Today’s post comes from guest contributor Rachel Matthews.
The Future of Social Media and Marketing (and Where You May Fit In)
An estimated one in four people used social media in 2013 on a worldwide scale. It’s said that one in five people has a smart phone. With these numbers it’s easy to see that social media has become an integral part of our daily lives.
There’s no beating around the bush. If you’re not active with social media, in your business, you’re missing out on a prime opportunity to connect with your community, develop lasting relationships, and entice sales.
However … how this is done has greatly evolved since it began to grow in popularity.
Shopping has gone Social
One of the most amazing examples I’d like to share about blurring the line of social and shopping is that of the efforts made by a Tesco Homeplus virtual shopping store setup in Korea.
Seoul is a very, very busy location. People are almost constantly in a state of work or transit which makes it quite difficult for them to take time to do necessary shopping like that of groceries.
Tesco developed a shop which used LCD screens to display products along one of their busier subway lines where people can walk up, browse the products, check pricing, and scan QR codes in their phone which added items to a cart. Once the transaction was complete the products will be ready for them back at their home.
Social and Interaction … Caught On
There are many other instances where social media has crossed over from a simple way to interact with others into being a driving force for marketing and sales.
· McDonald’s experimental billboard which let an individual connect, via smart phone, pick a snack, and play a game of ping pong. If the user won the game they could receive the snack for free once they entered the location.
· Events such as SXSW, Coachella, and Flirt Cosmetics utilized Twitter hashtags to allow participants to curate and share content through social media displays during these events. This also included sponsored content and aided in the launch of new products.
· Burger King had a notorious SM campaign which enticed people to delete ten friends on Facebook to receive a free Whopper. This actually made Facebook outright block the campaign after it received such a large response.
Finding Your Blend of SM and Business
There’s a place for you and your business to fit into this evolving (sometimes wild) world of Social Media and you don’t need the massive budgets like that coming from big name brands.
A few ideas worth pursuing may include:
· Creating photo collages of your customers by having individuals use Instagram and hashtags to submit their photos. This collage could be displayed at the physical location and encourage people to interact with the shop while they’re there or after they’re back home.
· Your business could use cardboard displays customized by companies like CreativeDisplaysNow which includes branding and other social media elements such as hashtags, URL’s to specific social campaigns, QR codes which distribute discounts, or a specialized landing page to further explain the product displayed within the display.
· It could be worthwhile to hand over the keys to the business by using polling apps and giving customers and interested parties the ability to make decisions for the business such as deciding which new product to release, determining sales events, or naming new products. The polling will not only help the business better understand the customers but the interaction through social media and when they’re in store will certainly generate a buzz for the brand.
Social media isn’t just about chatting with friends, family, and strangers anymore. It’s not just about sharing your photos and videos. In a lot of ways it’s becoming a platform for change. It’s a vehicle to shape the world around you.
Handing this power to the customer will evolve businesses into a social beast. Business will become less and less one directional. We’ve already seen how it’s being done with current campaigns. It’s a wonder what we can expect in the coming years.
Are you ready for a fundamental change in business due in part to social media?
Rachel Matthews is a freelance writer with a background in business who’s been relying on her entrepreneurial skill set since she was in high school.