Social Media Marketing – In The Age Of Emerging Tech.
So you’re a marketing manager and need to squeeze the most out of your marketing campaigns. You’re a social media guru, know Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook inside out but you feel that something’s missing. What if you could add to your pool of data biometrics and consumer information collected in real time via the internet of things, wearable tech devices and smart sensors. Let’s begin by understanding what the Internet of Things (IoT) is. Where it comes from, and what makes it so valuable from a marketing perspective.
Understand that there would be no social media or IoT without a quintessential part. This functional ‘element’ has changed the world in the last decade more than the world has changed itself in the last millennium. That invisible element is the power of connectivity, the Internet as we all know it nowadays.
We savour times of ubiquitous networking with the Internet as the driving force behind everything we do. From manufacturing to advertising, the Internet has become the inseparable fabric that constructs, maintains and holds the physical and the digital worlds together.
Social Media Marketing – New Business Models
If you still can’t get your head around the whole IoT idea, just put your hand in your pocket. Yes, you can call that device an IoT device as well. In fact, it is the first IoT device with global adoption. Smartphones have accelerated the development of digital networks and connection points and are at the core of the most business of the modern era.
The world changes fast and new business models replace the older, slower ones, all the time. For example, the use of integrated platforms was unimaginable without the notion of Internet and smartphones. Nowadays, integrated platforms have taken over the traditional, linear business models.
Uber, an integrated platform business has become the largest taxi company in the world. And that without owning a single taxi. Facebook is the world’s biggest media owner. And that without creating any content. Amazon and Alibaba are both integrated platform businesses and the most profitable retailers in the world. Again, without a single item in their stock. Or, Airbnb. It has become the largest accommodation provider in the world, without a single real estate.
Social Media Marketing – In Your Pocket
Not only that the smartphones have changed the world, but their usage is on the rise. From 2.5 exabytes of generated data per month in 2014 to 5 exabytes mid-2015. Moreover, almost 80 percent of the total “smartphone-time” is spent on social media platforms and related activities.
Jan Rezab, the CEO of Socialbakers, says: “There is growing influence from the connected devices to the way we interact with the world. Consumers are spending their ‘smartphone-time’ interacting with social networks like Snapchat and WhatsApp, connecting and sharing data with people and objects around. For that, all new businesses must be conscious of the new trends and wave of connected devices.”
Social Media Marketing – Data Is King
The smartphones are the largest source of internet traffic and user-generated data in the world. The power of the smartphone lies in its capacity of allowing anyone, anywhere to interact with any websites, social media platforms, wearable devices, users, machines, blockchains. In the process, a tremendous amount of data is generated, in this case, used to augment marketing strategies, predict trends, understand where, when, and why consumers buy or reject certain products.
Social Media Marketing – Granular Consumer Data
Fast forward in time to the year of 2020. Embedded sensors are all around us; in our smart cars, washing machines, coffee makers, garage doors, fridges, light switches, coffee makers, in our clothes, accessories and even in our bodies.
Everything is connected on the blockchain, communicating and exchanging data in real time. without the need of you, the human, to interact at all.
Just how Uber and Airbnb exist only thanks to their consumers’ data, the future business models will exist only connected to the blockchain and fuelled by consumers’ big data. So what’s all got to do with social media marketing you say? Well, it all falls nicely into the required strategies for social media marketing strategies of tomorrow.
Social Media Marketing – Already Happening
Tech giants are already working on deploying wearables and IoT devices into their users’ lives. At the Facebook’s F8 developers conference in March this year, the social media giant has launched its first IoT initiative in collaboration with Parse.
“In a couple of years from now, all devices connected to us and amongst them, will become one seamless flow of information,” said Roost CEO, Roel Peeters.
On the other ‘corner’ of the planet, Tencent the maker of WeChat, and China’s biggest social media platform is also showing growing interest in aggregated complex consumer data as captured by the smart sensors, wearables and IoT networks, and its integration with social media.
