Has Social Media Changed Us for Better, or Worse?

We did have a society sometime back, but today we have social media! An agent of transformation, it has had a major impact on our culture, business and on the world-at-large. There has been an increase in transparency, with a growing number of people expressing themselves on the social web.

There have been hardly any facets of our daily lives, uninfluenced by this amazing tool. Ever wondered how social media has changed us? Social networking platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram, YouTube et.al have gone on to revolutionize the way we interact with one another.

Social Web 2015 – What does it look like?

There are so many exciting developments on the social web, which has led to a massive insurgence. Social messaging platforms such as Snapchat and Whatsapp have gone on to influence social sphere in such a way that they’re now being seen as quasi social networks in their own way.

Smartphone penetration has soared like never before, with about 1.65 billion global active mobile social accounts. Mobile has come across as an obsessive technology fueling growth on the social sphere, and becoming an agent of disruption.

How Social Media has changed us – The Positive Side

Our world has transformed into a Global Village, connected at all times by the social web. So much is the impact of social in our lives that staying away from it can take you to extinction, and who wants to go obsolete in today’s world of intensive connectivity?

Here’s a brief lowdown on the positive impact of social media:

· Free Flowing Communication

Remember those times when you hesitated to share your opinion? Today, the social sphere encompasses untrammeled communication devoid of interaction barriers. It enables like-minded individuals come together and opine on a common platform. It helps in uniting people working for common goals and also gives them a viable direction for investing their efforts.

· Empowerment of Masses

Don’t you wonder how social media has changed us, and empowered us furthermore? There is a mass empowerment, resulted by sharing of ideas on social sphere. Masses have become more empowered and are more informed. It enables individuals to get first-hand information and the world is becoming a smaller place to live in.

· Businesses & Marketing

Today boundaries between businesses and their target audiences are rapidly reducing. It has become easier to connect with customers and procure feedback. This has helped businesses focus on greater customer centricity and augment the quality of their services.

The playing fields have become level today, and the power of strong business ideas makes it possible for businesses to thrive, with the influence of social increasing exponentially.

How Social Media has changed us – The Downside

With a fair amount of advantages, it is easy to believe that the social sphere is a rosy path, leading to positive changes. The path is however, not that rosy! The thorns that stick up with the benefits of going social also have the power to suppress the sweet scent of its various advantages. Discussed below are some ways the social sphere hasn’t been too good for us:

· Lack of Authenticity

There is so much data on the social sphere, that it could be very challenging to sift through authentic information. Authenticity is left best to the discretion of general public, which makes them highly opinionated too. This lack of authentic information makes most people misinformed and even sparks unnecessary tirades.

· Mudslinging and Angry Social Mobs

Love consuming news on a regular basis from your favourite social networking website? It can be great to get news on your fingertips, but not too good if it becomes a judgment ground for anything. While this does have a favorable outcome in most cases, there is also a downside to it. Sometimes the news goes on to spark mass social wars that result in ugly political tirades followed by defamation and mudslinging on public platforms.

· Lack of Security

Whenever faced with the question of how social media has changed us, one word that comes to my mind is insecurity… Due to the humongous amount of informative exchanges on the social sphere, it has become a leading champion of distrust. It has become one of those channels of communication, which is increasingly being deemed as insecure and untrustworthy. It enables dissemination of information to untrustworthy audiences, leading to greater crime rates.

That was an honest bit about the downside and upside of going social from our end… If I were to conclude about how social media has changed us, I’d say that it has its own ups and downs, but it is up to us to make the best out of it. It is imperative to exercise caution while using it, but the benefits of social media are too good to be ignored.

Did you know about the amazing ways in which going social could help you inch closer to success? If not, get in touch with the digital marketing experts to make an everlasting impact on the social sphere!

Marketing and Branding Social Media Trends in 2016-2017

Technology is influencing our way of acting, it influences our knowhow and marketers must adapt to it. In the industrial era thought was linear and organizations and knowledge structure was very linear. Nowadays quantum physics is showing a more organic and unpredictable way of seeing things. Having this in mind, will enable us to adapt more careful.

