For this special episode of Building Brand Advocacy, Duel's Weekly Debrief is brought to life. Expanding on our popular LinkedIn Newsletter, it’s a captivating exploration of the week’s must-know social media news and the trends that deserve more than a cycle for 2024. 

Verity Hurd, Brand Advocacy & Community Lead at Duel, dives into a dynamic week of updates in social media – taking you beyond the written word, straight into actionable tactics. She unpacks two game-changing social updates and presents a crystal-clear vision of the trends that will define 2024, to support your Brand Advocacy efforts.

First, TikTok's exclusive tips crafted for fashion brands are shared; providing innovative strategies to captivate your audience in the ever-changing fashion landscape. Then, Instagram's latest update is dissected – one that could propel User-Generated Content (UGC) to new heights. You’ll learn how to leverage this tool to foster meaningful connections, and engage your community in innovative ways.

Plus, Verity shares her advice on reaching new audiences by embracing community-driven approaches and fostering authenticity. Learn the secrets to building lasting relationships that transcend traditional marketing boundaries. Drawing inspiration from the Brand Advocacy powerhouse, Sephora, Verity discusses how the beauty brand mastered the art of engaging their audience and turning customers into passionate Advocates.

Community trends are discovered, by tapping into consumer behavior and gamification. Uncover how these trends are reshaping the digital landscape and providing exciting opportunities for brands to connect with their audience on a deeper level.

Tune in. Absorb the insights. Gear up to navigate the trends that will define 2024. 

Building Brand Advocacy 045: Driving Brand Love: Decoding 2024’s Social Media Trends, Sephora’s Success & Predictions for Powerful Advocacy Strategies ft. Verity Hurd

Hi, I'm thrilled to be back on the podcast and again talking about a subject that I live and breathe. And today I'm talking about social media trends and updates and how they can help boost your brand advocacy. So today I'm going to bring to life Duels very popular LinkedIn newsletter, which is Jules Weekly Debrief. If you've not seen it before, definitely go check them out. 

On alternating weeks, it covers both a line up of the latest news and updates in the social media space and a trend watch which is full of key moments for fashion and beauty brands to tap into across Instagram and TikTok with some really cool visual examples. So like I said, if you haven't checked them out yet, I highly recommend you go and subscribe straight after this so you don't miss out. But in this episode, I will be focusing on the latest updates and I'll be making some big predictions for the future of social media, social commerce, and brand advocacy marketing. And the two key updates that I will focus on today, first of all, and this is a goldmine for fashion brand marketers, TikTok has gone live with their latest fashion guide. So last week, social media today announced TikTok had published an updated version of its guide for fashion marketers.

So to better understand the elusive success some fashion and beauty brands see on that platform, TikTok have provided audience feedback, community learnings and direct advice from case studies that any brand can emulate. And this is, like I said, it's a goldmine. So if you're a fashion brand, brand builder, prioritizing growth on TikTok, TikTokers want this from you. 

So 57% are interested in promotions and deal-led content. 42% want to see giveaways and contests. And tying for third with 24% each are special event content, tutorials, and product announcements and reveals. And with only 23%, they want trending content and challenges. So when it comes to TikTok content, planning and ways to build better connections, you need to ensure your content mixed is definitely aligned to those points.

So you need to prioritize showcasing the product, demonstrating it in use, you need to hook people with exclusive offers and address their pain points, like show your orders flying out from your latest deals and give them a chance to win simply for being part of your social community. And what I love about this the most is that it's actually TikTok confirmed. So there's no second guessing, you know, if you use this advice, it definitely ups your chances of turning watches to followers and followers to fans and your fans into passionate brand advocates. So next up is Instagram now allows users to submit content to your carousels. So in a move that puts community creativity over corporate approval, Instagram has launched a live test of collaborative carousel posts. So one that could change the way brands share UGC forever. And this is something that will also be a key focus for 2024.

Collaboration. So the challenge with social media, as we probably have all, you know, are all dealing with, well, it's the ever-declining visibility that we find in the feed, which can be quite the mountain to climb. But there's a solution. And it's a simple one for 2024. And it's collaboration. And my perspective on this is not to view social media solely as a promotional tool, which I know many don't. We've moved on beyond that many years ago.

But in 2024 is really about using the platforms for building and nurturing relationships. And this really does mean forging connections, not only with your fans and customers, but also with your employees as well. One key strategy is leveraging the voices of others within your digital space. You can achieve this by actively promoting and sharing user generated content that resonates with your brand and your values. And that's why I absolutely love this new feature.

Before sharing a carousel post, you'll have the option to enable submissions from your followers. Turning this on allows you to approve or deny content you receive and the post will remain owned by you, which is unlike other multiposter carousels, and this opens up new avenues for creative growth and community engagement. Giving your brand fans the opportunity to collaborate directly with you is amazing. I absolutely love this feature. Once a month or even more it’s up to you, you can drive interest for a shared UGC post by sharing a teaser and a countdown to your stories, drop the post and wait for the submissions to start. And then you can approve the best and build your relationships with these advocates in a whole new way. Now onto some key trends. 

