Smartphones increase connectivity. Social media enhances customer access. Big data changes how information is analysed and strategies are developed. The ways people communicate continues to evolve increasing expectations of SMEs. Success requires understanding the field in order to develop successful, strategic communication and marketing plans. A look at 2017’s projected trends provides insights for developing those strategies.
Social Media’s Giants Set to Increase their Power
Acquisitions and consolidations are leading to the large players exercising more control and influence over what and how people receive their news. Companies such as Facebook, Google, LinkedIn/Microsoft and Salesforce invest millions to obtain data, develop algorithms, bots and AI to determine exactly what information the public receives. Michael Stelzner, CEO and Founder of Social Media Examiner believes that traffic to websites will decline and blogs will shut down thus contributing to the end days of information flow and true information freedom.
Consider: Many SMEs are creating an Internet presence within social platforms prior to creating and/or instead of development/maintenance of corporate websites.
Truth Builds Trust
Post-truth was named Oxford Dictionaries 2016 Word of the Year. The role social media plays in amplifying “circumstances in which objective facts are less influential in shaping public opinion than appeals to emotion and personal belief” is evident in the conversations taking place without verification of facts or data. Facebook’s 1.79 billion active monthly users confirm its lead as others report monthly users ranging from approximately between 300 – 500 million. The ability of all platforms to amp up results is evident as the world looks back at the major global events of 2016. It is important for social media giants to monitor and find ways to manage and control the impacts of false reports or post truths, as humanity works through these dramatic changes. Industry and brands need to remain vigilant regarding what information is shared.
According to Vala Asfar, CIO for Salesforce, consumers expect brands to provide more personalization and intelligence with immediate responsiveness. Facebook already provides followers with responsiveness ratings on company/organisation pages. If you have or plan on creating a social presence, it is important to check in on a regular basis with your followers responding promptly to any messages.
Consider: Truth builds trust – a primary building block in relationships. Customers have choices. People switch brands, block you and unfollow you.
Another Social Option – Chat Apps
Although a lot of traffic moved to social messaging platforms such as WhatsApp, WeChat, Snapchat, Viber and Facebook Messenger, entrepreneurs and developers continue building social apps. Chat platforms provide individuals and brands the ability to communicate between different devices making things easier. As the understanding of relationship marketing grows, the importance of customer engagement increases. Social messaging communications become immediate, expressive, and intimate. The TalkWalker blog also indicates that combined the four main chat apps provide a great opportunity with a larger audience for business.
Consider: Options are created and evolving providing expanded ways to reach out, engage and serve target audiences. It is valuable to determine which platform or application fits best with your marketing objectives.
In the “Age of the Customer”, a shotgun approach to marketing is ineffective given the options the Internet provides. Knowing your customer enables businesses to communicate both efficiently and effectively. Communication is a skill to be learned and improved upon. The only requirements are a desire to grow and time.
Why Your Business Can’t Ignore Dark Social by Sydney Parker (Hootsuite)
As a leadership & community advocate, Marcy works with organizations & businesses to aid growth and development. An entrepreneur, leadership coach, communication and marketing consultant, Marcy is currently working on her first book Move That Mountain: 5 Ways Women in Leadership are Creating Change.