This connection with the latest technological development is influencing publishers to adapt or die. One those trends is the increased use of “fringe” social hubs. Brands with a broader presence will certainly be sort of less skeptical when publishing content via social hubs that were considered in the past “fringe.” As time goes by we are also noticing many interesting ways of interactive content, one of those is through 360 views photo just like a virtual 360 view. The other trend is the use of animated GIFs dominating newsfeeds and timelines. These two will continue its growth for the next years.

Based on technology once again, algorithms are now to generate content. We are now listening the introduction of artificial intelligence in content generation which will be a game-changer

Balancing SEO, SMM, UX and analytics. We are noticing that a proper mix of SEO, SMM, UX and analytics can help you reap rich rewards when you value their importance equally and treat them as one rather than individual components

Paid Social. We noticed that back in 2015 there was a big growth on promoted posts. For example, Twitter was 75%, Facebook, 80% and LinkedIn 65%. Organic reach of course continues to dwindle as social networks aggressively push for advertising on their platforms. It’s time to catch up on the paid social approach as this is just getting bigger

New publishing options in social media. Instant articles by Facebook can now help publishers give their content more visibility in comparison to content on their native publishing platforms.

Real-time aggregated content is on the ride. One example is Twitter’s Curator. News channels will face huge competition from brands serving real-time updates of events as they happen-

Fringe social hubs. Brands with a broader presence will certainly be sort of less skeptical when publishing content via social hubs that were considered in the past “fringe.” Those “fringe” hubs are becoming mainstream. Content strategies are centered on Snapchat and Instagram and will only increase in 2016.

Influencer marketing. Brands can generate higher sales by harnessing the reach of influencers. According to a study by McKinsey, such campaigns had a 35% more retention rate than paid ads and fetched an ROI of $9.6/$1 this year from $6.85 in 2014. Influencer’s reach is cost-effective. Influener marketing will be a part of every content marketing strategy in 2016.

Visual content such as infographics will continue enabling marketers to deliver personalized content. Global internet speed grew by 17% in a single year. Slow internet connection is not a problem anymore, therefore delivering cool graphic-oriented content should be paramount to implement for the next years.

Mobile marketing will rise even higher. There will be more mobile access to new audiences as time goes by. It has remained constant as years pass by but it will just get higher and higher in the next years.

Virtual Reality and Augmented Reality. Facebook’s main strategy for the next years is augmented reality. Creating virtual reality based content will allow marketers to explore a new frontier of content assimilation. This will give a push for big brands. Facebook’s new 360 video option is opening a whole new realm of content creation possibilities.

Knowledge graph. With the introduction of Google’s Knowledge Graph feature. Brands have started focusing on ranking for long-tail keywords. This will be one of the main key drivers that will define SEO in 2016.

Finally, make this year the time to establish real bonds between customers and your brand. Do internal marketing at your organization, company or startup in order to reduce resistance. Marketers surveyed lamented the main reason they aren’t building stronger bonds with customers is due to internal resistance. To deliver a compelling brand to customers means marketers need to effectively engage and cut across an organization. This is neither easy nor welcome, but it appears many agree. Improving the product offering is the #1 way marketers feel customer intimacy can be improved.

Make your brand essential by striving toward personalization, relevance, and anticipation. Marketers stated customer service is where they can most effectively build intimacy. They also indicated that the majority of their customers associate their brands with the Brand Intimacy archetype of fulfillment: exceeding expectations, delivering superior service, quality, and efficacy. Focus on keeping customers fulfilled and engaged with your brand by continuously delighting them.

Good storytelling and generating emotional response among your target audience will be more important than ever this year – how this content is delivered, though, is key. App development and content for an instant society. The 5 most popular messaging apps feature 3.5 billion monthly active users, according to Statista, and marketers are beginning to take notice. Facebook has already integrated branded campaigns into Facebook Messenger and plans to do more of this come Spring 2016. WhatsApp is opening up their platform for business accounts. Snapchat has introduced Snapchat Discover and the option for any advertiser or individual to create their own geo filter with Snapchat on Demand. Messaging is already huge in the digital world. Expect digital marketers to make it even bigger.

