The year was 2013: The Snowden Leaks were the talk of the country, throngs of people lined up to buy the iPhone 5S, “Get Lucky” by Daft Punk played on a loop on every radio station, Facebook introduced the edit functionality, and a newcomer named Snapchat had users sending over 60 million snaps a day.

Think about it. Five years isn’t that long, but in digital marketing and advertising years, five years might as well have been decades ago. Suffice it to say, a lot has changed in the social media space since 2013.

Here, we share seven ways social media has evolved in the last five years:

social conversation


1. Social Conversation

Long gone are the days when simply throwing together a content calendar and posting your own content and some third party content was good enough. Posting for posting sake is dead. Today, you must be consistently creating visually strong and useful content that will resonate with your target audience. Talking at your audience hasn’t worked in years. Talk with your audience, give them opportunities to easily communicate with you. Create content that will allow them to connect with you and your brand story at a far deeper level.


2. Visual Content

Remember that visual content I talked about? The arrival of photo-centric platforms like Instagram and Pinterest ushered in the era of image-heavy content marketing. In 2013, a strong text only blog post, Facebook status update, or Tweet was good enough. Today, compelling visuals (both photo and video) are the name of the game. It’s important to create an experience for your audience through your visuals. If you aren’t investing a major part of your time, effort, or budget on strong creative you’re missing out on ways you can set yourself apart and grab your audience’s attention.

3. Storytelling

Along with visuals, the other key to setting yourself apart involves crafting and telling a compelling brand story. Storytelling and visuals work hand-in-hand, whether through a brand video, photos, graphics, or illustrations – to captivate your audience. Consumers are starved for a way to emotionally connect to your brand or business; visually create the path for them to do so.

social video content


4. Video, Video, Video

Unless you’ve been under a rock the past year, you’ve repeatedly heard that video is the absolute king of content marketing today. But that wasn’t the case five years ago. While video content has been around thanks to YouTube since 2006, video didn’t become an integral part of social media marketing until 2 years ago. And we’re not talking about standard video content; we mean social video and live streaming as well. Mobile technology propelled this video explosion. Never before have you or I had access to such high-quality video production in the palm of our hands.And social media platforms have created environments where these easily created videos can thrive. Play along, upload videos, or go live often and you’ll soon see the fruits of your social media labor.


5. Consumer Generated Content (CGM)

Brands have discovered the multi-faceted value in leveraging user generated content. Using CGM is a way to gain your audience’s immediate trust and credibility. 92% of consumers trust the recommendations of others over an ad (Expertcity). CGM creates a sense of trust that can’t be gained through traditional ads. It also brings your audience together through a shared emotional connection which is invaluable.

6. Mobile

Hold onto your hats, this is good: 80% of internet users own a smartphone (Smart Insights) and over 50% of smartphone users grab their smartphones immediately after waking up (Express Pigeon). With numbers like that there’s no question we’re living in a mobile-centric world, and businesses are taking note. Today, top brands have added mobile customer service messaging, live streaming, and social e-commerce to their social media arsenal and it’s paying off. Creating mobile-friendly content must be a top priority today in 2018 and moving forward.

social e-commerce


7. Social E-Commerce

Before I lose your attention with more numbers, know that social networks have definitely become the new online stores. 56% of consumers say they follow brands on social media to be alerted to sales and coupons. 31% of online shoppers say they’re using social media specifically to find new items to purchase. I don’t know about you, but if I were a retailer, I would want to go and share my brand story, share useful information, and build a community in the exact place where people are spending the majority of their free time, especially if they’re spending their dollars there as well.

There have long been rumblings around the internet that social media is no longer effective. Can you believe that? We know they couldn’t be more wrong. What they mean to say (I’m positive) is that social media as we knew it in 2013 is dead and gone. It has evolved into a platform for brands to tell stories visually, entertain, educate, inform, delight, and connect with their audiences in an authentic and transparent way that fosters genuine conversations.

If you’re looking to create and execute a visually compelling social media strategy or campaign, Boxcar Creative is your team. Building brands into content creators and industry leaders through engaging content is what we’re all about! It’s 2018; don’t get left behind using 2013 social media strategy.

And now it’s your turn, what new social strategy will you be implementing to propel your brand forward this year? Tell us here or chat with us over on Facebook. We’re waiting to hear from you!