Forget platforms: Social media is happening everywhere.
Social media as an enabler of cross-border interactions has stirred such a change in our lives, that today almost any content and commerce require a social component, and in the near future the most successful companies will be “social at core”.
Today, 31% of the world population is connected to social media platforms (according to a recent “We Are Social” report), with Facebook taking the lead. Yet, macro-trends such as: mobile penetration, the future of work places, urbanization, penetration of new technology such as wearables and VR, and changing demographics - are all driving an even more profound change in the way that “social” happens.
Already today, almost 2 billion people are using social media platforms on their mobile devices (“We Are Social” report, Jan. 2016). As social activity shifts to chatting apps, the role of mobile will continue to grow, driving use of mobile device capabilities such as voice, video, photos, drawing, etc.. Video, and 360 degrees video in particular, continues to rise, with “shareability” important to marketers, as well as the curator-consumer. The emergence of technologies such as VR will enable more consumers to participate in video content, and the rise of “live” video will cause consumers to share experiences with other consumers, from all over the world. Smart TVs, smart appliances, and other connected devices, also affect the scope and sort of social interactions.
In fact, social components become more and more transparent. When a person books accommodation through the Airbnb apartment sharing, he/she is in fact using a social platform intended for swapping and commerce. When a person books a ride via Uber, he/she is using the recommendation and up-voting social system upon which the platform is built.
Service, in any industry, is taking place in more social platforms, including chat apps and social media pages. Social is becoming integral to financial services – peer-to-peer transactions begin to grow, and with the rise in fintech, we expect recommendations and networking to enter this industry as well. And many hotels already interact with guests via mobile apps – even enabling them to book via Twitter and order services with emoji.
The workplace of tomorrow will rely heavily on social-media: new and existing companies are offering social-media platforms for the workplace, which enable employees to effectively manage projects, in today’s information-driven workplace.
It is important to remember, though, that consumers are starting to view social platforms as a nuisance, and they are looking to unplug more often. This indicates that any marketer that wants to participate in the social conversation, must contribute (as we always say) relevant, helpful content that is personalized, as well as customized to the specific platform. Simply put, you should roll the same campaign on Snapchat or Vine as you would on Facebook or Instagram – it’s not the same crowd, and not the same behavior. And don’t use any of these platforms merely to tell consumers about your brand – they are not there to listen to you.
Beyond relevancy, companies must adopt social as key component of their activity. Integrate reviews, referrals, communication apps, to provide the decision-making information, and service capabilities, to which consumers have become accustomed.
Take Social Commerce to the next level: rather than imitating e-commerce, use the power of reviews, virality and immediacy, to drive sales. Be shoppable – let consumers purchase your products and services from whichever platform they are on. Crowdfunding is another social strategy which can be integrated into many services and products.
To sum it up: Social media offers a great opportunity for marketers for building communities and relationships; but in the near future, companies will have to integrate social media capabilities throughout the entire path to purchase.