To downplay the power of social media marketing in today’s digital landscape is absurd. Businesses make or break via simple Tweet. Empires are built with simple Pages. Sales can skyrocket with a simple Share. Today’s influence of social media to your business is more powerful than ever.
This is a call to all business owners: be where your customers read, consume content and spend time; be where your customers are.
To say that the growth of social media usage is fast would be an understatement. The world literally has never seen anything like it.
Hootsuite (in partnership with We Are Social and Simon Kemp) recently published their annual global study of the internet, social, and mobile adoption across 239 countries, and they found out the following:
- 1 million new people joined social networks every single day in 2017
- 250 million users are new internet users
- This trend is likely to continue
- Africa would be the next big thing in terms of growth in social media (20% year on year increase)
- In 2020, there’ll be older people using Instagram (more 45 to 54-year-olds using Instagram than there are 13 to 17-year-olds)
Product Discovery in Social Media
GlobalWebIndex, a company that does audience profiling data to publishers, media agencies and marketers around the world social media is changing the way people make their purchases, both online and offline.
According to them, the landscape will see dramatic changes in the year 2020:
- For product research, Search is still on top, but Social will be following very closely
- There are key areas where Social Media defeats Search for product research, this includes Latin America, Africa and the Middle East
- Social also defeats Search as the top research channel (not just product research) in countries like the Philippines, Kenya and Morocco
- At least 28% of users consult their social networks as they do their product searches, this number increases steadily every year
- The future of search will be done on Social Media, and it will be visual according to Andrew Ng, Chief Scientist at Baidu, at least 50% of searches by 2020 will be through images or speech
- Pinterest’s founder and CEO Ben Silbermann said “a lot of the future of search is going to be about pictures instead of keywords” so it will be more key images instead of keywords
- According to Facebook, 80% of smartphone users will be using a mobile messaging app (such as Messenger) by 2020
- This will bring messaging beyond customer support or customer inquiry but rather the centre of mobile commerce, CRM and more importantly product discovery
- Chatbots will go beyond being novelty, they will be pivotal in purchases
Social Videos and the Future of Social Content
Video is the future of content. More and more people prefer video over articles or podcasts. It is by far a more effective approach to marketing. This is why the growth on social video adoption and audience continues to grow.
- At least 80% of people can recall a video advertisement that they’ve seen in the past 30 days according to Online Publishers Association as reported by Entrepreneur
- 64% of users are also more likely to be converted as a customer after they view a video about it according to ComScore.
- 56% of all internet users watch videos on Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat or Instagram each month
- 1/3 of internet users watch YouTube content every month, that equates to 150 million hours of YouTube videos every day
- 2018 Social Trends survey shows that 46% of practitioners already implement social videos and 28% are planning to implement it before 2018 ends
Social Commerce and the Future of Online Shopping
As businesses realise that social media plays an important role in determining what and how consumers will buy, more and more of their resources are being devoted to address these concerns.
- The gap between retailers and shoppers is only getting smaller
- Businesses are able to cut the path towards their customers through social media
- There is a whole new generation of internet users who have skipped desktop and traditional search engines, they will dictate the direction to which e-commerce will go to the future
- Instagram has implemented a way for businesses to build digital storefronts
- Facebook has integrated a payment system
- Shopify, a leading e-commerce solution pushes for retailers to capitalise on social e-commerce
- According to Shopify Facebook dominates social traffic and sales, attributing 66% of all social media visits to their stores to the social network
- Over 85% of all e-commerce orders that came from social media also came from Facebook
- A noteworthy social network Polyvore shows the highest average order value, defeating Facebook, Pinterest and Twitter, at least based on Shopify’s data
- GlobalWebIndex notes that “shopping via social channels may be an APAC-based phenomenon for now, but a culmination of trends is laying the groundwork for social commerce to gain traction in the West.”
Social CEOs Change How We Perceive Brands
In a world where there’s almost an app for everything, there’s always a CEO behind it. That’s why social CEOs have become the new norm.
How will this impact the future? Today branding is changing. Executives, key decision makers tweet, share posts – more importantly, engage with customers and are within reach of them, easily and to some extent anytime.
- Everyone’s now vocal, from the boss to the customers
- Social media can easily push up or pull down a business
- How people perceive your company including your employees in social media has never been important. Think of how campaigns to boycott a product after a company staff or even its executive tweet something
- Edelman, a large public relations and marketing consultancy firm noted that “57% of global consumers were more likely to believe a spontaneous speaker, versus 43% that would trust a speaker that sounded scripted and rehearsed.” This explains the phenomenon of social media for CEOs and brands – people want something that is real and raw #realtalk #brands
Mobile-first vs Mobile-only
If you’re not building your social media campaign with mobile users first in mind, then you’re missing a lot. But what about the more traditional platforms? What’s left of it?
- According to Facebook, there will be more people who have mobile phones than those with running water or electricity by the year 2020
- Mobile will be the primary and even only way people will get online
- More than 25% of internet users are already mobile only (they do not have a laptop or a desktop), and with India, that figure goes as high as 70% while it’s 67 % on Indonesia
- In Australia, 19% of adults used their mobile phone to go online in July 2017, only 6% of the total adults have mobile-only access to the internet according to Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) Communications report 2016-17
- The above number is different when it comes to millennials, as 75% of Australian millennials use their mobile phones to go online according to Deloitte Mobile Consumer Survey 2017
- All these trends mean that messaging apps will further dominate mobile phones, this is why many businesses are trying to integrate with leading mobile applications
Now how do we prepare for this? Of course, doing social media is a given and doing it with the proper technical background is more crucial.
Arming yourself with knowledge in social media marketing through proper education and research will only help you get an edge in the noisy and brutal landscape of digital marketing.