Social media, since its inception, has been a game changer in how we interact with people. It offered people a way to connect and interact, even when separated by hundreds of miles. People shared photos and videos with millions of digital friends easily and quickly. But the days when social media was just an avenue to consume content solely through a single sense are over. This is especially true with devices like Amazon Alexa and Google Home becoming highly specialized in terms of the senses they excite. The development of this technology is also slowly taking over the realm of social media where businesses are finding innovative ways to interact with their target audiences.
To understand multisensory social media and its implications, it is important to know about multisensory perceptions. We are all familiar with the adage “perception is reality.” As consumers, we all view the world in unique ways. The reality that each of us sees is different from one another. People use this perception to choose the things they surround themselves with and the brands they buy things from. Marketers can actively work towards cultivating a particular perception. Since perceptions are influenced by stimuli, our sensory inputs, providing the right stimuli can create a desired perception. Customers assess and interpret the perception and either remember or forget them. A marketer’s goal is to create an unforgettable perception through sensory stimulation.
Development of digital multisensory experiences
The COVID-19 pandemic was a game changer for several business domains. During the pandemic, marketing became predominantly digital and marketers had to resort to multisensory interactions to give life-like experiences to clients. In-person stimulation and Web 2.0 interactions have been used to shape impressions both offline and online until now. However, with social media platforms like FaceBook venturing toward the metaverse, the face of multisensory experiences as we know them can change.
Technological developments give multisensory experiences
Social media posts and digital marketing content primarily engage the visual and auditory senses. Adding music to videos, filming events instead of using photos, and adding interactions to mobile experiences are examples of combining sight and sound in social media posts. Combining these two senses increases the engagement of posts and can boost conversions. It will also make the posts memorable to customers and they may remember your brand for a longer time.
But there are some technological innovations that can influence how people perceive things by engaging senses other than just sound and sight. Using these can make the posts even more unique and engaging compared to using just two senses. These include:
These can offer a sense of touch. Meta, a leading social media giant, has showcased this technology. These gloves can replicate touch by using actuators that exert pressure on a user’s hand. Marketers can use this technology to enable audiences to grasp the products digitally and give them a feel of new products. This can motivate customers to make purchases.
OVR Technology Scentware cartridge
The sense of scent will be introduced via this technology. The company, OVR Technology, creates thousands of distinctive, digitally native aromas to elicit various emotions and moods by blending primary scents in various combinations. The tiny gadget is then fastened to a user’s VR headset. Having a sense of smell can motivate clients to purchase products, especially cosmetics and perfumes. Adding this to social media marketing posts is a good way to boost sales.
Homei Miyashita, a Japanese professor, has developed a prototype for a lickable television screen. Named “Taste the TV”, the screen of the television can mimic different food flavors by using ten flavor canisters. Customers can lick the screen to experience the taste of different dishes. The aim of this venture is to offer a restaurant-like experience while sitting in the comfort of your home. Social media can use this feature to include the taste of food-related posts to improve user experience.
Multisensory technologies are still in their developmental phase and marketers may have to wait some time before they can incorporate them fully into social media posts. But the era of businesses speaking directly to consumers is over, that much is certain. And with the increasing popularity of the metaverse, it is only a matter of time before these novel technologies flood the market. Digital marketers can leverage these technologies to increase traffic from their social handles to product websites. Customers will also be able to have a well-rounded dialogue with their favorite brands using multisensory social media posts.