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The social trends shaping New Zealand business right now

OPINION: Spencer Bailey knows the ins and outs of social media, and reveals the five biggest social media trends that local brands need to jump on, especially at a time when many businesses are trying to do more with less. 

Social media offers a wealth of opportunities for Kiwi brands to draw insights from trending topics and microcosms of conversations. In an age where businesses are required to do more with less and are shifting their spend towards the most valuable business drivers, here’s some important trends that could help your business grow.

1. AI

While artificial intelligence (AI) is having its breakthrough moment in the media, it’s already been around for years powering smart home devices, self-driving cars and your social media feeds.

Not surprisingly, investment in AI is growing, with the International Data Corporation expecting AI spending in Asia Pacific to rise from $20.6 billion in 2022 to around $46.6 billion in 2026. A research study from AI Forum said the technology had the potential to increase New Zealand’s GDP by as much as $54 billion by 2035. 

The possibilities for AI in the advertising industry are exciting. We’re already seeing the benefits of AI online by enabling advertisers to automate their campaign setup and test and learn up to 150 creative combinations, reducing workload while improving performance.

Auckland-based fitness brand Les Mills already uses AI algorithms to market their exercise apps and digital offerings to new audience groups on social media.

Soon, AI will put the power of creation within reach of all. Advertisers could use generative AI to help modify, personalise, and generate creatives for any format – be it text, image, audio, or video – across any ad surface.

These improvements will enable advertisers to shift focus to more impactful work, spending less time making manual tweaks and devoting more time towards creative ideation and business insights.

2. Cross Border Shopping

The world is getting closer as technology makes it easier to shop from anywhere.

Meta recently surveyed customers around the world, and many of them (82%) said they’re open to buying products from overseas, demonstrating that businesses shouldn’t let physical borders restrict their opportunities for growth.

Read more: Why your organic posts aren’t gaining results – how to make your meta land better

The research also indicated that social media plays a disproportionately important role in discovery, with 58% of cross-border shoppers surveyed saying they found products from foreign businesses this way.

3. Virtual and Augmented Reality

Over the past 18 months, businesses have embraced augmented reality/virtual reality (AR/VR) to enhance the customer experience. Businesses are building creative and immersive ways for people to experience their brand.

Bloomberg Intelligence predicts that the metaverse could be worth $800 billion globally by 2024. Major retailers like Nike and Zara, as well as ultra-luxury brands like Louis Vuitton and Mercedes Benz, have already staked their place in the metaverse. For example, Nike acquired RTFKT, a brand that creates metaverse sneakers that people can use and wear in online spaces.

For businesses looking to test some of these technologies in their marketing, start with solutions that are readily accessible. AR ads on social media, for example, enable businesses to deepen their connection with their customers and improve the overall ad experience for users.

4. Creators

Creators are the future.

Interestingly, 51% of cross-border shoppers surveyed cited creators as a top source of information to discover and evaluate products. This provides an opportunity for brands to work with creators to co-create a brand narrative.

Spencer Bailey.

For brands, there’s never been a better time to explore collabs and co-creations with diverse creators or even complementary brands.

Brands need to be willing to give creators licence to be themselves and use their authentic voice, rather than try to control the creative process. Such an approach will open the brand up to new audiences and new engagements.

As they say, if you want to go fast, go alone, but if you want to go far, go together.

5. Short-form video

Video continues its blistering growth across the internet and is an area that marketers should embrace.

Take New Zealand’s favourite gourmet burger franchise BurgerFuel. They leverage video content to share how their food is made, where the produce is from and how to order it, as well as connecting with the lifestyle of their customers and staff.

It’s critical to tell your brand story through video of all formats and lengths to achieve outcomes from brand building to discovery.

Much like BurgerFuel, if your brand is creating short-form video, you should focus on injecting personality, establishing trust and credibility.

‘Begin Anywhere’

So, how should businesses respond to these trends?

Figure out objectives – whether it is to build a brand or drive more immersive shopping experiences and go from there. The upside is that businesses now have multiple ways to connect with people and build their brand through online social experiences.

It’s an exciting space to explore, and as I like to say, ‘Begin Anywhere’ – these newer ways of doing business and connecting with consumers are only going to grow. 

Spencer Bailey is the Head of Meta New Zealand.

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