Nothing has disrupted the marketing world quite like social media. Today, one person can literally connect with thousands of potential customers and clients with the click of a button. After all, there is a lot to be said for simply interacting with customers.
As the CEO of an internet marketing company, I see that social media is the top driver for relationship building and brand engagement. But don’t just take my word for it: facts, tips and expectations for the future of social media marketing all reinforce this shift in the landscape.
Behind The Numbers
Numbers don’t lie. Based on data alone, there is no arguing that social media is changing the way brands connect with consumers.
According to information on Statista, 97% of the global share of companies now employ social media in their marketing efforts. In many cases, Facebook FB +1.90% alone is supplanting search when it comes to content discovery, as the platform accounts for nearly 25% of web traffic, based on a 2015 Shareaholic report. And if conversions are what matter most to your brand, consider this: A study by DeloitteDigital revealed that shoppers are nearly 30% more likely to make a purchase the same day when they use social media to help them shop, and social customers are about four times as likely than non-social users to spend more on digital shopping experiences.
If you’re not actively producing social content that encourages conversation, drives engagement and creates authentic experiences around your brand, you may be missing out.
More Than Just Statistics
In my own experience working in internet marketing, I’ve seen too many brands fall victim to a common case of what I like to call “that’s not me” syndrome. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard brands fight back with the “my customers aren’t on social media” argument. Even if that’s the case (extremely unlikely, considering that the number of global social media users is expected to reach 2.5 billion by 2018), creating strong social signals is becoming a growing part of Google GOOGL +0.62%’s algorithm to rank your brand in organic search results.
Social media is no longer just a way to keep up with friends and family. It’s becoming the go-to source of information. If you’re not active on social media, you’re missing out on hundreds of prospective customers each and every day. In a world filled with on-demand content, people want to be in control of the what, when and how they get their content.
Without question, the shift of power toward the consumer is one of the biggest disrupters to the marketing world. We’ve moved far from the traditional “push” approach to marketing, where brands could push their messages onto customers for the right price. Now, with customers in control of the content they see, brands have to commit to creating content that attracts their audience. It’s no longer about what you want to tell the customer; it’s about answering their questions, being transparent, creating experiences, and inspiring trust in your brand.
While there are no certainties in the world of marketing, there is strong evidence that these are some of the elements that will shape the future of marketing:
- Seamless integration across digital channels is essential, but the content must be specifically tailored for each medium. Cutting-and-pasting won’t get the job done.
- Your content design must be so good that people are thrilled with it. People don’t have the time or patience to read something subpar.
- Content should be optimized and tracked for proven ROI. Then you can fall back on your old marketing laurels and do more of what works.
- Social media will continue to grow and become most people’s tool of choice. Expect to see marketers flock toward social media marketing as advances in technology, enhancements in interactivity, better analytical tools, and real-time engagement data arises.
- The cloud will consolidate resources and optimize consumption, driving further technological changes.
- Visual storytelling will take hold and videos, graphics and images will be used to drive customer engagement.
Bridging The Social Media Trust Gap GPS -0.70%
The use of social media has always been highly debated, especially with senior management. Now that there is ample proof of ROI, attitudes have begun to slowly change. A generational shift among senior personnel will hasten that process and allow social media to become one of the key pieces of organizational marketing and digital storytelling, helping to establish and amplify your brand experiences.
Consumers are more connected now than ever before. People are interacting in more places and in new ways that are quickly becoming engrained in their daily behavior. As technology keeps moving forward, finding new ways to share your brand’s story and create authentic experiences will keep attracting new customers and leads. Social media is about being social. Communicate your message clearly, build a story that’s real and you’ll send your engagement numbers soaring.