With over 4 Billion global active users, Social Messaging is slowly but steadily taking over the popularity of Social Media platforms. Applications like Whatsapp, LINE, Kik, Facebook messenger and WeChat have been registering exponential user growth over the past few years. However it is frequency of use and not the number of users that has caught the marketers attention. “The top five apps in terms of frequency of use are all messaging apps.” Says Ryan Holmes the CEO of Hootsuite. Users are popping open the messaging apps way more often than even Facebook or Instagram. The question then becomes…Can this potential channel of communication be monetized and if so how?The marketers are now putting their head together to find ways to tap into this fast growing channel of communication. But first we must understand what is it about these messaging apps that has users in a mesmerized trance.
1. It is all about instant gratification
From Social Messaging apps to live streaming options – the ability to share the moment instantaneously ranks the highest on the chart. the characteristics of iGen and way information is consumed by them has changed drastically, something I have discussed in my previous article Top 3 challenges of marketing to the millennials.
Speed is more of a priority than the accuracy or the authenticity of the information. The ability of Social messaging platforms to quickly disperse a piece of communication at a viral speed, is arguably the most lucrative feature.Channeling this desire of iGens and millennials for instant gratification and sharing the latest and the greatest trends and offers on the selective social messaging groups, before it hits the regular communication channel might be a great way to cash in on this emerging communication platforms.
There is no better word to describe the functionality of a social messaging ‘group’. Like my fellow users I belong to several groups each one catering to a different interest. I have a group of intellectual and philosophical friends where we share and openly discuss the state of politics, impact of modern era changes on women, our view on arts, theatre and books; another group with school friends from around the globe that constantly bring out the child in me and helps me stay in touch with my roots, a group of working moms where we share parenting problems and tips on how to deal with it and so on so forth.As a partner in a startup, a sought after marketing consultant, a wife and a mom of two – listening to the evening news seems more like a punishment than an avenue to relax. For me the social messaging platforms does wonders – I sign in every once in a while and within few minutes I get a quick rundown on the latest events, find out what’s going on in my friends lives and also catch up on the fashion trends, parenting advise, some food for my intellectual and philosophical appetite, cooking tips, skin care and much more – without having to sit through hours of irrelevant topics.Just imagine the impact a properly articulated and well-positioned message can create within these social media communication channels where the audience is not only open but are also fascinated about specific ‘topics of interest’. Creating corporate sponsored ‘social messaging groups’ with shared area of interest (a more personal device based blog group perhaps) can be a great way of promoting certain brand values while in staying in touch with the target audience.
3. Subliminal Messaging
From Coke controversy to credible Harvard research we have all discussed the possibility of creating powerful brand association via subliminal messaging strategy. But the impact an underlying message hidden between the throes of jokes and catch phrases can have in a social messaging group is riveting. As an avid user of Whatsapp and a Xeo marketer, I found it fascinating how social messaging platforms are used by politicians in certain countries to establish a negative image of the opponent or to reinforce positive association with their own political parties and agendas. The peer pressure and the need to be accepted is almost as palpable as it is on the corridors of a high school.This highly communicative social messaging platforms are a gold-mine for the Brand gurus. But only if the tones associated with their respective brands can be controlled by the message initiators. Though daunting the task is not unacceptable. After all the taming of social media has already been mastered by several Brand gurus.The marketers around the globe are focusing on finding ways to capture the data and control the mode and tone of message transmission via this emerging communication platform. It is only a matter of time before Social Messaging platforms can be monetized.The digital communication media overtook the print, radio, TV and other media mainly because of the accessibility and speed factor. Inbound marketing flourishes in its ability to target the right audience by feeding the digital channels of common interest with useful information. Social Media platform fascinates the marketer with its ability to go viral and gather exponential audience with minimal effort. A Social Messaging platform combines all three aspects – speed, targeting right audience and creating viral effect creating higher visibility for the messages. It is no wonder that Social Messaging is well on its way to becoming the new ‘Black’ for modern marketers.