I like to think of the Media industry somewhat like the cycle of life; our everyday actions influence trends, changes, and strategies in business daily. Besides Google updating their search algorithms about nine times per year as last reported by Search Engine Land, social platforms revise their developments just as often. We have seen social media platforms evolve from communal spaces to connect with friends, loved ones and our favorite celebrities, to what has now become a huge marketplace. Users and brands interconnect and navigate the platform in a strategic approach, making way for sales, networking, and entertainment in an inclusive environment. In fact, SproutSocial reported in early 2018 that “30% of millennials engage with a brand on social at least once a month”. With the social media spending power estimated at $14.8 billion, what can brands expect from social media in the next 10 years?
As I write this, I can confirm, writing content sucks, and writing optimized content is personal suffering – but there’s hope! Currently, content comes in three levels: unstructured, structured, and smart content and to conquer the world wide web, you must be addressing second and third level content structure. With the direction that search engines and social platforms are going, we can anticipate content to be strategically repurposed for various social platforms at the click of a button. As automation becomes more favorable, we can foresee bots crawling website pages to read, analyze and plan content for optimization on its applicable platform. Social media automation will be highly efficient with an intense understanding of your market and audience. So, in plain terms, you would just need to produce quality content and let the bots do the rest. Picture this, you write an intricate piece on becoming a millionaire with Bitcoin, and bots understand that this financial tech news would best be received via your business Facebook page and LinkedIn network. It will choose the best time slot based on audience engagement, create crafty share text and voila – beautifully crafted content with little to no effort.
It’s all about the dollar bills and with ad spending estimated in the billions, everyone wants a piece of the pie. A lot of effort goes into digital Marketing to target the influx of mobile users, and the smaller the budget, the more difficult it may seem to keep up with larger competitors. The ideal methods of promotion with little to no money, but a great return on investment are social media platforms because they provide an inexpensive means to reach a targeted but populated audience base. From wise words, you have to spend money to make money, and with a solid content strategy and a little ad spending, your purchasing power could be impactful. Social media apps are always updating features on their sites to keep users engaged, but Instagram’s newest purchasing feature may be a winner. As one of the top five social platform picks for young adults from the ages of 18-35, Instagram understands its purchasing power. Their newest feature makes your content a digital look book, allowing you to click items, view pricing and make a purchase without even leaving the site. The one downside I see to a method like this is a possible decrease in website traffic, but if your primary goal is earnings, then this is a great way to do just that. I can foresee other platforms enveloping a feature like this – for a negotiable cut of course.
If you think people’s attention spans are getting shorter, you’re right, and you need to be positioning your content to be more favorable. This means possibly cutting back on long-form content to a more “snackable” style. WordPress’ CEO found that “the average post on WordPress is just 280 words long... but some short content does get shared and seen by hundreds and thousands of readers”. Though users may prefer shorter content, I don’t believe it will affect the way you produce your website content. Social media posts could be just as valuable and capable of competing with your website presence, and should be a part of your Marketing strategy. Today, viral posts are just as advantageous as content optimized for search. These viral posts are generally in a short-form design, like videos, memes, and audio, but can build your online presence quickly. In fact, Bing stated in a past interview with Search Engine Land’s Danny Sullivan, that they factor in social content based on the user’s social ranking, credibility, and how often the content has been shared to determine what you see first. So, just how external links to your website help boost your digital image, I foresee social media content being just as dominant, and possibly better than the old method of keyword stuffing.
Is Your Business Ready?
You don’t need to be a Digital Marketing Specialist to understand the trends of social media and how it can affect your business. Though there is no magic ball that can foresee what trends are to come, patterns demonstrate that social media platforms are impactful tools for reaching targeted audiences. After all, there are 3 billion active social media users who are looking for quality content for purchasing, entertainment, and sharing, they’re just waiting on you to create it.