Since its original inception, social media platforms have revolutionised the way in which businesses and their customers interact with each other – gone are the days when customers would need to come in store, or make phone calls to ask questions, and the impact hasn’t been limited to customer service either, direct marketing, targeted advertising, and even product development and funding has been forever changed by having immediate access to specifically targeted audiences. But, as with everything in the digital age, social media is constantly evolving and changing, new sites and methods of engagement take the place of established processes, and businesses who are aware that their audience is predominately digital, realise that keeping abreast of these trends, and utilising appropriate new technologies are the way to get ahead. So how will the future of social media impact your business?
What Changes are Likely to Change the Way Social Platforms Are Used?
The development and advancement of Artificial Intelligence (AI) is already making changes to the way in which many social channels are operated – by making use of automated services, for example, companies are able to provide 24/7 customer service for the most basic or frequent queries, and chat-bots are being developed that allow for a much larger range of questions and answers.
A large number of businesses are already making use of chatbots (approximately 58% of the B2B sector and 42% of the B2C sector), and this number is expected to increase as the tools become more wide spread and easier to utilise without specialist training or installation.
AI tools are also being used to help create content, including social media posts – at the moment this can be a ‘hit or miss’ affair, depending on the tool used, and whether the content really connects with the audience, but as AI get smarter, and able to deal with more nuance, they will undoubtably be used to create social media content at a much faster pace.
Another big advancement that is set to chance social media, is the use of Virtual Reality (VR) and Augmented Reality (AR) – with the tools and technology making the platforms more immersive, and offering a deeper experience.
How Will These Changes Impact Business?
Social media is already considered to be one of the biggest and most important marketing tools for business, offering connection and engagement with audiences across the globe with comparable ease.
Advertising is big business on social media as well, with a projected ad spend on social set to reach over $268 billion in 2023, and with an estimated 4.89 billion total social media users across the world, it’s easy to see why these channels are being targeted.
As new platforms come into prominence (such as how Tik Tok went from being a relatively unknown and troubled startup to comprising 26% of the US market alone – far ahead of the next competitor, Instagram at 14%), businesses need to determine whether a move to the platform is right for them – and this will require careful research into not only your customers, but also your competitors.
Once you’ve decided on your channels, the changes in technology will quite likely see the way you engage on the platforms change – you may have started using images and text, then evolved to videos, then live streams – and as AR and VR become more accessible, another evolution will be required.
SIGN UP TO OUR NEWSLETTER
We do not sell our lists, and you can easily unsubscribe if you so wish.
What Should You Be Doing to Keep Up?
In order to stay ahead of your competition, and to keep up with the interests of your customer, you need to know what trends are incoming, which of those are fads (short term and unlikely to make a significant impact), and whether it is beneficial for your business to make changes at particular times.
For example, if you have a reputation for being on the cutting edge, and an industry leader – then you’re going to need to be implementing change before it becomes popular, using your own experience and influence on customer mindsets to ensure that the direction takes.
If you have a business that targets a specific demographic, then you need to look carefully at what channels they’re using, whether they’re embracing new technologies, and how best to update your processes without alienating your customers.
It can be difficult to determine a direction and course of action, but doing nothing will see you in a far worse position. The various technologies and applications, as we said, are constantly evolving and the future of social media will impact your business so your business strategy needs to evolve as well, if you want to stay visible and relevant.