The new era of social media: are you ready?
In my first post of 2017, I’d like to take you on a journey to explore the new era of social media. But, what’s the old era? 🙂
What was the old era?
I spent the last week or so thinking and planning my new year, taking some notes and reading some other stuff.
I also cleaned my digital library: last year I read around 18 books, quite an accomplishment! It’s been the year I read the most. Between the first books I read when I moved to London there was Socialnomics by Erik Qualman.
It’s also one of the first books I read about social media marketing back in 2012. And it’s a great one: giving a lot of examples of companies and professionals using social media to increase their sales, cutting their marketing costs, and reaching consumers directly.
Even if it’s sad seeing many companies aren’t taking full advantage of those channels still, it’s interesting seeing how social channels have changed and evolved in the last few years.
It’s funny to use the word ‘old era’ too, as we’re just talking about 4-5 years ago.
The super specific channels we’ve seen at the beginning have become less in numbers and in specificity. The creation of generic content is not very useful now. Advertising campaigns on social media are becoming more expensive but more natural for users.
Seeing an ad is not awkward anymore.
So, what’s the new era of social media?
The new era is more difficult. Of course, what would you expect? It’s more challenging dealing with social media now.
We, marketers, have been dealing with social media for a while, learning what users like to do and how to deal with companies’ goals.
Social media are changing, as us as users. We want to see what people are doing much more than before. We care about likes and we want to be heard, so much, that sometimes we prefer shouting rather than talking.
If you’re a company you know that organic reach is dead and you need to find always new ways to engage with your audience.
So what’s going to happen in the next months and maybe years?
1) VIDEOS are booming.
And not only because your timeline is full of videos, but because users are actually watching a lot of videos.
Periscope, the live video app born one year ago, says that we’re not even watching hours anymore but years, on a daily basis.
And this is the situation on New Year’s Eve: live streaming videos on Facebook have reached record-breaking numbers around the globe. A lot of people, instead of “just celebrating”, were watching live videos on Facebook.
Like my grandma was watching TV, 10 years ago.
You get it at this point: videos and live videos are the most important thing you can do on social media. Especially now that on Instagram you can stream live videos too. You can even choose: Facebook, Instagram or Twitter? From a company’s point of view, I know it’s scary: what if users are talking badly about your products? But what if your customers are talking amazingly about it?
A friend of mine is working at King and he’s reproduced LIVE a game for live streaming purposes. In this way, the team has been able to talk in real-time with the users about the game and create real engagement with the main character. Isn’t it awesome? Check it out here, it blew my mind.
2) The new era of social media will be PERSONALIZED.
Personalization was also key in the old era. This was the meaning of hiring a community manager. Now, chatbots can replace him and speak with people directly on Messenger. They can reply to specific questions, informing about the weather, helping you to find stuff at the supermarket, telling you that the box you were waiting for has finally been delivered, and much more.
Well, actually, we won’t need to wait for having chatbots, they’re already here. For my flight to Cuba, I’ve got my boarding passes and info about the flights directly on FB!
Elisabeth Nieves has created a chatbot to help her find a job. It’s here. Nice, isn’t it? Do you really need it? Maybe not.
But, expect to see a lot more of chatbots in the months to come. Not sure they’ll all be good though.
3) PREDICTIONS will be more accurate.
With the FB reactions and AI understanding every day more about us, social media activity can now be leveraged to generate detailed data and insight.We’ll face an era of exploring the deeper significance of these social signals and what they really mean, at their core, for corporates, social movements and countries. Monitoring sentiment will be key.
Turning insight into consumer behaviour, understanding how people think and feel, based on what they share voluntarily across social media, has applications not only for marketing and PR but, crucially, for business intelligence, market research and strategy.
So, companies, be ready. You won’t need a community manager anymore. But someone able to leveraging data available through social media campaigns will allow brands to not only isolate key target groups but deliver highly personalised and relevant content that has the ability to be heard above the white noise of today’s media-saturated landscape.
Are you a social media manager? Start pivoting your career now.
Data will become even more important than producing a good copy.