A trend towards a longer sales funnel where digital marketers provide an increasingly high level of value upfront, before moving towards asking for an email address or moving into a sales sequence. This will usually be in the form of content marketing – via blog posts, YouTube videos, and webinars, as well as through the rapidly growing live video space using platforms such as Periscope and Facebook Live. The most successful digital marketers will be those who are able to establish a high level of trust before asking potential clients and customers for the sale. This is additional work for marketers because they will have to strategically craft a large amount of free content, but the rewards will come in the form of an easier sale when they do ask for it, simply because they have already established authority and trust with the prospect.

Big data and real-time analytics. Historically, marketers viewed data as something static and tied to reporting. But data is now more dynamic, accessible, and broadly understood. This will open up new opportunities for messaging optimization – but, more importantly, this access to data will challenge marketers to become nimbler and responsive.

Is Facebook Home Worth Installing?

Facebook Home launched recently for Android devices. However, there are some devices like tablets and Smartphones that are not yet supported including Google Nexus 7. The fascination with this new arrangement of including MMS, SMS, applications and various other fully integrated Facebook features has caused a lot of interest in it. Now the question is, do you really need it? Let us find out all about Facebook Home when you decide to use it on your Samsung Galaxy S III.

Cover Feed

As soon as you install the app on your Smartphone you will be greeted with scrolling status messages, profile picture bubble and news feeds. To reveal your last used app press and scroll to the right, for messenger left and for revealing Apps tap the home key or move upwards. If you want to through your news feed then either flick right or left, you can also hide your profile picture by taping on it. Other features include liking and commenting. To blow up a picture on your screen just press and hold down.

Unified Messaging and Chat Heads

The Messenger app enables integrates MMS and SMS messages. This immediately alerts you as soon as you get an update or receive a message. Tap to reply the message that appears on the middle of your screen, this now opens up a Chat Head. Chat Heads depend upon the number of people who are chatting with you. If you find your screen cluttered with it then flick to bottom to remove it. However, there are some disappointing aspects about it as well. Although this does seems like unified messaging option but at times you will be confused as to which kind of message is being sent. It is easy getting confused between text and Facebook messages amongst the clutter of messages. Additionally, other platforms like Google voice, WhatsApp and Kik seem to be more popular amongst young users, why would one like to be confined within the walls of SMS and MMS. At times, you might feel annoyed with the bubble of Chat Head that keeps hanging until you flick it to remove it or answer back.

Security Concerns

Facebook Home sits on your screen and the moment you switch on your phone you start receiving the Cover Feeds. For those who are hooked on to it will enjoy instant updates of friends and their social network. As for those who have concerns of privacy and security might be annoyed by this and feel infringement of privacy as anyone who picks up your phone will be able to access them directly flashing on the screen. If in any case, you misplace or your device is stolen then anyone can easily misuse your Facebook account. To avoid all this you can make changes in the settings, Menu->Home Settings, uncheck the box next to the See Home When Screen Turns On. This revert back the lockscreen functionality. Again, what is the use of Facebook Home if you are removing the updates from your home screen.

Data Consumption

Updating the Cover Feed requires constant data packet exchange. This will result in quick battery drain and hiked bills. The higher amount of data exchange is used in pictures and updates, you can fix it by making changes in the settings.

Why you will not like Facebook Home?

The first thing to notice is the Android Jelly Bean that is all about keeping it clutter free and invisibility. With Facebook Home, it is just the opposite. Additionally, the folders and widgets are replaced by the app drawer divided into four screens with quick utility that includes photo, check in and status.

The biggest concern is about the privacy. Installing the app requires no permission from your device. Additionally, you will always be logged in your account and your location will be monitored including apps downloads and the apps you are currently using.

Is it a thing to be alarmed about?

It is true that Facebook Home will be monitoring your activities, your phone activities and your downloads. However, the same goes with Apple and Google but because these are well-established brands, so it seems safe. Still it is too early to assume that Facebook Home might be malicious.

Conclusion

If you are totally hooked to this social networking website then you will enjoy using it. For those who are not as active on Facebook this may seem the biggest annoyance ever. The Chat Heads for instance might cause clutter and the confusion with messaging is yet another factor. Interestingly HTC shipped their Smartphone with Facebook Home this indicates that there is hope for this app to catch on with technology enthusiasts.