Social media is like a river, it’s always flowing and changing. How does a company keep up with these changes? In order to be effective in a social media environment, companies need to understand society and its needs. Understanding that the purpose of social media is connection will provide insight as to how you can use it and grow with it.
So what are these future implications?
According to expert Jason DeMers, some of these future implications include:
- The potential for a singular dominating social media platform
- Elimination of organic advertising and reach
- Customization of news feeds and streams
- Virtual and augmented reality
Although it may seem that some of these are already happening, some of them will likely become more pronounced as society and businesses dictate new changes (Solis, 2014).
Explain the singular dominating social media platform.
Although Facebook holds a large portion of the social media market, it still has competition with Twitter (Google+ is still working to catch up to the two social media giants). The company has already purchased another platform (Instagram), which could be the start of a monopolization of social media by the company. This could work to the benefit of businesses, but it could also cause a cost increase in paid-for advertising, taking away one of the advantages of social media for business.
I thought that paid-for advertising was already the standard now?
Although many platforms have reduced the organic reach of business pages and accounts, it’s not completely eliminated at this point. This is a very real future for businesses though, which means that there will need to be a reevaluation of marketing budgets and how much will be allotted to social media marketing.
So what if the platforms don’t go to complete paid-for advertising?
Users are going to be able to customize their news feeds, not only can they decide who they want to hear from, they may even be able to decide when. Facebook already allows consumers to hide posts that they find uninteresting, offensive, or just because they want to. Companies are going to have to ensure their content is what consumers want to see, doing research and listening to what they are saying to keep from missing the opportunity to get “in front of” the user on the screen.
Virtual reality, that’s like Pokemon Go, right?
Pokemon Go was a viral success for the brand, for months you couldn’t go anywhere without seeing people walking the streets looking for Pikachu or other characters. Users were taken into a virtual reality environment on their mobile phones that interacted with their physical environment through geolocation. Although I have yet to see a game that has gained the same momentum that Pokemon Go did, there is a potential in the VR and AR segment that can help businesses stand out from the rest. How awesome would it be to have an tablet in your dealership loaded with an application that allows you to show customers how their potential motorcycle, side by side, or all-terrain vehicle purchase would look with different accessory options. Not only does it increase the potential for an upsell during the time of sale, it also gets the consumer excited because they see an image for what they’re considering for their purchase.
Doesn’t everyone appreciate streamlining?
Streamlining can be a great thing, not just for consumers, but for businesses as well. It can keep more profit in-house for the business because of the convenience for the customer. So if a dealership has decided to make their own app, they’ve added a shopping feature that lets the user not only order a part or accessory from the app, but also find out if its in stock or needs ordered. Although this is already done through many big box stores and their websites, it’s not a feature widely used (if at all) in the powersports industry. By streamlining the process, the consumer can save a trip or phone call (for those days when they’re constantly on the go) and see if what they need is available to pick up that same day. Not only can this increase ecommerce revenue, but it also adds an air of convenience that consumers may not find somewhere else.
So what really leads to all these changes in social media?
Well, according to Brian Solis, it’s both the businesses and consumers that use social media. Either a business releases a new technology, product, or service that consumers deem convenient and therefor necessary, or consumers demand a product, service, or new technology through their buying habits. Solis explains that there are constantly (what he calls) disruptions entering the market. He’s even provided a chart to show how they influence social media and the marketers who are trying to chase it down:
Advances such as Uber, Amazon, Postmates, and more are causing a butterfly effect ripple in the social media environment. Providing services to consumers that they didn’t realize they needed until they found the convenience. It in turn causes them to demand this convenience from other companies, causing a ripple as everyone scrambles to make changes (Stelzner, 2016).
So what do I do from here?
Understanding that social media isn’t just a place for marketers to get some free advertising, but a place for people to connect is key to a successful effort. Understanding that there is the potential for some of the changes I listed and how they can affect your dealership or shop will help mitigate some of the impact, but ultimately, realizing that no matter how much you know about social media, you never know it all. It changes daily with society’s whims, and as a business, you have to be prepared to change with it.
DeMers, J. (2016). 6 possibilities for the future of social media marketing. Marketing Land. Retrieved from http://marketingland.com/6-possibilities-future-social-media- marketing-188391
Morrison, M. (2016). Pokemon Go goes viral despite little marketing. Advertising Age. Retrieved from http://adage.com/article/digital/pokemon-go-viral-marketing/304905/
Schneider, B. (n.d.). Focus on the real purpose of social media. [Web log comment]. Retrieved from http://www.schneiderb.com/focus-on-the-real-purpose-of-social-media/
Solis, B. (2014). Digital transformation is about empathy first and technology second. [Web log comment]. Retrieved from http://www.briansolis.com/2014/11/digital-transformation-empathy-first-technology-second/
Stelzner, M. (2016). Social media evolution: What does the future of social media marketing look like? Social Media Examiner. Retrieved from http://www.socialmediaexaminer.com/social-media-evolution-what-does-the-future-of-social-marketing-look-like-with-brian-solis/