It is clear that old digital strategies and individual channels are being overhauled due to the need to create a common brand experience across the digital environment. Customers expect to access information across platforms, apps and devices and in order for brands to “be the best answer” wherever buyers are, they will need to evaluate what’s next and where to focus.
Considering one quarter of the world’s population use social media, it’s in the interest of brands to take the changes into account. There are several social media game changers to look ahead in 2015 that relate to running a business. Dig in, learn and enjoy:
1- “Buy” button finally comes to social media
This year, people will finally be able to purchase products seen in their Twitter and Facebook feed without ever leaving those networks.
This is a handy way for the user to purchase new products, but especially a very big opportunity for the seller to get more conversions. Imagine promoting your short-term deals in Twitter and Facebook having the best call to action: a “buy button”! There will be no distraction between your marketing and sales efforts. This tool could be particularly effective for time-sensitive offers, to entice consumers to act quickly and seal the deal.
2- Mobile apps as a priority
More than any other channel, mobile allows brands to generate attractive micro moments at different stages of the purchase process, either through push notifications or in-app product recommendations.
Considering the evolution in geo-targeting and geo-fencing, brands are advised to put mobile apps as a priority in their marketing plan, providing their audience with timely contextual messages on a one-to-one basis. A significant 65% of social network activity comes from mobile devices and major social networks are constantly improving their mobile presence. 2015 will certainly witness optimised social media networks becoming increasingly geo-targeted (allowing advertisers to showcase relevant ads based on location), with related real-time content, indispensable in every online marketing plan.
3- Smart devices will be more social
Everything from home appliances like bathroom scales and refrigerators to wearables like fitness bracelets and smart watches are now collecting data and transferring it easily to the web. Also, many of them are pushing notifications to social networks like Facebook, a trend that will continue in 2015.
The challenge this year is how to improve the social intelligence of these devices. This will probably start with tapping into users’ exclusive network of friends and followers in smart ways. By tracking users’ interactions with their contacts, then responding subsequently, smart devices will become even advanced in 2015.
4- Private messaging reveals big potential
Private messaging has been around for some time, but brands are still not fully embracing its potential for customer interaction. The most interesting aspect of messaging apps lies in the diversity of content forms and media companies, for instance, are starting to use the likes of Snapchat and WhatsApp for live media coverage. A good example is Durex’s activity on WeChat allowing users to ask confidential questions about taboo subjects in China.
Private messaging is crucial in many people’s lives. In 2015, more brands will focus on this strategy, including it on their social media marketing plan, starting with sharing icons and slowly moving to elaborated campaigning.
5- The rise of snackable content
2014 saw the rise of a number of shared pictures and videos also known as “snackable content”, especially between younger audiences. According to the latest comScore report, Instagram is the second most used social network for people between 18 and 34 years, with 43.1%, while Snapchat comes in third with 32.9%.
Lately, Instagram has added in-feed advertising to their videos. The ads can target users based on age, gender and country. This is a great way for marketers to get their message in front of their target audience. For Disney’s “Big Hero 6,” for example, the film’s animated characters are posting selfies of themselves, fitting in with what normally appears on Instagram.
So, brands should bet on concise content, like photos published in Instagram or Pinterest, or even short videos, such as Vines, that communicate efficiently and boost the audience.
Looking closely to changes in all social networks, it is clear that a new approach should be studied by the companies who use them as a sales channel. Now it’s time to listen to the needs of the consumer and social networks are the best tools for it!
Written by Juliana Pereira
Bio: Juliana Pereira, a Brazilian living in Dublin. A Public Relations and Marketing Specialist. She is very passionate about social media, technology and innovation.
Find Juliana on Twitter @juliana_rp