Shifts in social media behavior can be difficult for market researchers keep up with—but to engage your audience, it’s important to know where your target audience spends time and how they interact on social media.

Here are the latest need-to-know trends in social media for market research and marketing so you can keep up to speed:

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Social Shopping is Becoming Mainstream

Social media dabbled in social shopping with features like prices within Pinterest pins. Now, the pins themselves are buyable. What's more, shoppers can buy directly within Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

We already know that people are directly influenced by what their friends are buying. So if your friend tweeted about a great sale at Macy's, or Instagrammed a pic of her limited-edition Lily Pulitzer x Target dress, why not implement click-to-buy to make that conversion easier?

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In 2015, social shopping accounted for 5% of all online purchases. Expect these figures to rise as shoppers get accustomed to the feature. Savvy marketers who get in on this trend can grow their share of the social shopping spend.

Streaming Video is Everywhere

Woman streaming video on a laptop

Twitter-owned Periscope had a major moment when Democrats in the U.S. House of Representatives used its live-streaming feature to broadcast a sit-in. Facebook Live will further push streaming video to the front and center of brand social strategy.

The Millennial generation in particular spends more time streaming video online than they do watching television. So if this demographic is in your target audience, your marketing strategy should reflect this preference.

The popularity of streaming video holds big potential for brand marketing strategy. From live streaming product launches or signature events to giving fans a behind-the-scenes peek at your brand, streaming video brings your brand closer to your customers. Video also gives you the chance to create rich content, grow brand awareness and expand your user base simply by putting fun content out in the world.

Social is Now a Major Source for News

Social media is the number-one way that the 75 million millennials in the United States get their news. Brands can tap into this connected audience for market research, advertising and product promotion.

Additionally, since Facebook is the go-to news resource for this generation, the platform is likely to remain relevant for the foreseeable future. If your marketing plan does not include Facebook advertising, now is the time to boost your presence on the site.

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A corollary to this is that journalists are highly active on Facebook and Twitter. For them, it's a professional research. If your brand wants to reach out to journalists regarding a product or business announcement, these social networks are the best place to engage them.

In the past, social media changes might have been new platforms disrupting the status quo. But today, social media users are using the same social tools for different end purposes. Brands who can position themselves in line with these trends will reap the rewards.

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Photos: guteksk7 /,