“There is nothing permanent except change.”- Heraclitus
Social media was born with an idea of a platform where people could interact and connect. But since the inception of the first social media website ‘Six Degrees’ in 1997, which allowed its users to create their profile and befriend other users, the whole landscape of social media has transformed dramatically. Today, it isn’t just a space where users connect and share their stories, but has become a major tool for businesses to market their brands.
This marketing spotlight on social media makes sense, since owing to its inherent nature, it drives the maximum engagement among its users than any other channel. For instance, everyday almost 300 million people share stories on Whatsapp and Instagram separately. To leverage such global outreach, more and more businesses are pouring their capital into social media marketing, leading to staggering statistics of 2 million advertisers on Instagram and 6 million on Facebook.
With such a huge role played by social media, not just in the life of common people but for businesses and enterprises, the wisest course of action is to be abreast with the transformational shifts that are sweeping across the social media landscape.
Here, we throw light on 5 such changing trends on Social media that marketers should be cognizant of, to lend the maximum visibility to their businesses.
Ephemeral is going Permanent
With the attention span of human beings plummeting from 12 seconds to 8 seconds in the last 18 years, posting huge content in the already overflowing cauldron of digital content makes no sense. Most social media messaging apps have capitalized on this fact by introducing the concept of ephemeral content, which are short, engaging and most importantly, temporary.
Spearheaded by Snapchat through its ‘stories feature’, it is now an active aspect of Facebook’s social media messaging apps, including Facebook Messenger, Whatsapp and Instagram. One of the reasons for ephemeral content to create such a buzz is because it works on the psychology of urgency. Since all of the content stays for just a day, users develop a natural tendency to check it out and reply before the content deletes, thus increasing user engagement manifolds.
Mobile is winning the race
The victory of mobile over other entertainment devices is corroborated by studies like that done by Facebook which showed that 94 out of their 100 respondents carried a mobile in their hands while watching TV. Another US Mobile App report by comScore identified that 78% of the social media time of its respondents was spent on mobile phones.
From Facebook to Youtube, all being watched predominantly on mobile, marketers are developing more and more mobile-friendly content and videos that gain as much attention of their users as possible. To make the most of this predominance of mobile, Instagram, which is basically a mobile-specific platform, has launched a standalone IGTV app for the purpose of posting its long-form video
Augmented Reality is the new reality
The USP of snapchat that drove it to success was its Augmented Reality (AR) feature that offered geo-filters, facial-filters, branded-filters and made people go crazy with its makeover features. Facebook, a quick learner, decided to join the AR bandwagon and announced a broad range of AR features to be added to its existing messaging and social media apps in April 2017 during its F8 Facebook Developer Conference.
Due to the provision of frames, masks, and other beautification features, AR has become an instant hit among many marketers. For instance, L’Oreal used this feature to give its customers a real life-like idea of what color would suit them the best by applying a myriad of lipstick colors on the image of its customer.
ChatBots talk the most
Initially, businesses employed chat bots on their website to drive customer engagement and used it for marketing, customer service, payments, and many other applications. Sites like Buffer and Writers Per Hour have used chatbots to communicate live with their readers while they read their content.
Contrary to the other trends that businesses emulated from social media, the concept of chatbots was borrowed from the e-businesses and is now actively used by messaging apps like Viber, Slack, iMessage, WeChat and many more. In fact, the number of bots in Facebook messenger skyrocketed from 33,000 to greater than 100,000 in just one year.
Even though chatbots have become a ubiquitous phenomenon, with more than half of the American population between 18 and 55 having used chatbots, due to their ease and versatility, this number is supposedly going to rise and show an upward trend for a long time.
Customer Service has bombarded Social Media
Previously social media was just used for sharing and communicating, but with the increased use of social media as a tool for marketing, customers are also posting more complaints and feedback on it. Such use of social media has been corroborated by a survey from by Sprout Social which showed that 46% of their respondents used social media to complain about a brand. Some of these complaints have been regarding the unethical practices that companies use in their marketing strategies.
For whatever reason, be it complaints, compliments, feedbacks or queries, more and more customers are taking to social media to present their views and opinions, and thus, companies should be updated with their social media to know where to work on their offerings.
Since customers are the ultimate driving factor for any company’s success, it is important that marketers leverage all those means that promise the maximum customer engagement. And social media is one such medium, that has shown a boom in its user numbers.
Therefore, to increase the ROI of any business, strategists should be well abreast of all the trends that are happening across the social media landscape and make the most of them in their social media marketing strategies.