The Future of Social Media

The enterprise of the future (whether private or public sector, large or small) will use social media extensively as a normal part of its day-to-day activities. Just as communication with social media is becoming something that we take for granted in our personal lives, so too will it become normal in our work environments.

The increased use of social media in individual functional areas of the organization is expected to merge as it progresses. This will lead to increased opportunities for improvement, based on exploiting opportunities for organization-wide collaboration and sharing of information.

“I think that [social media] will be more integrated into everything. As you think further down the road, I don’t think that there’s going to be something called social media that people will be talking about in 30 years. I’m not even sure if people will be talking about it in five years.” – Ellie Wheeler, Greycroft Partners, Principal Social Media’s future is being shaped by such emerging technological trends as wearable electronic devices and activity tracker applications. Both FitBit wearable activity tracker device and iFit fitness application for treadmills are actively engaged in building social communities on-line, making them an integral part of the overall experience.

An infographic on HighQ.com proclaims 2017 to be “the year of video marketing”. It states that this year, online video will account for 74% of all web traffic. Here are a few other metrics from the infographic  that make a compelling case for video content: 500 million people are watching Facebook videos every day Snapchatters watch 10 billion videos a day 82% of Twitter users watch video content on Twitter 52% of marketing professionals worldwide name video as the type of content with the best ROI In the blog post The Future of Social Media (And How To Prepare For It), author Ash Read provides the following takeaway from Buffer’s research report The State of Social 2016:  “Right now, video is hot and is standing out… But that won’t always be the way. As video creeps up in popularity and more and more brands and individuals are sharing it, it’ll be harder to get noticed.” One way of getting your video content noticed is by using aerial tech – using drones to capture or stream your video from a novel point of view. And one product that is promising to make this kind of tech more accessible is Selfly.

The future is NOW! and this realization calls for a bit of self-reflection. How far have we been dragged desperately clinging to the coat-tails of Mark Zuckerberg and his social media posse? Where are the new niches and opportunities for greater engagement, reach and visibility? How can companies differentiate themselves in an increasingly competitive social media space?

If you’re like me and a fan of the television show Big Brother Canada, you were undoubtedly excited when it returned earlier this month for its fifth season. One thing they changed up however, was the live show following the eviction. In the past, the evicted house guest was interviewed on stage by the show’s host Arisa Cox and former house guests Peter Brown and Gary Levy. This year however, the format has changed and viewers are now asked to watch ‘After the Eviction’ live on Facebook. Every day when I scroll through my Facebook feed I notice at least one Facebook Live video posted by someone I follow. Whether it’s an acquaintance who as has begun using the social media platform to try and make a name for them self in the fitness community, or someone who has attended a concert and wanted everyone to get a glimpse into the show by posting their favourite song as it’s being played – live streaming appears to be here to stay.

Custom solutions are the cornerstone of the manufacturing world.  Seeing a problem and creating a unique solution is an endeavor that takes engineering, creativity leadership and most importantly collaboration.  As we move rapidly into the future, organizations are faced with the opportunity to harness one of the biggest opportunities to break down silos and bring people together by embracing social media.    

It is estimated that by 2018 there will be almost 2.5 billion people using social networks, up from under 1 million (970,000) in 2010, and it just keeps growing.  As we move forward, social media is no longer just an option for businesses.  Much like paying for a listing or an ad in the yellow pages was once a necessity, today, marketing without the inclusion of social media is no longer an option.   In today’s world, social media is used in every part of our lives.  Our personal relationships are fostered online, while some are even formed online first.  Social media is used for entertainment, at work and is a big part of business in general.  But – social media hasn’t reached every part of our lives… yet.

