Social media channels are the big cheese perhaps right next to an even bigger cheese (Google) when it comes to online presence. Don’t believe it? Consider the chart from Statista below.
Approximately 1.6 billion users are already on Facebook, and if you don’t want to miss out on this huge opportunity for your business, your digital marketing strategy has to include social media. So you have a profound respect for the power of social. As a matter of fact, you love engaging in social media. The problems is, it’s ever-changing. You cannot ignore these changes because your presence might be affected without you even realizing until it’s too late to be proactive about it.
In 2016, here are the most popular changes that took place in some of the most recognizable social media brands. You might not be able to be proactive about these changes but it’s never too late to start.
Content won’t always be there
If there is one thing people know about the Web, it’s that whatever gets uploaded, whatever they say can stay online forever. This is why if a smartphone user drops their device in the bathtub, their pictures, contacts, videos, and user profile are safely stored somewhere in cyberspace. They can just browse Facebook for those beach photos from three summers ago.
Snapchat may not be the new kid on the block, but it blazed the trail for the so-called ephemeral or temporary social media. The company that infamously turned down a fat offer from Mark Zuckerberg himself was not instantly popular either, despite its highly competent functionality. Who wanted to take pictures that disappeared? But then a bunch of Orange County high school kids realized the potential behind “vanishing evidence”. Downloads and usage began to soar.
Better late than never, as the saying goes, and now businesses are devising ways to use Snapchat. Its strongest feature for business is guaranteed user engagement, because users have to place their fingers on the screen to view the media. Those precious few seconds are enough to leave a mark.
There’s also Snapchat Stories, which lets users display a compilation of snaps from the last 24 hours. 16 Handles, the frozen yogurt chain, has experimented with “exploding coupons”. Give the user up to 24 hours to claim a freebee and you are more likely to get a response.
Snapchat harkens back to the days when users didn’t have to worry about self-censorship for fear of going viral for the wrong reasons. So you can understand why it’s getting more usage for sharing photos and short videos among the younger set (average user: 18 years old) than Instagram and Facebook (average user: 40 years old) combined.
Another good news for marketing: a sender is notified when a user has viewed their disappearing message. In this analytics-driven world, this is quite a bonus.
Live streaming is the way to live
The popularity of live streaming has grown in the past few months. Periscope is at the forefront, but others have jumped onto the bandwagon because they can smell how big live streaming is becoming. From product launches to the bus trip home, people can’t get enough of live streaming what’s going on where they are.
The potential extends to so many marketing campaigns such as news updates. Your social media marketing agency should look into this if it applies to your business in any way. If you look hard enough, chances are, you fill find a use for it.
Doritos’s #DoritosRoulette campaign used live streaming via Periscope to give away “roulette bags”. Nestle also used Periscope to live stream summer scenarios as part of its promotion of Drumstick. Comedy duo Rhett and Link went live on YouTube as part of a Wendy’s campaign. And 7Up used Yahoo Live to live stream the Electric Daisy Carnival music festival that it was sponsoring.
Virtual is now a reality
It used to be the stuff of sci-fi movies, but now you can “watch LeBron work” using flagship Samsung Galaxy phones and their patented Gear VR. Virtual reality has arrived, and it brings good tidings to those who enjoy this wearable gear and to social media marketing companies looking to capitalize on the gear’s potential for selling. Can you imagine your Twitter feed there, when a user is “lost in virtual space”? Because when that user is wearing that gear, they are not likely to just up and leave.
The signs are pointing to a positive upsurge in the use of VR, because quite frankly, why not? It’s been a long time coming, if you really think about it. Somehow you already knew virtual reality would dawn upon us.
Coca-Cola used Oculus Rift to give people in Poland a virtual reality sleigh ride. You can use the same idea by creating your own virtual world and giving customers a virtual experience. Place a VR lounge in your store, for example. If you’re worried about the cost of VR headsets, Google Cardboard is the answer to your problem. it’s an inexpensive headset made primarily with a piece of cardboard folded together.
OK, some content will always be there
As the direct opposite of Snapchat, content you produce on the Twitter-owned Vine app is not just going to be there forever, but it will keep looping to eternity. So this is the other end of the spectrum that you should take into account when doing your social media optimization and various other social-related marketing activities. A Vine video is 6 seconds of video that loops, and it does have a high potential for going viral.
Dunkin Donuts and Target are two brands that have benefited from their event-themed use of Vine. Dunkin was quick to the draw, being the first company to use Vine for a promotional ad as early as 2013.
You can use the popular app to create ads or to launch a hashtagged campaign that your customers can take part in.
These are some of the changes that are making the social landscape more attractive than ever for social media marketers. Include these in your marketing strategy and you might just hit a goldmine. As with anything you do online, a lot of this is trial and error, but when you do your social media marketing right you might just bust open a can of fresh opportunities.