The Influence of Social Media on Digital Business Strategies

Remember how it started? With a need to connect. Need for social connection across digital platforms. Enter MySpace, Orkut, and Google Messenger offering global audiences an opportunity to connect, share, chat, and network. Designed and built as social platforms for personal networking and connecting with friends.

Fast forward to today with social platforms like TikTok, Snapchat, Threads, X, Instagram, and Clubhouse amongst others. Offering audiences an everything platform opportunity. Read global news and articles, share opinions, sell, market your products, and even drive business growth. The opportunities for engagement are vast with social media platforms today.

From a communication platform to a social commerce platform, social media has evolved like no other sector in a short span. What is interesting is how the sector is in a continuous evolution cycle. Thanks to Industry 4.0, 5G, web 3.0, and Metaverse brewing new avenues of engagement. For instance, AR/VR/MR are now core technologies powering immersive engagement, building Metaverse. Data Analytics and AI aid in building hyper-segmented customer profiles to build personalized ads and outreach campaigns.

To better understand how businesses have been influenced, we must look at numbers that showcase the power, penetration, and outreach of social platforms globally and in India.

Statistical Data Reflecting the Influence of Social Media

Remember when the technology mogul Elon Musk tweeted about Dogecoin, a cryptocurrency? CoinDesk reports that in a matter of minutes, DogeCoin jumped 4% with a price hike.

This instance simply reflects the power and influence of social platforms to spread information. Information that is used to build narratives, popularize them, and take immediate business advantage.
Here are some statistics that will help us understand the power of social media platforms in our daily lives:

Did you know that on average a person uses around 6.6 different social networks every month?
Demand Sage, a leading startup that is focused on bringing out data-driven insights shares a staggering list of statistics on social media usage and growth. Offering us an insight into the significant impact of how social media is shaping our daily decision-making to drive business strategies for growth. The start-up goes on to share the following statistics:

a. Gen and millennials use an average of 8.5 social media accounts. India scored highest at 11.5 social network accounts per user. (Basis research done on internet users in 46 nations aged 16-64)

B. A user spends on average 2 hours 35 mins daily on social media platforms.

b. India has the second largest social media user base of 755.47 (approx.) million users and still growing.

c. 60.49% of the global population uses social media, which is close to 4.95 billion social media users worldwide.

d. Facebook is the largest social network platform with 3.03 billion users.

e. By year-end 2024 the global social media users are predicted to reach 5.17 billion.

These figures indicate a thriving social media industry that holds immense global penetration power with 60.49% global users. This widespread adoption of social platforms across diverse audiences reflects its immediate connection with the audience and lasting influence.

India grossing the highest engagement numbers is a key takeaway that businesses must factor in for their sales and growth strategies. India’s increasing digital connectivity and digital policy initiatives such as Digital Skill India powered by the Government of India are all factors indicating future growth and a rise in engagement on social platforms.

The projected growth and average time spent by individuals on social platforms underline that these platforms have a key impact on users’ daily lives. These are indicative of how critical social platforms have become for users to engage with. Suggestive for businesses to build market plans for strategic investment across diverse social media platforms.

Technology Integration in Social Media

Emerging technologies like AI, ML, and Data Analytics software help to segment and target user profiles based on geographic or demographic factors.

Businesses use this customer segmentation to drive growth reflected by an increase in engagement numbers, sales, and/or leads. Segmentation helps them to define an apt social media user base for outreach campaigns. AI helps them to forecast a consumer behaviour pattern and location service helps brands to target with hyper-personalized ads. As technology further empowers social media platforms, it also impacts how businesses make strategic business decisions.

The powerful tool they are, social media platforms have transformed investment in digital marketing and business development. Social influencers have gained the power to promote brands. Technology evolution has given rise to investment in software and tech/digital experts. Brand management, crisis, and reputation management are addressed across social media platforms to gain an immediate global reach.
Remember Roger Federer’s retirement post or Messi’s post on Instagram after the FIFA World Cup win? The latter became the most-liked post in a matter of hours. The impact of social media platforms is widespread and penetrates deeply. Businesses that understand this have built strategic plans to stay agile and resilient in the market. For they know how social media can help them with:

1.Targeted customer outreach

The integration of powerful emerging technologies like AI, ML, IoT, etc aids in building advanced targeted campaigns. Businesses can build their customer segments with specific demographics that help to increase their lead generation.

2.Social media analytics tools

Each social media platform has its specific toolkit of insights and analytics. As a business, data analysts and social media managers can gauge and evaluate engagement using various engagement metrics. Helping to refine content, post, and engagement strategies.

3.Social Commerce

Businesses can direct users straight to their websites/ product links from social platforms. For instance, Instagram users often see ads on their pages that have a SHOP NOW/BUY NOW link at the bottom, directing them to the product sale page. Offering a direct conversion opportunity.

4.Real-time digital reach

Generative AI has offered business real-time engagement tools. For location-based hyper-personalized marketing, since location-based marketing is time-sensitive, generative AI becomes useful for generating personalized messages in a short period.

5.Direct customer management

Another technology-driven digital strategy is the use of AI bots or chatbots. Businesses are now able to serve their customers 24/7 with the help of chatbots that help to address customers’ complaints, query management and gain feedback.

6.Global reach and collaborations

Social media platforms have a global reach. Digital strategies involve investment in reaching a widespread audience to build brand awareness. Businesses invest in social influencers, onboard brand ambassadors, and partner with brands to bring in a cross-culture connection raising awareness for its products.

The interactions and algorithms may differ from platform to platform, however, the direct connection with the audience is a key pull in using social media platforms. What started to connect with peers and friends has today transformed how we run businesses. Becoming a defining stimulus to make strategic investments in human assets like social media managers, digital marketers, social influencers, etc., and tech assets like emerging technology investment in AI, ML, AR, VR, etc.

Embracing social media platforms can help businesses share their vision, build a competitive advantage, drive sales, build a loyal community base, and connect with a global audience. Implying the transformative influence of social media on a business’s investment planning, marketing strategies, and audience engagement.

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