WebiMax is an internet marketing company that was founded in 2008 by Ken Wisnefski. According to Wisnefski, the company was founded on the principle of providing a service that would actually help clients succeed “by working with them more as a strategic partner than merely an outsourced vendor.” WebiMax boasts that since its founding in 2008, the company continues to evolve as the internet marketing industry evolves. The company claims to have the largest number of internet marketing professionals in the US, with over 100 marketing specialists on their team to help their clients reach their organizational goals. The company provides a wide range of services to their clients such as: Search Engine Optimization Search Engine Marketing Web Design Social Media Marketing Reputation Management Conversion Optimization PR Marketing Lead Generation E-mail Marketing E-Commerce Solutions Mobile Websites Link Removal Services

On February 4, 2005, YouTube started a revolution by giving us a seemingly endless stream of content, on demand. You could watch videos by celebrities, tutorials by up-and-comers, or movie trailers released by studios. Over the years, videos continue to be released, creating new stars and streams of content from global contributors. But no more is YouTube the only major player in the game. With over a billion users generating billions of views and hundreds of thousands of hours of content watched, it is only natural that other players would want to capitalize on this captive and attentive audience. Social media giants Facebook and Twitter are getting in on the action by promoting real-time engagement video capability aimed at engaging the attention of global audiences.

Weather is one of the biggest influences in our lives. In the last few years, social media tools have become increasingly important in the communication of weather related warnings and forecasts.  Businesses with heightened access to detailed, relevant, real-time weather information are able to make more informed decisions which can significantly impact their bottom line and save lives. As the trend towards data analytics continues, the role of social media in the future of weather tracking will be notable.  In fact, many weather services claim that social media will be a key tool in helping track severe weather in the future.  Recent research completed by Warwick University in Britain found that certain words and photos on social media can act to predict extreme weather conditions before they actually occur.  According to Warwick, certain words on social media platforms like Flickr can signal weather risks developing in specific locations at specific times.  “Our analysis demonstrates that metadata in social media image postings enables them to be used as social sensors, which can serve as a valuable supplement to instrument-based systems for predicting and monitoring floods, and other kinds of natural hazards” said researcher, Nataliya Tkachenko of the Warwick Institute for the Science of Cities. The growth of the Internet of Things will have a positive impact on social media’s use with weather. For example, several U.S. States use a variety of sensors to provide real-time data on pavement conditions.  The sensors can determine “grip factor” which is a measurement of how slippery the road is.  The lower the grip factor, the more adverse the road conditions.  The conditions read by the sensors are monitored by the Transportation Management Center which is the nerve center for hundreds of plows and road crews around the state. Sensor data is tracked and used to communicate road conditions to drivers on the message boards along the highways.  In the future, such data from weather information systems could potentially be used  by self-driving vehicles to make navigation decisions. The Weather Company, an IBM Business, is the world’s largest private weather enterprise, helping people make informed decisions  and take action in the face of weather. The company offers the most accurate, personalized and actionable weather data and insights to millions of consumers, as well as thousands of marketers and businesses. In 2015, IBM announced the purchase of The Weather Company which included a large number of weather data collection points and consumer and business applications…. Read more »

In recent years, the popularity of CrossFit seems to have sky rocketed into orbit. The first time I heard about CrossFit was in 2008. At that time, I assumed that it was just another fitness fade that hardcore gym enthusiasts did to look cool. Undoubtedly the shine would wear off and its popularity would dwindle. I had the same thought process regarding the future of social media in a marketing for business capacity. I was wrong on both accounts. I think it is safe to say that social media has played a pivotal role in the success and growth of the CrossFit brand since day one. In today’s business landscape, staying progressive when it comes to new advancements and technologies in all areas and aspects of business is vital to the future success of your organization. The CrossFit brand does just that.   From a marketing perspective, CrossFit has excelled over the years at identifying and incorporating new methods of social media as a way for them to reach the masses with their message. This trend appears will continue into the future as new innovations and technologies continue to develop. From YouTube channels, blogs, podcasts, CrossFit TV and nationally televised CrossFit competitions, they understand the value and importance that mainstream and social media outlets provide to the future growth of their brand.  

