
“TikTok is forcing us all to truly lean in deep into video,” said Joanna Hawley-McBride, a Pacific Northwest digital influencer with a background in textile design and an eye for all beautiful things “But we’ve all known that for a while.”
If you’ve found yourself scrolling through videos to the point where you have lost all understanding of space and time, you’re not alone. The average US TikTok and YouTube user each spends nearly 46 minutes per day on their platform of choice. With stats like that, it’s easy to see why video is being championed as the king of social media and the future of digital marketing.
But with 91% of businesses using video as a marketing tool, how can yours stand out?
1. Cult of Personality
“I think TikTok has really brought about the personality of the creator into being the focus,” says Joanna. “And there’s a little bit more leeway given to content creators because it’s more about that off-the-cuff, casual content.”
Think more Instagram photo dumps and TikTok videos than curated, filtered perfection and interior designer Sara Raak agrees.
“We could all try to catch up and try to follow what we see as the next big thing, but my job is to keep people interested, so that someday they may become clients. And that means I have to listen to my audience instead of listening to what everyone else seems to be doing,” she says. “And if I stray too much from what I think they want, it shows, and the engagement drops.”
2. Keep It Authentic
“I’ve had a lot of success going viral, but it’s never for the things I think that will perform well, so a lot of it is a non-strategy strategy,” said Joanna.
Her viral series Questions I Have For The Man Who Built My House is a great example.
“My house is weird,” said Joanna. “Our bedroom has 27 outlets in it, and legitimately I have questions about why.”
So, she made one video, which turned into a 15-part series, documenting the quirks of her Pacific Northwest home. And the popularity of the series led her to actually getting those answers from the people who built the house. Authenticity pays off in mysterious ways!
“If you are trying too hard to do something that’s not genuine, trying to chase this other thing, it’s going to feel off. And people can tell,” adds Sara.
3. Understand – And Engage – Your Audience
Sara Raak knows her audience — and just as importantly, they feel like they know her, too.
“My whole thing is that I like color and drama,” she says. “And my audience tends to be women who are tired of the white-on-white, maybe add some gray kind of thing.”
While that white-on-white Joanna Gaines Magnolia approach has been dominating interior design on Pinterest and Instagram for years, Sara has carved out a space for herself — and gotten clients — by sharing her love of color on social media. And she’s not alone – more brands are saying goodbye to celebrity influencers in favor of micro and nano influencers who have much higher engagement rates.
“My clients are people who found me on social media,” says Sara, “I don’t advertise. All of my clients are either referrals or people who found me on social media who were wanting something different.”
Joanna’s viral videos about her unique home faced some comments about why she would buy her house in the first place, which shows one of the downfalls of TikTok — a lot of people who come across your content don’t know you and aren’t going to be bothered to click through and figure you out. But those comments gave her the opportunity to explain the situation with her signature humor and ultimately drive up engagement for the entire series.
4. Don’t Forget to Take A Picture
Video, video, video. Should we even bother with words or photos anymore? Sara says an emphatic YES.
“I keep hearing that users don’t want to see pictures anymore, but I disagree,” she says. “Videos are great, but it’s hard to get inspiration from something that’s moving.”
She suspects that design enthusiasts, who used to flip through shelter magazines, want to see those detail shots, perfectly posed or not.
“People are relying on the accounts that they follow on social media to give them the ideas or trends that they would have normally seen in a magazine,” she says. “So, that’s telling me, I need to post more pictures with sources and really show them the inspiration and beginning and the middle and the end of a project, going into more detail so they can see all the different aspects of what I did in a room.”
So, when she’s creating video content, she’s taking photos, too. That way her audience can engage with the same content differently, depending on their interest level. Want to see a close-up of a vignette? Great, she posts photos with sourcing information. Wanna see how it works in the flow of the space? She’s got that too, in the video.
Just like the real world, the world of social media is changing fast, and we all have to keep adapting to what’s coming next. And the best way to stay relevant in a world of disruption is to embrace change. While that can sound intense, TikTok themselves say that making and spreading joy is one of the next big things for content. So, be yourself, be kind, and put some real in your Reels. And, of course, if you need help with any of this, the ultraviolet team is here for you!
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