Emily Maupai Zinberg - 06/22/2023
3E Public Relations Intern, Hailee Posnock, examines the current social media landscape and trends that will impact its continued growth and future.
By: Hailee Posnock, Intern at 3E Public Relations
Companies have witnessed first-hand the growing presence of social media and its impact on the business world. We have seen TikTok take the social media sphere by storm with popular trends to increase brand awareness for specific corporations and get them recognized by potential clients. Social media has become a marketing tool for companies to communicate with their consumers. Currently, social media is dominating the corporate world so the question is: Where will it be in the future?
As part of Generation Z, otherwise known as the post-millennial generation, I can attest to the significant shift social media has taken part in the last decade. I have witnessed the numerous updates and remodels of platforms like Snapchat, Instagram, and Facebook. These apps are not as consistent as they used to be. They are constantly changing and evolving with different features.
Snapchat launched in 2011 with the simple goal of sending pictures to your friends that would disappear after a few seconds. However, the app has transformed into a major communication tool that over 293 million people use worldwide. It has made its way into various communication forms and has incorporated story features that allow people to post for all their friends to see. Snapchat has newly incorporated brand marketing within its app with advertisements and product promos.
When these apps started, they were just a shell of what they are now. With the rapid advancement in technology, there is so much room for social media to grow exponentially compared to where it is now.
Nowadays, everyone is met with an influencer when deciding what food to buy, what clothes to wear, and even what workout trends to participate in. Influencers have a significant impact on people’s choices and purchasing decisions. Consumers tend to trust the people they follow and can often relate to, and this is where influencers come into play.
Influencer marketing continues to grow and companies are relying on influencers to sell their products. Instead of commercials and celebrity endorsements, people are turning to influencers when making purchasing decisions.
Micro-influencer is a new term that has been introduced to the social media sphere. These are people with a smaller following, but they still maintain large brand deals and have an influence over their followers. Micro-influencers are becoming more popular and seem to attract a more niche audience than a celebrity.
When social media first began, there wasn’t a necessity to put money behind it. In other words, consumers weren’t looking at social media to buy goods. It was more of a communication tool and a way to see what were friends were doing. However, it has evolved into a way for people to raise awareness for brands and with brands putting big money behind sponsored posts or videos.
The growth of influencer marketing and influencers, in general, will continue throughout the next decade. Consumers will look towards influencers for small to big decisions. Whether it’s what to pack your kids for lunch or what insurance is most feasible for your family.
Augmented Reality and Artificial Intelligence
It started with simple filters that distort one’s face to make them turn into a dog or have a mustache. But, filters are not where Artificial Intelligence (AI) stops in the social media sphere. AI seems to be having an increased influence throughout the social media sphere.
Apps have created algorithms that tailor to the specific user. The most well-known algorithm of them all: TikTok For You Page (FYP). This page has made waves throughout the social media world and constantly seems to shock people. Videos will pop up on one’s feed that is unique and specific to that person’s account. For example, a new mom may see videos that relate to buying a crib or the safest car seat for a newborn. While a preteen will be scrolling through the newest dance trends to participate in with their friends. Everyone’s FYP differs as each person is different. The algorithm includes ads and sponsored videos that tie to the user’s distinct personality or preferences. This allows companies and brands to target their specific market more efficiently.
AI will be used by companies and brands to track their following, monitor their consumers, and look for data that is essential to their growth. AI will give companies a helping hand on social media and where to hone their messaging to resonate with a specific target audience.
AR has become a tool for companies to let their consumers see if a product fits their needs. AR lets one go beyond reality and allows people to try out a product or get to know more information about a product before they buy it.
Although AR seems to be an extremely helpful platform to assist people, it does scare many. It is starting to blur the line between reality and virtual reality. People are becoming less sociable, and they are beginning to choose to make the computer do tasks for them that they would traditionally be doing themselves.
More and more companies are integrating social media into their agenda. And we see this in real-time. Brands are active on their pages, focused on increasing their following, and use social media as a platform to sell their products/services to consumers. Brands and companies depend on social media to assist them.
Businesses are hiring employees that specialize in social media and employ social media teams in order to increase their engagement and gain new followers. If you look at the numbers, you can see that the more successful companies/brands have more followers and engagement than those that are not as successful. According to research from the Salesforce “State of Marketing” report, “75% of marketing leaders see a direct return on investment from social.” Social media can be a tool to measure the success of a company.
Social media is a tool that almost everyone uses in their day-to-day life. According to Demand Sage, one in three people are socializing via social media platforms. That is why companies depend on social media because they can reach various audiences due to the volume and traffic that social media gets.
In the upcoming years, I believe that social media will become more integrated into the corporate world than ever. Companies will invest more time, money, and energy into ventures that involve social media. When we look at where social media started with the invention of Facebook, nobody could have ever predicted where it would be now. New apps have been created and are consistently evolving as technology develops. So, in a few years, there is no telling where social media will be.