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Social media has not only changed our lives but it has also transformed the marketing landscape. In the past year, social media bloggers are being featured alongside pop stars and Oscar winners on the covers of top magazines in the world and are making more waves than television of film.

People whom were virtually unknown have used social media to help brand themselves and reach people all over the globe with just a few posts a day. The millions of followers of bloggers and brands on social networks like Facebook, Twitter and Instagram are hard to ignore.

No doubt, social media marketing is one of the most effective marketing tools out there today. But it can be hard to master it as it constantly changes and a single voice can be drowned in an ocean of millions.

The way to use social media to your advantage is to follow and act on emerging trends. Yes, trends! Know what trends are popular right now and make an impression in no time.

We’ve made it simpler for you so you don’t need to start googling away and made a list of 4 of the hottest trends right now in mid-2015.

1. Use LinkedIn to publish long-form content.

LinkedIn has established itself as the digital go-to place for professionals. It helps you connect with past and current clients and with industry peers. With over 347 million users, LinkedIn offers the opportunity to publish long-form content to foster your reputation.

Just as with a blog, you can publish content relevant to your industry and line of work, but with far less effort. The platform publishes your work on Pulse which is a curated news feed to its millions of users straight away.

Although the service was initially focused to industry big-shots called ‘LinkedIn influencers’ like Bill Gates and Ariana Huffington, it is now open to anybody who can write on professional experience. Articles written by you on business productivity can land right next to one written by Richard Branson!

Each post becomes an extension of your LinkedIn profile, beefing up your resume. Write about industry insights and tips which you as a professional have learnt on the job. Or share new research and trends you’ve read about elsewhere to let others know that you stay with the current.

2. Post native videos to Facebook

Facebook allows you to upload videos directly to the platform or share content from third-party sites like YouTube and Dailymotion. Research shows that there is 62 percent more engagement on video posts that photos.

The advantage of uploading directly to Facebook is auto-play. When a Facebook user scrolls down their newsfeed, a video which automatically begins playing is sure to catch attention. If they like the beginning of what they have seen, they can directly start watching it on Facebook without any distractions nor exiting to another site.

Upload videos which can be entertaining or useful to extend your reach in an organic, free way on Facebook.

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3. Use emoji hashtags on Instagram

We’re all fans of emoji. The little yellow faces and fun symbols has become a staple in our digital lives. Scientists say that people have learnt to respond to an emoji in an online conversation the same way they respond to a human face.

Emoji’s are a key favorite of adults and teenagers because it conveys the tone and expression which is so often lost in text-based conversations. Instagram, the photo sharing mobile app, reports that about 50 percent of all comments on the platform has emojis.

To keep with the trend, Instagram has announced that emojis can now be used in hashtags. Hashtags are a basic tool in social media marketing. They make your posts discoverable outside of your group of followers.

Experiment with emoji hastags. Since it is new, you can get ahead of the competition and get discovered quicker.

4. Target promoted posts on Facebook

3 years ago, the organic reach of a Facebook post was at 16 percent of total page likes. Today, that percentage has dwindled down to single digits. With 1.23 billion monthly active users, an average user can be quite overwhelmed by the number of posts on their newsfeed from friends and businesses, which can go above 1500 per day! Facebook has now limited that to a more appropriate number of 300. But in the process certain posts can never be seen by users, including yours.

The way to rise above the Facebook clutter and stand out is by strategically targeting your audience. This works for both organic and paid posts. Target your content according to the location, demographics, interests of the people who like your page and their friends (as they will too most likely fall in your target audience).

The outcome of focusing on your target audience is a higher rate of engagement. Promote unpaid posts which already have a high level of engagement. Take it as a good sign that they will perform better if promoted.

Post on updates to your business, new offers and deals, as well as, yourself. It’s always good to remind your followers that you exist as a person.

To help you in deciding a budget for promoted posts, Facebook will give you an estimate of how many people it will reach before charging you. The Facebook Insight feature allows you to track the success and effectiveness of that post.

So now that you’re on track with current social media trends, get posting and reaching new people!

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