Social Media Marketing

Hootsuite CMO Penny Wilson predicts social media marketing will become more 'consumer oriented'

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(Credit: TierneyMJ, Shutterstock / TierneyMJ)

Hootsuite (Windows, Android, iOS) CMO Penny Wilson is convinced that for social media marketing campaigns to succeed in the future, brands must shift from a “broader brand-led customer experience” to a “more customer-led customer experience.”

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“It’s the age of the individual,” Wilson told “We’ve seen over the last 20 years how companies like Amazon (Android, iOS) and Airbnb (Android, iOS) that have placed customer experience at the core of their strategy have really shone.”

To put the customer first, Wilson, who’s headed marketing for Hootsuite — the world’s most widely used platform for managing social media with over 16 million users — for the last three years, recommends a four-part strategy to implement over the next decade.

The first of these approaches involves where and how brands interact with customers. Wilson says that with the increased use of voice recognition technologies like Google Home (Android, iOS) and Amazon Alexa (Android, iOS) devices, and with more and more social media users moving from public to private channels like closed pages and messengers to communicate, brands must consider tactics for reaching prospective customers on these harder-to-penetrate platforms.

“More and more people are going into closed channels like Snapchat (Android, iOS), where they have more control over their experience,” Wilson said. “Brands have to figure out how to get inside those private channels in a way that’s authentic or genuine.”

That’s where new content types come in. More intimate and authentic stories shared among a smaller network of people are becoming increasingly popular, so marketing content could be more unscripted, even spontaneous, than what’s currently out there.

In the future of social media, advertising must evolve, too. Advertising needs to become even more value based, because customers, who are migrating to more private channels, are going to demand a discount or an interesting piece of content, for example, before consenting to letting advertisers in to their intimate worlds. They’ll also want to know exactly what personal data they’re handing over to advertisers.

Last but not least, down the road, social data will transform into social intelligence. That means that data will be analyzed from both an IQ and EQ perspective, since 80 percent of decision making is emotion based. Also, social networking, which has been mostly viewed as a marketing tool thus far is slowly becoming the “center of excellence” where recruiting, sales, and customer support all happen.

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In a nutshell, the future of social media marketing is consumer-oriented.

“Consumers still want personalization,” Wilson said. “If they’re a jeans company like Levi’s, you’ll want them to know which jeans you prefer, so content remains relevant and of value. But you’ll still want more control over the info they have about you, so the data collection has to become more transparent.”

Hootsuite CMO Penny Wilson

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