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Social Media - Where is it headed?

If there was a buzzword to summarize the last decade, it would most definitely be social media. Initially setting new norms for communication, social media has significantly evolved in its role from being a communication platform to a billion-dollar platform influencing every sphere of its users’ lives. It has been a pillar whereupon the foundations of digital marketing were laid. However, its evolution has not stopped. Below we have discussed two areas of social media undergoing transformation, which will shape the future for digital content creation and consumption.

Ephemeral Content

Statistics show more than 50% of Snapchat and Instagram users returning to the platform each day. Now that presents a very strong case for temporal material which the marketing dictionary defines as ephemeral content. Ephemeral content storytelling comprises of digital content- images and videos that only last for a limited period. This digital marketing strategy capitalizes on the users’ Fear Of Missing Out (FOMO) to prompt an instant response, like a speedy sign up or a swift buying decision.

Social media influencers, who have incorporated ephemeral content storytelling in their digital marketing campaigns have seen a promising response by their audiences. The attractiveness of this strategy resides not only in its momentary nature, but also its higher potential to engage users than conventional social media. Featuring additions like the Snapchat lenses or the Instagram story filters, the content comes off as rawer and less ornamented, allowing the user to engage with the brand on a much more personal level. Owing to their great response, stories are now sprawling across the grid of not only Instagram, but also platforms like WhatsApp, Facebook, amongst others. The key takeaway here for every smart marketer is to not just embrace ephemeral content as another passing trend, but to incorporate it in a manner that allows maximal utilization of its benefits:

  1. Wider audience: Ephemeral content storytelling entails the vital benefit of reaching a wide audience. This is important for brands and brand influencers alike. With more than 200 million people participating in the stories platform on Instagram each month, it is inevitable that ephemeral content will define the future of Instagram influencer marketing.
  2. Increased content: This strategy enables an increase in the volume of content that is being shared with the audience, without interfering with the newsfeed. Therefore, it supports the art of storytelling, allowing to craft consistent narratives about the brand and its values.
  3. Increased transparency and brand loyalty: A growing number of users are becoming doubtful of the subtle advertising aimed at them by influencers. One of the ways in which an influencer can build a trustable and likeable reputation and give the brand’s audience the transparency they seek, is through ephemeral content. Designing social media stories in a way that provide greater insight to the audience into the brand’s culture will boost brand loyalty.

Evolution of Influencer Marketing

Social media influencer marketing has arrived and is here to stay. Formerly, the marketing game was dominated by affiliate marketing, which was driven by brands’ need to gain maximum website clicks.

What has changed? There has been a shift from the traditional affiliate marketing channel to include leads from social media channels. In other words, there has been an attempt to convert social traffic into web traffic, and those bridging this conversion are the social media influencers.

This means that affiliate marketing agencies must utilize a more diverse range of channels, including multiple social media platforms. Social media is increasingly being transformed from a hub of connectivity to a platform where shoppers can purchase-on-the-go. With feature like ‘Swipe Up’ on Instagram stories, consumers can swipe to shop the looks that they covet, carried by their favorite brand influencers. This convenient feature means that users now look forward to a unified shopping experience that alloys together the 2Bs- browsing and buying- rather than using websites or apps to shop online.

Moreover, brands have now shifted their focus from tracking clicks to understanding the values and motivators that guide customer behavior. Therefore, brands are now attempting to develop long term, meaningful relationships with the customers. Social media influencers perform the role of an intermediary in enabling this relationship between a brand and its target audience by leveraging the influencers’ relationship with their loyal followers.

However, changing social media trends are not only transforming the affiliate marketing game, but also calling forth an evolution in social media influencer marketing. The current users of social media are very vocal about transparency in branding. In light of these rising concerns, there are various ways in which both brands and brand influencers can increase transparency. Most importantly, brands should partner with influencers that share the same values as the brand. If an influencer really likes a brand and its products, it would be more open about it its interaction with the brand. Therefore, to build the repute for an authentic, trustworthy brand, partnering with influencers with shared values and ideals as the brand itself is crucial.  

Where to from here?

To be a leader in digital marketing, brands and influencers alike have to recognize that the model of influencer marketing can add maximal value to businesses only when influencers are storytellers who can engage and build relationships with customers, rather than focusing on one-time purchases. This can only come from building the right brand-influencer partnerships and nurturing them. It is understandable to get overwhelmed by the many trends running through the digital realm, but to win one needs to stay ahead of the game. This is why we are here to help. We are here with you every step of the way, from finding the right influencers, to communicating and managing relationships with influencers. Embark on the journey of your growth, join us now by clicking here if you are a brand, and here if you are an influencer.