So I also thought we should have a look into 2024 and I wanted to share a couple of the key trends that I think are going to be highly relevant for social commerce and your advocacy strategies. But first things first, something that I really wanted to point out, reaching new audiences will become a primary goal. So according to research completed by HubSpot, the main social media goals of most marketers in 2024 will be to reach new audiences, grow those relationships with those customers and boost those customer service relationships. Previously, these goals focused more on boosting sales and advertising products.

So it's highly anticipated that there will be a clear shift in how brands will use social media moving forward. So instead of it used for purely advertising reasons, it will also be used as a channel for fostering deeper customer relations, which we're already witnessing now, but 2024 will take this to a whole new level. And we see this through there being a key focus on a few things. So the first one I wanted to talk about was community. And I know community is...

It's been such a huge buzzword in 2023, but in 2024, this is about enhancing the community you have been putting all your efforts into for the last few years. Community marketing is a two-way communication channel, so where brands can connect with customers on a personal level. You're not just talking at your audience, you're engaging in genuine dialogue, and you're fostering relationships, nurturing brand loyalists, and finding those who are already talking about you.

And the key to community marketing then is to identify and strategize around these advocates. And you want to bring them into your brands in a circle and make them feel like they belong. Now, obviously, if you're already a customer of Jewel, you'll already be tapping into this and leveraging your advocates and your communities in this way. But another great example that I think we are all very familiar with, and it's a great example, is Sephora and how they've successfully created a thriving community.

Sephora, the renowned beauty retailer, has built a vibrant community by embracing their UGC, where their customers actively contribute to content from makeup tutorials to product reviews. And Sephora knows their loyal customers are often experts in the beauty product, so they've harnessed this knowledge and created a platform for these enthusiasts to share their expertise, fostering a sense of belonging and recognition.

And this two-way communication approach where Sephora listens to and engages with its customers has turned everyday shoppers into brand advocates. The loyalty these advocates then feel towards Sephora is huge and they willingly advocate for the brand, both online and offline. What we're also seeing is that apps too are also leaning into community trends. So I think something that's really important to highlight here is that we often get really confused and really overwhelmed with updates and when Instagram launches broadcast channels or other things, but what's really important to remember is that when platforms drop new features, it is usually because of what is happening in the wider world and how people are interacting across the platforms. And there's always a reason behind it. We may not understand it but they are strategizing in terms of consumer behavior behind the platforms. And what we are seeing now are gamification elements. So at the moment, we're seeing the introduction of Instagram bringing in polls in the comment, but they are bringing in these gamification elements to allow brands and creators to interact with content and each other, again, in a whole new level. So when it comes to strategizing your community in 2024. It's no longer solely about building one now. I'm sure we don't need to bang on about that here, but in 2024, this is about taking your social media community and utilizing them to launch new products, seek customer feedback, and gain valuable customer insights. And so when creating new content, keep in mind how it can help to create those engaged communities. And the last one I wanted to talk about was the continued rise of authentic content. So why is this important? 

Well, first of all, it makes brands personable. And secondly, it fosters meaningful relationships with that community. Now, if there's one thing we've learned in the world of brand advocacy, it's that staying relevant is absolutely essential. So next year, one major trend that we'll all be expecting is the continued rise of platforms like TikTok and Instagram. So these social media giants...

This poll would be no surprise to anyone, but they are projected to hit some incredible milestones with Instagram expected to reach a whopping 1.4 billion users and TikTok are gearing up for an 8% increase, which is bringing its user base to a formidable 900 million. But what's driving this incredible growth? Well, it's all about the creativity, the entertainment and that authenticity we mentioned before.

These platforms have become fertile grounds for creators to showcase their talents and connect with their audiences. And what makes creator content stand out is it's a fundamental authenticity and the ability to be real and genuinely human. And I think something else that we're probably not gonna dive into today, cause it's huge, AI. Although AI will give brands an opportunity to innovate and experiment across social media.

The thing to remember here is that people crave content that resonates with them and their communities. And that's the key when it comes to boosting brand advocacy. In 2024, we will witness a renaissance of creators and influencers who bring a unique creative flair and a distinct point of view to the table. And the brands that partner with these creators will reap the rewards in brand advocacy.

They tap into a goldmine of unique, relatable content that reaches those specific audiences and engages people in new ways and exciting ways as well. And it's a win-win partnership that benefits both the brand and the creators, which I absolutely love. And in the world of brand advocacy, that is absolute pure gold. So in 2024, we will see a boom in creators and influencers that demonstrate a real creative flair and point of difference. So...

That's all from me today, but if you liked what you heard today and you're keen to hear more news and predictions for 2024, make sure you do check out our latest debrief, which I will link in the show notes. And if you're keen to get the hottest 2024 trends to set your social strategies alight, make sure you apply to join our brand builders collective, again, in the show notes. We are hosting our annual social commerce and advocacy 2024 trend event for members of this collective only.

And this is not to be missed. We have invited some of the most loved industry thought leaders to break down what is needed for brand builders to see success next year. So make sure you check that out.