Why Do Certain Industries Do Better on Social Media?
From a marketing perspective, social media is a crapshoot. While the same basic principles apply across the board, not every company is on an even playing field. Certain industries are simply more conducive to social media engagement than others. To ignore this fact is to create a false reality and do businesses a disservice.
While any company can win with social media (granted they’re able to tap into precisely what their audience wants), certain brands have a better chance of being successful right out of the gates. It has nothing to do with their branding. But it has everything to do with the appeal of the industry and the mindset of consumers.
What Makes an Industry Ideal for Social Media
When you look at brands that perform well in the social media algorithms, they almost always have a few things going for them. From a broad, big-picture perspective, it typically means one or more of the following are working to their advantage:
- Visual. Social media is obviously a highly visual place – and it’s becoming increasingly so. It used to be that social media was a place for commenting and chatting. (Think back to the old days of MySpace and Facebook.) But if you look at all of the newer social media platforms – like YouTube, Instagram, Snapchat, and TikTok – you’ll see that they’re all firmly rooted in visual content. Thus, if you have a brand that’s conducive to visual content (like a physical product), it’s going to do better on social media than a brand that sells a service (like a SaaS product).
- Aspirational. As humans, we’re naturally drawn toward the idea of growth. We want to improve, achieve dreams, and become a better version of ourselves. There’s a desire to reach new heights. Any brand that taps into these aspirational ideals can do well on social media. (Nike is a great example. They’re not just selling fitness apparel – they’re selling the idea that you can become leaner, fitter, more athletic, or victorious.)
- Adventurous. Whether someone is adventurous or not, there’s always a certain appeal to being adventurous. It’s why even the most quiet and reserved introvert can be a huge fan of superheroes and action movies. For this reason, brands that are adventurous tend to thrive.
- Sensuous. When we say sensuous, we’re not necessarily referring to sensuality or sex appeal (though this obviously sells as well). Instead, we’re referring to elements that appeal to all senses. For example, food falls into this category. A warm cinnamon roll or sizzling steak can stop someone from scrolling and cause them to lock in on a piece of content.
- Novel. Brands that sell novel, never-before-seen products are going to do much better on social media than brands that sell products customers have seen and used over and over again. For example, it’s hard for a company like Hanes to generate massive engagement with a picture of white socks. But if a brand new clothing startup were to come onto the scene with a pair of socks that promise to massage your feet while you wear them…well, that has the opportunity to foster engagement.
Industries That are Thriving on Social in 2021
When you consider all of these factors, here’s a glimpse at a few industries that are doing extremely well on social media in 2021 (and will continue to do so moving forward into 2022 and beyond).
- Fashion. Clothing, jewelry, and even lingerie brands tend to do very well on social media. A simple look at the most followed brands on Instagram will reveal names like Nike, Victoria’s Secret, and Gucci.
- Adventure sports. The pandemic has given an extra boost to adventure sports brands. The longer people stay at home, the more they desire to get out and explore the world. There’s been an especially steep rise in engagement with mountain bike rental companies.
- Food and restaurant. If you’ve ever found yourself scrolling through mouth-watering food selections on Instagram or browsing a restaurant’s Facebook page, then you’ve fallen victim to this industry. Assuming the brand has a professional food photographer, restaurants have an innate advantage and are naturally set up for success from the start.
Trends change, social media evolves, and what worked yesterday won’t necessarily work tomorrow. However, if you look at the underlying elements of what people find attractive and magnetizing, you can see that it’s easier to win with social media when your brand fits into a certain category. Learning how to maximize these strengths will set you up to be successful.