What can you do with 140 characters on social media? Potentially, you can (start to) change the world. A single tweet can do things that are good and bad, ugly and beautiful, outrageous and reassuring. It can unleash the fury of a hate community. It can find an abducted child. It can raise funds to treat cancer in a single mom. It can build an apparel brand overnight. It can topple a celebrity’s crown. It can win an election or pummel it.
The point is, you don’t need multi-million-dollar TV ad campaigns and international road shows to be seen and heard. Even one powerful line on a popular social media platform can influence a wave of change.
And sometimes, you don’t even need words. Kitten running away with grandma’s ball of wool. Husky puppy blowing bubbles in his water bowl. Mob fury attacking a man who assaults woman in shopping mall. Double amputee driving into a gas station…and filling gas in her car! Social videos bring joy, make the tears flow, make hearts swell with pride, make people laugh hysterically. Not every cute cat video will change the world, but it changes one person’s world, for maybe just that one, brief moment in time. And we cannot ignore this unprecedented influence.
Key Trends in Digital Behaviors and Product Discovery
With the exponential growth in the adoption of social media platforms in the last five years, there are several business and marketing-related questions that come to mind.
- How is social media influencing consumers?
- What lies beneath the growth story of various social platforms?
- What are the social media trends that will impact SEO and content marketing in the near future?
- In what areas will social media override the traditional method of doing things?
In a multi-part, mini-series about social media influence on consumers, we will focus on several aspects, including:
- Influencer Marketing
- Customer Experience Strategies
- Social Commerce Trends
- Techniques to work around the Negative Influences of Social Media
In this post, we delve into key adoption trends, emerging digital behaviors, and how social media is aiding and influencing product discovery and purchases.
Do these Social Media Trends Look Familiar?
A PWC Global Consumer Insights Survey 2018 indicates that 37% consumers today find their purchase inspiration through social networks, while 34% rely on individual retailer websites, and 32% rely on price comparison websites. Similarly, a Sprout Social study suggests that 59% of consumers are looking for social media posts to teach them something new. These statistics are reflective of the growing role of social networks in influencing consumer behaviors, and supporting digital marketers.
Here’s a snapshot of the growth story of social:
a) As per a 2018 digital trends report, approximately 4 billion people actively use various social media platforms, including Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat and more.
b) With over 2 billion active users, Facebook continues to be the most popular social networking site, as well as the most dominant force in marketing strategies, attracting 97% of social advertisers.
c) Adding millions of users every month, Instagram boasts a monthly active user base of 1 billion. Around 83% of social marketers use Gen Z’s favorite platform, Instagram, with the average ad spend being 23% higher than on Facebook.
d) With 326 million active monthly users, Twitter continues to be an important social platform for brand promotion as well as customer service.
New Digital Behaviors: The changing and ever-expanding consumer demographics will lead to the emergence of newer digital habits and preferences:
- There will be a higher dominance of audio and visual content in social media (58% of consumers prefer visual-first content, and 74% of consumers share videos from brands on their social networks.)
- Higher use of voice commands and cameras will substantially reduce the use of keyboard-based queries and searches.
- Greater acceptance and adoption of Virtual Reality (VR) and Augmented Realty (AR). By 2020, more and more practical uses of VR and AR are likely to emerge. For example, Amazon is exploring AR to allow consumers to try on virtual clothes while shopping.
Social and Visual Product Discovery: In a GlobalWebIndex study, 50% of the internet users follow brands that they like, or are thinking of buying something from what they see on social media. While PR, online reviews and search engines may become traditional product discovery channels, by 2020:
- Consumers will use social media as their primary source for online product research.
- At least 50% of the searches will be through speech or images. For example, Pinterest Lens already uses machine learning to help product or brand discovery.
- Social messaging apps will become the go-to communication hub for customer service.
- Gen Z and younger audiences who are already lapping up product galleries on Instagram or product launches on Facebook Live, will look at social networks as a viable social commerce source, through which they can make direct purchases.
Social Media is Shaping the Future of Consumerism. Are You Ready to Embrace it?
There is no denying the power of social media in influencing and enabling consumer decisions and purchases in the near future. While AI, AR and VR are leading the technological revolution, micro influencers, social entrepreneurs and the young, Instagram-generation are driving the kind of social activism that will compel you to redefine your brand purpose and marketing strategies.
Are you ready to embrace and harness the power of social media to keep your business ahead of the curve? The experts at WSI eStrategies in Ottawa can help you adapt to the emerging scenarios and create a holistic social media marketing strategy. Contact us to book a no-obligation consultation and learn more.