This week, as many of you know, I ventured down to San Diego for Social Media Marketing World, arguably the largest social media conference of its kind. My brain is bursting with new content, and it is going to be a challenge to distill and frame all the bits – but that’s what I love to do! For now I have quickly pulled together a few high level observations… here are 3 trends to watch.
1. Live video: We’ve seen for some time how visuals on social media increase engagement, and in particular how video has huge uptake. Live video first made an appearance with Periscope in 2015, but it has been Facebook getting on board in a big way with Facebook Live in the fall of 2016, which has changed the game. This isn’t new news for some, but the extent and magnitude of what is coming and the timeliness of opportunity on the leading edge of it, should be something you take note of. Trust me – this is huge! Facebook is the largest social platform out there, but with popularity comes a challenge for marketers. Facebook says it is running out of places in the news feed to show people ads. They also have a vested interest in showing users quality content, and keeping them within the platform. All this has happened at the same time as algorithms have been changed to favour video content, because that is what viewers enjoy and spend time on. Right now, when you “go live” your friends and followers ALL see the update and have opportunity to engage in the moment. This is kind of like going back in time and being given the “like button” back, where everyone who liked your page, saw your content. Remember that time, before you had to pay to boost or buy ads to reach a defined audience? So right now, there is a sweet spot, read opportunity, for those that get how to possibly use this. Big brands will get on board with this eventually, but for now, it’s limited. And I’m not so naïve to not see that Facebook has a plan behind this that will likely entail monetizing it in the future with paying for access, targeted audience broadcasts, or ads placed pre, mid-roll or at the end. But right now, it’s the Wild West. This is one of those things where you will look back and think, “Remember when it was free and reached everyone?” So with that in mind, I will likely venture into this space. I just need to figure out what that looks like. I love to write, but perhaps an additional live update or “weekly insights” done in a fun, authentic way? Let me know what you think in the comments below.
2. DM: Otherwise known as direct messaging. Messaging ecosystems such as Messenger and WhatsUp are already huge, and they are about to become the next big thing. Apps such as Slack have taken off. They offer an alternative to email, or more public social platforms for certain communications. Did you know there are 566 million photos shared privately on Messenger daily? But messaging is a private, closed network. That offers both threat and opportunity. At this stage, it’s likely best to keep an eye on the trend, and know that Facebook has rolled out methods to utilize the space for marketers. Currently there are two types of Facebook Messenger ads: Facebook Messenger as a destination (opens in a message) and Facebook Messenger as a placement (sponsored message). When you boost an ad, you can now have the destination as Messenger, not a website. This might make sense for an interaction further down the funnel, like a Facebook Live pre-promotion of a course, and then use the pixel to retarget that group and do an ad with Messenger, so you can get live in the moment conversations. If you’re not reasonably knowledgeable on Facebook ads, this is likely all “blah, blah, blah” so don’t worry about it. But if it applied to you, this trend could be a big deal…
3. Bots: I have to freely admit, before I came to Social Media Marketing World, I had no idea what a “bot” was. I’m not entirely sure I even do now. However, I find the concept fascinating, and the potential opportunity huge. Bots are a small part of AI (artificial intelligence). They are basically messaging software, mostly with a conversational interface, to simplify a task. Bots basically interact with people like another person to automate the response to repetitive and predictable questions. But the cool psychology behind them is that people view bots as a person. They have a persona, and through AI, have been trained to respond in a fun way, drawing on previous interactions and life experiences. While Apps are perceived as a tool, bots seem real. Mitsuka was the #1 bot for 2016. The Growth Bot runs within Facebook Messenger and Slack, and is geared toward marketing and selling. And the Judy Bot has seen 10 million kids play with it. Which begs the question, do you know what your kids are up to? I haven’t really grasped where all this fits in, in terms of marketing opportunity, other then to know it likely holds promise because it moves the level of interaction into a personal space, and can automate things like customer inquiries on some level, that are likely costing some businesses a lot of money to staff. Ultimately a combo of bots and human interaction (a human assisted bot) is likely safe place to be. It’s all a bit surreal to take in frankly. Elon Musk is all over this stuff. If for no other reason then that, you should likely sit up and take note. If you want to learn more, check out Bots.co, which is a search engine for bots, and a listing of all bots by what they do.
Whew! And that’s just the tip of the iceberg for some of the stuff shared this past week. Let me know what you think about all this. Are you using it? What might be the opportunity for your business? Leave a comment below!
I’m looking forward now to some down time to reflect, and walk a few California beaches. See you next week!