By Keenan Harduth, CEO and Co-founder of Mirror Mirror
What is the future going to look like?
The future of your business, your audiences, and the channels we use to communicate are as unpredictable as they are varied. However, there are a few concepts and trends that should be considered and we know are on the way. Chat to us about learning or implementing any of the following future-facing:
1. Social Commerce
It\’s not just about selling stuff on social media. Twitter, Meta, YouTube, TikTok and almost all other major platforms are testing and rolling out shopping features, including products on your profile, Live selling options, collaborative selling, D2C options, on platform payments, creating a deeper consideration for conversational selling, the use of AI and chatbots for scale and opportunity vetting, and what the full purchase funnel looks like when it starts and ends on social media – including pre and post sale service.
Going beyond the social shopfront will take renewed strategy, better integration of digital channels and strategies, and more customer-focused decisions. In a future where social content will be increasingly searchable, how audiences research, discover and engage will also change. The fact that the focus and roll-out of shopping functionality is happening in the US and UK before South Africa means we have time to get our heads and teams around this new frontier of social media.
Research and development has always been at the core of real innovation. The change it can create feeds the engines of evolution and progress. I believe there will be a demand for higher standards in online research, particularly around audiences, trends, and conversation analysis. Increasingly, content creators and true creatives are becoming data and insights driven, with a growing need for creative and competitor insights, references, and data to improve content excellence.
3. Focus on Reporting
What should become more of a reality is a singular view of customers, increasing consideration around AI and data software, more reporting more often, and a better distribution of insights to the people who really need it. Teams should be investing in software and resources to ensure they spend enough quality time with their data, and push to present and provide their data directly to whomever needs it.
4. Everything good and evil about social media will amplify
Social media in South Africa is mostly used for quite important communication like connecting with friends and family, reading the news, learning, conducting business, and researching. However its use for phishing, trolling, information theft, bullying, and hacking will also increase. This drives the need for wider consumer education about cybersecurity, dangers of social media, their role and responsibility, and consumer rights and recourse. This is further amplified by the fact that the ease at which you can create and share, publish and republish will become easier and more integrated across devices, including wearables.
5. Niche or Nah?
We will see an increase in social media sites that cater to specific interest groups like sports, music, finance, automotive, film, and other large scale opportunities. We will also see increased integration of social content into existing platforms, services, shopping, streaming, and apps. With the adage of you cannot be everything to everyone at the core of this trend, we’ll begin seeing more brands who choose to skip certain platforms altogether, opting to find their audiences elsewhere. Consumers will also change behaviour, opting to do more crowd-funding, group buying, and peer-to-peer lending with people they have common interests with, even if they’re strangers.
What we have learnt, is that with the rate of development of technology and hardware (Moore’s Law and all that), increasing internet penetration and speed, rising confidence in using social and digital channels, and the growing rate of Web 3.0 elements in our daily lives and feeds means that digital, social, and cultural conversations are more important than ever in understanding and deciding your future, and that of your business.
The (hopefully) positive impact of increased digital transformation at an enterprise level, and increased digital skills at an execution level will also further drive the importance and need to ask better questions of our audiences, of our data, and most importantly of ourselves.
So… do you have questions? We can help.
(Missed Part 1? Read it here)