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It’s no secret that social media has become one of the most crucial ways for brands to connect with potential consumers. Facebook currently wins the race with 1.87 billion active users, awarding the site a massive 18 per cent of the total social media market share.


Although other sites such as Instagram, Tumblr, Twitter and Snapchat are much less prominent, they should not be ignored, as each platform provides another way to interact with prospects. In recent years, even the dyed-in-the-wool technophobes have admitted defeat and adopted social media and, with an ever-growing audience, it’s no surprise that an increasing amount of marketing budget is being invested in this area.


Although a focus on the social media platforms themselves is still undoubtedly important, a new potential opportunity is emerging: social messaging. The four key players consist of Facebook Messenger, WhatsApp, QQ and WeChat, the latter of which are the main messaging devices in Asian countries, such as China and Thailand. When compared to traditional social media platforms, the fact that these messaging services are used by a much a wider variety of demographic groups makes them a potentially crucial new way for brands to engage with a defined target audience.


You only have to look around during your daily commute to see that most of the millennial population is constantly glued to WhatsApp, which demonstrates the social messaging opportunities for consumer engagement and targeting, along with its potential ability to deliver a personalised message to prospective customers. It’s no longer sufficient for brands to expect that posting content and sharing alone is all that is needed to drive a return on investment. The prospect of social messaging would be able to meet the millennial desires for greater transparency and more tailored communication.


In China, WeChat is already being recognised by marketers as a new magic wand in the marketing mix. Luxury brands, such as Gucci, are now using the platform to provide customer service, adding brand value. There are also features such as store locators active on brands’ accounts, driving customer footfall directly to the door. This is an example that should be followed by UK brands to make the most out of social media engagement opportunities, which goes beyond its basic content sharing capacities.


Most brands and social platforms are yet to implement this knowledge, but social messaging will definitely be a mechanism for brands to incorporate into their social media marketing strategy this year, stealing the limelight from the traditional social networking apps. This knowledge should act as a reminder to marketers and companies that social media as a marketing tool is in a constant state of flux and is evolving to offer new ways for brands to connect with customers.


Think your brand could benefit from marketing on social messaging platforms? Get in touch!