Social media, like a any living organism, is constantly evolving. Everyday there is a new way to utilize social media and incorporate it into everyday use. Social media is all about consumer engagement, building relationships and technological and sociological advancement. Noelle Lorine, Digital Director at Bravo Group, helps clients hone in the power of social media and use it to advance their businesses.
“To me, social media is just another piece of the communications puzzle. It enables transparent and direct communication among individuals and groups, which has transformed the public relations industry. Social media is constantly evolving – and a lot of the changes are driven by users. People will continue to find ways to more easily connect with each other. I think we’ll see a lot of this reflected in the social media usage and behaviors in the future. A large part of my job is staying on top of the trends in the social media world and finding ways to apply them in our campaigns.”
1. Sales via social media are rising.
Buying online used to be thought of as a sure way to have your credit card information stolen. Now, people load all their cards onto their phones, save their card numbers onto websites, and buy products from perfect strangers. What is it about online shopping that is so popular? It’s easy. And it just got a bit easier. Social media platforms have caught up to the online buying trend and they want in. Facebook and Twitter have recently released the Buy button and Pinterest is rumored to debut their own soon. J. Crew and a few other retailers have started releasing their newest catalogs on Pinterest before print copies are dispersed, allow consumers to pre-order their products. So here we are, another streamlined social media channel to encourage impulse purchases and lost paychecks.
2. Advertisements have made their way to social platforms.
Social media has become the new and preferred advertising channel for marketers. Social media users first saw advertisements and paid media in 2014 on Snapchat. Now users can view paid advertisements on almost any platform: Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram, etc. It makes sense: why not integrate advertising into platforms people already spend 3-5 hours a day on.
3. But it’s not your typical advertisements, the public wants influencers.
The public has spoken, send in the fashion bloggers, celebrities, and vloggers. In the 2015 websphere, those that pitch are becoming ignored. Social users do not want to be sold to and they don’t want their social space being infiltrated by pushy advertisers. Consumers want valuable content that doesn’t reek of the traditional advertising ploys. Bloggers, vloggers, and avid users of social media are shaping the future of marketing and advertising. Consumers want their favorite celebrities to tell them what to wear, what products to buy, what brands to buy from– and they want it from their own social accounts. No commercials. No print ads. We want Tweets, Facebook posts, blog articles, and Instagram pictures.
4. Wearable technology is the new fashion statement.
Okay, I know Google Glass didn’t work out too well… But wearable technology is recovering from that let-down. A key focus this year has been on wearables, especially for health purposes. These wearables provide and record information about one’s personal health. However, that’s not all they do. The corresponding health applications encourage working out and staying healthy to be a game– a game you play with friends. An individual using wearable technology can link their information to a niche social platform where they compete, share, and organize their information. With the Apple Watch released this year, it’s not too long before your friends will be posting to you from a touch on the wrist.
5. Customer service is moving to social.
Nobody wants to look up a company’s number, call, be put on hold for half an hour, and then get on the phone with someone who can’t help you with your problem anyway. We’ve all experienced this, being shuffled from department to department, from operator to operator. So what have consumers done to get their problems solved? They’ve moved to the public arena of the websphere. In 2015, there began a higher emphasis on online customer service. Responding to customer enquiries online is more efficient on time, staff, and overall perception of the company. By moving customer service online, companies can better than brand experience and lessen the amount of frustrated sighs.
The future of social media is iffy, but I think I have an idea of where it’s going: augmented reality applications. There are currently some applications out now in Europe that utilize augmented reality, but it hasn’t become a trend in the States quite yet. So stay on the look out for that upcoming trend in 2016!
Emily Smedley || Wayne Intern