Social media was built upon the premise that Millennials and Gen Z, and a fair subset of their predecessors, want to socialize freely and connect endlessly, at any time, from anywhere, with any one. The idea that you could share anything and everything, and some cases it really was E-VERY-THING, with everyone took the world by storm, with Facebook reaching a new record of over 2 billion users in 2017. That is 27% of the current world population.
Social media has been self-serving, globally connecting, movement building and bottom line, digitally transformative in the way many now connect, socialize and communicate in our daily lives, both personally and professionally.
Since the dawn of the social media era, it has evolved greatly – and some would argue not necessarily for the better. News feeds and profiles are now cluttered with ads and activities from people you’ve never met, but since a friend of a friend of a friend liked it, you can now see it. Social media titans, like Facebook and Instagram, now present you with content they think you want to see, or sponsored content, diluting messages and interactions with interruptions and consumeristic agendas.
The Rise in Group Chat Apps
With this shift in the way many social media platforms are delivering and presenting information, more users are turning to private messaging apps or group chats apps to socialize.
In fact, Facebook founder and CEO, Mark Zuckerberg, found that messaging is one of the few things people do more than social networking. Not surprisingly, this led to Facebook’s development of its own Facebook chat app, Messenger, and its acquisition of the popular group chat app, Whatsapp.
The Slow Death of Traditional Social Media
More and more users are choosing to use group chat apps to communicate in a similar way to how they were using social networking apps. Does this mean the end traditional social media channels? Not necessarily, but reports indicate that the top group chat apps have now surpassed the global monthly active user base of the top the broad reaching social media networks.
As more users adopt and communicate through group chat to meet, chat and share similar interests, the draw and usefulness of traditional social media wavers as users share personal and relevant content, photos and events in group chats, to captive audiences without the interruption or distraction of promoted content, people and ads.
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Why Group Chat is Replacing Social Media
There are many factors as to why group chat apps are becoming a more effective way to socialize than social media. Currently, the combined user base of the top four chat apps is larger than the combined user base of the top four social networks. The majority of this base are younger, think Millennials and Gen Z, which is increasingly an important demographic to target for most organizations.
These age cohorts are using chat apps more than social media because there is too much noise on social media. Group chat platforms provide a means to have more direct, pointed and productive connections and conversations rather than open and endless news feeds filled with promotional ads and content.
Renewed Productivity for Businesses
Beyond the personal draw of group chat apps for personal socialization, how does the rise of group chat apps impact business? On the one hand, traditional social media platforms have worked hard to grant favor to companies paying for promotions through their network, granting reach far beyond what a business has built itself. However, this has also been to the chagrin of many social media platform consumers, with more and more users opting for channels with fewer ads, like group chat apps.
From a business perspective, there are ways companies can capitalize on the growing popularity in group chats. For example, you can participate in chat groups or forums, promote relevant content to various groups and or even implement chat bots to participate for you.
Additionally, private group chat apps can be used to boost productivity within your company. Group chat platforms, such as MobiConnect secure chat app, can be used to streamline internal communications and to get answers from the right resource at the right time, anytime. More importantly, when using group chat apps as a business, the concerns of data security and data ownership must be considered.
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That Security Issue…
The issue of security is topic that comes up in nearly every conversation we have with our clients and prospective clients. Primarily, the potential risks you face when using non-secure, non-privatized apps for business communications. Given the importance and popularity of this topic, we often cover this in our it is also often also a topic we cover in our Mobilearth Insights & New Blog. The ultimate questions to consider as a business when using these group chat apps, is who owns your data and how security is your data?
For example, if your employees are communicating through Whatsapp, Facebook actually owns your data, potentially confidential business data that has been shared through the app. Not knowing who has access to your business data or how your business data is potentially at risk of exposure puts your organization to great risk.
To eliminate this risk, without losing the productivity of instant group chat communication, it’s absolutely essential to use a private, secure and encrypted group chat app, hosted on your own server, which gives you ultimate peace of mind of where your data resides and who has access to it. One such private, secure and encrypted group chat application used by organizations is MobiConnect.
More than your Basic Group Chat App
MobiConnect, private group chat app, is more than just your basic group chat application. It delivers the instantaneous connection and collaboration of group chat along with other valuable business tools to help your employees be more productive, including:
Connect: find the exact resource you need, when you need it with connect, as an employee, skills and location directory for your business to securely connect back and forth in real time.
Message Expiry: enable sending time-sensitive, confidential messages securely with a set date/time the message will be deleted upon expiry.
Prospect/Customer Database: deliver simplified customer relationship management that allows you to actively track and log prospect and customer activity while on the move.
Expense Log: track expenses easily as they are incurred to ensure all expenses tracked, logged and paid on-time.
Document Management Vault: distribute, update and manage all documents, while saving by going paperless, to keep the most up-to-date information at your employees’ fingertips.
Mobile Employee Locator: keep employees safe while on the move by tracking the geolocation of your employees to provide instant location details to ensure safety and productivity.
Video Chatting: connect “face-to-face” with any employee, regardless of location, using instant video chatting from within the secure, private group chat app.
Multi-Factory Security: secure end-to-end network encryption and multi-factor authentication to put security concerns to rest with digital certificates, geolocations, audit trails and reports.
Your employees can leverage all these tools while staying connected through this robust private, secure and encrypted group chat app, MobiConnect.
The Rise of Group Chat & the Fall of Social Networking
Ultimately, social networking may never ‘die’ per se, but some social networks have definitely become more like graveyards (e.g. MySpace.com) than playgrounds. As statistics show, more and more people are turning to group chat as an alternative to social networking. Don’t wait too long to consider what impact this has on your business and your business data.
The more channels to which your confidential business data is exposed the greater chance of data breaches. And while, a group chat app may not be a company provisioned communications tool for your organization, don’t be naïve in believing that your employees are using non-private group chat apps to communication, as nearly 4 billion users worldwide are monthly.