Social media is by far one of the most defining technologies of our time. Not to mention, these platforms are being used by billions of people all over the world. The following article will discuss the evolution of social media, how social media has changed marketing and what the future of social media looks like…
The Evolution of Social Media
The global number of social media users is expected to grow to a total of 3.29 billion by 2022. Totalling almost half of the world’s population. As of March 2019, Facebook alone reported having 2.38 billion active monthly users. The overall evolution of social media has been driven by a combination of people’s desire to communicate and technological advancement. Therefore, it does not come as a surprise that marketers have quickly embraced social media as their primary marketing channel. Considering the major potential for brands to target these users, anytime, anywhere.
How Social Media Has Changed Marketing
As previously mentioned, marketers have quickly adapted to the evolution of social media and all of its affordances. Here’s exactly how social media has changed marketing through its rapid growth as a social and commercial force:
Social media has enabled businesses to exemplify their brand, allowing them to communicate their message in an easy way. Not to mention, businesses are able to develop deeper connections with their audience by being able to show their ‘human side’, such as sharing behind-the-scenes insight into their businesses.
Before social media, businesses would communicate to their customers via a one-way street. Now, social media has provided a platform where businesses and customers can communicate in a two-way conversation.
Additionally, marketing professionals are able to harness the affordability of access to consumer data including demographics, purchasing habits, and more thanks to social media’s analytical tools. Businesses have complete control over the audience they wish to target their advertising with. Even more so, the world has turned into a global marketplace thanks to social media. There is no limit to who companies can reach – from people in the same city to people on the other side of the world. And all of this communication can be achieved at a low cost through these platforms.
Overall, social media has removed these barriers, allowing all businesses access to these privileges which were once only available to the most successful companies. However, with the rapid advancement of technology and social media platforms, we’re still left wondering – what does the future hold for this space?
What Does the Future of Social Media Look Like?
How consumers use these platforms in the future may not align with what social media currently looks like today. So, let’s dive into some considerations of what the future of social media could look like…
- Increased privacy and security – with privacy concerns on the rise, brands will need to find ways to build more trust with their customers.
- Ephemeral content will grow in popularity (content which is limited to time and dissapears forever after being viewed e.g. Snapchat and Instagram stories) – societies short attention span = a need for shorter, more enagaging content.
- Video will also increase in populairty due to people engaging with this content for much longer than still images etc.
- As we’ve seen experienced through COVID-19, live streaming has risen and will continue to be implemented in the future.
- Social media is already dominated by influencer marketing. This will be boosted over time by increased marketing spend and more influencers in the market.
- There will be an increase in the use of social media for customer service due to the platforms growth as a two-way communicative space.
- The rise of augmented reality and virtual reality has only just begun and the use of this for marketing purposes will become more and more normalised.
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