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Social media has become so widespread that any company – whether it’s a start-up with a minimum number of employees or a large global brand – sees this communication channel as a must. But ubiquitous distribution does not always mean effectiveness. Is it worth waiting for innovations in this area, and how effective is it possible to use the SMM channel to companies – in today’s article.
Lee Odden, executive director of TopRank Marketing and editor of Online Marketing Blog, known for his experience in The Economist, Forbes and the Wall Street Journal, author of Optimize, an international specialist in integrated content, search, social media and influence marketing, in his recent publication cites nine trends in Internet marketing in general and social media in particular, which will be relevant in 2017.
Social media is a constantly developing platform for modern Internet marketing. So what awaits us next? A virtual reality? Internet of things? Further development of Facebook?
The most important thing in the development of social media, as Lee Odden points out, is not always technology. The main component – people.
What do marketers pay attention to in the first place? Most often these are new applications, networks and the latest features on the mainstream social media platforms. But the essence is not in technology, but in how deeply and qualitatively people use these technologies.
Social media is a “double-edged sword”. On the one hand, it is consumer behavior that dictates the further development of social technologies. On the other hand, the development of social technologies alters consumer behavior. In any case, this is a very interrelated mechanism. Therefore, it is very important for brands to pay attention to the “atmosphere” in social media in order to properly monitor the dynamics and development trends among customers and the general public.
Let’s consider prospects.
Facebook today – the dominant social platform for the popularity criteria among users, the distribution of video and advertising. And in the near future, as Lee Odden reasoned, such a position is likely to remain. In the same series, you can put in chat in WhatsApp chats and develop the Instagram as the second largest social platform (according to the news portal of IT technologies Computerworld).
2. Merge Networks
This trend is actively gaining popularity and helps to isolate from each social platform the maximum benefit. As an example, the editor of Online Marketing is considering the merger of Microsoft and Linkedin, which can bring to the world of marketing new interesting functions with an emphasis on the professional field. In the same category, Odden refers to the possible purchase of Twitter as one of the largest players in the global IT market such as Apple, Google or Facebook.
3. Online broadcasts
Now the brands have opportunities to effectively engage consumers with previously unknown tools. This includes Live-Broadcasts through platforms such as Snapchat, Facebook Live and Periscope. Facebook owner Nicola Mendelson says that within the next five years this social platform can completely go into video format.
4. Paid social advertising
Social advertising will continue to grow, bringing more and more opportunities to advertisers. Advertising in social media, by 2017 will generate $ 11 billion. This is a very impressive figure, compared with only $ 6.1 billion in 2013. Other social networks and applications will also expand their promotional offers.
5. “Dark Social”
The essence of this definition, is that the social platforms increasingly “bribe” information in a “dark” way – in private messages, and not through reposts on their profile page. At this activity, users account for 84%, and it is becoming increasingly important for companies. The difficulty in this case lies in analytics – metrics standard for other social platforms are not suitable for such activity. And marketers should move in a direction that will help to ensure the interconnection of applications, networks, platforms and “dark social”, which will provide for this type of communication more. Great importance.
6. Social chat bots
Facebook has introduced another important functionality for brand interaction with customers, their involvement and satisfaction of expectations. So-called robots on-line can provide customers with the necessary basic information, thus ensuring their continued interaction with the company. Brands should be invested in the development of the most adapted social communication. Perhaps, the emphasis will be placed on neural networks.
7. Mobile First
Readers of our blog have more than once met this definition. Why? Because this trend is becoming more relevant day by day. Mobile traffic exceeds the desktop, and it is expected that in this year of 2017 the number of smartphone owners worldwide will reach two billion. It is not necessary to speak once again about the importance of mobile applications and adapted mobile formats – it is so obvious for any progressive brand. It is worth emphasizing that ignoring social media can lead to the development of the company to dramatic consequences.
8. Automation of social media
Lee Odden highlights this perspective in a separate category. Increasing emphasis in the near future will be placed on the possibilities of automated social communication, which will simplify the company’s business processes. Particular attention will be paid to targeting, timing and work with customer involvement.
9. Participation in social content
Consumers show the greatest interest in communication with the brand, when they take a direct part in its creation. This opportunity meets the mutual interests of consumers and the company. This symbiosis will lead to the widespread dissemination of user-generated-content. Many brands adhere to this principle today. For example, the application iFunny is completely built on this kind of content. And its popularity speaks for itself.
The presence of personal mobile devices opens up a huge field for users and brands to create joint content in any format, taking into account the interests of each potential consumer. Involving interested people in creating a context is an excellent opportunity to significantly increase the reach of the audience with minimal investments.
Summarizing all of the above, it is worthwhile to dwell on the fact that the brand has every chance of success with the proper use of social content. And it consists in a harmonious fusion of technology, progressive tools and the human factor.
Involvement of users in the social activity of companies effectively affects not only the increase in audience coverage, the loyalty of users, but also the quality of the content itself. Regularly analyzing user preferences through active communication with consumers, the brand can achieve the most adaptive and interesting content for customers, which will lead to new high-quality conversions.