So what is the future for social media?  Well, it seems daunting to try to predict the future even more so if you consider the exponential growth of technological innovation so I am going to try to look at the year ahead.   In the article “5 Trends That Will Transform Social Media in 2017”  it is suggested that  66% of adults globally, log on to Facebook every day.  It is clear that social media use continues to advance and using it to advance your business is also critically important.   Other things to pay attention to: Not only is social media usage continuing to increase it is doing so across all demographics. Employees are going to increasingly be encouraged to share business updates. People want real-time “real-time” updates. Increasingly there will be an expectation from consumers for even quicker responses to their inquiries. Decisions will be increasingly driven by analytics.  Social analytic tools continue to get more powerful and can provide valuable information even to beginning users of social media.  On this point, it is important to reflect on the data that is driving decisions.  In the article”  Are We Mining Data Instead of Answering Questions”, it is suggested that the biggest challenge in the big data world is understanding that data analysis is not the same as answering questions.  There are nuances in social data that compliment pure data in understanding what the data is saying.  For example counting the number of likes of a particular post is interesting but if the individual responds with a like and also says “because there were easy to follow lessons” that provides added value. Social video content is important and will only get more important going forward.   I would add to this list in that I think there is a lot more opportunity to use social media for collaboration particularly between businesses and between organizations.  Consumers want to have the full range of services available to them conveniently and are expecting organizations and businesses to be working together to provide that service to them. In the article “From Social Networks to Collaboration Networks:  The Next Evolution of Social Media for Business”, the author argues that the biggest opportunity for Social Networks is the opportunity for collaboration.   These collaborative networks breed co-creation, and most importantly the culture of collaboration.  “The new generation of Millennials and Generation C  (connected, computerized and community oriented) have… Read more »

If you think of the actual use of social media, you immediately realize that it is all about sharing information. We always exchange information with the outside world, within a circle of our friends, with our colleagues at the workplace even we exchange information in a format of opinions with strangers in social media platforms. In big enterprises which generating revenue is the primary goal, sharing knowledge among the private workforce is vital as most of the non-standard services to the clients relies on the quality of the teamwork and is dependent on how well the team can put together a package or a solution for the customer. As you know, time plays a huge role in here, and as we all know in the business world, the actual currency is not money but time.

Eight years ago, when my Dad told me that he had joined Facebook, I groaned. Being in my early adulthood at the time, when my social status meant a lot more to me, I was worried about what my friends would think. While I adored my father (and still do!), Facebook was a space for Millennials with Bieber haircuts and skinny jeans, not for Dads who wore Velcro sandals. In fact, prior to the public launch in 2006, Facebook was only available to users who were enrolled in a university or college. Fast-forward to 2017, and Facebook is a place everyone—Dads included! Most of us have grown so accustomed to social media being a part of our lives that it seems strange to think about it as a “new” phenomenon — but it is. In less than 10 years, a handful of niche sites catering to small populations have turned into thousands of apps and platforms that connect the majority of the world’s population. But where is social media and technology headed in the future?

Our day is populated with up-to-the-second news of what president-elect Trump will do next. This timely case study does raise the question…as powerful as social media is today in our private and business lives, what does the future hold for this platform? Before I look to the future let’s briefly look back. In my youth the word “social” meant going outside to play hide and seek with my friends.  In  my 20’s “connected” meant you owned a thing called a “Portable Bag Cell Phone” which weighed 8 to 10 lbs and was an affordable alternative (at $1800) to the “flip phone” which retailed for nearly $3,500. For Star Trek fans the flip was almost a must have! Then came the internet as we know it today and the mainstream platforms of digital connection were exemplified by email and blogging. Fast forward to Feb.4, 2004: Mark Zuckerberg launched Facebook in his Harvard University dorm room. At present the business, marketing and political landscape looks bright. But what does the crystal ball say?

Experienced marketers are looking toward the future, therefore, and thinking about the next big trends in social media marketing. Being able to predict future developments before they happen is the goal for many firms that hope to beat the competition and enhance their business. Social media especially is constantly changing, and in 2017, experts predict a potentially more substantial shift than in the past. Social may just take over the marketing industry as a whole, and many promising features are poised to catch attention for brands among consumers. Social media may still have a long way to evolve, which implies we will continue to be surprised by changes that present themselves in the coming years, but one thing will sure become a strong factor, and its not just technical advancements  but also development of more customer focused social media strategy, social media is changing to refocus on the customer experience. CapitalOne as one of the largest banks is on top of the trend, making a massive investment in creative talent, and relying more on creating customer friendly experience. During my conversation with Rob Alexander,Chief Information Officer during Design Thinkers in Toronto, he explained “Banking is the most ripe industry for disruption, the winners will be the ones that become customer focused technology business and not remain as an old school banking company.” Alexander predicted a massive change by banks around tracking realtime data about their operations and then making decisions based on what they find. They also want to interact with customers in a more dynamic ways around this data.

