As we all know the social media landscape is continually changing and the speed at which this is happening is staggering. “It took radio 50 years to reach 50 million people, television 13 years, the internet four years, the iPod three years, and Facebook just two years” (SNHU, 2013). The constant growth of social media is a result of both human behavior and evolution of technology. Consumers are socially active and not only want, but expect to be able to engage and communicate with brands via social media. There is a constant push to advance technology to the next step to satisfy more people. For example, Facebook just adopted Twitter’s golden child, the hashtag. “For users, this means an easier way to view discussion feeds and one more method for staying connected to a virtual community” (Sparks, 2013).
There are many different trends currently building in the world of social media. We can predict what they mean and what implications they might have for brands in the future. Of course a company’s existing social media strategy will need to adapt, change fast, and embrace openness in order to deal with the impact of it all.
- Mobile is social. “The next 100 million web users will be mobile first” (Kemp, 2012). Mobile is part of the driving force so brands need to accept that and work with that. They need to tailor the content and experience to the device. This means taking into consideration slower connections and smaller screens of cell phones and tablets.
- Social conversation is the new SEO. Consumers rely on social platforms to find answers to their questions and get recommendations. Search and social are becoming more and more interwoven and brands need to be aware of this to use it to their advantage by utilizing social signals. For example, if you were to click on the ‘like’ button next to a blog post you just read then you have given the blogger a social signal and assisted in boosting their ranking in the results on a search engines.
- Social functionality is spreading (e.g. the “Like” button). It is not just for social media platforms any more. Brands should have it built in as a standard across all of their web presence, most importantly on their official website. Having each entity connected is key!
- Social CRM is growing. Customers expect brands to deliver high quality customer service in-store as well as online. What this entails for brands is they need to ensure that their social communication team has the skills and tools to address customer inquires and complaints.
- Too many social platforms. Consumers are overwhelmed with keeping track of every social profile so now socially powered aggregators are becoming popular. For example, Flipboard, which lets you see everything including staying connected to the people closest to you–all in one place. In order to stay involved, brands need to explore ways to communicate with their audience without relying on native apps such as Facebook, Twtter, etc.
- Social media’s two-way communication is in growing favor . It allows company’s to connect and talk with their audience, which has more value than talking at them. What brands need to do is target certain audience segments and engage them to help each smaller social community flourish. For example, Starbuck’s “My Starbuck’s Idea“, which allows customers and the brand to share, vote, discuss, and see what is being done with everyone’s ideas for the company.
It can be said with quite certainty that social media is here to stay. “Social media is all about creating and nurturing authentic relationships that have value. The value is reciprocal, for both the individual and the company. Brands that create this social utility will find increased brand awareness, loyalty, customer lifetime value, and, in the end, profitability” (SNHU,2013).
Kemp, S. (2012, Apr. 25). The Future of Social Media: 12 Provocations. Retrieved from http://www.slideshare.net/wearesocialsg/the-future-of-social-media-12-provocations
Sparks, D. (2013, Jun. 15). Facebook Adopts Twitter’s Golden Child: The Hashtag. Retrieved from http://www.dailyfinance.com/2013/06/15/facebook-adopts-twitters-golden-child-the-hashtag/
SNHU. (2013). Module 11 Lecture: Assessment and Evaluation of Social Media Strategy. Retrieved June 10, 2013 from https://blackboard.snhu.edu/courses/1/MKT-655-X3082_13TW3/content/_4889814_1/MKT655_M11_Overview.pdf?bsession=44829287&bsession_str=session_id=44829287,user_id_pk1=8172,user_id_sos_id_pk2=1,one_time_token=0D9F20372DDBCDAFF632A72A9821F54F