Companies have been trying to figure their way around social media for quite a few years now, and that’s understandable. Commercial enterprises go where the potential customers are, and there’s no doubt that they’re very much into social media networks like Facebook and Twitter. Companies can’t ignore the fact that 2 billion people are now active social media users. That’s not about to change either, as that number grows yearly by an astounding 25%.
So it’s no wonder that companies are flocking to social media as well, as surveys report that about 90% of companies are active users of social media as well. The vast majority of them are confirming the increase in their brand exposure, and more than half of them report higher sales as a result.
Still, these companies are affected by trends, and what they do on social media can depend greatly on what these trends are. So let’s take a look at the current trends in social media these days to figure out how companies will then react through social media in the near future.
- Social Networks Eclipse Email in the Workplace
Email may be cumbersome and rather barebones, but it still has its firm place in company communications. That may very well change in the near future as social networks offer enterprise versions that allow companies to maintain more effective inter-company communications.
The trailblazer in this field has been Slack, which offered chat rooms with special themes along with a searchable archive. In 2 years Slack managed to grow its user base to 1.25 million, and currently, it now has 4 million users using it to communicate with coworkers.
Of course, it has its competitors, and it’s no wonder that Facebook has entered the field as well. After many years of rumoured releases, the social networking giant has finally launched its Workplace by Facebook tool for enterprise communication and collaboration networking. A year after its October 2016 launch, it now has 30,000 companies using it.
This tool includes various familiar communication tools for workers to discuss ideas and share data. The security is formidable, and live video is available too. It’s also not limited to communications within companies, as it’s possible for workers to collaborate with partner employees in another company.
- Employees Are Volunteering as Company Spokespersons
Using social media for marketing can be rather complicated, and that’s why almost 4 out of 5 companies use a team that focuses solely on dealing with social media. Yet over the years, these specialist teams aren’t exactly taking the world of social media by storm. But now some companies are realizing that their whole pool of employees can make for very convincing endorsers.
Of course, they can’t be forced to act as endorsers. That would be like simply enlisting them to be part of the social media team. But when employees are sincerely proud to be part of a company, that sincerity is quite obvious to their audience on social networks. It’s much more real. That’s why the content that employees voluntarily share on their own through social media receive up to 8x the engagement of content that companies share on their official channels.
So what can companies do to encourage this? Some companies start their own social advocacy programs to inspire their employees to embark on such efforts on their own. Other companies offer more efficient tools for free for their employees to brag about what your company is doing.
- Social Messaging Becomes More Popular for Companies
There’s no question about the popularity of social messaging among the general population. When there are 4 billion active users of messaging apps, it’s quite obvious. By any other standards, the use these messaging apps are so prevalent they’re practically everywhere. The top 5 most frequently used apps in the world are all messaging apps. These apps are even more frequently used than Instagram or Facebook itself.
It’s taken a while for companies to develop the right strategies for social messaging, but the lure off all these billions of people is hard to resist. In 2018, companies should be able to start using social messaging a bit more effectively than ever before. Some social media tools are also offering their own specialized messaging apps to work as 1-on-1 customer service to stand in for email or phone call customer support.
- Social Media Advertising Really Takes Off
Online ads aren’t exactly what people want to see when they go to social media and networking sites. They’re just too obnoxious most of the time. However, these days they’re a lot more subtle, and they’re not so in-your-face most of the time.
The forms they take tend to look like what you normally find when your social network friends submit posts. They’re very natural and friendly to boot. In addition, many companies are now able to target their ads towards the right sort of audience with astonishing precision. They can make sure that only the audience of a certain gender, age, and location are the ones to get their advertising posts. They can also send these special posts only to the people who have proven interested in them. So basically, they’re sending you content that you would have searched for in the first place.
Social media advertising has always been known more for its effectiveness as a long-term booster of brand awareness. But with more targeted ads, new products and services can be promoted a lot more effectively.
- Video Still Rules
Videos online have become more ubiquitous. In fact, the number of video views on Facebook has grown so numerous that it has matched (or even surpassed) the video views on YouTube. It has become so popular that 7 out of 10 companies admit that video is the most effective way they have for their online marketing.
Videos don’t have to be expensive either. Companies can produce shorter videos. Besides, these videos don’t have to be all that sophisticated either. When videos about cats can go viral, who says it’s all about the video budget?
Of course, it can be argued that there’s just a single trend that’s important: you need to use social media for your company! That’s become too obvious, and that’s a trend that’s not about to go away for quite a long while. Here are some social media tools you can try to help you and/or your company to manage and grow your following.