The following is a guest post.
Social media is continuing to thrive engaging more businesses, more organisations and more people in meaningful ways. Over a span, if just a few years social platforms became the most influential one to shape our opinion and create new conversations influencing our life and activities. New trends in social media contents, feature set, technologies and user engagement are continuously surfacing.
As we have already crossed the first quarter of 2018, this is high time to take a look at the prominent social media trends that are going to rule for the rest of the year or beyond.
- Strengthening bond of Brands & Customers
Social media has now evolved as the most meaningful and effective medium to connect brands and consumers in a mutually beneficial way. According to the Sprout Social Index, 1 in every 3 consumers are likely to mention a brand when talking about their personal accomplishment on social platforms.
If this is not enough let us take a statistic straight from Instagram. According to Instagram, a bare minimum 80% of the Instagram users invariably follow a business brand. So, the engagement between consumers and social platforms has reached now an all-time high and this will continue to increase further in the time to come.
Brands are increasingly relying on social listening tools to assess consumer buying triggers and trends just to come up with a perfect branding and marketing strategy. By social listening, we mainly refer to the entire practice of following and tracking social media conversations that rely on a few relevant phrases and catchwords. A brand by using this social listening can actually deliver contents specific to this audience and include phrases meaningful for the audience.
Social listening in the time to come can ensure better customer care, more engaging social media contents and more relevant marketing campaigns. Through this listening tools and practices, customer sentiments and perceptions can be tracked better and the brand can be pushed in the proper direction as per the perception of the audience.
- Customized Chatbots
As social media engagement for brands and consumers are steadily increasing people are showing habits of throwing queries and questions rampantly at brands on social media. When such queries get overwhelming in number, delivering a manual response to most queries becomes troublesome. On the other hand, delay in response can really make the brand image and competitive lead of a brand suffer. This is why chatbots came as an effective solution for query handling on social media.
With incoming messages being responded with chatbots instantly, the social engagement of brands can experience a further push. The trend of using chatbots to answer queries has just perked up and we can see the trend grow throughout the rest of the year.
More than 100,000 chatbots are active now on the Facebook Messenger alone. These chatbots are used by brands to procure customer data, deliver guidance to the product users and follow actual orders. With chatbots, organisations have seen an unprecedented increase in productivity in the recent times.
- Live Streaming
Live Streaming is already one of the most popular ways to communicate to the audience. It is particularly used by most social media influencers, publications and big brands to grab the attention of their loyal audience. The way it took up the social media, we can see it rule the social media contents in the months to come.
Live streaming has become more feasible because of the boost from technology as well. We not only have better phones equipped with far capable video shooting camera but we also gave more high quality network connectivity at our disposal. Altogether the enhanced device and network capability made live streaming so readily accessible a solution. As the hardware improvement for most devices will continue, we can expect live streaming to be a bigger trend in the time to come.
In the future, we can expect live streaming to be more interactive in nature with more focus on replying to queries posted in real time through comments through a live video. Live streaming in the time to come will pave the way for instantaneous services from brands to their customers.
- Voice search and AI
Voice search has come as a massive game changer for the tech world. While Google and all major search engine platforms are offering voice searches, social media platforms cannot be left behind. With the integration of voice-controlled digital assistants like Siri and Alexa with devices, voice search for contents and brands became more relevant than ever before. Voice controlled assistants can now be used to search Facebook and Instagram contents and brand publications as well.
The voice-controlled assistants not only understands the voice commands with natural language processing technology but this new breed of smart assistants also can decipher the meaning of user inputs and understand the user intents and accordingly can prescribe contents and brands against their searches.
Voice search coupled up with artificial intelligence can pave the smart way of searching social media contents and getting in touch with relevant brands. As the voice controlled and AI-powered interfaces are proliferating, in the time to come we can see them playing a more dominant role on social media platforms.
- Personalized social media experience
Personalized experience has become the watchword for most digital interfaces and apps including websites, IOT and mobile apps. The increasing focus on creating user-specific contents on social media was also geared to adopt this trend on social media platforms. While brands are focusing on creating contents to meet the demands of every single user, personalised contents will become the norm for content creation in the time to come.
This trend will push marketers for devising new strategies to deliver customer-specific contents on social media to boost business conversion and sales. Personalized contents are just one single aspect of the customer experience. In the time to come brands can actually focus on delivering a highly personalized user experience by addressing user preference with notifications, product displays, user-centric contents and focused products based on user priorities.
The age of the millennials are already over, and the brands are increasingly preparing themselves to serve the Generation Z referring to the young teens having born after 2000. This generation is the largest and most engaged online audience across mobile apps or web or social media. In the time to come social media contents will give priority to this new breed of social-media-addicted users.
Keval Padia is a co-founder of Nimblechapps, a game development company based in India. He follows different tech blogs and current updates of the field lure him to express his views and thoughts on certain topics.