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A glimpse into the future of Social Media

The concept of Social Media is top of the agenda for many business executives today. Decision makers, as well as consultants, try to identify ways how to make profitable use of applications such as Instagram, YouTube, Facebook or Pinterest. Here at FORUM ONE 2014 you’ll have an opportunity to hear the freshest news and trends from our speaker – highly experienced and passionately involved in the digital industry Facebook Client partner for global marketing solutions Veronika Sobolak. Before meeting with this influential business insider we offer you to take a glimpse into the most popular theories and prognosis about changes in Social Media life.

 

In looking at the evolution of social media to this point and the current landscape of internet marketing, specialists are trying to get a sense of the trajectory of some big themes emerging – let it be purely speculative, but still it is fun to anticipate how marketing tools will evolve in the future – nearer or further. Today’s consumers see social media in a new light. Consumers are using social media channels to amplify their voices to their own networks. We have already seen social media change in many ways: the move away from focusing on “going viral” to creating meaningful engagement (even if with a smaller audience), the shift away from a seemingly sole reliance on Facebook as the cornerstone of social media marketing, the realization that “just being there” isn’t enough, and the awareness that content is more than just words have all set the stage for what is to come next.

 

Building community

Some voices are saying that the future of social media belongs to mobile tribes, because everyone has different needs, and the social landscape is shifting accordingly. In such web where everyone lives in close-knit communities, everyone becomes an entrepreneur. Walk into any popular coffee shop and you will see a high percentage of the people running their little enterprises out of that public place. Office space is changing to accommodate completely new workplace solutions. With social media, what was big becomes small. The “local” store is back, but it is not based on proximity; it’s based on community and connections. So the suggestion to smart marketers is to learn how to get the most from these new tools to give them a competitive advantage.

What does this mean to marketers? Let’s put it this way – instead of looking at social media as simply a way to communicate and sell to your customers, you should look at it as a valuable way to connect and build loyalty with your customers. Doing this within the context of a layer on top of all your marketing efforts (online, offline, in-store) makes social marketing central, not separate to your brand communication. Stop promoting to them and start relating with them leveraging your marketing communications efforts all the while.

The quality of business-to-consumer communications will improve – with a new focus on interaction, more companies and tools will be built to use conversations to engage customers and users.

 

Open interaction data

Right now, much of the interaction data in social media platforms are closed, not able to be mashed up in order to get a more complete picture of a customer. This data silo-ing that exists today will change over time, predicts some heavyweight social media specialists. As data becomes more commoditized, platforms will open their data. That will create huge new opportunities for social marketing. In fact, social media writers estimate that by 2020, data will increase 600 percent, 75 percent of which will be created by customers, not businesses. Finding ways to mash up and use these data will create huge opportunity.

 

More gadgets and places to think of

You already know that mobile is set to overtake desktop as the primary means of accessing the internet. The movement will not stop there. We’ve moved beyond smartphones and connected tablets to cars. Wearable tech is obviously huge right now, from the ongoing fascination around Google Glass to products such as the Pebble watch or Jawbone wristbands.
For social media, this means not just posting text heavy content, for example, but utilizing video, tappable post elements, and other tools to increase the richness of the customer experience and interaction with you. In fact, you should look beyond text-focused social media platforms and consider adding some that are more visually centred to the mix.

With over 50% of all Internet browsing now happening on a mobile device, the next wave in social media marketing will be harnessing the power of location-based technologies.Social media networks including Facebook & Twitter will increasingly use fans’ locations through 3rd party installed apps to provide additional marketing opportunities for businesses. Advertising on Twitter & Facebook will be more similar to Google Adwords campaigns in that you will be able to target users based on their real-time location. This means businesses will be able to promote special offers to customers in nearby locations for example.

 

And all this makes think that…

…Social will get smarter — this is no longer a profession where you can write a Facebook post & think that’s all you have to do. The content you produce defines your business, as well as draws in new and existing customers. The lines between advertising, marketing and PR will blur further so the result will be more and more branded content in the form of videos, infographics, memes, etc.

And the most important forecast: people will continue to use Facebook while saying they hate it and threatening to close their account. Ah, almost forgot: there will be more pictures of food and probably cats.

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