“By now we have come to accept that social media is the most powerful form of communication in our present time.”
This powerful statement is the opening line of an article published on brandquarterly.com – an article that goes on to explore “what to expect in the maturation of social media.” The author, Bob Gilbreath, puts forward some pertinent arguments. Here are a few key quotes that caught our attention.
“The maturation of social media”
The first key phrase is in the title itself. Social media has come of age; and how companies approach it is changing radically in a relatively short space of time. Whereas a few years ago the majority of companies were wary of social media; which came onto the scene as a personal communication tool, the opposite is now the case. Most organizations have acknowledged the importance of social networks as a business communication method and are launching initiatives that drive the integration of social business into everyday workflows.
“Marketers increasingly witness benefits in deploying personalized content to individual customers, based on who they are and where they are in the purchase funnel.”
This is a crucial point. The sophistication of social media listening is such that companies (and social sellers in particular) are now in a position to analyze where consumers are most active online, what they talk about, and the types of content they look for at each stage of the purchasing cycle. Retargeting campaigns have worked based on trigger behavior to spontaneous, one-to-one interaction. And now, content should be shared with the interests and characteristics of end-user audiences in mind.
“Success on social is fundamentally about paid media now.”
The limitations of organic reach mean paid media is something many companies can’t ignore; but we would argue that it isn’t the only thing required to be successful on social media. With paid media prices rising at the same time that audiences’ receptiveness to sponsored ads is waning; brands need to explore the alternatives. One such example is employee advocacy which, by aggregating content and making it readily available to share, enables companies to spread brand messages through the voice of their employees – voices that are more likely to be listened to because social media users are more receptive to content that is shared by somebody they know.
Social media is changing the way companies reach and interact with online audiences; and also, in years to come, personalized communication will only become more important. For companies that embrace this, the rewards will be substantial.