Storytelling is as old as time, transforming over the years from folklore to digital social media status updates and posts. With the boom of technology and subsequent social media sites, millions of stories are shared online every day, by friends, family and celebrities alike. Almost half of the total world population (45%) use social media, spending nearly 2.5 hours of their day scrolling through social media feeds (Hootsuite, 2019).
Experiences inspire stories by their very nature, but in many ways it’s the ‘bragging rights’ and ability to share that story where many derive the greatest pleasure. Social currency is amassed according to likes, shares and comments against tweets, grams, status updates and snapchats. This in turn is helping to give rise to the ‘Experience Economy.’
The rise of ‘social media stories’
The experience itself is no longer enough, there is now a burning desire to share intricate details across a number of social platforms for it to be considered ‘real.’ But a new phenomenon is changing the way we share our experiences. Nearly a billion of us are using ‘social media stories’ across WhatsApp, Instagram, Facebook, and Snapchat, and they’re growing 15 times faster than feed-based sharing (Hootsuite, 2019). Stories let us share our experiences instantaneously and live each other’s vicariously through our devices in our own space, at our own time, from anywhere in the world.
In addition, the ‘Experience Economy” is also being propped up by FOMO – or Fear of Missing Out. 69% of millennials have admitted to suffering it. This fear is being fed by the need to stay relevant and to continue to nurture meaningful connections with others online.
Changing the way we shop – from shops to swipe ups
Social media platforms like Twitter, Instagram, Facebook and Snapchat are contributing to a long-term shift in consumer spending, away from material goods and towards meaningful, valuable life experiences.
With 70% of millennials consulting social media or online reviews whilst shopping in store, its powerful reach is indisputable, with a further 40% of digital consumers using social networks to research new brands or products (Hootsuite, 2019).
Ca-ching – social media influencers
Also on the rise, are social media influencers, they saturate our feeds and it’s become a full-time job, promoting everything and anything from a luxury hotel room for the night, to a holiday abroad, or a slap-up meal in a Hatted restaurant. These gifted experiences are captured and embellished in envious Instagram posts, and shared in exchange for partnerships with businesses.
It isn’t all about Millennials
Despite millennials being in the driving seat of the ‘Experience Economy,’ social media is not a sensation unique to them. 82.3 percent of Baby Boomers belong to at least one social media site and are 19 percent more likely to share content compared to other generations. They make up an important demographic and should not be left behind by brands and businesses.
This topic along with other key themes is explored in depth in our white paper “The Experience Economy: Riding a rising tide.” You can download your free copy below.