by Nicole Dugan Image from www.socialmediajamaica.com
In the last 24 hours, have you shared an interesting news item on Twitter, updated your status on Facebook, uploaded a picture onto Instagram, or reimbursed your friend on Venmo? Humans are social by nature, but a quick analysis of common social media practices indicates that once private tasks have now gone public. Many social media users post daily (or often hourly) updates related to their day, weekend plans, or reaction to last week’s Rangers game. When you use Venmo, for example, all your contacts know that you just sent your friend money for pizza and beer. Paying back a friend- such an everyday task- is now social.
The way in which individuals interact and choose to spend their time has dramatically changed over the past few decades. In many situations, screens get in the way of in-person human interactions- this includes personal interactions as well as commercial interactions. In your personal life, do you find yourself seated across from your best friend at a restaurant with your head bent over your phone? Do you make most of your purchases or keep up with your finances via an app? People spend more time looking at screens than ever before. This new type of socialization facilitates real time “sharing” of experiences and thoughts that were not possible before.
Why does this matter?
The way people behave impacts the way in which business is conducted. If everyday tasks are constantly publicized through social media that means more and more people are spending time on social media apps.
According to smartinsights.com, 89% of mobile media usage takes place in mobile apps, making apps the best place to reach customers. And while 48% of mobile internet users still spend the majority of their media time on mobile search engines, 26% use branded apps. Conveniently enough, some of the most popular apps, Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter, offer corporate advertising solutions.
According to pewinternet.com, 74% of adults who use the internet utilize social media. And, according to marketingland.com, social media advertising revenue is forecasted to be around $8.4 billion. Over the next few years, businesses will continue to realize that social media is the place to spend their advertising dollars.
The use of social media as an advertising platform is not only a great opportunity for businesses, it also provides a better experience for the customer. When companies utilize traditional banner ads, they completely interrupt the user experience with an ad. Ads on Facebook or Instagram, however, blend into your news feed- you can click on them if you are interested, but the ads won’t interrupt your actions on the site. This eliminates the feeling of being bombarded by advertisements and also helps to ensure that companies only pay for clicks from people who are actually interested in their products.
Is it just about advertising?
While advertising is the most obvious way for businesses to take advantage of customers’ social media use, it certainly isn’t the only means for companies and individuals to interact. Innovation in this space can actually benefit the customer.
Social media giant, Facebook, is stepping into the realm of financial services. This move doesn’t just impact veterans in the online payments space, like PayPal, it also has the potential to impact traditional financial institutions, like banks. Right now, Facebook allows users in the United States to transfer money for free. If Facebook decides to take this product global, the implications for ecommerce could be huge- why pay for a traditional wire transfer when you can transfer money for free via a well-known, trusted company like Facebook?
According to TechCrunch, Facebook is awaiting approval by the Central Bank of Ireland to allow it to hold funds for customers throughout Europe, essentially making it a virtual bank. If approved, Facebook could become a financial solution for the world’s “unbanked” population. It would also make it easier for individuals across the globe to make online purchases- and share those purchases with their friends.
As individuals continue to choose social media over in-person conversation and consumers continue to choose eCommerce over traditional shopping, there will be more opportunities for innovative businesses to come up with new ways to serve the needs of customers.