Experts are predicting marketing will have to change in the near future as audiences and technologies evolve. More than 10 South African experts shared this insight and their thoughts on social media marketing at the Brand Winning Social Media Content Briefings, held in March in Johannesburg and Cape Town.
The media research firm Ornico used the opportunity to discuss the findings of the Africa Brand Index. The index is an Ornico initiative that lists the most successful brands on social media in Africa. As first speaker of the day, Ornico Group CEO Oresti Patricios told the audience that the top three brands on social media in Africa are: firstly, SuperSport; secondly, Expresso; and thirdly, Pick n Pay.
He explained that SuperSport has achieved its top position by using exclusivity. “Because of the fact that they work on exclusivity, and rugby and cricket exclusivity, they managed to grow their following,” Patricios said. He added that SuperSport also uses influencers in their studios. These personalities Tweet to their followers, which helps to grow the SuperSport brand further.
After his address, conference speakers delved into what content works on social media and what the future may look like for marketers.
Three ways the future will reshape social media content creation:
1. 5G will enable immersive brand experiences
5G, or the fifth generation mobile network, is expected to be the next step for network operators offering 4G. Luisa Mazinter, group chief innovation officer at Mortimer Harvey Group, explained that this technology will, in a few decades, allow brands to create fully immersive experiences for consumers.
She shared the insights she gained after attending the 2017 Mobile World Congress in February and March.
“5G is going to enable content consumption but also all the cool tech that we’re talking about: augmented reality and virtual reality. Brands really need to start thinking now about what that future’s going to look like.”
She noted that networks will have to rethink and rebuild infrastructure for 5G. The technology is expected to become a reality in 2019 in Europe and North America. While South Africa might only get on board later than that, Mazinter explains “the beauty of being in a developing world, is that we can leapfrog infrastructure investments that have been made in some of the more developed countries.”
“We need to start thinking about a world where bandwidth is no longer a concern for us, and we can deliver incredibly rich, detailed immersive experiences for our consumers. What does that mean for your consumer?”
2. Audiences will start regulating influencer marketing
Kirsty Sharman, a millennial marketer at the influencer marketing platform Webfluential, explained that the use of the same influencers is a problem in the South African marketing space. She was responding to a question from the audience on matching a brand’s offering with the interests of influencers.
“Everyone uses the same influencers. We can all just put up our hands and admit that,” she said. She noted local marketers need more education on influencer marketing, and choose influencers based on data available, instead of choosing an influencer because they have heard of them.
“The other thing is self-regulation, and I don’t think [the overuse of the same influencers is] at the worst point yet. The audience will start to regulate, telling influencers ‘Listen, you spoke about this brand and now you’re speaking about this brand’. The audience will revolt against two or three influencers who will do something really bad. That will regulate the system.”
3. Messenger will take on new roles in business
Gil Sperling, Popimedia’s chief technology officer, opened his presentation with a strong statement: “Mobile has become part of our biology”.
He explained the problem with mobile for brands it that there are still a lot of barriers between the brand and the consumer. “The way that consumers engage with brands on mobile is perhaps on email, which is slow and spammy. We don’t really use the business apps; it’s not something that’s open the whole day. But these are the touchpoints available to brands today.”
According to Sperling, Facebook’s Messenger platform is a brand new touchpoint for brands on mobile. He explained that the use of chatbots on Messenger enables brands to serve a multitude of customers immediately. “Messenger chatbots are personal, instant, and scalable. Messenger also has an innate payments function that [brands] can integrate into their process.”
“Messenger has taken the ability for a brand to communicate with its consumer as if it’s a real person – and to do that with a billion people at the same time as smartly as possible.”