Do you remember when the internet first became the easiest way to do that middle school research project? Or when talking to your friends moved from being on the phone to aim and adding people’s screen names to your friend list? Or maybe that one time when not having a MySpace was the place to be when it came to reading other people’s profiles? Was it me, or did all that happen with a blink of an eye? One minute we are all juggling X number of chat windows on aim, the next we are upgrading from MySpace to Facebook, and then we are sending out a tweet to remind everyone to check out our new blog post.
It is no secret, social media has made an impact on the way we socialize. Why call someone when you can send them a Facebook message? Better yet, do you have some good news to share? Update your Facebook status. Are you wearing an outfit that you consider to be one of your finest? Share it with the world on Instagram. The best part of all this is that thanks to the techs at Apple, Samsung, LG, Microsoft and Motorola, all this can be done now be done with your cell phone you most likely have glued to your hand. Basically, the cell phone may as well be called the social media storage unit because most smart phones are social media app capable. The point with this is that social media is here to stay and businesses as well as consumers have to adapt to it. Going one step further, both businesses and consumers will have to adapt to this constantly changing force.
While social media has already changed communication it will continue to do so. One of the things that companies will have to put more emphasis on is content. If you are an avid tv viewer, perhaps you noticed that some companies are no longer producing as many television aired commercials opting instead for the promoting capabilities offered by social media. This makes sense from a business stand point. Social media requires constant work, a small staff to manage and thanks to the power of Tweeting, Facebooking, Pinning and Instagraming it is free marketing (Solis, 2011). However, in order for the magic the social media world offers to happen companies need to create good content that people want to share and have seen by others. If what is being posted is not memorable, interesting, thought provoking, inspiring, allows viewers to emotionally connect with it, or even conversation mention worthy then there is really no point to creating it. Poor content can actually have the opposite effect of what good content can do for a brand (Kim, 2014).
Another change that could bring a change to social media is the dominance of the mobile app. Let’s face it. As humans we have a few essentials on us at all times: wallet, keys and cell phone. Wallets carry money and other important information. Keys start the car and lets us into our homes and cell phones give us the opportunity to run our mini-worlds at arm’s length. Yep, the world. It is then no wonder that stores are taking the initiative to take time to develop a mobile map that turns their websites into an app. For the future, these apps will be studied and analyzed for data that can be used by marketers and companies not only to determine ROI but also to determine how these apps should be developed, what content they should have and how best to format the app for easy consumer use . Taking this mobile technology one step further and it is very possible that these mobile apps will be a presence across these mobile devices. This data will come in handy for marketers that are focused on engaging with consumers and willing to use the mobile app as an alternate option to the website and the outlet for coupons and sales information as well . Want an example? Check out the Macy’s app.
While these are just a few changes among the several that have the potential to happen in the future it will be necessary for marketers to adapt their social media strategies for the companies they work for. Otherwise, the trends will pass them by and so will consumers and their smartphones.
So here it is – a maybe sort of glimpse into the social media future. What is next is the big question? Honestly, it is a mystery but hopefully social media keeps on being social. But for those of you who are curious and cannot wait to see what the future holds, here is a brain storm exercise. Think about something you would love to see in a social media app. Then pay Google a visit and see if there is already an app like that out there. If there is then give that app a try. If there is not, well, maybe you can create the next big trending social media platform.