Social media marketing is an essential component of practically every company’s marketing and advertising strategy now, and it’s no surprise it happened. With internet connectivity reaching more than 4 billion people and 3.3 billion of them opting to participate on social media platforms, it’s become the form of mass communication with the longest reach and therefore the most appeal. It’s important to understand the trends that dominate social media, though, because neglecting to move with them can wind up costing visibility in the same way that neglecting your SEO can cause your page rank to plunge.

The first thing to remember is that as the internet has matured into a communication medium that many people are engaged with in an always-on basis, the relationship between consumer and advertiser has changed. Since online communication and social media are woven into the fabric of everyday life so intimately, ad campaigns need to be less intrusive, to avoid being jarring or off-putting to busy people. At the same time, customers have become more demanding because their exposure to brands is much more constant and immersive.

Social media marketing needs to remember this to be effective, because Generation Z is wary of advertising and the privacy concerns that come with targeted ads that make up the core of the social media marketing strategy for so many companies. Building web sites and ads that collect less information from customers can help engender trust, making your target audience more likely to hear your messaging.

It’s also important to keep abreast of changes to the display algorithm on any social media platform you are going to participate in. Social media companies are rarely totally transparent about those changes because they don’t want to give people too much insight into their trade secrets, but they do announce which characteristics of your post they are going to focus on when sorting out who you are visible to and how. Paying close attention to these announcements will help you understand how to pivot your ads to remain as highly visible and relevant as possible.

Without paying attention to these trends, it’s easy for a brand to lose visibility, because the online environment is crowded with brands and consumers have become very adept at deciding who they will engage with quickly. You need to be able to maximize your appeal without alienating potential customers, so you need to know what social media marketing trends are currently running strongly through the platforms you inhabit.