Social Media

Recruiters are having to behave more and more like marketers these days, and with digital marketing becoming ever more visual, how can they enurew that they stay ahead of the trend?

I’ve had a chat with Jordan Roland of Shutterstock to find out all about the latest creative trends and what platforms and tools he recommends. You can listen to the interview on iTunes, SoundCloud or keep reading for a summary of our conversation.

Here’s the Social Selling Index by LinkedIn and our Social Analytics event on 24 March at the Google Campus in London as mentioned at the start of the podcast. Scroll down to the bottom of this page to see an infographic based on the Creative Trends research.

About Shutterstock:

Shutterstock is about 13 years old. It started out as a stock photo company. And since then it’s grown into what we can call a creative marketplace. They basically have asset types that can help a lot of facets of the creative community. So for agencies or marketers, we have a lot of asset types like photos, videos, illustrations, music. And what we do is we try to find ways to partner with agencies or marketers to use these asset types in their projects. And a lot of times, what this does is it helps efficient workflow and helps people that are starting a small business get their websites off the ground. So what we do is we provide ways for creative individuals to get their businesses started.

What is the Creative Trends research?

It’s interesting because about four years ago, this project started. And what happened is the internal graphic design team, which is what I was part of, we started noticing a lot of visual trends popping up in the agency. So what we do is we share work around each other about what are some of the big brands and then just redoing. And then, what are some of the big agencies coming out with commercials or print ads, or web advertisements? And, on our own, we just started seeing trends pop up.

So what we did is we have an internal infrastructure data team, and what they do is basically, every time the user comes to the Shutterstock website, we see what they’re searching for, we see what kinds of things they’re downloading. And so what we did is we took these trends that we saw, went to the internal business data team, and what they did is they showed us a year-over-year increase of if these terms were trending or spiking and how often people search for them.

When we noticed that, for these trends that we had just organically seen as a team, were directly correlating with some of the most searched for terms, it got us thinking that well, throughout this next year, if we see other terms starting to spike in a similar style that these terms have been, we can actually start to predict what some of the visual trends would be for the next year.

The top four trends making an impact around the world in 2016:

The top four global trends right now is a term called “flat lay”, a term called “boho”, a term called “sacred geometry,” and another one of “metallics.”

  • Flat lay, for example, is kind of a visual style where you basically envision a camera overhead at a whole bunch of objects laid out and organised.
  • Boho is a combination of a 1960s hippie style but has a modern aesthetic where they use floral patterns or a lot of types of combinations of natural elements mixed with a lot of contemporary visual styles and colours.
  • Sacred geometry is really interesting because it’s thousands of years old actually. And the whole idea is rooted in a lot of religious thinking of that all the elements in the natural world like a flower, or a rock, or a mountain have actual mathematical qualities and shapes to them. And basically, what they were doing is drawing these geometric shapes and combining them with natural imagery.

  • And then metallics, we saw a spike this year in terms of the fact that wearable tech was really, really big in 2015. And then in 2016, the aesthetics of wearable tech are starting to kind of bleed into the art and design and fashion world. So there’s a lot of organic fabrics, but they’ll have a more metallic or metal feel.

Major cultural trends of 2016:

  • Technology & Connectivity: For culture trends this year, one thing that we saw was that there’s a big push and pull of always being connected, and that’s always being connected to our technology, whether it’s always checking our emails in our phones, or wearable technology like the Apple Watch.
  • Travel & Mindfulness: But then we saw the counter to that starting to pop up a lot, too, where terms like wanderlust, which is the desire to want to travel, or mindfulness, or wellness, and so we’re seeing people embrace technology because it’s really hard to live in this world and society without having some sort of tech on you.

Current social trends:

Nature: Social trends basically goes back to what we’re seeing in cultural trends. So some of the more searched-for things are human scale, colour in nature, and atmospheric. We started seeing how people engage with certain images on certain social networks, and then we looked our data on the infrastructure side, and we were seeing the very same correlation, and what images were performing well on our social networks. And it’s a lot of people being very small, next to really big things. It’s like a person hugging a redwood tree in California, for example.

So people have technology, and they’re going to these remote areas of the world, and they’re able to take a picture of it quickly, share it to their network. And so I think it’s people using technology to showcase a lot of beautiful aspects of our natural environment.

Shutterstock’s content marketing:

So how do we get the content marketing at Shutterstock? Advertising used to be a lot about our collection size. It used to be about how many images, or vectors, or assets we were getting per second, per hour, per day. And it’s very aspirational. We are really trying to empower our customers to go, “You guys could do whatever you want.” But also, it came across a little bit vague, like, “What is it that they want? And what can they do?” And a lot of time we found when you don’t have any kind of focus, and you can do anything, people get lost.

So when we build out the content marketing team, what we thought about was, why don’t we just show people how they can use our assets in cool and creative ways? So we started to use that as a framework of building a team where the team was solely dedicated on building original content with only using Shutterstock assets. We would put out into the world, and we would see how people were engaging with it. As we started really focused on this, and reporting on it, and paying attention to how customers and people were engaging with our content, it really gave us a good template on how to build a structured team. And then from there, we really started to know what channels started to work, and what channels didn’t work.

The best apps and tools for visual and creative marketers:

  • Squarespace is a great one if you need to get a business off the ground. It’s a templated-based website builder, you don’t really need to have any design or coding background at all to be able to do it. I’ve seen a lot of small business start their companies off from Squarespace. I think it’s a great intro way if you want to start a business to get an online presence.
  • We use Trello, which is a task management program. And what we do is we basically, as we take pitches for a new blog post, we have a column on Trello that’s pitches. Once we approve them, there’s another column for approvals. And we use Trello’s task management software to workflow what our week’s going to be, how many posts are we going to have? Making sure we’re not double-posting. That’s a big one.
  • Late last year, Shutterstock came out with a little bit of editing software that was built internally into the website itself where you can crop images and filter images before you actually download them. It’s called Shutterstock Editor.

Inspirational brands on social:

  • T Brand Stdio: One of the things I find the most fascinating is the actual content marketing landscape, and how young it is, and looking where it came from. And one of the big proponents of what this was and where it came from was something called T Brand Studio, which is the internal branded content studio of The New York Times. And I find that story incredibly compelling and interesting the fact that the New York Times built out an independent part of their company dedicated to creating content for other brands.
  • Spotify: Another one, for me, that was really huge was Spotify. Spotify has a great labs division where they’re doing a lot of experimental stuff with music, and they run a really great out-of-home campaign in the States, late December, early January, where it basically targeted cities in America that had a lot of volume of listeners for certain tracks or certain artists. And they painted murals of the artist’s face in those neighbourhoods, and then had a number next to it of how often that artist was played in that neighbourhood.

  • Van Winkle’s: What they’re doing, I find amazing. It’s a blog completely dedicated to sleep, and what goes on while you’re sleeping, and what happens when you’re dreaming. And the whole structure is about having a conversation about what happens in the hours that you are asleep, because most human beings spend a predominant amount of their lives sleeping.

Follow Jordan on Twitter @DrawJordan and check out the Shutterstock blog.

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Top image: Pablo

About Jörgen Sundberg

Founder of Undercover Recruiter, CEO of Link Humans & host of the weekly Employer Branding Podcast.

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