While the 20th Century brought us the phrase, “location, location, location” — that is, having the corner lot for double the visibility to the passersby — in the 21st Century (as we slide toward 2020 — hindsight as we know it!), the corner lot is social space. Almost nine out of 10 US companies are active on social networks, with 90% reporting that social media has been good for business, i.e. increased sales, because of the increased exposure.
Newsflash — it’s only going to get better.
A superpower change in workplace communication: Email — which new research shows is adding to our already high stress levels (research by London-based Future Work Centre) — will lose its communication superpower status. With studies showing that using social media at work increases productivity and engagement, it’s only a matter of time before more businesses get on the bandwagon. Intranets within the workplace, though around for decades, will become mobile friendly. For example, Slack, with its million daily active users (growing in just two years), is emerging as the next great superpower in business communication. With an “intuitive interface, built around themed chat rooms and searchable archives,” it’s become popular as an office/business system in both large and small companies. Facebook, too, is offering “Facebook at Work” currently in test mode. “We’ve had company intranets for almost 20 years, but it’s the mobile friendly nature of many messaging apps that is shaking up this space,” wrote Catherine Lawson in a BCC business article from November 2016.
Employees will become businesses’ best advocates: I’ve been telling this to my clients for years. Start with what you have. Use your own team to create a social media buzz. While stats show that 80% of businesses have social media teams, many are still struggling to reach an audience. With a growth of 191% since 2013, businesses will continue to encourage their employees to share updates about the business on their own social media accounts with two-fold results: “companies not only expand their social media reach they also get measurably better results,” according to one recent measure, eight-times more engagement. In fact, Hootsuite is among those to have created a new generation of employee-friendly sharing tools that will help enable this concept to make great strides.
Social messaging will see the light: Known as “dark social,” companies are aware that messaging, though a content mystery, needs to be part of the conversation, from a marketing stand point, that is. A key piece of the one-on-one social customer service puzzle, Twitter in 2015 lifted its character limits and follow requirements on direct messages and FB has been piloting customer service features of its own.
Social media advertisers will really get to know you: With an increased ability to target their customers, age and gender, interests, location, company affiliation, etc., social ads spending will increase even more than the 33.5% it increased in 2015.
Social video will win the popularity contest: The numbers tell the story. First, adult users consume a total of 66 minutes of online video, every day with an expectation that those numbers will continue to grow in 2016. Second, 70% of companies surveyed in 2015 say video is their most effective marketing tool, “not just because [videos are] popular, but because they’re highly effective,” says 2015 State of Digital Marketing, a report featuring insights from more than 600 marketers. According to the report, “74% of B2Cs and 76% of B2Bs create videos for their target audiences making video the most popular content marketing format for 2015, ahead of case studies and blogs.” 66% of businesses surveyed expect video to “dominate their strategy going forward.”
Some video stats from 2015:
• Facebook more than doubled its daily video views to 8 billion, reportedly overtaking YouTube.
• Twitter launched native video
• Snapchat reported 6 billion daily video views.
The trend predictor for 2016 from the world’s great marketing pundits: social media is now considered “business as usual for companies,” with Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn (and other networks), “fundamentally changing how companies reach and interact with customers, offer products and services, communicate with employees and do business.”