66% of the UK population is now actively using social media. From 38 million users in 2016, the market has grown to 44 million in 2018 and is going to continue to expand further. So, we are entering an age when social media marketing has to be a central component in any marketing strategy. However, this mercurial and fast moving form of communication doesn’t stay the same for very long – so what is the future of social media marketing going to look like?

Tipping the scales in product search

Currently, around 28% of consumers use social networks for product searches. Social proof, whether that’s comments, likes or reviews, already has an important part to play in purchasing decisions. Given the increase in use of social platforms it’s likely that this trend will continue to grow and social media could even surge ahead of online search as the way that consumers seek out product information in the not too distant future.

The gamification of selling

66% of men and 70% of women now play mobile games so there is huge potential to use gamification techniques to better engage consumers via social media, for example via ads.

Video dominance

80% of online traffic will be coming from video by 2021. This is a trend that just continues to build and one that is likely to define the future of social media marketing. Videos are engaging and effective – around 90% of the total information transmitted to the brain is visual and we can process this 60,000 times faster than text. In the future we will see the use of video expand from informative to interactive with a rise in live streaming, as well as the use of video for networking and one-to-one social interactions between consumers and brands.

Integrating Augmented Reality (AR) and Virtual Reality (VR)

From giving consumers a way to digitally “try on” clothes, to making advertising more effective, AR and VR have a lot of potential in social media marketing. Early indications of this can be found, for example, in Snapchat’s geofilters or Facebook’s Oculus Rift Glasses.

The Buy button

Social media has already begun to expand into selling and the future of social media marketing will involve exploring the opportunities this creates. The addition of a Buy button to products or ads can improve optimisation by putting an instant purchase at the customer’s fingertips. Social media marketing of the future won’t be limited purely to pushing customers to websites to buy but will involve recrafting the call to action to engage with this more immediate option to purchase.

Artificial Intelligence (AI)

AI is set to revolutionise social media marketing, automating the more mundane tasks and improving customer service. From AI chat bots for customer support to using machine learning to make messaging more relevant, the future of social media marketing has a clear AI-shaped component.

Personalisation and content quality

Consumers are already saturated by the volume of data and information that exists online. So, there is a real thirst for high quality, relevant content. As social media marketing develops, being able to customise what users see and personalise the content delivered will become increasingly important.

If you’d like to discuss your social media marketing needs, now and in the future, get in touch with our team today on 020 7100 0726.