Tuesday 10 June, 2014
A few years ago social media was a novel way to interact with friends or make new connections. Now, it’s absolutely essential for any business that wants to have an online presence. More businesses are investing their money and resources in leveraging social media and you should be too.
What does the future hold for social media? It’s hard to say, but here are some predictions and trends that we may see in the coming years.
Socializing and Shopping
Until now, social media hasn’t really been ideal for shopping. People are there to hang out with friends and share common interests, not buy stuff. But this looks like it will change. Social commerce is a term that refers to the integration of social media and ecommerce. New tools are coming out every month for online merchants using social media. It’s actually an ideal platform for selling because it has built-in word of mouth, as users tell each other about things they like.
With more people using smartphones, an increasing number of users are socializing while engaging in another favorite activity – watching TV. Evenings are prime time not only for television viewing but also tweeting and sharing. TV shows have started asking people to tweet their opinions, votes, ideas, etc., so that they can be shared in real-time. We’re seeing an unprecedented amount of social and television integration already with the Summer Olympics in London.
There are rumblings that social media sites may become the way we find information online, and not the search engines anymore. These sites are installing new search features and relying on the best search method possible – a recommendation from a friend. Up until now, their search functions haven’t been anywhere near as convenient and effective as the search engines’, but they’re investing lots in improving them.
Where You’re at
We’ll definitely see way more location-based marketing because of the rise of socializing on mobiles. These are features where, for example, a user checks in at an offline location. This sends an update out to all of their friends with a map and possibly GPS tracking. Location-based marketing really took off in 2012 but it shows no sign of slowing down.
New Places to Hang Out
It’s easy to create your own social media site and lots of people are doing exactly this. Right now the social landscape is ruled by a few big key players (Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube), but that will likely change as new, smaller networking sites appear based around location, profession, industry, and specific interests. These sites may have a smaller number of users but they’ll be no less active, which means that’s where your business needs to be.
Like it or not, social media has become interwoven with our lives, with everybody from elementary school kids to grandmas getting into it. This won’t change any time soon. In fact, the number of users and amount of time spent socializing is only on the rise.