It isn’t hard to imagine that the social media landscape is shifting. It seems like just yesterday we were hearing about the newest app, SnapChat, and finding cool new ways to use it. Well, the company that turned down an offer from Facebook is 2013 is now publicly trading at a value of $28 billion. A big leap for a company that started out in 2012 with the limited ability to send photos from iOS to iOS. Social media is a “living organism” that eats, breathes, and grows quickly.
Think about it. Myspace started in 2003, and from my opinion (maybe it’s a fact) was the first social media platform that was readily available and widely used. I remember creating my little profile, picking my top five friends, and adding music and themes to the page during the holidays. Only fifteen years later, where is it now? It’s made a shift to focus on music and creative opportunities rather than the social media experience we once knew. It has only been fifteen years since the first “social media” platform and now we balance Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, Pinterest, Tumblr, LinkedIn, SnapChat, and lord knows what else the kids are getting into these days.
Times are changing and the shifts aren’t just technological. Social shifts are driving these technological changes and it’s happening faster than anyone can keep up with. I bet if you opened up one of those apps on your phone right now, you’d probably find a new feature you never knew about. So how are we, as small businesses, expected to keep up with social media and run our businesses? Stop following the shift and get ahead of it!
Here are some of the most important shifts we’re expecting in the near future. Some of which you can already see taking root in some of our favorite platforms. Knowing this helps us develop forward-thinking social media campaigns that account for changes and keep us one step ahead of the competition.
Shifts in Technology
We’ve said it before but now it’s at a whole new level! Video marketing is in, and this infographic proves it. We’re meeting new generations who have grown up learning by watching. They watch videos to learn to read. They watch videos to learn how to ride a bike. It’s a video world and you need to get in it. “43% of people want to see more videos from marketers.” Who are we to argue?
AI – Artificial Intelligence
The robots are taking over the world! AI is here and it’s here to stay. We’re not talking Rosie the Robot from the Jetsons, although that would be cool, let’s not beat around the bush. We’re getting lazier and lazier. With more time spent working than ever before, we can’t ostracize people for wanting Alexa to turn on the lights or change the temperature on the thermostat. It is another element that integrates with our lives, like social media, and provides a little comfort here and there. But what does that have to do with social media? Everything. Social media is a facet of people’s lives, they’re shunned if they don’t have it so it is a cultural norm. As things like Amazon’s Alexa and Google Home get smarter, they are sure to integrate with social media. I mean, you can order a pizza from Dominos by just asking or tweeting a pizza emoji (?). Do you really think it’s too far-fetched that we’ll see some form of everyday integration into our home assistants?
Shifts in Society
Yup, we said it. DEMOGRAPHICS! Social media isn’t just for Millennials anymore. There are more users over the age of 35 than there is under. That means it is time for businesses to stop thinking that “their audience isn’t on social media.” Everyone is on social media, so you should be too. I always feel bad for businesses that hold off on getting social or even having a website built. I feel bad because I know that they won’t be successful. Stop holding out like you’re sixteen again and waiting for marriage. That didn’t work and neither will your business if you don’t meet customers where they spend their time.
No, we’re not talking Danny and Sandy from Grease. You won’t be flying off with your customers to god knows where while a group of other people sing your praises. But, you do need to account for the shift in consumer behavior. Customers want to build relationships with the businesses they give their money. Remember what we said about working longer than ever before? If we’re spending more time making money, we’re going to value where we put it. Corporate mistrust and the invasion of advertisements are causing consumers to want more than just a give and take relationship. They want to know where that money is going, who it is helping, and how it gives back to the economy. Social media is a strong platform for relationship building, and your business can use this to give a face to the brand and use storytelling to share how the impact of sales makes a difference. I mean, haven’t you noticed the influx of “buy x and we’ll donate x to x?” People notice these things and it’s time to use that to your advantage.
Social media isn’t something to be scared of or something that you need to devote your life to. That’s why there are professionals, like us, whose sole purpose is to help businesses navigate the changing landscape. Just remember that getting on social media is more than creating a profile, popping up pictures, and posting daily food specials (I use that a lot because it’s a huge pet peeve). It’s about having a strategy or giving your social media a purpose that aligns with the goals of your business.
Plus, if you don’t think you can do it on your own there is a really cool company called Tipsy Social that can help you conquer your marketing goals and dominate your industry.