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The future of social media : Beatrice Whelan

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Global Content Manager for Sage, Beatrice Whelan, gives us a useful insight as to what the future trends of social media will be. We are now in what she calls the “post-social” age and gives us some useful tips as to what businesses should do about this on a short-term and long-term basis.

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The future of social media : Beatrice Whelan

  1. 1. © 2018 The Sage Group plc or its licensors. All rights reserved. Presence in 23 countries. 1.6m fans & followers across all social channels 1.7m engagements on social media in year ending Sept 2018 Over 7000 Sage colleagues active on social media for Sage In the World’s Top 50 Content Marketing brands (Newscred) HELLO
  2. 2. WHY FUTURE GAZE? • Future proof our business • Get ahead of the competition • Avoid investing in areas that won’t pay off
  3. 3. HOW FUTURE GAZING WORKS Look at past and current trends and how they are evolving and apply that to an imagined future.
  4. 4. FACEBOOK ZERO • 2012 Facebook restricted the organic reach of content published from brand pages. • December 2013 another round of changes reduced organic reach even more • By Feb 2014 organic reach hovered at 6% JANUARY 11TH
  5. 5. 6 MARK ZUCKERBERG AT CONGRESS APRIL 2018
  6. 6. PEAK SOCIAL We have topped out on social media growth. Facebook Daily Active Users Twitter Daily Active Users
  7. 7. • Facebook, Twitter and Snapchat all reported slowing or declining users on the platforms, in developed markets. • Facebook and Twitter cited the European Union's new privacy law, GDPR, as contributing to declines. • Facebook has been struggling to reverse a 21% decline in “original sharing,” or personal updates, from its 1.6 billion monthly active users. • Facebook-owned Instagram and WhatsApp are still growing.- Instagram has 1 billion monthly active users (as of June 2018). (Source: CNBC August 2018) PEAK SOCIAL
  8. 8. 11 IN 2019 INVEST YOUR TIME IN INSTAGRAM
  9. 9. The social channels matured, evolved, went public, developed sophisticated paid advertising products and tried to distinguished themselves from each other and respond to incumbents. This brings us to where we are now and to the future… WHAT CHANGED?
  10. 10. THE END OF THE SOCIAL TRIUMVIRATE AS WE KNOW THEM • Disrupters become disrupted • New incumbents - Instagram – some will be purchased and absorbed into existing social channels – that will change the social media ecosystem • Twitter struggling with their identity – they reclassified themselves as a media app, no longer a social network
  11. 11. GIRLBOSS COLLECTIVE – DISRUPTING LINKEDIN – LAUNCHING JAN 2019 • Sophia Amoruso – founder Nasty Gal, Girlboss • Just founded the Girlboss Collective (October 2018) – a community of support targeted at women • Says LinkedIn was built for another era of work • Girlboss will be a paid, professional social- networking site Investment from Alexis Ohanian – Co-founder of Reddit “The word community used to make me queasy. Now, it inspires me. Join us (and 15,000 others) for early access at collective.girlboss.com.” Sophia Amoruso
  12. 12. RISE OF NICHE SOCIAL NETWORKS AND PRIVATE (DARK) SOCIAL Where people connect based on shared interests – this is the definition of community. It’s what social media promised but never delivered on.
  13. 13. • More meaningful relationships, built on in-depth conversation • More mature, thoughtful interactions • Move away from ‘toxic’ nature of social media • People will share in a private way, in smaller and niche private groups • For brands in a global context looking at local niche networks will increase in importance • Most social activity is no longer going to happen in public, instead transitioning to private groups and messaging apps. This represents a significant change in what “social media” is. RISE OF NICHE SOCIAL NETWORKS AND PRIVATE (DARK) SOCIAL
  14. 14. MESSAGING APPS ARE BIGGER THAN SOCIAL MEDIA (SINCE 2015)
  15. 15. DARK SOCIAL IS LARGER THAN SOCIAL GetSocial: Although Facebook is still king on specific and sporadic events (check the graph for spikes), Daily Referrals from Dark Social surpassed Facebook’s during July 2018.
  16. 16. DECLINE IN TRUST OF SOCIAL CHANNELS RESULTING IN MORE REGULATION • People trusted social networks until they gave us a reason not to – 2018 • GDPR put a spotlight on data collection and privacy • The Cambridge Analytica story really impacted the trust people have in social networks
  17. 17. GLOBALLY ONLY 41% OF PEOPLE TRUST SOCIAL MEDIA, ONLY 24% IN THE UK 2018 EDELMAN TRUST BAROMETER WANTS BRANDS TO PRESSURE SOCIAL PLATFORMS TO SAFEGUAARD PERSONAL DATA 71%
  18. 18. “Brands must act to address data privacy concerns, create trusted content, and join forces with regulators, platforms and consumers to restore trust in the social media ecosystem.” 2018 EDELMAN TRUST BAROMETER GLOBAL REPORT
  19. 19. TRUST ISSUES WITH SOCIAL INFLUENCERS
  20. 20. PEOPLE TRUST THEIR COMMUNITY • Ask anyone who has a negative review on Amazon who their most important influencer is • The phrase “Can anyone recommend” is tweeted 338 times a day.
  21. 21. • Facebook is a paid media channel • The other social channels are following closely behind • The impact in the medium term (3-5 years) will be a decline in people posting on and using social channels • New business models used by incumbents will challenge this paid media model – Girlboss collective
  22. 22. • In the short term (1-3 years) invest in paid social (to reach an audience not build an audience) • Invest in talent that understands paid media so you’re using sophisticated paid social techniques to maximise your ROI • Investing in the tools to measure the impact of paid social including multi-funnel attribution.
  23. 23. FACEBOOK 10 YEAR PLAN
  24. 24. • Continue to use Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn but be ready to jump on new opportunities (on and off those channels). • There have been over 30 major algorithm changes on Facebook since 2016 – are you keeping up to date with these? Knowing the future is only useful if you know what to do with it. WHAT DOES ALL THIS MEAN? THE FUTURE OF SOCIAL MEDIA IS HERE.
  25. 25. • Future-proof your social channel plan. You need to think beyond Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn and look at other opportunities for your brand. These may not be big opportunities today but more like seeds that will grow over time. • Dedicate 30% of your time to testing tactics on new and emerging social channels and opportunities within existing channels like Facebook Messenger. • Don’t build your house on rented land – build your own audience THE FUTURE OF SOCIAL MEDIA IS HERE.

