Brand managers are slowly realizing and appreciating the fact that they need to evolve their simple social-media formula of garnering the maximum Likes and Shares – the essence of new social media marketing has become the ‘marketing’ aspect of it, i.e. targeting audiences to act in a pre-determined manner. It could be simply awareness of a cause, or sign-ups for an event, or even converting fans to buyers. It is all about the right kind of connect with the right kind of audience.
No matter what the intended goal, the future of social media marketing is a focused approach on achieving pre-determined targets over every other variable – a brand doesn’t need a million Facebook Likes if it only converts a few thousand fans to buyers. In social media marketing, it’s the ends which justify the means.
Keeping this in mind, here are some aspects of how social media marketing will evolve in times to come.
Closely Integrated into Live Events
Social media is built on conversation, and events are perhaps the hottest drivers of conversation, both online and otherwise. This perhaps forms the basis of the recent Red Bull sponsored jump from the stratosphere, and MarsTweetShop, a machine that dispensed chocolate bars in exchange for tweeting a Mars specific-tweet. From TV shows displaying their official hashtags during prime time shows to major events and conferences displaying a Twitter Wall and official hashtags in large characters; marketing an event on social media has become DE-rigueur. It enables the marketers to get that much-cherished reach.
Physical Retail goes Social
While e-commerce has definitely impacted physical shopping, social media is slowly penetrating an aspect of physical retail – friend recommendations. As buying decisions are heavily influenced by word-of-mouth, brands will increasingly emphasize on taking their real-time shoppers social. These include simple offerings like Wi-Fi to post check-ins, to the more engaging activities that targets entire groups of people.
Visuals over Content
The power of an image to speak a thousand words and deliver those thousand words instantly, is perhaps why major brands have taken to image-driven social media like Pinterest and Instagram. Of late, brand content on Twitter and Facebook has also become more image-centric, reflecting this change.
If a product is shareable on social media, it reflects on its real-life attractiveness, thus influencing purchase. Even the websites’ homepages have become much more visual, engaging users to click and find out more – all major global brands have adopted this new visual-driven interface.
Analysts have predicted that in times to come brands will be capturing attention spans, and mindshare, by using engaging videos, to HD photos, and this change will be fueled by high-res devices.
The era of social media has already arrived and it is here to stay and take the web by storm. In the present times, no brand can afford to not place its brand on a platform as powerful as social media.