In 2013, comedian Bryan Callen, asked UFC heavyweight fighter Brendan Schaub to do a podcast with him in his garage. The two were good friends, and Bryan noticed that Brendan had a natural comedic instinct, that could crack up a whole room. While both were moderately successful in their profession, nothing could prepare them for the heights their new show would soon reach. In three short years, the podcast has grown into one of the top 10 sports podcasts on Itunes. Podcasting has allowed the pair to have a stable income, while they pursue other interests. Acting and fighting are no longer their main source of income, and they can rely on income generated from their podcast. The podcast generates revenue from ad reads on the show, with many companies relying on podcasts to generate new customers. Bryan Callen had this to say about the future of social media. What’s really cool about the whole business of internet is it makes it easier and easier to have your own autonomy. The show has produced over 200 episodes, and spun off into various other side projects. Other businesses can look at The Fighter and The Kid, as inspiration to step into the future of social media.

While no one can actually predict the future, we can use past knowledge and current trends to guess what might happen. Social Media is no different. In a podcast with the Social Media Examiner, Rohit Bhargava discusses his book, Non Obvious. He considers “a trend to be an observation about the accelerating present. That means there are signs of something already happening that will become more important”.1 A great example to review is Spectacles by Snap Inc. This new gadget considers past, current and futuristic trends. Snap uses a medium that all people are familiar with wearing (sunglasses) to capture quick videos for social sharing. Snapchat (its former name) already recognized that capturing video upright is more intuitive because people hold mobile phones that way. Snapchat was a trendsetter when it made upright videos acceptable.2 Spectacles operate via Bluetooth and load video content to your mobile device. Their creation of circular video (which captures both vertical and horizontal orientations simultaneously) is very innovative. When the viewer plays the video on a mobile device they can rotate it in any direction and it will display accordingly. Videos for entertainment and information are here to stay and they will inevitably carry us forward. Whether we’re watching live camera feeds around the world, funny YouTube videos or Tasty how-to food clips, we’re validating this trend for the future.

In 2010 Stanford graduates, Kevin Systrom and Mike Krieger, were named, “The nerds who made a billion in 551 days from camera app” when Mark Zuckerberg purchased their app, Instagram for $1 billion. Since day one the app has been a hit, and today it is a leading social media network with over 500 million users, including 300 million of them being active daily.

Social media has become an indispensable part of our everyday lives, whether connecting to friends or checking the latest news and entertainment in real time, our ways of communication are now drastically evolving.  Back in 2010, there were about 1 million people on social media, this number is predicted to reach 2.5 billion in 2018. For businesses, from social media marketing to brand promotion, social media is playing an increasingly significant role in corporate marketing plan. As innovative as their drones, DJI Technology set up a role model for businesses to understand the value of social media and stay up to the latest trends.

It would be safe to assume in the digital era – where everything is immediate or available with the tap of a button – that charities would have quickly implemented social media tools to allow for optimum fundraising opportunities. Oddly enough, this is not the case. In fact, far from it. Many organizations are still manually accepting and processing donations, losing out on a magnitude of funding opportunities. For non-profits looking to increase donations and expand their reach, there is no denying that the web, and more specifically social media, is the way to go and CanadaHelps is the go-to organization to get non-profits started using online promotion and fundraising. CanadaHelps is a true trailblazer when it comes to philanthropy. Dating back to its humble roots when three undergraduate students mapped out a vision that was as ground-breaking as it was prescient. In 1999, the trio developed the hard to sell concept of a web based platform that would enable Canadians to make online donations to any registered charity. After convincing major supports to back their vision, it launched in 2000 and saw more than $150,000 donated. Today the organization is connected to 16,000 registered charities in Canada and deems itself “Canada’s platform for donating and fundraising online”.

Social Media: The Future of The Relational Church

TammySabourin   November 13, 2016

Throughout history, The Church has been challenged with continuing to share its unchanging, relational message of the love of God in a world that is constantly changing.  Many churches are embracing social media as part of society’s undeniable move towards digital communications, in an effort to build relationships and maintain their voice into the future.  In his article, Communication In the Church of the Future, Christopher Harris states, “As the church we not only need to be mastering the tools of social media to connect with and communicate with society, we also have to be studying how these transitions in communication will transform how we are community and how we exist as church.” Glebe Road United Church, located in Toronto, Ontario, Canada with a history dating back to 1851, has found great benefit in utilizing social media not only as part of building relationships through today’s ministry, but also in looking to their future.

