Prepare for the Next Wave of Social Media Marketing

Marketing leaders must rethink their social marketing approaches to capitalize on emerging and high-impact technology and social media trends.

Camilla intuitively felt that her social marketing approach was stagnant. An experienced social media leader, she had been in the trenches leading campaigns and strategy since soon after Facebook and Twitter were founded. How the times have changed.

Marketing leaders need to build more fluid and functional organizations

The entire social media landscape and operating environment have shifted to something unrecognizable, even when looking back a mere five years. Paid social advertising is now critical for reach and engagement, visual media and live video streaming have become basic campaign tactics and new platforms — such as Snapchat, WeChat and Facebook Messenger — signal that social media has fundamentally changed.

Camilla is aware of these innovations, but struggles to understand how best to tap into them and visualize how the pieces fit together. She wants to better understand where social media marketing is heading.

“Gartner research on five new trends impacting social media outlines the opportunity marketing leaders have to take a fresh approach to their craft and deliver better business results,” says Elizabeth Shaw, research director, Gartner for Marketers.

5 trends are impacting social marketing

Marketing leaders need to build more fluid and functional organizations that can flex with the threats and opportunities represented by these five key trends:

  1. Emerging technologies infiltrating social networks. New technologies like virtual reality (VR), artificial intelligence (AI) and the Internet of Things (IoT) are enablers that will help marketers reach consumers in innovative ways. Voice technologies and assistants like Amazon’s Alexa will soon power social media activities that will disrupt social analytics’ text-based taxonomies.
  2. Democratization of live broadcasting. New types of content and advertising formats continue to emerge, such as Snapchat Stories and the Instagram version of the feature. Gartner expects this trend will continue to drive innovation to keep users engaged and create new advertising products. Marketers will be challenged to make investment decisions on which new features to adopt.
  3. Social networks join the streaming content battle. Social networks like Snapchat and Facebook are beginning to compete against broadcast, cable and streaming networks as the go-to destinations for entertainment and news content. Social marketers must continue to focus their social marketing strategies to help guide them in these new environments.
  4. Rising influence of global social trends. Popular global messaging apps like China’s WeChat, South Korea’s KakaoTalk and Japan’s Line have taken the lead in finding innovative ways to keep users engaged. Commerce, social gifting, gaming, payment services and the ability to hail a taxi (to name a few) are innovations creating stickiness and utility. Facebook’s integration of Messenger and its bots with Facebook advertising presents opportunities for marketers to engage audiences in new ways.
  5. Unification of first-party and social data. Connecting social IDs with customer data (such as a Twitter handle and a customer identifier) helps marketers unify their data when combined with transactional and service/support information. Marketers who haven’t connected their customer records to social IDs will be even more reliant on social networks to reach their customers. Marketers who haven’t begun this process should begin collecting and linking social IDs to customer records.

Get Smarter

Follow #GartnerMKTG

Learn more at Gartner Marketing Symposium/Xpo.

Explore Gartner Events