Employer Branding Talent Acquisition Timebound

How to Inject Creativity into Your Social Media Strategy

Recruiters are having to behave more and more like marketers these days, and with digital marketing becoming ever more visual, how can they ensure 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. And be sure to subscribe to the Employer Branding Podcast.

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.

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.

Follow Jordan on Twitter @DrawJordan and subscribe to the Employer Branding Podcast.


Top image: Pablo

By Jörgen Sundberg

Founder of Undercover Recruiter & CEO of Link Humans, home of The Employer Brand Index.