Back in 2001, an event changed the landscape, not just locally, but for the entire world. The event in question took place on September 11th, 2001. With all that has gone on since then, Muslims in North America had to bear the brunt of the backlash, the scrutiny and in some cases, violent acts of Islamophobia. Muslims then recognized that there was a problem in their community, such as radicalism that could creep into the younger generations. Also, a lot of the outreach and connection to the public at large, whether Muslim or non-Muslim, was either non-existent, or hasn’t possessed more of an impact. In 2003, Taha Ghayyur – Organizer of Muslimfest – along with his team thought of ways in providing a positive image of his community to the broader public. Over the course of history in such parts such as Turkey, the Middle East and now in China, Islamic Art has caught the eye of the world with the intricate calligraphy, geometric patterns and shapes that make up its artistic canvas. This was the selling point that Taha and his team would use to formulate an idea that has grown to such a level that it is now known worldwide, and has just completed its 13th year in existence. Muslimfest is a community festival held out of Mississauga, Ontario and was designed to bring about the Artistic and Creative features of Islam to everyone with its educational classes, bazaar environment to shop, eat and enjoy the atmosphere for young and old alike. One of the biggest parts of the marketing strategy for Muslimfest was their social media component. Over the years, Muslimfest has welcomed and encompassed new and improved methods of social media and has effectively engaged people young, old, living in the city, outside the city and making it accessible for people all over the world, Muslim and non-Muslim. We sat down with Taha to discuss how his strategies evolved over time and what he may see in the future when it comes to his social media techniques.

Thinking about the future of social media is incredibly mind boggling to me. The pace of change and learning is moving at light speed. I mean, people can now chase down animated characters in their towns and cities by using their smart phones? Truly though, not everyone is adopting social media elements at the same speed. Some companies rely solely on social media for their marketing while others use a combination of traditional and social media techniques to get their word out. All agree however, that in the future, social media will continue to grow and change to become the primary marketing tool for all business. I had the wonderful opportunity to conduct a case interview with Captain Marc Ackert, Co-Owner of Ontario Waterway Cruises of Orillia, Ontario. He is also Captain of the Kawartha Voyageur, a 120’, 45 passenger and 13 crew cruise ship that takes guests on 5-day trips on the Rideau Canal and Trent Severn Waterway in Ontario. This family business started 35 years ago and with the average age of his passengers being 72, Marc had a lot to say about the marketing of his business. Marc agrees that “his future is now” as a new marketing strategy began last year with the updating of the website and creation of a series of online vignettes. Although many of his guests still rely on traditional marketing techniques, Marc’s new strategy for now and the immediate future will be to market to the family members and friends who have the computers, lap tops and smart phones. These will be the people who will share the information to potential cruise guests.

Social media has become much more than Facebook, Twitter and Snapchat. Marketers are constantly forced to find new ways to communicate with consumers and to spread their message in innovative ways. Live streaming is currently trending, making interacting between businesses and consumers more real. This live interaction with the public is becoming more favoured, because it’s stepping away from the usual commercials and advertisements, especially when it comes to brands. 

In the last decade we have watched the birth of social media, and are continuing to watch it grow and mature. In times like these, where Trump and Clinton are in a tight race for the U.S. Presidency, The UK has just voted to leave the European Union after 23 years together, and we are facing something reminiscent of the civil rights movement with #BlackLivesMatter…there’s a lot to talk about. Opinions and commentary fly free on the internet and political opinions in particular are abundant. Networks like Twitter are so full of posts, following issues in real time, that it’s not uncommon to see something on Twitter before an official article is written about it. A lot of people find it annoying to open up their Facebook pages to find the opinions of their old high school acquaintance’s neighbour’s sister on their Newsfeed. Others love engaging in a good old fashioned political debate within the comments section of a post. Trump and Hillary themselves are tweeting their way to the White House, using it to stay relevant and connect with their audience. There’s no denying, our social media world is becoming more and more political whether we like it or not.