Super-investor Warren Buffett claims many social media firms are overpriced. If this is true or not will largely depend on how social firms and brands are able to capitalise on the below essential social media trends. Undoubtedly, the level of integration some brands have in social media is set to deepen. But how?
1. Social commerce and monetisation
Brands will look at how to get a return on their interaction when they have the fundamentals in place. Connecting e-commerce sites to social media accounts has been a tactic taken by several brands to date. However, you can expect to see a rise in f-commerce (Facebook commerce) where brands fully integrate online stores with their Facebook pages, enabling fans to buy products without having to leave the social network. Online fashion giant ASOS was the first European brand to set up shop on Facebook at the start of the year, and Dove and French Connection are reported to follow suit.
2. Mobile and location connected experiences
With large-scale mobile payments in the horizon some places and an increasing number of people owning smartphones, the coming years will be all about location and shopping on-the-go. The launch of Facebook Deals in January further enables brands to offer users real-time rewards and offers. For brands and agencies working with them it will be key to find a way to best use mobile services to offer offline and online experiences that complement each other and that add to the user’s brand experience. One focus will be to find a working model that allows brands to reward users who regularly “check-in” or mention the brand in social media updates with personalised deals.
3. Branded content
As people have become accustomed to seeing and ignoring online ads, and adding filters, branded content is an important trend for the coming time. Creating bespoke branded content that succeeds to enhance customers’ social media experience and offer value to them will be vital for smart brands wishing to stay ahead of the game. Fully integrating the content across all social media platforms, along with links back to the brand’s website, so that the customer experience is unison, will also play a key factor in engaging with consumers.
4. Consumer content curation
With an increased number of tweets, Facebook updates, blog posts and news articles, people are looking for ways to filter the rapid flow of content coming their way to a manageable size. ShinyShiny has previously written about social curation sites like Paper.li and Flipboard, and similar services can be expected to appear on the market in the coming time. Most of these filter content based on popularity, so for professional content creators like customer publishing agencies, it will be essential to produce quality content that has high sharability, as well as reach out to key influencers, to ensure the content does not get stuck behind such curation filters.
5. Group buying
The rise of Groupon and other deal sites is a sign of what is to come in e-commerce. In a time of austerity, people’s desire to obtain a ‘good deal’ and buy products or experiences at highly discounted prices will continue to grow. For publishers and brands it will be key to find a way to capitalise on this, either by launching their own group buying services or partnering up with existing sites.
6. Video content
Producing quality video for online distribution is becoming less expensive and more accessible. It is also arguably the most engaging way for brands to connect with consumers online. With people and companies using management platforms like Brightcove as well as video hosting sites like YouTube and Vimeo, we will see a growth in this sector.
7. Social gaming and online currency
Social games are a favourite past-time for many of Facebook’s 550k strong community and will continue to grow in popularity. There are already some games on the market with elements of brand connection, like Pet Society, as well as the entirely branded game Me to You: My Place, thought to be the first branded Facebook game in the UK. As micro-payments become more accepted we can expect more brands to enter the social gaming market over time.