Social Media Marketing – 35 Billion Devices By 2020
But for that, we need more collection points. For that, Gartner has good news. The company predicts that the total number of active IoT devices at the end of 2016 is going to reach 6.5 billion, with a 30 percent rise compared to this year. Gartner also expects 26 billion active IoT devices by the end of 2020, or 37 billion conform to Cisco if we add the Industrial IoT (IIoT) devices as well.
Imagine running late to a meeting. With the help of IoT, your smartcar could anticipate and solve the problem before it even occurs. It syncs with your diary, checks with the smart sensors across the city that monitors the roads, other cars, pollution, traffic accidents, weather conditions, and it keeps you in the loop.
As the time goes by your car knows, based on the live synced data, if you are going to be on time or not. If needed, your car will contact the people you are going to meet up with and let them know you are running late. To oversimplify, there is an ‘ocean’ of user-generated data on social media and more biometric data coming from wearables, IoT devices, and smart sensors and the plan is unifying them if you like. What is the benefit?
Social Media Marketing – Business Gains
There are multiple benefits. To start with, the data allows for better consumer understanding thus better products and services. Then there are user personalised interactions that can take place before, during, and after the consumption of the goods or the event. The more data in the mix, the more benefit for the brands.
“Brands benefit from valuable insights that come from the collected data. By associating consumers’ emotions with their language, messaging and consumption allows for a better picture of the true values that resonate with their target audiences.” Holly Pavlika, SVP Brand Strategy at Collective Bias.
Social Media Marketing – Consumer Benefits
However, not only businesses can take advantage of the IoT and social media concoction, but consumers as well. Imagine a modern shopping centre where the store’s IoT infrastructure interacts with your wearable gadget and embedded sensors. Your smartphone communicates with the in-store beacons, syncs your well-being data from your smart sensors and wearables with your social media accounts, and with the knowledge of your browsing habits and previous shopping sessions constructs a profile that is sent back to store’s smart mirrors system or to a human sales assistant.
The results are spectacular. You will know in a second (before you even ask or think about it) if what you might want to purchase is available. As added info, you’ll know if there are any discounts available where is the most relevant item to you located in the store and all of this even before entering the store.
If you do enter the store and approach the human sales assistant, just expect to be welcomed you by your first name, with a chair, a glass of water (or your favourite drink) and your required garments, ready to try them on, all based on your data.
Social Media Marketing – Better Advertising
Through instant and accurate analysis of consumer data, the brands can improve the overall shopping experience and generate actionable data. In this way, the company targets only the right customers, with the best prices and the right adverts reducing the costs and time of both parties involved. Consumers’ biometrics, previous shopping patterns and social media data could translate into smarter, emotionally relevant ads, thus allowing the brands to reduce the advertising expenses and improve customers’ response.
By mixing consumers’ social media information with the data collected by the smart sensors, wearables and IoT networks surrounding them and having the data ‘filtered’ through complex AI empowered with emotional algorithms would generate the “fuel” required by the on-chain integrated platforms of tomorrow.
Modern technology allows us to track and analyse online conversations, surfing habits and consumption behaviour. Future development in machine learning, artificial intelligence will result in unprecedented levels of knowledge about consumer behaviour. However, while the data collected from biometrics, facial expressions and brain activity continue to increase in richness and complexity, the information we gather from such data remains of limited value unless we understand human emotions.
For example, millennials are one of the most surveyed generations and despite the wealth of data available on their decision-making patterns and socio-economic status, it remains very difficult to predict their behaviour. Millennials’ expressed intentions to behave in certain ways rarely correlate with their actions. Brands must understand that ‘rational’ in humans decisions process plays a minor role as humans are influenced by emotions that cause them to react, sometimes in unpredictable ways. It is only through a better understanding of the human mind that we can map emotions to big data to turn it into relevant and actionable information that lets us drive positive changes and transform the world for the better.