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Key: From a marketing perspective, the nature of the present environment suggests that virtually every part of a consumer’s decision-making process is prone to social media influence.
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Here is my abstract, as follows:
Social media allows people to freely interact with others and offers multiple ways for marketers to reach and engage with consumers. Considering the numerous ways social media affects individuals and businesses alike, my focus on where they believe the future of social media lies when considering marketing-related topics and issues.
Drawing on our research, discussions with industry leaders, and public discourse, there are 9 themes, organized by predicted imminence that we believe will meaningfully shape the future of social media through 3 lenses: consumer, industry, and public policy. Within each theme, I describe the digital landscape, present and discuss their predictions, and identify relevant future research directions for academics and practitioners.
Social media can be thought as a collection of software-based digital technologies presented as apps and websites that provide users with digital environments in which they can send and receive digital content or information over some type of online social network.
The current social media landscape has 2 Key aspects.
1st are the platforms; major and minor, established and emerging that provide the underlying technologies and business models making up the industry and ecosystem.
2nd are the use cases meaning how various kinds of people and organizations are using these technologies and for what purposes.
Across platforms, historically and to the present day, the dominant business model has involved monetization of users by offering advertising services to anyone wishing to reach those audiences with digital content and marketing communications.
Our contention is that understanding the current situation of social media from a marketing perspective, lies more in what the users do on these platforms than the technologies or services offered by these platforms.
These are categorized as (1) digitally communicating and socializing with known others, such as family and friends, (2) doing the same but with unknown others but who share common interests, and (3) accessing and contributing to digital content such as news, gossip, and user-generated product reviews.
In its early days, social media activity was mostly confined to designated social media platforms such as Facebook and Twitter. However, a proliferation of websites and applications that primarily serve separate purposes have capitalized on the opportunity to embed social media functionality into their interfaces.
From a marketing perspective, the nature of the present environment suggests that virtually every part of a consumer’s decision-making process is prone to social media influence.
Considering the possible reach and engagement influencers command on social media, companies have either begun embracing influencers on social media. In recent conversations we had with social media gurus, they stated the growing importance of influencers and mentioned how brands generally are looking to incorporate influencer marketing into their marketing strategies. And conversations with executives at some globally leading brands suggest that influencer marketing spending by big brands continues to rise.
The consumers have developed some negative beliefs, so changes will need to be made by everyone who benefits from consumer engagement on social media.
Social media platforms and brands need to consider 3 major concerns that are eroding consumer trust: personal information, intellectual property and information security.
Considering these concerns, specific actions and initiatives need to be taken for greater transparency and subsequent trust. We believe that brands and agencies need to hold social media accountable for their actions regarding consumer data. As well, brands need to establish transparent policies regarding consumer data in a way that recognizes the laws, advertising restrictions, and a consumer’s right to privacy. All of this is managerially essential for brands to engender feelings of trust in the domain of social media.
The Big Qs: Is all content shared on social media seen as less trustworthy if the platform itself is distrusted? Does this extend to brand messages displayed online? Is there a negative spillover effect to other user-generated content shared through these platforms?
The Big As: We will see.
Customer care via digital channels as we know it is going to change substantially in the near future. To date, many brands have used social media platforms as a place for providing customer care, addressing customers’ specific questions, and fixing problems. In the future, social media-based customer care is expected to become even more customized, personalized, and ubiquitous. Customers will be able to engage with firms anywhere and anytime, and solutions to customers’ problems will be more accessible and immediate, perhaps even pre-emptive using predictive approaches. Efficiency is Key.
The near future
AR and VR technologies bring visual richness, other developments suggest that the future of social media might also be more audible. A new player to the social media space. Given that podcasts are more popular than ever before and voice-based search queries are the fastest-growing mobile search type, it is likely that this communication modality will accordingly show up more on social media use going forward. Thus, bringing the target community closer together.
A discussion occurring across industry and academia now is on how marketers can appropriately integrate online and offline efforts Our research shows that consumers respond better to integrated marketing campaigns. In academia the majority of research considering online promotions and advertisements has typically focused on how consumers respond to these strategies through online only measures though this is changing with more research examining offline consequences to omnichannel strategies.
Our research has shown how digital and social media can be used for self-presentation, affiliation, and expression and begs the Big Q: What does it mean for the future if consumers can create who they want to be?
So, in reviewing the social media ecosystem and considering where it is heading in the context of consumers and marketing practice, we conclude that it is in a state of flux. The future of social media in marketing is exciting, but uncertain. If nothing else, it is vitally important that we better understand social media since it has become highly culturally relevant, a dominant form of communication and expression, a major media type used by companies for advertising and other forms of communication, and even has geopolitical ramifications.
The ideas discussed above are meant to stimulate many new ideas and research, which we wish to see being mentioned and shared across every type of social media platform.
Have a happy, prosperous week, Keep the Faith!