Time, the future of social mediaA recent Nielsen report shows how consumers are dividing their time between traditional TV, video on the internet and even AM/FM radio, truly opportunities for marketers to reach a segmented audience. The future of social media marketing lends itself to the uprising of audiences who speak the language of that particular social network. Pinterest and Instagram are perfect examples of how marketers will need to adjust their messages in order to engage with customers there.  Instagram is photo oriented, while Pinterest has collectors or virtual scrapbookers, the way a marketer sends a message to these two very different audiences will result in ignored content or engaged content.

Make Socialable talks about, “It will become more important to research where your target audience is spending their time and then tailor your social media marketing strategy to go where the customers are.”

Another future implication of where social media marketing is headed will be an increase in community development around specific topics.  Custom content is gaining momentum as marketing professionals realize that one size does not fit all.  Mobile marketing will show itself as a greater force as brands will make the connection between mobile and email marketing.  Marketing Sherpa reports “46% of marketers in the manufacturing or packaged goods industry, 65% of marketing agencies and consultancies, and 59% of retail or e-commerce marketers indicated mobile would impact their email.”  The use of tablets and smartphones will continue to grow and as new ways to use these gadgets increase, brands need to adopt a strategy to keep up with the trend.  A friend of mine recently told me her sons had reinvented the children’s game hide-n-seek by using their iPads to locate one another within the house on a snowy day.  Mobile is not only for making phone calls and checking the weather, there are other uses for it, and consumers are already steps ahead of anything brands could imagine.

Inkling Media explains the reasoning behind mobile adoption as a marketing strategy:

smartphone use up“Smartphone adoption continues to increase, and more of us are using our smartphones to access the web. We are searching and looking for information about businesses. This means that you need to be thinking about how people are experiencing your business and your website on smaller, mobile screens. Is your site optimized for mobile? Do you have a responsive theme? Are customers interacting with you via mobile, or are they frustrated by the experience?”

These are questions brands must address if a social media initiative is to be all-inclusive and effective reaching multiple audience segments.

Finally, monetizing the social media experience will reveal itself as not only the holy grail reasoning behind the formation of a social initiative, but the method, the how revelation will go off like a high wattage light bulb.  That annoying piece of content known as “Sponsored Content” on social news feeds will grow up and disguise itself as formidable news content and finally delivering customers to the water for a sales conversion. In this case it will be the Hennessy brand that has jumped first and most daring as the New York Times shares: “monetizing social content through the use of sponsored content; for example, digital pitches styled to look like the editorial content is becoming a hot trend. These ads carry a byline like an actual article. Vanity Fair has a six week effort running on the website “Sponsor Content” will carry the headline “Hennessy Fuels Our Chase for the Wild Rabbit … But What Does It All Mean?” Embedded in that ad will be a 90-second version of a commercial about Malcolm Campbell, the British race driver once called “the fastest man on earth,” that is also part of the Hennessy campaign. Additional native ads will include a look behind the scenes at the making of the commercial.”

This attempt at a direct monetization of social media is bold and certainly has its detractors, however, when it comes to social media, marketers are sometimes at a loss to understanding the human dimension and how to relate to those people who are on the other side of the computer screen. As brands continue in their quest to get to know us, the consumer, we can expect similar attempts to go awry, but some may actually hit the target. The future implications of social media is bright, however some brands still won’t be able to see.