Editor's Notes

  • A Sage I work as part of a distributed team of over 40 social media managers, content managers, writers and producers.

    We have over 1.6 millions followers across all our social channels and in my role, as I contribute to the development of Sage’s social and content strategy, one of the things I’m focussed on is how we future proof our social and content strategy.
  • Future proof our business
    Get ahead of the competition - Thrive while our competition scrambles to catch up
    Avoid investing in areas that won’t pay off

    Pragmatic asked me to future gaze into 2019 but I’ve gone beyond the brief and gazed a bit further ahead.


  • The truth is we can’t see into the future but what a futurist does is look at past and current trends and how they are evolving and applies that to an imagined future, and wow what a year it has been for social media!
  • On Jan 11th we had the announcement called Facebook zero, Facebook apocalypse – the day they said they would stop focus on content and start focussing on meaningful conversations.
    The truth is that Facebook had been developing to this conclusion for quite some time.

    It started in 2012 when Facebook restricted the organic reach of content published from brand pages.
    In December 2013 another round of changes reduced organic reach even more
    By Feb 2014 organic reach hovered at 6% and from then onwards Facebook sources were unofficially advising community managers to expect it to approach zero in the foreseeable future.
  • By April the update had not been rolled out yet and then we had Facebook gate and the privacy storm.
    But let’s take a step back before any of this happened and look at where we have been, what the current trends are and what future is evolving right in front of us (on our phones) [hold up phone] right now.
    First, where we have been?  

  • The golden age of social media.
    For the past 10-15 years, Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn have dominated and even defined social media. They have been the golden triumvirate in this golden age of social media.
    During this time social media managers have spent their time figuring out how to grow and engage audiences on these three channels and for a while this worked very well.
    Brands grew to have thousands, even millions of engaged followers on these channels and end-users also perceived value from using the channels.
    As the channels grew their audience, brands on the channels were able to grow their followers as new people joining the channel looked for pages to like and brands to follow.
    Hiten Shah, Co-Founder, Quick Sprout talks about how they set up a Twitter account in 2009 and over time grew their Twitter following to 200,000+ people, all 100% organic, without spending a dime on acquisition.

  • In fact there’s quite a lot of evidence to suggest that we have hit peak social.
  • Snap reported a drop in daily active users on a quarter-over-quarter basis for the second quarter. Facebook reported a drop in monthly users on a quarter-over-quarter basis for European users, while North American users were flat. Twitter posted a small decline in monthly users on a quarter-over-quarter basis.


    (LinkedIn says it has 575 million members globally, but it doesn’t disclose statistics on active users.)
  • Snap is at risk of going flat as well. The numbers are likely hurting as users flee to Instagram's similar Stories feature. Another win for Facebook.
    Bu tin the longer term Instagram’s numbers will eventually go flat too but we’re likely about 3 years away from that becoming an issue.
    In the short-medium term: 1-3 years Instagram is a big opportunity
  • What changed?
    As this era matured, the three channels evolved, went public, developed sophisticated paid advertising products and distinguished themselves further from each other. Social media is no longer a catch-all term and social media strategies have been replaced with individual strategies for each channel.
    Social media is no longer a catch-all term and social media strategies have been replaced with individual strategies for each channel.
    This brings us to where we are now and to the future…

  • Messaging apps have now surpassed social networks in terms of monthly actives user numbers as illustrated in this graph from a Business Insider report:

