The world of social media is constantly evolving, from months, days to mere minutes! Over the last decade as it has come to be the dominant platform in the world of media, investments have gone up and businesses are seeing the true value of staying social with their customers.
The first six months of 2018 have brought about drastic changes to the way we approach content and how it gets seeded in our newsfeeds. Agencies and brands have responded, yet this is just the beginning! Midway to the new year, it is the perfect time to capsulate where social media was, where we stand today and where we are headed in the future, based on a presentation by our MD Tarek Esper. The following insights are based on talks and discussions he attended over the past year from industry heavyweights at Social Media Week in London and San Diego.
While things may just get updated across platforms by the time you read this, rest assured these pointers and findings ring true across time and are a great reference point for everyone.
Blast from the Past
2010 was a tipping point for social media. News and entertainment related content gained heavy traction with users, giving rise to the BuzzFeeds of the world.
Facebook took over Google as the dominant platform for digital media ads and it has only strengthened its presence. Giving rise to dedicated social media campaigns that used to only take a backseat to traditional marketing efforts till.
E-commerce came up in a big way around the world and people understood the benefits and convenience in ordering things right from the comfort of their homes! As internet penetration and infrastructure improved, businesses made social a priority. While the benefits were countless, suddenly everyone in the industry became a social media pro overnight, making it imperative to actually gauge the quality of content and marketing efforts, and the way content is served to consumers.
The Present is all about
Today, success is all about grabbing consumer attention and reaching them through content that speaks to them. No more hard-selling, click-baiting and asking your fans for likes, shares and comments! The key is to think like a marketer, solve problems, generate results and lead customers to initiate a sale through storytelling content.
The focus is on:
Facebook’s recent changes amid privacy concerns has led them to make it harder than ever for branded content to stand out organically. Even when it comes to paid campaigns the way their algorithm works means that content needs to urge genuine discussions between fans with longer comments leading the way.
The right type of content in front of the right audience is the need of the hour and the only way to realise that is by creating stories that build trust and a true connection with your followers. Social storytelling can be described as taking information that is not that exciting and making it feel important, impassioned and relevant. A one-size-fits-all approach helps no one and personification is now more essential than ever.
People are consuming content on the go, giving rise to bite-sized videos across platforms. Stories across Instagram and Snapchat platforms are seeing the highest growth through them. The future is certainly based on these shorter videos and contrary to popular belief there has been an increase in the consumption of vertical videos with more sound turned on.
Influence now takes centre stage. While traditionally word of mouth was considered the holy grail of effective marketing without massive spends, social media influencers and content creators enable the same today. They have loyal followings big or small that listen to their suggestions, create meaningful dialogue, rapidly accelerate growth and are seen to me more effective than just seeding content.
The rise of AI and automation is beginning to lessen the burden of rudimentary tasks for brands and agencies with Chatbots taking centre stage. Chatbots are software that has automatic conversations with your fans, drastically increasing response rates. They also enable brands to collect data and build a database that can be used for future marketing efforts.
What’s in store? The Future of Social Media
Video has been the reigning king of content and in the coming years it will further evolve in new ways yet unfounded! While experiences connecting the digital world to customer lives was unheard of, the advent of technology will change the way people consume content.
Live video is the latest of iteration of it and is here to stay. As organic reach goes down, marketers have seen the huge potential of live videos reaching fans organically, you’ll be hard-pressed to find any other medium that delivers so much with so little investment.
Social television is also coming up in a big way with the announcement of Facebook Watch and upcoming developments across the board by Snapchat, Twitter, Instagram and all the other heavyweights in the world of media and tech.
Customer feedback is one of the biggest gripes that users have across platforms. The rise of AI and machine learning will benefit this the most with the aid of automated and customised Chatbots that provide customer support 24/7. The way we gauge influence also needs to evolve and adapt to the coming changes.
Marketing is ripe for innovation and disruption, never more so than today and AI is leading the way! The way we think of and approach data needs to change according to platforms and opportunities. Augmented reality will enable us to connect with customers in entirely new ways that puts them at the centre of a piece of communication.
Algorithms as we know it put a focus on machine learning, in the coming years that will get augmented with human intelligence to truly deliver insights that matter to people across platforms.
As we head towards the tail end of the year, new innovations are sure to follow, keep updated with them all by reading #SocialSpeak every week!