With more than 2.2 billion users, Social Media Industry has become one of the most lucrative platforms for brands and marketers. Many businesses nowadays are finding that the ever-increasing repertoire of tools available through social will allow them to reach an increasing number of consumers. While this trend of using social media for advertising purposes has been very lucrative for a lot of companies, it has also made the major social media apps like Facebook and Twitter gain an unprecedented popularity. However, in order to run an ad on one of these websites, it costs money. People are also given more reason to stay on their social media app without having to leave it.
Social Media Enters the World of eCommerce
Users are now frequently being exposed to advertisements and articles that encourage them to buy a product. Social media apps have recently been experimenting with ways to enable people to buy something through a button on the app, without ever having to leave the application itself. By linking up with their debit card accounts, users can easily purchase a product. There is also something in the works for users to be able to exchange money with one another, which would accommodate trading and sharing networks already present on these websites.
These “peer-to-peer” forms of payment are already taking place via outside applications such as PayPal and Venmo, so it would only be a small step for these types of exchanges to be allowed to take place via social media. Snapchat has already initiated this shift with its new “Snapcash” feature. When it comes to paying merchants through social media, a simple “buy” button is already being beta-tested by Twitter and Facebook. Some speculate that this will actually be easier and more efficient than credit cards, which take a 2-4 percent interchange fee from any transaction that takes place.
The Increase in Phone Accessibility
People are now using their phones to access social media more frequently than computers. Recently, customer service has seen an increase in its presence on social media. By having staff prepared to deal with customer needs, a page in social media can actually provide faster responses than phone numbers or emails. An additional benefit to this is that companies who make their pages public and answer customer service requests on those same pages will instantly get public recognition for their quality of service. Recently, however, phones have started to enter back into the picture.
For instance, Twitter is working on a new feature known as “Tweet-to-call” links. This will enable a company to response to a user’s tweet with a personalized link that only works for that customer. The customer will be able to use the link to get access to a phone number that reaches a customer service representative. This is actually a further optimization of customer service accessibility, because now, users who want privacy and a direct conversation can get that level of customer service with the speedy response allowed by social media.
More Functions are Appearing
Some may have noticed a new feature on Facebook known as Instant Articles, which allows people to publish an article within the social media app that doesn’t link to outside sources. They have also expanded their search engine to allow users to search for article references within posts. They have also developed a new digital assistant that they aim to be on par with Cortana or Siri. By taking advantage of these new features, marketers will have even more options to connect with social media users.
Social media platforms have been pushing for ways to keep users on their apps for as long as possible, which means giving businesses means to publish their media on those platforms. You can see how this is already happening if you look at the number of videos and pictures now that display on social media without going to another website. Imagine an article like this LA Times Article about the up-and-coming company, Hampton Creek, readable on Facebook or Twitter without even having to wait for a web page to load.
Getting With the Trends of the Times
In order to fully tap into the new potential that is continually expanding, businesses will have to be tech-savvy and willing to adjust to new shifts. Social media is now connecting more people than ever, and it offers new ways for businesses to connect with them as well. Whether it means funding an ad or developing a team specifically for social media publications, companies who want to reach the most people will have to accommodate the rise in popularity of social media use.