With the new year upon us, we’re spending time reflecting on all of the technological advances of the past decade and how that has impacted the business world. Perhaps one of the biggest impacts has been the rise and growth of social media. According to Statista, “social network penetration is constantly increasing worldwide and as of January 2019 stood at 45 percent” and a projected 3.1 billion people worldwide will be using social media in 2021.
In the coming decade, we’ll be seeing further integration of business and social media. Social Commerce – the buying and selling activities that take place on social media – is gaining popularity, and we’ve laid out 3 key trends that are expected to gain traction in the near future.
Messaging Apps & Chatbots
“In 2019, 2.52 billion mobile phone users accessed over-the-top messaging apps to communicate. This figure is projected to grow to three billion users in 2022.” – Statista Messaging is more than a way to check in on friends and family, it has become a platform for businesses to connect with their customers. Fewer people are picking up their phones to make a voice call to a business, while more and more are using messaging apps on their phones to aid in product research, check business hours, inquire in regards to an order, and so much more.
Messaging Apps create a pathway from public forums to private conversations. Set a balance for your business by using a blend of Chatbots with personal customer service. Use automation (Chatbots) to address common customer questions and real people to handle specific customer requests. Thanks to its ease and dependability, purchasing products directly from Facebook, Pinterest, or Instagram will continue to gain popularity.
We’re seeing more and more businesses on Instagram. Think your company doesn’t need a business Instagram account? Think again. Your customers are using the app, and even more importantly, so are your future customers. Social media leader Hootsuite says “By 2020, we’ll see the increased dominance of Instagram, especially among older demographics. “Instagram users are a lot more older than people often imagine,” says Simon Kemp. “There are more 45 to 54 year-olds using Instagram than there are 13 to 17 year olds.” As [Hootsuite] CEO Ryan Holmes predicts, Instagram will quickly evolve over the next few years and become the new home for brands.”
“There are more 45 to 54 year-olds using Instagram than there are 13 to 17 year olds.”
Don’t wait too long to jump on the Instagram train. Create your social media presence now and build your following. Social selling is a growing field, and many businesses are using Instagram as a digital storefront with visual and video content. “Almost half of internet users follow brands they like or brands they are thinking of buying something from on social media.” – GlobalWebIndex According to research, Millennials and Gen Zers are leaning more toward social media platforms when researching purchases instead of defaulting to Google and other internet search engines. Product discovery is also becoming more visual and social. “In a study of 178,421 global internet users aged 16-64, GlobalWebIndex found that 28 percent of users turned to social networks during their online product research, a number that we’ve seen jump every year.”
A rising trend, audience demand for video has grown to include “56% of internet users watch(ing) videos on Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat or Instagram each month.” We can also see the age gap closing in regards to video as “81% of 55 to 64-year-olds are watching videos online each month.” –GlobalWebIndex For businesses, social video is a great way to present your brand, especially for product features. From a consumer standpoint, it’s a fun, easy format to discover and share new products. From a business standpoint, it’s a great way for word of mouth to spread about your product when people start liking and sharing your videos and ultimately follow your brand and become customers.
From small, local businesses to major, international retailers, social media plays an important role in ecommerce. The aforementioned trends have been around for a while and continue to skyrocket in popularity. It will be exciting to see how social media growth continues to impact ecommerce growth. Is your business set up to dive headfirst into Social Commerce in the 2020s?