Social media is a powerful tool, and our phones have turned into pocket-sized computers. The way that people have consumed media has changed vastly over the last decade, and businesses need to keep up with the latest trends. According to Keith Quesenberry’s Social Media Strategy, we spend more time on our phones than watching television–spending around three hours and ten minutes on our phones daily. What are we doing on them? Most likely we’re on social media.
Social media has changed the practice of marketing and journalism, with newsroom employees in newspapers dropping by 47%. The days of push marketing and bulletin board ads are over. It’s time to meet your consumers where they’re at–on social media.
The Way People Consume Information Is Changing
The way that we consume information is different than it used to be. Sure, there are still news stations on television and the daily newspaper, but the majority of news and information being shared is on social media. Digital media started with desktop, moved to laptops, and ultimately to phones. By 2013, 90% of the worlds digital data was created, and of that, 80% was content created from social media sources. The biggest problem is that ads, opinions, memes, news, and other information is being mixed together into one stream on social channels. This makes truth and fact hard to decipher from the junk.
Though there are some negatives of the mixed social stream, but the positives of social media are overwhelming. Social media is an interactive form of technology that allows the creation and sharing of information, ideas, and other forms of expression. From blog posts, to video streaming, and tweet, these virtual communities and social interactions facilitate user generated content. A eMarketer’s 2019 report details that in the US, people spend an hour and fifteen minutes on social media each day.
Branding and Awareness
Traditional advertising was used to create persuasive messages and purchase mass media space, like newspapers, to reach a large audience. As mass media has fragmented, communications and advertising has to spread over more places to achieve success. Multi-touchpoint marketing is more effective than just mass marketing. As consumers see a message repeated across channels, their trust in that brand increases from one touchpoint at 66% to 97% at six touchpoints. A great example of this is 2010 Effie Award Winner Clear Wireless, “Welcome to the Future” ad. Their campaign included thirteen touchpoints, from TV, radio, print, guerrilla, and more.
A 2019 survey found that the #1 use for social media was for brand awareness and building. Successful brands are frequently discussed on social platforms, and these conversations between consumers are vital to brand awareness and growth. Consumers are highly influenced by a brand’s social media posts, even if they don’t already “follow” them. According to Instagram, 83% of people discover new products and brands on Instagram’s platform.
Engagement and Interactivity
Historically, word-of-mouth is the primary factor behind 20-50% of all purchase decisions. The power of the consumer voice has grown vastly through social media. Social media has the incredible ability to transmit text, sound, video, etc. instantly to anyone around the globe. The rise of influencer marketing stems from social proof and capitol theories. The phenomenon of social proof is that if large numbers of people endorse something, then other people are more likely to follow and endorse as well, influencing their attitudes and actions. Social capitol theory is similar in that it recognizes the power of an individual to exert influence on a group or individual. Word-of-mouth marketing has become very powerful in social media through endorsements and influencers with large followings.
Social media is where people spend a lot of time engaging with content and opinions, and social media use triggers the release of Dopamine. According to a TEDEd video, 30-40% of face to face interactions involve communicating our own experiences, while 80% of social media communication is self-involved. The reward centers in people’s brains are much more active when they’re talking about their own views, as opposed to listening to someone else’s.
Social media fosters an environment where brands can create and engage in conversations with their consumers. Brands create content that the consumer values and will choose to engage with.
An excellent case study of engagement with consumers was GoPro’s Hero7 challenge. To jumpstart the launch of their latest camera, GoPro challenged the community to help them create a highlight reel, featuring content from their consumers. Users were encouraged to share their clips on social media using the hashtag #GoProMillionDollarChallenge. The brand also engaged with consumers through various social media channels through comments, reposts, and features. At the end of the campaign, the brand crowdsourced their highlight reel from 25,000 submissions from twenty-two countries.
5 Year Outlook
Social media strategy has become such an influential and important way for brands to reach their consumers. Keith Quesenberry’s Social Media Strategy sites that in the past eight years, companies have spent 10% more on digital marketing than traditional advertising. In order to be successful, organizations must engage with digital content and consumers on multiple devices and platforms. Adjusting methods to adapt to consumer influence and social media marketing is important because it is surpassing all other forms of digital advertising including search, banner, video, and classifieds. Spending on social media is expected to double over the next five years, from just over 11% to nearly 20%.
Social media has become much more than a collection of user profiles and communities. Interactive media presents opportunities for consumers to participate with the brands they love. According to Marketing Insider Group, 91% of all social media users access and interact with their favorite channels via mobile phones. Specialized mobile advertising will continue to become more popular. Video on mobile phones will continue to rise and be crowned the king of media. Daniel Cooper, Director at lolly.co says that an increasing number of digital marketers will start to create high-quality, short-format video content across platforms such as TikTok and Instagram.
Social media is not going away anytime soon. The consumer voice has become very powerful, and brands try to harness this tool by selecting influencers and engaging consumers with their digital content. As spending on social ads increase, video content creation will rise on social “stories” to aid in the cost of marketing. No one knows what the next big social media channel will be or what the next viral video will be, but as long as you adjust your strategies to the latest trends you’ll be fine.