What is the future of social selling? It's all about being "Real".

Authenticity-Based Social: The Next Frontier of Social Selling

by Jonathan Gilliam, Momentum Factor

With the proliferation and popularity of video apps like TikTok and the rise of influencer marketing, social selling is everywhere.

Even so, despite the convenience and ingenuity of this brand of marketing, it’s still unclear whether your product will stand out in the endless sea of advertisements that is the current social media scape. Even so, there are new platforms on the horizon that look a little different and seem to beckon the next frontier of social selling.

Brands are searching for ways to produce stimulating, attention-grabbing content, in a space of increasingly short-form and naturalistic social media trends (as opposed to more calculated, “posed” media, such as traditional Instagram and Facebook posts). They are finding that the future of social selling is centered around authenticity. To meet this demand for genuine content, new social platforms are being created while existing ones are adapting. 

One fast-growing new platform is Clubhouse, which has interesting applications for direct sellers. Clubhouse is a drop-in audio app, sort of like a cross between a podcast and a conference call. The app allows users to find chat rooms based around topics that they are interested in and then strike up verbal conversations with the rest of the room. 

Another app gaining traction is Fanbase, a subscription-based social media platform that allows users to subscribe to their favorite brands and creators to unlock exclusive content. Anyone with a profile can instantly become a paid influencer, and a model like this is sure to shake up the world of direct selling considering the power of influencer marketing.

Meanwhile, BeReal breaks the mold of the “perfect” post. Rather, it prioritizes interactions between friends. The platform gives users just two minutes to post their current front- and back-camera views, aiming for complete spontaneity and intimacy between followers – in direct antithesis to TikTok videos filmed for the purpose of entertainment-based consumption. With these three platforms alone, we may hold the key to understanding what the future of social media looks like.

Should brands start advertising today on BeReal? Not necessarily. In fact, the platform is built specifically to undermine that, as traditional social platforms tend to be clogged with more and more promotional content as years pass. But this back-to-basics, intimate mood that users are craving in their social media can be useful for a public-facing brand. Ditch the auto-capitalization, fire up your marketing team, and tweet like you’re texting a friend (within reason, of course).

While Clubhouse, Fanbase and BeReal are the first of their kind, competition is on the horizon. Similar platforms are expected to launch in the near future. More tenured platforms like Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn are also currently starting to adopt audio and video components. With these new assets, social sellers are more likely to receive feedback from others, be approached by interested parties, and connect with users they admire. Imagine LinkedIn, but with creative audio and video components.

Verbal communication is something that social selling critics say is a lost art, due to the accessibility and broad use of photo- and caption-based platforms like Facebook and Twitter. Still, Clubhouse now provides the opportunity to connect with others by voice, while Fanbase fosters influencer friendships, and BeReal allows connections to occur naturally as the trend pendulum swings to getting real. 

The future of social selling is direct conversation between seller and customer; and when a platform allows sellers to connect with industry thought leaders in a way that feels real, it becomes clear that authenticity is social selling’s greatest new opportunity.

To learn more about social selling, read this article from Momentum Factor’s Jonathan Gilliam as well.

And to find out how Momentum Factor can help protect your company from compliance issues related to social selling, contact our team today.

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