I had a friend pose a question to me this past week on the future of social media. Will it remain an important tool for marketers? Has fake news, spam accounts and the ever present trolls reduced the value? I would also add changing algorithms and the trends towards pay to play to the list.
The networks we are all familiar with such as Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Snapchat, Instagram, etc. will exist in some form in the future. Each of these companies are working to address fake news, spam and the troll issue. Does it make these networks any less valuable?
Yes and no.
- A two-way conversation. Social media is unique as it gives customers a platform to interact and communicate with a company. Marketing is no longer a one-way interaction where companies push out a message and customers have no opportunity to respond. Social networks are often an extension of a company’s customer service or their main portal to deal with complaints.
- SEO. A social presence enhances a company’s search engine optimization. The more content you share and traffic you drive back to your website the better your results will be. This won’t change in the foreseeable future, how social interacts with your online presence will.
- Pay to play. As marketers we want to focus on organic growth and save our money. Social networks give preferential treatment to the company’s that advertise, which seems kind of shitty but in reality is still a great value. Running ads on Facebook or Instagram is much more beneficial than a billboard off the expressway.
What will change:
- The networks we are so familiar with now will evolve or become extent. What you see now is a lot of copycatting. Take the ‘stories’ feature for example.
- Third party apps. How we manage the networks will improve with better tools coming out to cut down on the amount of time dedicated to scheduling and monitoring.
- How we use social will most definitely change, although I couldn’t tell you how. Whether a company is using it strictly for customer service, product sales or as brand awareness…the networks will change to better serve these needs.
We will never go back to the traditional ways of marketing. Consumers are demanding more from companies as it relates to transparency, service and communication. 20 years ago the United incident would have received little coverage. Companies now have to conscious of the fact that they are always being watched and held accountable. Social media plays a large role in this and will continue to do so in the future.