By Jaime Mull
Social media is constantly evolving, and new trends are occurring every day online. It can be difficult to keep up with the constant renewing and recycling of trends on apps like TikTok and Instagram. Companies, now more than ever, are using their various social media outlets to target consumers with current trends and memes to sell their brand or product. Well-known brands have used social media to sell their products for many years, but it hasn’t been until recently that they’ve truly engaged with consumers and actively participated in the trend cycle that is occurring. If brands are now using social media as their main selling source and are constantly posting and engaging with customers, how will their engagement evolve in the next few years? What will we see from brands on social media in the next few years that we haven’t seen yet?
How is Social Media Used Today?
Social media is not just a one-dimensional outlet for people to share their life and thoughts with others. Over the past few years, social media has evolved into so many different things, and has allowed people to communicate and share ideas in various ways. Specifically for marketing, social media has now become the main outlet for brands and companies to share products and communicate with their consumer-base. With apps like Instagram and Twitter, consumers can comment on a brand’s post or tweet, and the brand has the ability to respond right away. This gives brands a huge advantage and allows them to show consumers how reliable of a company they are.
The growth of social media platforms has also created an omni-social presence, which suggests that almost every aspect of a consumer’s decision-making process is prone to social media influence (Appel et al., 2019). With the amount of different apps and websites that brand’s can post on (TikTok, Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn, Snapchat), it is almost impossible for the consumer to avoid a product or specific brand message. If a brand wants people to see their message, they have several options for sharing and can pay to promote themselves even more.
The use of influencers and celebrities in marketing has also increased greatly and is extremely popular today. Considering the possible reach and engagement influencers command on social media, companies have either begun embracing influencers on social media, or plan to expand their efforts in this domain even more (Appel et al., 2019). This means that influencers being used to promote a product or brand isn’t going to change in the near future, because it has shown to be effective.
Brands will Become your Best Friend
A safe assumption to make based on past and current trends is that brands will become even better equipped to answer consumer’s questions and meet consumer’s needs. For example, new platforms have emerged to make the connection between customer and firm effortless. Much of this is via instant messaging applications for businesses, which several leading technology companies have recently launched as business-related features in existing platforms (Appel et al., 2019). Brands are going to become even more accessible in the next few years due to platforms like this, that will allow customers to reach someone within the company in less than a few minutes. Consumers are tired of waiting for days to hear back from a brand’s customer service line, and they’re tired of hearing the same excuses for why certain products don’t work. Brands are going to become much more personable and honest with consumers, as well as make themselves available for questions and feedback at a much faster rate.
The Future of Political Collaboration
Something we saw in social media in the last few years that wasn’t as evident in the past was the increase in posts regarding politics, specifically from brands. Many popular brands, ranging from Ben & Jerry’s to Bumble, spoke up during the 2020 Presidential election and were very clear about which side they were taking in the race. It is becoming a growing trend for brands to show their support for political figures, which is interesting because there’s always the chance that they lose customers who don’t agree with their stance.
There is also the case of politicians themselves utilizing social media more in the future, essentially to market themselves. A relevant example of this is with Donald Trump and his run for office in 2016, and 2020. Research has shown that with simple interventions, social media platforms can increase targeted audiences’ likelihood of voting (Appel et al., 2019). We will definitely see more social media use from politicians, as well as brands in support of politicians, in future campaigns and election years.
Social Media is Always Evolving
While it is always interesting to analyze social media and predict what trends and themes will happen in the next few years, no one really knows for sure what will happen online. Social media is constantly shifting and changing shapes, and new trends are always being created. It will be interesting to see how social media unfolds in the future.
Appel, G., Grewal, L., Hadi, R., & Stephen, A. T. (2019, October 12). The future of social media in Marketing – Journal of the Academy of Marketing Science. SpringerLink. Retrieved February 24, 2022, from https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s11747-019-00695-1
Distel, A. (2019, July 24). Photo by Austin Distel on unsplash. Beautiful Free Images & Pictures. Retrieved February 24, 2022, from https://unsplash.com/photos/tLZhFRLj6nY