    4 messaging apps: WhatsApp, Messenger, WeChat, Viber
    4 social apps: Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, Twitter
  •  Use a Dark Social Calculator
    GetSocial: After many requests, we’ve developed a simple Dark Social Calculator that pulls data directly from your GA account to assess how much Dark Social Traffic you may have.
    Step 1: Visit https://getsocial.io/dark-social-calculator and log in using your Google Analytics Account
    Step 2: Analyze your total estimated Dark Social traffic and top pages affected by it
  • GDPR put a spotlight on data collection and privacy - it heightened people’s awareness of privacy issues and made us sensitive to privacy issues
    So then when the Cambridge Analytica story broke it really impacted the trust people have in social networks
  • Around the world, people’s trust in social media is much lower than their trust in traditional media and search engines. People in developing countries are much more trusting of social media than people in Western countries.
    SOURCE: 2018 EDELMAN TRUST BAROMETER GLOBAL REPORT

    The 2018 Edelman Trust Barometer Special Report: Brands and Social Media, a nine-country study, reveals that a vast majority of consumers around the world want brands to pressure social media platforms to more effectively:
    71 percent - safeguard personal data;

  • SOURCE: 2018 EDELMAN TRUST BAROMETER GLOBAL REPORT
  • The instagram post showed Scarlett sitting on a bed surrounded by heart shaped balloons and draped in a blanket. An abundance of strawberries and ‘pancakes’ (in actual fact they were tortilla wraps) were placed beside her - the Listerine in question was on the bedside table. The whole post was seen as a perfect example of how artificial the world of influencer marketing has become.
    The picture borders on parody with the abundance of balloons and the extravagant breakfast - all things which contrast the “normal” person’s day. It’s entirely understandable why someone would call Instagram a lie factory after seeing this post.

    It’s my feel that in 10 years from now we will look back with disbelief about this in the same way that we look at 1950s American ads. This type of stuff has had its day.
  • Consumers trust other consumers and their connections on social media (but not the social network)
    Importance of online reviews, social recommendations is even more important in an age when brand and social network trust is challenged

  • Facebook is now a paid media channel, a position which seems to be aspired by the other two more than anything else.
    With organic reach ever declining, brands are becoming more dependent on using paid media on Facebook. While there are individual tactics to overcome this, ultimately the trend is towards a predominantly paid channel for brands.
    Paid posts and advertising on the network will become more expensive as competition increases and more brands use paid media there. Developments on the other channels, especially Twitter suggest that they want to move in a similar direction, motivated largely by revenue issues.
    The impact of this on the end user is that ad fatigue and just general feed fatigue and a concern over privacy, personal brand etc., has led to a movement away from public to private posting and communications.
  • Knowing the future is only useful if you know what to do with it. What does all this mean?

    Continue to invest in Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn but be ready to jump on new opportunities on those channels and change your tactics to suit the development of those channels. What worked five or even one year ago won’t work today so you need to be at the forefront of opportunities on those channels to have any real impact. There have been 29 major algorithm changes on Facebook since 2016 – are you keeping up to date with these?

    Future-proof your social channel plan. You need to think beyond Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn and look at other opportunities for your brand. These may not be big opportunities today but more like seeds that will grow over time. We’ve grown familiar to social ROI so investing in channels like Snapchat where the ROI is questionable may been counter-intuitive but by doing so you are investing in the future of your brand on social media.
     
    Dedicate 20% of your time to testing tactics on new and emerging social channels and opportunities within existing channels like Facebook Messenger. Thinking beyond these channels also means don’t build your house on rented land – build your own audienc e- email incredibly important – use social to build that email list

  • Knowing the future is only useful if you know what to do with it. What does all this mean?

    Continue to invest in Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn but be ready to jump on new opportunities on those channels and change your tactics to suit the development of those channels. What worked five or even one year ago won’t work today so you need to be at the forefront of opportunities on those channels to have any real impact. There have been 29 major algorithm changes on Facebook since 2016 – are you keeping up to date with these?

    Future-proof your social channel plan. You need to think beyond Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn and look at other opportunities for your brand. These may not be big opportunities today but more like seeds that will grow over time. We’ve grown familiar to social ROI so investing in channels like Snapchat where the ROI is questionable may been counter-intuitive but by doing so you are investing in the future of your brand on social media.
     
    Dedicate 20% of your time to testing tactics on new and emerging social channels and opportunities within existing channels like Facebook Messenger. Thinking beyond these channels also means don’t build your house on rented land – build your own audienc e- email incredibly important – use social to build that email list

  • Knowing the future is only useful if you know what to do with it. What does all this mean?

    Continue to invest in Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn but be ready to jump on new opportunities on those channels and change your tactics to suit the development of those channels. What worked five or even one year ago won’t work today so you need to be at the forefront of opportunities on those channels to have any real impact. There have been 29 major algorithm changes on Facebook since 2016 – are you keeping up to date with these?

    Future-proof your social channel plan. You need to think beyond Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn and look at other opportunities for your brand. These may not be big opportunities today but more like seeds that will grow over time. We’ve grown familiar to social ROI so investing in channels like Snapchat where the ROI is questionable may been counter-intuitive but by doing so you are investing in the future of your brand on social media.
     
    Dedicate 20% of your time to testing tactics on new and emerging social channels and opportunities within existing channels like Facebook Messenger. Thinking beyond these channels also means don’t build your house on rented land – build your own audienc e- email incredibly important – use social to build that email list

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