The future of social: what not to miss as a marketer

Social Media is an important part of our everyday lives nowadays, and something that is equally a part of any half-decent marketers arsenal. The ability to reach thousands of users is something not to be missed, not to mention when it feels like new trends and updates being released on Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat & Instagram every week, it can be hard to keep up with what is actually going on.

But whilst the rush to improve their apps has the potential to go up in flames (like Snapchats infamous redesign) a new idea could totally revolutionise the way we use social, as well as open up a wave of new opportunities for marketing campaigns. Let’s have a look at a few we think could make waves.

E-Commerce Features

Users are always looking for quick and easy ways to purchase, especially on social media. So it’s no surprise that Messenger, Instagram & Snapchat (to name a few) have all recently tried to cash in on in-app e-commerce features.

Snapchat, an app not often trusted by marketers, with just 8% of us using the platform compared to 94% on Facebook in 2018, had the largest ad revenue increase of quarter one at 234%. They even managed to follow this up with an update allowing advertisers to sell products directly through their custom lenses. Now, Snapchat filters are nothing new, in fact they were the original developers of the feature before Instagram jumped on the bandwagon, but the ability to download or purchase a product directly through a Snapchat lens could potentially see many brands see a far greater return on their campaigns, and means we could be seeing greater in-app functionality when it comes to the ability to purchase on social platforms. What’s not to like?

This isn’t just reserved for Snapchat either, but also has been noticed by other social giants Instagram and Facebook Messenger. Instagram introduced ‘Shoppable Posts’ in March 2018, which allows brands to tag products in organic posts for more information and purchasing capabilities. There are plans for this to be made available in paid social posts and ads in the future, and it’s already been jumped on by fashion brands. Facebook Messenger, on the other hand, has also partnered with Shopify, allowing payments to be made through the in-app capabilities, as well as the ability to communicate with customers through automated chatbots.

In-app E-Commerce is certainly something that all the big players in social are focusing on right now, and rightly so. Removing barriers to purchase is one of the surefire ways brands can increase sales, and doing so through an app whose primary focus is not E-commerce opens up new possibilities. But will the social users like it? Only time can tell.

Artificial intelligence Features

Ai sounds scary, but actually, around 50% of people have interacted with a form of it in the past year, and probably haven’t even realised. Artificial intelligence is nothing new -but the impact it could have and is having on social media could be massive and is something we’ve been keeping our eye on.

Twitter – in their long battle against online trolls – have turned to a creative agency using an AI tool to combat hateful tweets. Only time will tell how this works, but it mirrors the trend of turning to AI to solve problems, with Facebook implementing its plan to introduce an AI safety net to combat fake news, harassment and propaganda campaigns.

Going back to E-commerce, Artificial intelligence chatbots is also something that Facebook messenger has utilised alongside their e-commerce. Automated chatbots could be the promise of better customer service, sales, growth and customer communication. It probably won’t be long until we see Twitter, Snapchat & Instagram follow suit in a similar fashion.

Augmented Reality Features

Facebook and Snapchat, in particular, appear to be pushing hard to be seen as the leader of AR in the social space. In case you aren’t aware of what’s been going on in the past nine months, Facebook has added AR functionality into business, drawing and, of course, stories. Snapchat have recently added to their lens creation studio, and have even introduced the ability to play AR games in the app. In fact, Snap Inc.’s spectacles could also include AR gaming as their next feature.

It might seem hard to see where the business value lies in these changes for brands, however, AR is already being introduced to help with business functionality on social media. Whilst this is yet to go mainstream. Brands are already using these features in order to allow greater visualisation and is something that will revolutionise purchasing behaviours.

The idea of a shopping experience where you can visualise products on yourself, or in your house, and make a purchase without leaving the comfort of your home is one I’m sure we’d all like to see, and the thing is it actually could. With the potential to tap into huge numbers of users on social, brands must be prepared to go with this trend or risk being left behind.

So what next?

Well, the future of the social media landscape certainly looks very exciting. More and more potentially brilliant features are becoming available to brands. We think the use of e-commerce, AR functionality and AI chatbots are going to be big names in breaking down the barriers between the customer and the brand. And whilst GDPR and data usage still are still making us a little wary, If used correctly, these features could drastically improve customer service and going to make us as users so much happier, and surely a happy customer and an easy pathway can only be a good thing for brands and marketers.

We’re always looking at what’s new in the world of Social media marketing. Need some assistance? We’d love to chat with you!

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