Social media is always in flux. Nothing is ever constant when it comes to technology, and social networks are no exception. Since its inception, social media has steadily evolved, shifting from platforms built purely for social interactions among peers to massive marketing tools for modern businesses.
Nearly every major brand has a presence across several networks where they advertise, share content, display thought leadership, communicate their unique brand voice, etc. As leaders in digital marketing and web consulting, we always advise our clients to leverage social media to promote their brands. It's free, it's where customers are every day and it has endless opportunity for creative marketing.
But in a landscape that's ever-changing, how do you know which platforms to pay attention to or focus efforts on? Certain social networks have ceased to exist. Some are slowly becoming outdated. Others are changing frequently in an attempt to stay modern and relevant. And a few are currently on the rise. Here's what the future of social media really looks like according to our web development company.
Many social media platforms have recently been trying to replicate the success of the hit app Snapchat while maintaining their own unique appeal. And from the looks of it, this isn't changing anytime soon.
Take Instagram, for example. Last year, they debuted the "story" feature. This idea was entirely unique to Snapchat originally, but Instagram decided to copy the feature exactly. While there was some initial backlash against this display of unoriginality, the complaints have since dwindled, and Instagram stories are now used constantly by both everyday users and brands.
From a business perspective, these stories are helpful because they can directly link to websites, pose questions with polls that followers can participate in and help the account admins interact with their followers (who are most likely potential customers).
There is also a market for buying ads in Instagram stories. Imagine having your business promoted on the story of an influencer with a million followers. In the modern world, stories are like digital billboards.
Instagram, YouTube and Facebook also stole the concept of live streaming, which was originally developed by Periscope. This tool is helpful for directly connecting with fans/customers of a brand. When promoting a product or service, a live stream is the easiest way to immediately connect with followers in real time to advertise and get helpful feedback. But here's the big thing that other platforms are stealing...
In the beginning, Instagram videos were limited to fifteen seconds. But that was soon changed to sixty seconds. And shortly after, the multiple-videos-per-post possibility was created, allowing up to ten videos, meaning ten minutes of content was possible in a single post.
Former stars from Vine, a video-centric social media app that didn't last despite its apparent popularity, migrated to Instagram to show off their snappy video skills. YouTube has always been the biggest video platform, and it still is. But now, an hour-long video feature is in talks for Instagram, which could genuinely change the game.
More people scroll through Instagram in their downtime rather than paying visits to YouTube. If your brand is investing in video, and they want it to get in front of their followers, Instagram is becoming the place to do it.
Snapchat is currently a popular social media outlet amongst younger generations. It is geared toward teens for the purpose of quick communication and temporary image/video sharing.
Few content creators want to publish a piece of content on Snapchat for the world to see, only to have it disappear in a day as all content does on Snapchat. But Snapchat is frequently making changes, and it could easily add features that would be more effective for content sharing for your business.
However, just like Instagram stories, businesses and personal brands can invest in advertising on Snapchat stories in order to reach large audiences. But if your product/service cannot be effectively explained in a short amount of time, or if your intended audience is not primarily younger people, you may want to invest time elsewhere for now. But, keep an eye on Snapchat in the coming months and years!
A social media application that has recently received a huge migration of artists and businesses is called "Vero". Its sleek design and unique user interface make it especially appealing to artists, so there are a lot of independent creators on the app. But there are plenty of businesses with accounts on the app as well. One feature that makes Vero great for businesses is that it allows users to purchase products directly in the app.
And the best part? Vero does not have any algorithms. While your business' reach is being reduced to mere percentages of what it was before by algorithms on other platforms like Facebook, Vero is an app that lets what you produce speak for itself. Some argue that it will soon be rivaling the "Big Three"... FaceBook, Instagram, and Twitter.
Whether you're trying to promote your personal creations, grow a small brand or advertise an established business, you can't ignore the direction in which social media is headed. When coupled with the right content strategy, social media is a powerful tool for traffic generation.
Need help managing your business' content and social media accounts? Let the digital marketing experts at Integrity Web Consulting help! Get in touch today.
Ed Morrissey, Partner and Chief Creative Officer of Integrity, will lead a breakout session at the upcoming ScalePoint on AI Conference hosted by TechSTL.
Integrity is excited to welcome Evan Kelly as our newest Technical SEO Consultant.