The current state of affairs for social media is a mix of unpredictable technologies and evolutions that we can track and anticipate. Case in point, take the biggest social network in the world: Facebook. In 2013, Global Web Index published a study that revealed Facebook had lost close to one third of its U.S. teen users, however, today Facebook reports record growth in its third quarter; $2.96 billion in ad revenue as well as the acquisition of upwards of 100 million actively monthly users. This simply shows how things in the social world can quickly go from a death sentence to complete and utter prosperity. And yet Facebook is anything but safe; its longevity lies in its ability to transform and reinvent the overall experience.
As with anything in the digital space, things can change overnight, so social media is in a constant state of evolution. This means that change within the core platforms is not going to slow down or cease anytime soon. If anything, it is poised to accelerate at an incredible rate, and those who do not heed this warning and adapt with the times are sure to be left in the dust. Want to ensure your organization remains relevant? Then you must consistently be flexible and ahead of the social curve, and here are the current trends to get you there.
Smart and Social Means Going Mobile
The astonishing rate at which smartphone technology has spread like wildfire through the industry has given way for the emergence of a variety of connected devices. Everything from wearable technology to track activity levels such as Fitbits, to PlayStation 4’s new “share” feature has technology wirelessly sending information about day to day activities off to the internet in an effort to better market to consumers. Unfortunately, at this time the information is still used in a somewhat rudimentary fashion, but expect this space to absolutely explode in the coming months
One of the biggest focuses of the year is all about how to further blur the lines between social media and the “internet of things” movement. Companies are learning to use the information collected in a more intelligible manner, which in tandem determines savvier ways to integrate connected devices. Tracking user activities such as events and interaction with friends and followers with increased focus, and then using that data to understand daily behaviors and activities will allow social media platforms and connected devices to interact and simplify users’ lives in a smarter and more seamless way than previously imaginable.
Social Media Becomes a Digital Wallet
The substantial number of users on social media platforms has given birth to a marketing goldmine; amassing hordes of active, receptive, potential consumers socially communicating about preferences, interests, and hobbies. This tremendous opportunity has recently spawned various payment processing applications such as Apple Pay, Google Wallet, and Kachyng which allows Facebook users to buy from any merchant on any site or app. Additionally, in October a Stanford computer science student stumbled upon a hidden payment option embedded deep down into Facebook’s Messenger app. Meanwhile, Twitter has developed an application called Twitter Offers that can upload coupons from retailers directly to a user’s credit card, which can then be redeemed at checkout.
The payment processing application race is in a fascinating infancy. What is certain, however, is that the future of social media will undoubtedly incorporate payment processing apps and retail shopping options galore. These will continue to tap into greater marketing opportunities and further the transition of social platforms into “lifestyle platforms” which aim to totally meet all of a consumer’s needs.
Integrated Shopping Options
Facebook and Twitter have not only entered the payment processing arena, but earlier this year, both began to beta test “buy” buttons featured alongside certain tweets and posts. This option will allow users of the platforms to potentially make purchases with the simple click of a button. Additionally, with widespread and growing use of mobile devices, consumers will have constant access to a bevy of products on the sites that are already being visited most on mobile phones.
This marketing approach has seemingly unlimited potential as it eliminates the need to get customers to go to a company’s website, but instead brings the product to the customer’s fingertips in the arena they spend the majority of their online time enjoying: social platforms. Additionally, attaching tweets and posts to actual purchases will provide analysts with concrete data on how fruitful a social media marketing campaign has actually been. It is expected for e-commerce and social media relations to drastically deepen within the year. The light speed transformation of these portals continues.
It is unequivocally clear that social media has become a mainstay of the internet and will continue to integrate into people’s daily lives through connected devices, the internet of things” movement, and related advancements. It is imperative for businesses to possess and implement a substantial social media presence as well as a meaningful focus across multiple platforms. Now is the time to make a move, before the face of social media changes once again and your organization is too far behind to play an ill-fated game of catch up.
What other trends in the social stratosphere do you expect to see this year?