We’re finally in a world where we feel that most businesses understand what kind of an impact social media can have on their bottom lines. That being said, even though social media has become an increasing priority, businesses are still taking their sweet time wading into the waters of social marketing. Much of that sense of caution comes from the constant changes in the industry. Keeping up, never mind staying ahead of the proverbial curve is more challenging than ever. Making sure you’re kept abreast of what’s coming next isn’t just something that’s ‘nice to do,’ it’s becoming essential.
This week’s post takes a look at some of the emerging trends in social media and what we feel will be significant conversation pieces in the coming months.
Don’t misunderstand us – Facebook is still king of the hill until further notice. They have 1.18 billion users, 58% of which are active daily. Facebook certainly won’t be going away anytime soon. That being said, they have hit a bit of a plateau and are even beginning to experience a slow decline among users from the younger 13-17 age demographic.
Twitter on the other hand? They’re going public and with it – they’re increasingly being thrust into the spotlight. Additionally, Twitter’s gaining users – especially in the key demographics that Facebook is losing them. Why? According to Pew Researchers – it’s because there’s A.) less drama on Twitter; and B.) It’s easier to fly under parents’ radars. In addition, industries are beginning to flock to Twitter in droves, consolidating its place as a strong customer service platform.
If you’re not familiar with Snapchat, it’s essentially a program that allows users to send out messages called ‘snaps’ out to a broad populace that self destruct after a set period of time. Just last April, 5 million active users were uploading over 150 million photos a day! People like the fact that the photos are deleted from the server and as such – Snapchat has moved into a nice niche for folks who aren’t as trusting of traditional social media platforms.
In fact, companies are just beginning to experiment with the Snapchat phenomenon, asking customers to share their stories or interact with them while they’re in a particular store, or destination. It’s also greatly helped increase engagement with in-store promotions. While the genesis is still largely crude, it won’t be long before you begin to hear more about Snapchat and it’s taking a seat next to Facebook, Vine, Twitter and YouTube as a significant mover and shaker in the Social Media realm.
Last year was certainly the year of the sharing economy – or, if you will – the collaborative economy. Over the course of the past few years, individuals have gained the ability (and power) that comes from bypassing traditional channels to voice concerns or heap praise about a particular brand. Now, we have seen just how powerful that force has become as new technology has made it easier for people to directly deal with other people.
Where is this all headed? We believe that we’re just scratching the surface here and that business models will evolve out of fundamental changes brought about by the sharing economy. Folks won’t wait for brands to answer their needs, but instead address them through other novel approaches. Just in the travel industry alone, we’re seeing more guided tours, transportation choices, home-cooked meals from the locals and well… the incredibly lucrative business of renting out rooms or unique accommodation outside of your traditional hotels/hostels. Fundamentally, these services are brought about as exchanges with peers, rather than a retailer. Expect to see more of that in the future.
YouTube is experiencing 100 hours of video being uploaded an hour. Vine and Instagram are doing almost half that. More and more companies are embracing these short videos as quick, completely inexpensive and efficient ways to tell their story. If a picture can tell a 1,000 words, videos can tell millions!